Read about the power of kindness
We all need more of this positive trait
Kindness comes in many different forms. Making room in your heart and your life for a new friend. Doing something nice for someone without being asked. Making room in your home for a pet. Taking the time to listen to someone. Acknowledging another's efforts or accomplishments. The list is endless.
Children learn how to be kind by observation and by being treated with kindness by others. Each of today's reviewed books addresses kindness in a different way, offering a different perspective on how to reach out and be a kind person. We all need more of that, don't you think?
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"Notes from the Dog" by Gary Paulsen, Wendy Lamb Books, 132 pages
Read aloud: age 10 and older
Read yourself: age 11 — 12 and older
Fourteen-year-old Finn doesn't really fit in. His plan for the summer is to read as many books as he can and speak to fewer than a dozen people.
Finn's plans are altered when he meets his new neighbor, graduate student Johanna. Johanna is full of a zest for life. Johanna is also stricken with cancer, and she talks openly about it.
It isn't long before Johanna's enthusiasm washes over Finn in unexpected ways. He begins helping care for her after chemo treatments and discovers his ability to positively connect with others. Throughout, mysterious, uplifting notes about Finn are delivered to him by his dog, Dylan, and Finn begins viewing himself in a different light.
Author Paulsen has once again crafted an unforgettable novel that is both deeply moving and peppered with his signature humor. A story of family, friendship, compassion and kindness, "Notes from the Dog" is beautifully written and perfectly paced with a cast of unforgettable characters and a flawless blending of multi-layered themes, making this one a must-read.
Library: Yuba County Library, 303 Second St., Marysville
Library Director: Interim Director: Kevin Mallen
Choices this week: "Big Mouth and Ugly Girl" by Joyce Carol Oates; "The Princess and the Pea" by Lauren Child; "City of the Beasts" by Isabel Allende
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"Each Kindness" by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2012, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 5 — 8
Read yourself: age 8 and older
When the new girl Maya came to school one winter morning, she was assigned a seat next to Chloe. Maya smiled at Chloe, but Chloe turned her face away and didn't smile back. Days, weeks and months passed in the same way. Whenever Maya tried to share her friendship with Chloe and the girls, Chloe and the others made it clear they didn't want anything to do with her.
On the day that Maya didn't come to school, Chloe's teacher was talking about kindness and demonstrated how each little act of kindness makes the world a little bit better. Chloe reflected on this and realized she could have made things better if she had just shown some kindness to Maya. Her realization was even more acute when Maya never returned to her school.
Perfectly complemented with sensitive illustrations, this deeply profound story encourages honest, introspective thought about the importance of kindness.
"Charley's First Night" by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Candlewick, 2012, 32 pages, $15.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 3 — 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7
When young Henry brought his new puppy Charley home for the first time, Henry showed Charley all the important things in his new home. Henry's parents said he would be in charge of taking care of Charley but that Charley would sleep in the kitchen every night.
A bed was prepared for Charley under the kitchen table, but not long after everyone was asleep, Charley began to cry. Henry worried about little Charley, alone in the kitchen, and went to soothe him. After several attempts, Henry knew that his puppy simply couldn't stay by himself.
A wonderful, tender story about a puppy's first night in his new home, this selection brims with love and kindness.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.