I’m thankful for: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Woodson’s picture book tells the story of Maya, a girl who is less-than-welcoming of the new girl Chloe. She won’t return smiles, she doesn’t play with her at recess, and she references Maya’s lack of new clothing with the nickname Never New. It’s not until the teacher leads the class in an activity showing the ripple effect of kindness that Chloe understands the power of her actions.
As a teacher, the message of this story has great importance and value. There are two “rules” in our school library, one of which is Choose Kind…because kindness is a choice. It’s easy to smile back. It’s possible to say hello. Yet, ultimately, it is a CHOICE. And choices can have consequences, which Chloe learns the hard way in her story. As a parent, I ask my littles how they have shown kindness in their day. It’s the little things that matter: looking people in the eye, using an appropriate tone, saying people’s names when saying hello. It’s a work in progress for all of us, but it’s made easier with such a luminous, heartfelt story to share and discuss.
Each year, as Thanksgiving approaches, I take a moment to reflect and give thanks to the books that influence my life, my family, and my students.