Today, at work, I read a wonderful yet heartbreaking books to a class of first graders.
The book is by Jacqueline Woodson, titled Each Kindness.
It really hit home, because I've worked in schools for years and there's always that one child that seems to be left out of things, or that other children don't seem to accept right away, if ever.
What is different about this book, is that it's written in the first person, from the pov of a child that is one of those who ARE NOT accepting of a new kid; and it doesn't quite have a happy ending. It does however, leave you with the impression that the narrator will think about being more friendly with other new kids - especially since she was one of the first kids to turn away from that first important overture from the new kid.
The new girl isn't as well dressed as the other, doesn't have new toys to play with.
This girl is ignored, and ridiculed by the others in the class and school and finally she just stops showing up for school.
The teacher uses a lesson about water and ripples to demonstrate how kindness can travel on to others.
The main character follows that train of thought to figure out how her unkindness also ripples outward.
I actually had to control, force the emotion down because if I didn't I would have teared up in front of the whole class. Which might not have been a bad thing, but might have made me seem a little unstable.
I plan on using this book for all the reading sessions in the library this week, even the classes where we're reading chapter books.
The message it carries is an important message about acceptance and the consequences of not being friendly to others.
It's about loneliness.
I recommend this to all who have children in the home, all who teach, and all who read to children of varying ages.