With Valentine’s Day being today and this week being Random Acts of Kindness Week, it’s a good time to think about love, friendship, and empathy. Here are some kindness ideas (see the RAK website for more):
~Bring a treat to a neighbor or coworker
~Donate time or money to a local charity
~Cook a healthful meal for someone
~Let someone go in front of you in line
If you don’t have time this week to fit in these activities, keep them in mind for another day—and make it truly random! As a nod to RAK Week, I am featuring a few picture books that speak to kindness.
Peace, Baby!, by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, is a lyrical reminder for children about how to take a breath and stop conflict before it starts. Incorporating pictures and names of kids from different cultures in a natural way, the author and illustrator convey everyday situations and propose peaceful solutions in a fun and engaging manner. (9781452106137. April 2013. Gr PS-1.)
Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon, is an adorable story about a penguin who has become fond of a pinecone. He selflessly returns the pinecone to its forest so it can grow and thrive. The simple illustrations are endearing! (9780802728432. 2012. Gr PS-1.)
Being Frank, by Donna W. Earnhardt and illustrated by Andrea Castellani, shows us how telling the truth can have unhappy consequences if not told carefully and with a bit of sweetness. Young Frank shares his dilemma—wanting to be honest but not sure how he’s hurting people’s feelings in the process—with Grandpa Ernest, who helps him understand how to be honest without being hurtful. (9781936261192. 2012. Gr K-2.)
The Stamp Collector, by Jennifer Lanthier and gorgeously illustrated by François Thisdale, tells a haunting story (based on real lives) of two boys in China growing up under crushing regulations that cause one of the young men to be imprisoned for his writings. The other, a stamp collector who becomes a prison guard, shows heartbreaking empathy for the writer, deciding to break the rules and share letters of support from around the world with the prisoner. (9781554552184. 2012. Gr 2-5.)
Other 2012-13 children’s books that promote kindness:
Hoky the Caring Wolf (translated from the Spanish Hoky el lobo solidario) by César and illustrated by Blanca Bk. 9788415241928. 2013. Gr K-2.
Ivy Takes Care by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by Jim LaMarche. 9780763653521. 2o13 .Gr 3-6.
Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A. G. Ford. 9780763652296. 2013. Gr 2-4.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis. 9780399246524. 2012. Gr K-3.
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. 9781596437456. 2012. Gr PS-1.