The narrator of this picture book (we'll call her "our girl") is faced with a dilemma when Tanisha, a little girl in her class, spills grape juice over her new dress. The other kids all laugh at her, but our girl has been told by her mother to be kind, so she tries telling Tanisha that purple is her favorite color. That doesn't help. She wonders what else she could have done: "What does it mean to be kind anyway."
Pat Zietlow Miller gives our girl many answers for that question, which come to life through the watercolor illustrations by Jen Hill. Being kind is giving, helping, paying attention, and listening (even to stories she's heard before). "My mom says the quickest way to be kind is to use people's names," she remembers, so she greets Cayla on the street, Omar at the café, and Rabbi Mandelbaum on the park bench. Being kind can be hard, she admits, like when she sticks up for someone when the other kids are being mean.
In addition to this catalog of specific ways to be kind, the author puts forth a philosophy about kindness. Our girl says, "Maybe I can only do small things. But my small things might join small things other people do. And, together, they could grow into something big . . . and go all the way around the world."
We were happy to see illustrations of being kind around town by making donations at a consignment shop, opening the door for someone at the post office, buying a "get well" bouquet, adopting from the animal refuge, returning books at the library, and giving directions at a bus stop. Enjoy this book with friends and family and see what kindnesses you can add to our girl's list.