Top positive review
BE KIND to yourself and kids you love- read and share this book!
March 2, 2018
Pat Zietlow Miller's recent and widely acclaimed release, BE KIND, features an aware and intentional main character, one who actively attempts to "be kind". As with the stumbling school campaign slogan above that required an object for its verb, this kind character has an object of the intent: a classmate who is upset by a simple accident, spilled grape juice.
When an initial attempt at support is misunderstood, the wannabe-kind youngster makes an effort to observe, consider, and analyze ways that kindness is (or isn't) effective. Those examples, the progression of observations, and the conclusions are entirely child-friendly but also provide dense content for discussions about ways individual acts can affect others' lives.
Illustrator Jen Hill has provides visual spotlights throughout the book, offering a subtle reminders to focus on both sides of the kindness equation. The reflections of the main character convey not just intention but persistence, not a sense of his/her own desire to be kind, but on the needs of the classmate. I used the gender-optional pronouns because some young readers have asked- is it a girl or a boy? Hill's gender-ambiguous illustration allows all readers to see themselves in the story, and to answer the questions for themselves: Who do you think it is? What difference would it make which way you see the child? Does assigning an identity affect the story? The universality of the story shines through from the book jacket front to back.