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The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Mike Curato

Sometimes One can feel like a small and lonely number.

One teacher sits alone in her home classroom.

One third grader tries to find a quiet place in a bedroom, dining room, or kitchen.

We are each one square in a checkerboard of faces on our screens.

The oneness of teaching and learning from home feels quite isolating at times, but it’s getting better day by day as the twenty-six of us grow into one classroom community.

Now in our third week of distance learning, reading our classroom-book-a-day is one moment I can count on my students being present and engaged. The recent release, The Power of One, was a perfect selection for September, and it led to a heart-warming post-book discussion.

This lovely collaboration between author Trudy Ludwig and illustrator Mike Curato explores the concept of one—a very small number with an enormous potential. Each time I read this beautiful book I was struck with the layers woven into each page. There’s the overarching storyline of a young girl hurt by words, and the friend who comes to console her. There’s the theme of growth which starts with a droplet of water and a tiny seedling and blossoms into a garden of splendid colors. There’s one apology which leads to forgiveness and a new friendship. And there’s one community which comes together for a feast.

After reading and sharing the author’s note, I asked my students what they could do with their power of one. Here are just a few responses:

“I can smile at people.”

“I can help make people feel better when they are sad.”

“I can stand up to bullies.”

“I can apologize.”

“I can help my grandpa and grandma.”

“I can plant a tree.”

A fantastic list of other books and websites on kindness are included. Be sure to add this book to your SEL lessons and classroom library.

It may be just one small book in your year, but it’s one with big power for you and your students.

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