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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 1 year, 4 months ago

1 November 2019 FINDING KINDNESS by Deborah Underwood and Irene Chan, ill., Henry Holt/Godwin Books, October 2019, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-250-23789-7


“How can people be so heartless

How can people be so cruel

Easy to be hard

Easy to be cold”

-- Galt MacDermot, James Rado, and Gerome Ragni (1969)


This week, I’ve been reading an “adult” book published a couple of years ago. THE COLOR OF LAW: A FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF HOW OUR GOVERNMENT SEGREGATED AMERICA is a couple of hundred pages of horrific, historic unkindness practiced by Americans against Americans. It’s a great book that makes me think less of our so-called great nation. 


I sure need something inspiring to get the bad taste out of my mouth. So I am grateful that FINDING KINDNESS arrived at the doorstep.


“Kindness is sometimes a tip in a case

or a tap when a lace is untied;

it’s taking a photo

or making some space,

it’s a racket, a rocket, a ride.”


There are endless numbers of books designed to help grow little kids into more enlightened, more engaged people. I’ve found many of them impenetrable, watered-down versions of adult self-help books.


FINDING KINDNESS, an illustrated eight-verse poem, is more my speed. It begins and ends with a girl who carefully captures and frees a ladybug that’s gotten stuck in the house. In between, the verses and illustrations depict all sorts of large and small ways that one can be kind. 


There is a potent interaction of verse and images here. While the rhythm and rhyme make it quite enjoyable for reading aloud as a straight poem, many of the kindnesses portrayed cannot be understood without the accompanying illustrations. 


“Kindness is sometimes a song or a stick

or a ‘Hi!’ and a bat and a ball.

It’s soup when a neighbor is sneezy and sick

or a scoop if one happens to fall.”


The book illustrates simple gestures, like giving up one’s seat on the bus to a mother with an infant in her arms, offering to take a photo for a family, or holding a door open. It also shows more involved ones, like bringing soup to a sick neighbor, or helping a neighbor with a building project. Or providing free lemonade to the neighbor and others helping with the building project.


Kindness is a mindset and a habit. When practiced regularly, it can become second nature. Unfortunately, the opposite can also be true. 


So, try a little kindness. And check out this wonderful book.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Pickshttp://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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