“That winter, snow fell on everything, turning the world a brilliant white.” That is the opening sentence in one of my favorite children’s books, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. In the story we meet Maya who enters a new classroom for the very first time; only to be stared at because her clothes aren’t new. The story is told in first person by Chloe, one of Maya’s classmates, who ignores Maya on more than one occasion. Maya tries to be friendly, and asks Chloe and her friends to play everyday, but soon she realizes she does not fit in; each day she plays alone at recess. And then one day, Maya is not in school. That day, the teacher brings a bowl of water into the classroom and the kids gather around it. She drops a small stone into the water and says, “This is what kindness does. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.” The teacher lets each child drop a stone into the water and say what kind thing they had done. Chloe holds the small stone in her hand, but passes on her turn to share. Chloe’s teacher announces that Maya’s family moved and she would not be coming back to school. At the end of the story Chloe walks home alone, “My throat filled with all the things I wished I would have said to Maya. Each kindness I had never shown.”
I taught school for many years and loved using books to open discussion on important topics. I was moved to write this post today because of what I read on Tina Schell’s blog: Travels and Trifles. In her post called: Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed, Tina talks about the tragedy in France and how we must start with our children, as they are our future. In Tina’s words, “We can teach them that hate and fear are not the answers that will remake the world.”
Each Kindness is beautifully written; maybe you have someone in your life that would enjoy it.
Please click on the link above to read Tina’s entire post.