Each Kindness

by Jacqueline Woodson

Other authorsEarl B. Lewis (Illustrator)
Book, 2012



Call number

E 500 WOO



New York, NY Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012


When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya's shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
I'm on a quest to read all of Jacqueline Woodson's books. This newbery award winning author never disappoints.

Each Kindness is a small book that handles the subject of bullying, guilt, and the knowledge that one random act of kindness can make a difference. Conversely, one intentional act of
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cruelty leaves a scar long after the wound heals.

Woodson has a unique way with words -- ever so poetic -- with the ability to convey an important message without the need for hundreds of pages of text.

Richly illustrated by E.B. Lewis, the book tells the story of Chloe who notices the new girl in school who is attempting to make friends. Each time she feels that Maya is reaching out to her, Chloe refuses to return the overture.

Enmeshed with her own circle of friends, Chloe refuses to include Maya in the circle.

Noticing that Maya is wearing hand me down clothes and shoes, the young girls call Maya "never new."

When the new girl tries to show her jacks and balls, she is turned away and thus plays by herself

When the elementary school teacher shows the ripple of kindness by placing a stone in a large bowl of water, Chloe knows in her heart that she has not treated the new girl with kindness. Instead, her insensitivity leaves a different ripple, one that harms.

When the new girl moves away, Chloe is left with the knowledge that the opportunity to seek forgiveness will not happen, Chloe learns a valuable lesson.
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LibraryThing member BarrettOlivia
Maya is the new girl at school, and she isn't treated nicely by Chloe and her new classmates. Being the new kid at school is never easy, and Maya's new classmates are making it harder to fit in, as if it isn't hard enough. The story is told from Chloe's point of view as she torments Maya. I like
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how the story is told from the point of view as the person doing the bullying because I feel that it has a greater chance of reaching those students who treat others the same way that Maya does and will hopefully more likely stop the rude behavior. Within the story, the teacher performs an activity in which the students drop a pebble into a bowl of water and recall a nice gesture that they recently performed. This could lead to doing the same activity in the class, and hopefully even more so change the attitude of other's.
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LibraryThing member A.Smith
This book is a wonderful story. I found it to be a little sad. I believe many children have experienced situations similar to this story. This book demonstrates the cruelty some children face. I think this book could help children realize that it is not right to be mean to others and sometimes
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sorry isn’t enough.
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LibraryThing member MFeil
The message of this book is clear: be kind now, because you may not have a chance later. I like it! I appreciate the fact that this book does not end with a "happily ever after", because it falls closer to the realities of friendships and relationships. This book is very though-provoking.
Age range:
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5 - 8 Years (B&N)
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LibraryThing member melodyreads
protagonist regrets being mean/unkind, but new kid moved away before anything could be done. Depressing story.
LibraryThing member mdgilmor
Each Kindness is a great story to speak out agains bullying. It shows the importance of including new students and helping them feel welcome. It would be a great story to open up a new school year or to read when a new student will be joining the class.
LibraryThing member Sullywriter
A simple but profound story beauitfully told and illustrated.
LibraryThing member ashoemak
This story is about a young girl who is rejected by her classmates because she is different. The teacher’s lesson shows her classmates how a little kindness can change the world. This story also points out that one does not always get a second chance to make things right.
LibraryThing member conlonk
This is a wonderful book. It has a very sweet message about being kind to everyone, even with just the little things, because you never know the effect you may have on someone's life (or when your last chance to be nice to a person will be). The story is sad, and definitely does not have a happy
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ending to bring it all together, but doesn't leave you will a negative feeling. The moral about being kind to everyone is woven into the fabric of the story as opposed to blatantly spelled out for you, which is refreshing. Great read overall.
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LibraryThing member satyridae
I adored the illustrations. They were surpassingly wonderful, and perfect with the story. The story is unrepentantly sad, which I'm so in favor of. Real life rarely offers one the chance to make it all right in cases like this, and books that promise that ability are fairy tales. The unresolved,
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minor chord that this book ends upon makes it beautiful, poignant, and perhaps most importantly, something that lingers.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Nothing is as bitter or as haunting as regret. The things we have left undone, particularly the missed opportunities for showing kindness to those who are in need of it, remain with us all of our lives. That has certainly been my own experience in life, and it would appear, to judge by this
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poignant tale of schoolyard politics, that it has been author Jacqueline Woodson's experience as well. The story of Chloe, a young girl who rejects her new classmates Maya, Each Kindness explores the powerful impact we can have - for both good and ill - on those around us, and highlights the painful reality that it is not always possible to put right the things we have done wrong.

Shabbily dressed, and somehow just different from the other children, Maya tries as hard as she can to win friends - smiling at Chloe every time their eyes meet, bringing her new jacks to school in the hopes that someone will play with her - but none of the other children will have anything to do with her. Then one day she doesn't come to school, and the classroom teacher creates a special lesson, having the children drop small stones into a bowl of water, and likening the widening circle of ripples that this creates to the effect of kindnesses shown to others. Stung by the realization that she has no kind acts to report, and suddenly conscious of how hurtful her actions to Maya have been, Chloe vows to smile at the new girl the next time they meet, only to discover that this won't be possible, because Maya is not coming back.

I found myself close to tears while reading Woodson's story, and was reminded of certain moments in my own life - moments when I betrayed myself and those around me, usually by failing to act with loving kindness - that have haunted me ever since. It is very rare indeed that we have the opportunity to atone for such failings, a reality that Woodson captures perfectly with her story. I was immensely impressed by the fact that no happy ending was provided here, as I think this reflects the experiences of most people. It's so rare to see that kind of truth-telling in stories for younger children, which usually seem to focus more on positive examples of how they should behave, rather than on what happens when they don't. I was also impressed by the subtleties of identity explored here, how Maya, while not overtly identified as "poor" in the narrative, is clearly of a lower socio-economic status than her classmates, as I feel that the reality of class difference is something too little dealt with in American children's literature. Finally, I found the artwork by E.B. Lewis, who also collaborated with Woodson on the outstanding picture-book, The Other Side, to be just lovely.

This is just a brilliant book, joining an emotionally powerful story to evocative artwork, and I would highly recommend it to all those looking for children's books addressing issues of empathy, social inclusion, and kindness to others.
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LibraryThing member jennycheckers
This is such a beautifully sad book about how children can be so cruel to one another, even when they know deep down their actions hurt others. It received the King Author Honor Book in 2013, and is a book that should be read to all youngsters as a reminder that their actions effect others. This
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would be a great book to start a discussion on kindness, and can be followed up by kids writing about a time they were unkind to others or others were unkind to them, perhaps even writing an apology letter to someone if appropriate. Grades K-5
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LibraryThing member ewestr1
I sort of liked this book. I didn't like the way the story ended but I did like the message the author left us with. Maya was bullied all throughout the book, but she never let that bother her or at least never showed that she was upset by the rude things people said about her. I think the author
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wanted to show how strong of a person she was because most of the time fighting back doesn't always make things better. One student Chloe, must have realized her wrongs when she realized that Maya was not returning to school. The author's main message from this I believe is that you can't assume waiting until tomorrow will make things better; you just should take the opportunity to be a better person by apologizing or admitting things you may have done are wrong. Chloe could have done those things but she waited too long. What I didn't like was the ending of this book. It wasn't quite the happy ending I was hoping for. I didn't understand why the author would. I understood that the author wanted to get her message out, however the ending left me confused wanting to know what would happen next had this book been true.
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LibraryThing member raizel
This is a cautionary tale, without the usual happy ending many adults expect in a children's book with a message. The narrator is an elementary-school-age girl who is unwilling to risk the teasing of her friends by befriending a new girl who is seated next to her in her class. The school seems to
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be multicultural and the new girl, Maya, is not welcomed because she seems to be poor; the problem is not the more expected racial, religious, or ethnic prejudice, but the more likely just being different.

Maya is not in school on the day that the teacher asks each student to say something kind that he or she has done and then put a small stone into a jar to see its ripples; the action is meant to show how our deeds, however small, affect the world. The narrator cannot think of any act of kindness that she has ever done, only that if Maya were still there, she would smile at her. But Maya has moved away and the narrator can only regret her missed opportunity.

This story could be a good starting point for discussing guilt and regret and forgiveness and the lack thereof, and the danger of putting off intended good deeds. Also ignoring your conscience in order to fit in with your friends, that courage can be as simple as a smile, and being unkind to one person can blind you to anything good that you have done. That last bit is my attempt to explain why the narrator cannot think of any act of kindness.
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LibraryThing member mrea
This book teaches a valuable life lesson about the importance of kindness. The illustrations by E.B. Lewis are beautiful, vibrant, and emotive.
LibraryThing member moorestownmm
Beautifully illustrated and touching
LibraryThing member abreid1
I liked Each Kindness because it showed a realistic event that happens very often, sadly. I liked how the words were presented on the page. For example, the words looked like a poem on each page and I believe this helped keep the readers engaged. The illustrations in this book were great and they
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were very realistic and they fit the text. For example, when Maya was gone and no longer at school, the illustration showed one empty seat where Maya used to sit. But, the illustration actually made it feel like the entire room was empty because that is how Chloe felt.
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LibraryThing member akitso1
I found this book completely heartbreaking but informative. At first, I couldn't believe that this story did not have a happy ending. However, after thinking about it, I'm happy that it didn't. This story is about bullying. A new girl came to Chloe's school but Chloe and her friends didn't play
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with her. They wouldn't even talk to her. It dawned on Chloe that she may not be acting like a good person when she couldn't even think of one kind thing that she had done recently. After that, Chloe decided that she would talk to Maya the next day she came to school. However, Maya never returned to school. Chloe was overwhelmed with guilt that she never got to be kind to Maya. I think this is an amazing message to send to readers of all ages. We have to take advantage of every opportunity we have to be kind to others because it may be our last. I like that Maya didn't come back to school because it made the message of the book much stronger. I also like that Maya didn't seem to care when the other girls weren't nice to her. She was confident and acted like it didn't bother her. I love this book!
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LibraryThing member bexter1
Each Kindness initially left me unhappy. But, with a re-reading and discussion, I realized that, for once, that was a good thing. I think that the fact that the story doesn’t have a contrived ending where the child that had been bullied does not return to hear how sorry the bully had become was
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actually refreshing and showed real-life situations to the reader. Not every story has a happy ending, and there isn’t always a chance to turn around and fix things. You must be kind from the start. I think that is the overall message that this non-happy ending element conceived. I also really enjoyed that the pictures focused on the important details, which was the bullied child never breaking. She always appeared strong in illustrations. She kept her head up and made the best of each situation. Meanwhile, illustrations of the bully were framed beautifully to show her transition and focus. I may have disliked it at the start, but now I truly appreciate this book.
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LibraryThing member SamanthaThompson
I had mixed feelings about this book. I really liked the ripple imagery created by the teacher in the story. The idea of a ripple effect from a stone in water to show how many people the ripples can reach was an effective way to create an image of kindness. However, I did not like that Maya never
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returned in the book. I understand that it made the book more powerful because it showed sometimes we don't get a second chance to turn around situations, but I think this book lacked a resolution. It ended abruptly with Chloe realizing that Maya was never coming back. Maybe if there had been another new student that Chloe can be kind to, it would have felt more complete. I finished reading this book and found myself asking, "That's it?" Despite the powerful statement made by Maya not returning, this book lacked closure to me and therefore made me not like it as much. The main idea of "Each Kindness" is that every decision we make has a consequence and that kindness matters. Chloe decided to be mean to Maya and never had the chance to make it better. As a result, she was not able to turn around the situation and get a second chance with Maya. Being kind to everyone shows a lot about our character and is important.
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LibraryThing member bstove1
In my opinion, this is a good children’s book. One reason I like this book is because of how believable the characters are. The characters in the story are children and they are really mean to Maya because of the way she looks and dresses. This is very believable because children often treat
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people differently based on the way they look, which leads to bullying and other social problems. I also like this book because of the main message. The message of the book is that second chances may never happen, so it is important to make each moment count. Olivia never got a chance to make things right with Maya, and she regretted it. Children need to remember that life doesn’t always give second chances, so they should take that into consideration when they think about bullying someone.
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LibraryThing member NoahGray
I enjoyed reading “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson. This book was about a young girl who moves to a new town. The girl wants to make new friends, but is being bullied by her peers, specifically Chloe, the narrator. This was a moving story that taught me, the reader, a lesson about
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friendship, bullying and missed opportunities. This book is relatable to everyone because at some point in time in their lives they had been both the “new girl/boy” or the person who has been unkind. At the end of the book, I thought back to times in my childhood where we excluded someone because they had a different opinion then the group. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it was wrong of us to exclude them. As an adult, I now know that everyone is a valued member of a group and that everyone has strengths that can be brought to the table. It was unfortunate for the “new girl” that she was bullied, but the lasting effect that dawned on Chloe after realizing her wrongs made the plot even more powerful to the reader. I liked that the story ended without the reader knowing what happened to the girl and that it was a mystery for the audience.
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LibraryThing member acasca1
I like Jacqueline Woodson's book, Each Kindness, for many reasons. First, I really like the use of texture in the illustrations. The textures drawn in the brick wall, the characters clothing, and the snow really make the story feel more realistic. I also like how the story is told from the bullies
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point of view instead of the student getting bullied. It send a really powerful message by showing how the bully feels about how she acted. For example, she says, " My throat filled with all the things I wish I said to Maya." This shows how guilty and remorseful the main character feels after she never gets the chance to apologize to Maya for being mean. The central message of this story is that you may not get a second chance in life so do not let any opportunities pass you by.
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LibraryThing member sabrina89
Maya, a new student, is permanently bullied by her classmates because of her old clothes and toys. One day she is not coming back to school anymore and the teacher teaches the other students a lesson about generosity, kindness, and that each student can help somebody else by being nice. When Chloe
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sees Maya in the park that afternoon, she apologizes and they become good friends.
A very recommendable book about how big the issue of classism in the early childhood age can already be.
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LibraryThing member caitlinsnead
Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Maya is different--she wears hand-me-downs and plays with old-fashioned toys. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her gang, they reject her. Eventually, Maya plays alone, and then stops coming to school altogether. When Chloe's teacher
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gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya.
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Original publication date



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