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Each Kindness

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  6,986 ratings  ·  1,562 reviews
Each kindness makes the world a little better

Chloe doesn't really know why she turns away from the new girl, Maya, when Maya tries to befriend her. And every time Maya asks if she can play with Chloe and the other girls, the answer is always no. So Maya ends up playing alone. And then one day she's gone.

When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindn
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,986 ratings  ·  1,562 reviews

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Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
My husband read this to my daughter's fourth grade class recently, and they were disappointed by the ending. I, however, think that is one reason it is such a great book. Not only does it demonstrate to kids that their actions have consequences, but it also shows them that sometimes you don't get a second chance to make things right when you make the wrong choice. Every time they leave a child out, it hurts.

I had personal experience with changing to a new school in fifth grade and being not only
I personally really do find Jacqueline Woodson's Each Kindness incredibly sad and even at times rather overly depressing, mostly because when we moved to Canada from Germany in 1976 (when I was ten), my experiences at school were definitely very much like Maya's. Although my teacher did everything she could to include me, to many of my so-called classmates (and unfortunately also to some of their parents, as I was also told by a number of fellow students that they supposedly were not allowed to ...more
Pawsitive School  Counselor
What I love about this book is that it doesn't have a happy ending. To open this lesson I had the students take out a piece of paper and then crumble it up. Then I asked them to smooth it out so that there were no wrinkles. Then we discussed how the wrinkles are like imprints. That when we insult and hurt it leaves wrinkles and no matter how many "sorries" or things we do to "smooth it out" the scars are still there. At the end of the book we had a brief discussion about kindness, but also our r ...more
Love Jacqueline Woodson. Did not like this book.

I think I'm the only one.

From page one, the tone of this book put me off. Even though she wasn't making a speech, it felt so didactic I just couldn't like it. In my mind, the narrator droned on in a depressing monotone. The story was entirely hopeless. There was no spark of light at the end, no spot of hope. My imaginary last line was, "And then the entire rest of my life sucked, too."

Harsh. Yes, I know. It felt harsh when I read it. It's The 100 D
Lisa Vegan
This story is incredibly mournful and poignant. I was near tears throughout this book; I would have been as deeply affected when I was a child. It reminded me so much of the short children’s novel The Hundred Dresses, which touched me deeply as an elementary school student. Maybe it’s because I just read this picture book, but at the moment it feels like an even more powerful story to me.

I do wish the teacher had done the kindness exercise earlier, preferably immediately noticing what was happe
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a difficult story - one that rings so true, but is probably a bit hard for many children. But it's an important story, too, whether a child is on either side of the story. The book is about bullying, but it's the subtle kind of bullying, the ignoring and whispering and refusal to acknowledge someone. I think this kind of bullying can be the worst, because there's no physical harm, but the emotional scars can be even deeper.

We read this story together and our girls were so sad. They coul
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Another fantastic book to read to young children, not only during Kindness Week, but anytime of the year!
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Deeply Moving Children's Stories About Bullying & Social Inclusion/Exclusion
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 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 ...more
Karen Witzler
I liked this book a lot. I thought that the slightly out -of -focus aspect of the illustrations gave it the quality of memory, and this is what the book is about; Chloe's deeply regretful memory of a lesson that she did not learn soon enough. I loved that it was painfully realistic about this common form of bullying and that no saccharine ending was employed -- or for that matter, a saccharine prelude in the form of a lesson from the teacher (who may have regrets of her own here). Maya was clear ...more
Alex  Baugh
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
One of my favorite books of 2012 is Jacqueline Woodson's Each Kindness, and now, I am happy to say, it has won the 2013 Charlotte Zolotow Award given by the Cooperative Children's Book Center.

The story begins one snowy, wintry day when a new girl named Maya is introduced to Chloe's elementary school class. The first thing Chloe notices is that Maya's clothes are shabby and she has on spring shoes in winter. Sitting next to Chloe, Maya makes one friendly overture after another but each time Chlo
Destinee Sutton
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We're reading Estes' The Hundred Dresses for book club in December, so this new picture book immediately struck me as similar. They're both stories about a new girl in school who is treated as an outcast because her clothes are shabby and she seems culturally different from the other kids. And (spoiler alert) in both books the poor bullied girl moves away before the mean girls can realize how terrible they've been and apologize.

I think what makes Each Kindness special is that it distills the es
Maybe because Maya's new, maybe because she seems a little different from the rest of her classmates, or maybe for some secret, never-revealed reason, Chloe and her friends ignore the new girl's offerings of friendship. They refuse to play with her or even return her smiles and call her names because of her hand-me-down clothes. When Chloe fails to appear for class on the same day that the students' teacher gives a lesson on the ripple effects of our actions, Chloe realizes too late that she has ...more
Phil J
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and beautifully illustrated. Appropriate for grades Pre-K to 12, which is a rare feat.

Some comments in response to other reviews:

Many people connect with Maya's character. That's the easy response, and I think it's wrong. Much like a New Testament parable, you should replay this story with yourself as every character. You should particularly put yourself in the bully's shoes. Think of a time when you have avoided a peer because they just didn't click for you in some small, subtle way.

Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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, minor chord that this book ends upon makes it beautiful, poignant, and perhaps most importantly, something that lingers. ...more
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a powerful book. I love that it's not a happy ending because that's the way life goes. You don't always get second chances. You have to be kind always. As a girl who moved around a lot I would have really appreciated this book in grade school and imagine there are plenty of others who would have, too. Would be a great one to share in a classroom on a kindness theme. ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this just makes you want to cry when you think about missed opportunities of kindness. We've all been there. However, I think there is so much to learn about how we handle these missed acts of kindness and how we should go forward. What a short work of words but so powerful. This a great book for 5-9 year olds especially. ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I had a lump in my throat towards the end of this book. You truly feel the emotion of this book as you read it and the regret that the main character feels for not having reached out in kindness and friendship. Great for discussion starter in 2nd grade on up.
Richie Partington
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-list, picturebooks
Richie’s Picks: EACH KINDNESS by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis, ill., Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, October 2012, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-24652-4

“I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart
And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you, and me, you just wait and see”
--Jackie DeShannon

“The next day, Maya’s seat was empty.
In class that morning, we were talking about kindness.
Ms. Albert had brought a big bowl into class and filled it wit
Margaret Boling
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Margaret Boling by: E.B. Lewis
8/8/13 ** This year I was able to read this book to my fourth graders in the first week of school. Fabulous response. "That's a...sad ending. I was surprised." "That's a happy ending, she knew what she needed to do." If you haven't read this book, what are you waiting for???

11/6/2012 ** I had the fantastic opportunity to meet E.B. Lewis and Jacqueline Woodson last June in New York at BEA. Lewis told me about a wonderful book that he'd just finished illustrating for Woodson - this one. I was so d
Ben Truong
Jul 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Each Kindness is a children's picture book written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis. It unfolds with harsh beauty and the ominousness of opportunities lost.

Woodson brings an unsparing lyricism to a difficult topic. Combining realism with shimmering impressionistic washes of color, Lewis turns readers into witnesses as kindness hangs in the balance in the cafeteria, the classroom, and on the sun-bleached playground asphalt.

When a new and clearly impoverished girl named Maya sho
Sandra Lopez
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-books
This book was a little sad to read, the story is about a girl called Maya who is new at school, but because she looks different and dresses different, the kids at her school don't wanna play or talk to her. She tries play with them but is always ignored. The other character in the book, Chloe at first she doesn't like Maya because she looks different, later on she wants to talk to her or play with her but she doesn't do it. This book is about how kids can be cruel sometimes when they see someone ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was in my editor's office yesterday and I saw this book from across the room. I first picked it up simply because I was stunned that the cover art was a painting not a photo.

Then I read the book. Wow! The story was just as real as the art. Jaded as I am, I was expecting the ending to be predictable and sappy. Wrong.

By not going with a traditional "feel good picture book ending," the reader can't help but feel the same emotion as the narrator.

Talk about "show, don't tell": This is how it's d
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humane-education
Absolutely wonderful. Poignant and affecting, and with startlingly realistic illustrations, Each Kindness tackles the tough topic of bullying from the perspective of a grade-school girl who thoughtlessly shuns the new girl in class, who doesn't have as nice clothes or toys as she does. And unlike most books of this ilk, it doesn't tack on a forced happy ending. Instead, the story encourages reflection with its realistic plot.

This would be a wonderful book to share with children in third grade an
Ms. B
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture, 2013
If you only share one book about bullying with your children or students, this should be the one. Maya's the new girl; she sits by Chloe. Chloe's not exactly mean, yet she doesn't return Maya's smiles. Then one day Maya is gone and Chloe realizes how unkind she was. If only Maya would return to school, this time Chloe would smile back.
Recent winner of the 2013 Charlotte Zotolow Award for best writing in a picture book.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Terribly sad, very clearly written. Not something I'm excited about for the Newbery, but it wouldn't be out of place there. I liked it much, much better than The Hundred Dresses (which I've never gotten the appeal of). Of course, the ending that's so sad is actually the easier ending--much easier than Chloe actually having to follow through on her desire to be kind--but, well, it's a short book. ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feelings, bullying
I now have overwhelming feelings of nonspecific guilt.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A lovely, simple story about kindnesses left undone - this would be a great picture book read aloud to start a discussion of classroom climate, bullying, and empathy.
Annotated Bibliography Entry: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Annotated text set: kindness
Genre: realistic fiction


It was winter when Maya was introduced at her new school. She was seated beside Chloe, who was less than thrilled with sitting beside someone like Maya. Maya wore old and ragged clothes and the other kids, Chloe included picked on her from the very start. At recess, no one wanted to play with Maya even when Maya tried to approach them and offer to play with her. They inte
Lincoln Mottershead
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
How would you feel if you met a kid and was mean to them and never got a chance to be nice to them? In Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson Chloe learns that you should be nice while you can. Chloe shows this when she can’t think of anything nice she did recently, when she promises herself that she’ll smile back at Maya, and lastly when Chloe realizes that Maya was just trying to be nice but she wasn’t nice back.
One reason I think Chloe learns to be kind before it’s too late is when it says, ”B
Linda Lipko
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 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.

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