Cultivating a collection of picture books and novels by own voice authors has become a focus of my reading life with students. My collection is growing and the latest addition is When We Are Kind, by one of my favorite authors, Monique Gray Smith, written in both English and Dine´. It is beautifully illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt and published by Orca Books. At the start of the school year we read, You Hold Me Up, also by Monique Gray Smith. We used the text as a framework to develop a classroom mission statement. The students were THRILLED when, When We Are Kind was published and they were able to make many connections between texts. The students had many insights about the two books and loved how they are connected by the theme of kindness. As a class we were able to review our class mission statement and realize that we ARE living the motto of “holding each other up when we are kind.” In particular, the importance of being kind to oneself resonated with many students. Fourth graders understand the many ways that they can and should be kind to others, but they do not often consciously think about being kind to themselves. Self care is not just for adults who are stressed and tired, it is important for students too, especially today. When We Are Kind validates this idea for students and gives them permission and space to be kind to themselves in order to be kind to others and to be kind in many different ways.
What Students Had to Say:
- The message is so important, be kind to yourself and others
- Be kind to the earth
- There are so many ways to be kind
- You can be kind anywhere, anytime in your day to day life
- It is OK to be kind to yourself
- You can bring emotions to other people when you are kind
- I loved the illustrations
- This book goes along with You Hold Me Up, they are both about being kind
- I loved this book
My ongoing quest for picture books and novels by own voice authors is one of my favorite reading journeys as a teacher AND as a reader. I am so glad to add this very special text to my collection.