Books on kindness can help duplicate acts of kindness |

Books on kindness can help duplicate acts of kindness

by Kendal Rautzhan

Acts of kindness, no matter how seemingly small, can have a great impact. So, too, can one act of kindness lead to others, serving as a catalyst that causes others to follow suit.

Today’s reviewed books can provide readers with just that – planting an idea that may take root and grow into something good. Now, perhaps more than ever, that’s precisely what our world needs – more acts of kindness that will hopefully multiply over and over.

The best place to start is by teaching children to be kind, but it really begins with the example of the adults in a child’s life. Be that person, and watch what happens!

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Dear Willie Rudd” by Libba Moore Gray, illustrated in by Peter M. Fiore, Simon & Schuster, 32 pages

Read aloud: age 6-7 and older.

Read yourself: age 8 and older.

Miss Elizabeth sat on her front porch, rocking back and forth in her grandmother’s rocking chair. She was troubled. She kept remembering Willie Rudd – the wonderful black woman who had helped raise Miss Elizabeth. There were so many things Miss Elizabeth remembered, so many things she wished she could say to Willie Rudd. But 50 years had passed, and even though Willie Rudd had long since passed away, Miss Elizabeth went inside and wrote her a long letter.

In her letter she told Willie Rudd how sorry she was for all the things that must have hurt Willie Rudd over the years, things like not being able to eat together or sit next to one another in the movies or on the bus; intolerable social injustices that blemished their lives at that time. Miss Elizabeth told Willie Rudd that if only they could be together again, how very different things would be, and included an important note that she had forgotten to tell Willie Rudd years ago. Then Miss Elizabeth sends her letter to Willie Rudd, the best way she knows how.

This exceptionally well written and beautifully illustrated book serves as a poignant, loving testimony of kindness and trying to right the wrongs of the past.

Librarian’s Choice

Library: Douglas County Public Library, 1625 Library Lane, Minden

Library Director: Linda Deacy

Youth Services Librarian: Kathy Echavarria

Choices this week: “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats; “Go Away, Big Green Monster” by Ed Emberley; “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” by William Steig

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“The Kindness Quilt” written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Marshall Cavendish, 2006, 48 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 4Ð7.

Read yourself: age 7.

Minna’s teacher, Mrs. Bloom, has a special project for her students. She wants them to celebrate kindness with a do-and-draw-and-share Kindness Project.

At dinner that evening, Minna talks about her project with her family. Minna and her family do lots of kind things for others, and while everyone helps with ideas for Minna’s kindness picture, she can’t decide which act of kindness to draw. So Minna decides to do something a little different, and her idea caused her class and ultimately the whole school to do the same.

Charmingly written and illustrated with fabric cut-outs, this delightful story of how one act of kindness can lead to bigger things is a good place for all of us to begin.

“Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together” by Herb Shoveller, photographs from various sources, Kids Can Press, 2006, 56 pages, $16.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 8 and older.

Read yourself: age 9 and older.

In 1998, Ryan Hreljac was in first grade when he learned that one of the most serious problems facing people in other parts of the world was the lack of safe drinking water, causing many to become sick and even die.

Ryan thought that was awful and decided he must do something. And so his project was born.

Through hard work to raise money and the generosity of many, in 1999 Ryan finally reached his goal to have a well built in Agweo, Uganda. When Ryan finally visited Agweo in 2000 for a special tribute, he also met his pen pal, the orphaned Akana Jimmy. The two boys bonded immediately, and over the next several years, Ryan and Jimmy corresponded frequently until finally, Akana Jimmy came to visit Jimmy where he stayed and became part of the Hreljac family.

An outstanding, remarkable true story of one young boy’s determination to do good, this selection excels in every regard.

• Nationally syndicated Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached via e-mail