It’s Monday! What are you reading? Each Kindness

It’s early morning and I stand with my cup of tea watching a mother Cardinal feed or check on her young. The nest is just on the other side of the screen on the side porch of the house. She gently peers over the nest caring for her young. Her mate is not far off in the Elm tree watching. The Goldfinch can be heard singing in the raised garden beds in my neighbors front yard.

It is a gentle, peaceful and kind morning here in this neighborhood. She is doing what she knows best. For her it is just an early morning feeding. For me it is a gift of kindness from a world that has been harsh and brutal. This quick morning feeding let me turn away from the Sunday news of gun shots ringing out once again. It let me turn away just for a moment from the words of hate, fear and ugliness that flies over the news, Twitter feeds and Facebook.

I thought of lessons that we can teach our children without stepping into the harsh world of this summers killing. With teacup in hand I went right to Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness to re read. Here is a book that gently lets us know that our actions effect others. She lets us know through the lesson of a caring teacher.

The story is told from the eyes of Chloe, a young girl in the classroom. She and her friends are not welcoming of Maya, a new girl to the school. Maya wears old clothes, hand me down or things from the second hand store. Maya tries to make friends. She smiles, she tries to share her used and old toys but the girls will have nothing to do with her.

One day Maya is not in class and their teacher takes this time to talk about kindness and show how kindness travels.

“Ms. Albert had brought a big bowl into class and filed it with water. We all gathered around her desk and watched her drop a small stone into it. Tiny waves ripped out, away from the stone. This is what kindness does, Mrs. Albert said. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple into the world. “

We know exactly how Chloe feels as she tries to think of a kindness she can share.  “Even small things count” says her teacher. “Each kindness makes the whole world a little bit better.”

Woodson let’s us know in a positive and gentle way that it is kindness we need rippling out into the world right now. Even the small things matter.



Woodson also wrote The Other Side. A great book to read as well. Both have beautiful illustrations done by E.B. Lewis. imgres-1

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Book Review, Reflection and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It’s Monday! What are you reading? Each Kindness

  1. Linda Baie says:

    They are both beautiful to read. Thanks for the wonderful sharing of your morning cardinal, Joanne. We don’t have cardinals here in Colorado, so I miss them. (I grew up in Missouri.) Hope the week is one full of kindness for you and all of us.

    • Joanne Toft says:

      Thanks – we all need a bit of gentle kindness right now. Hope all is good out your way!

      I tried for pictures but the Mother Cardinal is nested so deeply in the bush and blends in you can only catch a bit of her orange beak.

  2. cweichel says:

    I love both of these books. Have you read Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace? It is a lovely uplifting book about how world peace begins with where we live. I hope you won’t be offended that we here in Canada are wondering what is going on with our neighbour, I am also hoping for kindness for all of you and us here too.

    • Joanne Toft says:

      I have not read Paulie Pastrami – I will look it up thanks!
      No, I am not offended – we are not sure what is going on either but thinking we should move to Canada! It seems way more sane. I am hoping we as a country can pull things together in a peaceful way by November! Send us good peaceful energy – we need it!

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