Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Each Kindness


Title: Each Kindness

Author: Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrator: E. B. Lewis

Grade Level: K-3

Buy it here!

Resources: Author Information

Resources: Lesson Plan on Creating Kindness

Each Kindness is a wake-up call to the harsh realities of bullying.  This story follows the life of Chloe and Maya in an elementary school setting.  Maya is the new girl who enters into the classroom of the main character, Chloe.  Chloe goes on to perpetuate many of the underlying issues of bullying until she comes face-to-face with a wake-up call that she will never forget.  In the end, Chloe learns a very valuable lesson, "Each kindness makes the whole world a little better."  The author and illustrator do a great job of balancing truthful words with water painted images that could be giving an inside view to any young child's experience. 

Element #5- Raising Awareness:
Each Kindness really takes an interesting and unconventional approach towards raising the awareness of the characters in the story.  I've read several books where the main character is the one raising the awareness of others in the book.  However, the author, in Each Kindness, cleverly chooses to have the main character's awareness raised through the very sobering reality of her actions.  The main character, Chloe, also shares the experience from a first-person perspective that has the potential to be very powerful in having a positive effect on the reader and/or the students on the recipient end of this story.  Lastly, the bullying, referenced in this story, is addressed in a very subtle and detailed manner that is often overlooked in the classroom setting.

Follow-Up Activity:
A great follow-up activity is located in the resources section located above.  It builds on the kindness activity discussed in Each Kindness.  In this activity, kindness is discussed as a way to end name-calling and bullying in the classroom and in the school as a whole.  After the discussion on bullying and kindness, the students create a garden of their experiences of kindness and why they feel it is important to be kind to one another.  These experiences, as explained in the lesson plan, are put on their flowers and shared with the rest of the class.  Ultimately, the Garden of Kindness can be displayed in a common school area to show other students the importance of being kind.