…storytime, books, and ideas

Posts tagged ‘kindness’

A little tenderness

The world is topsy turvy right now. With recent events here in Nova Scotia, and with COVID-19 keeping us all at home and slightly on edge, I wanted to remind everyone that there are books that can help soothe the soul. And while our library is currently not open to the public, it will be again some day, and then you can take home a pile of books to remind you about the good in humans. And these are perfect to share with a child, as well as a nice balm for adults.

yellow book coverWith the refrain “love wins”, All of Us by Carin Berger (2018, Harper Collins) reminds us that we are stronger together than alone. This message fits so well with the Nova Scotia mantra, Stronger Together. It is a story about the power of community, diversity, and overcoming adversity. I wish I could read it to you all.

We are all connected. This seemingly simple book about interdbook coverependence reminds us that we are all made of the same stuff, and that we are part of the bigger world. Atoms and sunshine and bugs and leaves. The illustrations are lovely, with bright colours and shapes that go from the large to the close up of our inner selves. Take a look at We Are All Me by Jordan Crane (2018, TOON Books).

How do we be kind? What does it mean? Everyone needs to learn how to do it, and this book, intended for young children, can give everyone reminders. The end pages book cover of hands making a heartstart with words such as generosity, tolerance, empathy, tact, honesty, patience, and graciousness – large vocabulary for little people, and so the book shows what those words mean. Illustrated by nine different artists, A World of Kindness (2018, Pajama Press) shows scenes of waiting, helping, gentleness, and more — it literally illustrates for us how to be kind. The simple message can comfort a child, but can also soothe an adult soul. A lovely book to share over and over again, and would make a very nice addition to classroom collections. And look at that cover. It says so much.

With a box of crayons and an eraser, one child sets off to change the world. She rubs out words like darkness, desert, flood, and war, replacing them with colours that change to peace and light. The poetic text of When I Coyellow book coverlored in the World (2019, Tiny Owl) was written by Ahmadreza Ahmadi, a contemporary Iranian poet. The illustrations are a good compliment to the story, with the colours of the crayon box filling the pages. This book can help children see that they can change the world by recognizing problems and thinking of ways to fix them, even if it begins with a drawing and a box of crayons. An nice exploration of colour and emotion as well.  If you want to hear it read aloud by a young storyteller, head to THIS video.

children and trees on book cover         I have two books from Britta Teckentrup, both published by Tiger Tales Books. Both have colour-saturated illustrations that are simple yet filled with energy and emotion, and both books feature cut-out pages that are nicely designed to add to the message of the books. (Bonus, these books smell sooooo good!) First let’s look at Under the Same Sky (2017). This one is dedicated to a united world, and is a gentle reminder that near and far, we feel the same love, dream the same dreams.  In We Are Together (2020), the power of love and friendship peeks through the cut-out pages, showing us ways togetherness wins our hearts. This one can remind us that once we’ve gotten through this pandemic, we can be together in so many ways. people on book cover

Lastly, I have Most People (2017, Tilbury House) . Most people are good. Some people do bad things, but they can change. The message in this book can remind us that for the most part, people have good intentions, that even though sometimes the world can seem scary, most people are good people. You can see this one read aloud here.

Place holds on these books, or maybe buy copies from your local independent book store. We’ll get through this, together yet apart.

A kinder, gentler world

There’s a spate of books these days that seem to point us toward kindness and making our world a better place. If today’s children take these books to heart, maybe they will change the world. Here’s a few of those books that might be useful to our young friends.

book cover with Martin Luther KingI call this one a young activist’s handbook. In Be  A King, by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by James E. Ransome, children are introduced to the idea that “everybody can serve”. Based on the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., this book shows, in very simple statements and colorful illustration, how kids can be the change.

We Are All Dots, by Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti has the subtitle “A big plan for a better world”. Not subtle in the message, it shows how we can share the world and our resources. Kids will probably get it right away. Useful for talking about differences, diversity, and compassion. book cover with boy, clouds, and birds

Another lovely choice for discussion of differences is Trampoline Boy by Nan Forler, illustrated by Marion Arbona. A boy who is obsessed with his trampoline gets teased by the neighbourhood kids. But one girl wants to know more about him, and stops to make friends. The book has lovely gouache and pencil illustrations that show us that we should look at the world through different eyes now and then. I love the design of this one– a tall skinny book, shaped for the jumping boy, and text that moves with him.

Small Things, by Mel Tregonning is a wordless picture book in graphic-novel style. A small boy is plagued by anxiety, which manifests in small pieces of him breaking off and turning into black shapes that follow him. This is certainly a book for older readers, but one that kids who have anxiety may really relate to. The boy finds comfort in talking with his sister, and finally his family, and is able to help others once he learns how to conquer his own little monsters. The art is fantastical and will pull you right into the story. There’s an afterword that discusses anxiety and the “tiny demons of worry” that are depicted in the book.

book cover with a blue horseBlue Rider by Geraldo Valerio is a worldess book that speaks volumes about our society. A girl finds a book on the ground– she is the only one who sees it, as everyone else is absorbed by their phones. When she takes it home and reads it, she is transported into a world of vibrant colour and shape, a world of nature that transcends her monotone urban landscape. The art is just beautiful– bold colours and shapes that ride across the page and into the imagination. The book is a reminder to  look beyond what is in front of us, to put down the devices, and to enjoy art, books, nature, and life. Go ahead and check this one out and do just that.

For the budding environmentalist, look for April Pulley Sayre’s lovely Thank You Earth: A love letter to our planet. Illustrated with photographs that show the beauty of nature, this love letter is a short yet notbook cover with earth and words simplistic poem. The words are as lovely as the photos. Perfect for Earth Day! There’s even a note from the author which gives kids some ideas on how they can thank the Earth. Superb.

Most kids have heard these words: Be Kind. In Pat Zietlow Miller’s new book, the main character wonders what this really means. When a classmate is laughed at for spilling her juice, our character wants to be kind, but doesn’t know exactly  how. This is a good choice for parents and teachers who want to discuss what kindness means, and how we show it to others. After all, we can remind kids to “be kind”, but how do we show that?

If you want more books,  follow me on Twitter @annavalley for my #picturebookpile posts!

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