From the award-winning author of Sophie's Squash comes a thoughtful picture book about the power of kindness.
When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering:
What does it mean to be kind?
From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a differenceor at least help a friend.
With a gentle text from Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor author Pat Zietlow Miller, and irresistible art from Jen Hill, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.
Pat Zietlow Miller is the creative force behind the blog Read, Write, Repeat, where she reviews books for young readers. Her picture books include Sophie's Squash, Sophie's Squash Go To School, Wherever You Go, Sharing the Bread, and The Quickest Kid in Clarksville. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, two daughters, and two pampered cats.
Jen Hill is the illustrator of several picture books, including Diana's White House Garden by Elisa Carbone, Spring for Sophie by Yael Werber, and Doing Her Bit by Erin Hagar; and is also the author and illustrator of Percy and Tumtum: A Tale of Two Dogs. She is a graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and her intern, Little Bee, who is very helpful for a cat.
…the combination of Pat Zietlow Miller's earnest text and Jen Hill's attractive images is likely to find a receptive audience among adults wanting to spark a conversation with children.The New York Times Book Review - Linda Sue Park
★ 12/04/2017Publishers Weekly
A child contemplates the nature of kindness and how it can spread in this lovely exploration of empathy and thoughtfulness. “Tanisha spilled grape juice yesterday,” the young narrator begins. “All over her new dress.” Their classmates laugh, Tanisha flees the room, and the narrator’s efforts to comfort her (“Purple is my favorite color”) fall flat. Hill (Spring for Sophie) creates a gender-neutral narrator—a shaggy-haired child in an oversize purple football jersey—who goes on to debate methods of kindness, how tricky it can be, and how far a chain of generous actions might go: “all the way... around the world. Right back to Tanisha and me.” The child says that “Mom always tells me to be kind,” and Miller lets the student parse what that means without adult intervention; the child’s musings (“Maybe it’s giving.... Maybe it’s helping”) let readers do their own reflecting. A spirit of diversity, global and at the community level, pervades Hill’s images, a visual reminder of the importance of kindness regardless of perceived otherness. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Group. (Feb.)
These days, it seems more important than ever for books to show young people how to act with thoughtfulness, civility, and kindness.” The New York Times Book Review
“[A] lovely exploration of empathy and thoughtfulness.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The precisely worded, hopeful text offers ideas to ponder, while the artwork places them within kidfriendly contexts, such as a multiracial classroom and a neighborhood park. Nicely designed for drawing out children’s ideas and opening a discussion on kindness, this picture book works well one-on-one or read aloud in a classroom, for the expressive pictures are still effective from a distance. A thoughtful picture book.” Booklist
“This picture book champions interpersonal kindness both globally and in a young child's town . . . The story gives children many concrete ideas of actionable kind deeds.” Kirkus Reviews
“The book presents the powerful message that small acts of kindness matter, and that they can build with other acts of kindness to make a difference . . . A valuable addition on this topic [that] will promote conversation about what it means to be kind.” School Library Journal
A Golden Kite Award Winner
A Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book
An Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book
The Juvenile Literature Award Winner
A Crystal Kite Award Book for the Midwest Region
"[T]his tale will be cherished by children, and their parents will be happy to read it to them often." School Library Journal, starred review
Wherever You Go:
A Crystal Kite Award Book for the Midwest Region
“Miller's verse, infused with musical momentum, communicates the emotional arch of a journey with beautiful brevity.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“This lovely offering [has] appeal both as an inspirational gift book and as a bedtime tale.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
Sophie's Squash Go to School:
“While in many picture books problems are solved quickly, Miller makes clear that it takes time, as well as reflection and effort, for Sophie to decide that she wants friends. . . . Many children will relate to [this].” Booklist, starred review
“By book’s end, most readers will be willing to side with Sophie’s parents, who remind her that it’s good to have friends: ‘Especially human ones.’” Publishers Weekly, starred review
The Quickest Kid in Clarksville:
“Sweet and inspiring.” Kirkus Reviews
“An engaging, lively story.” Horn BookFrom the Publisher
02/01/2018School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Miller explores the topic of kindness through the story of a child pondering how to respond when a friend spills grape juice on herself. In the language of a child's thoughts, Miller provides examples of kindness (giving, helping, paying attention), and acknowledges that it is not always easy to be kind, especially when others aren't. Miller helps bring this abstract concept into concrete terms of children's lives. The illustrations are gentle and effective. The children's faces are expressive, and thick brushstrokes and watercolor add texture and depth to the pages. The color purple receives extra attention, but is well balanced with other colors and white space. The book presents the powerful message that small acts of kindness matter, and that they can build with other acts of kindness to make a difference. This is adeptly illustrated with vignettes representing kindness circling the globe, coming full circle to the schoolyard where the protagonist gives Tanisha a purple watercolor picture. While the protagonist could not fix the problem, the act of kindness still made a difference. VERDICT Books about kindness are frequently requested in public and school libraries alike. This title is a valuable addition on this topic and will promote conversation about what it means to be kind.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA
This picture book champions interpersonal kindness both globally and in a young child's town.The unnamed white narrator wants to make a black girl named Tanisha feel better after spilling grape juice on herself in front of her multiracial classmates. "What does it mean to be kind anyway?" thinks the narrator. Next comes a catalog of easy, simple good deeds, such as "throwing away a wrapper or recycling a bottle," before the book moves on to ruminations about how kindness can be hard. The narrator wonders how "my small things might join small things other people do," combining with others' small good deeds to somehow "travel across the country… / and go all the way… / around the world." The illustrations are engaging and inventive, with lots of detail and an attractive use of color. The story gives children many concrete ideas of actionable kind deeds but without the difficult edges of how kindness can (or can't) be transformative or when kindness isn't enough to enact real change. The pictures show racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, among others, without explicitly addressing these categories in the text; some will appreciate this quiet inclusion, while others might wish for more help discussing these subjects with children. The white narrator comes to an open-ended conclusion while Tanisha is presented as a subject of pity, with no opportunity to speak for herself.Lovely illustrations work with a somewhat heavy-handed message; effective more as instruction than story. (Picture book. 3-8)