Sarah Conover is the founder and general editor of the series This Little Light of Mine which includes anthologies of wisdom from the Islamic, Chinese, and Buddhist traditions. As the compiler and adapter of the Buddhist stories and fables in this paperback, she notes in "To the Young Reader" that wisdom and compassion are the two threads that tie the stories together.

There are two kinds of tales: anecdotes and fables. They are populated by monks, animals, and ordinary people trying to make some sense out of their lives. The other stories in Kindness are fables from the Jakata, the oldest collection of folktales in the world. Many on the dharma path have seen the protagonists in each Jakata as the Buddha in a former life "working his way to enlightenment."

Buddhism, Conover explains, has a long history of storytelling. And since the Buddha did not write down any of his teachings, the oral tradition is very strong as well. Perhaps that is why she suggests that Buddhist parents and others read these stories aloud to their children and then discuss their messages and teachings.

We were quite taken with "Birdsnest," "The Mustard Seed," "Gifts for the Robber," "The Broom Master," "The Mice Who Taught the Monk to Smile," and "Perfecting Patience."