What always amazes me about illustrated children’s books is their capacity to find me when I need them most. I needed these books this week. Books remind you of the human capacity to be kind to each other, to help each other and how across history people and continents people have always taken a stand for something they believe in or care about.
Human Kindness by John Francis and Josy Bloggs
I knew this book would be good but until I sat down to re-read it I hadn’t realised quite what a wealth of information it contained.
Written by John Francis, also known as ‘The Planetwalker’, who in 1972 set out to walk across America, and took a vow of silence for 17 years. On his journey on foot across the USA he was helped by many people, he repaid their kindness by helping them. After a timeline of authors ‘Journey of Kindness’ the book is divided into 3 sections.
What is Kindness?
This section includes:
- Looking at the way different religions interpret the golden rule, to treat others as you would like to be treated.
- Science of kindness, and why being kind can make us feel good about ourselves.
Stories of Kindness from Around the World
Many short examples of how people have helped others, from Harriet Tubman rescuing slaves, Malala Yousafzai standing up for girls education in Afghanistan, to setting up a mobile health clinic in the remote Himalayas in Nepal. It explores different ways of being kind and helping others, from fundraising for charities, inventors that create things that help people or the planet, and a hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez a climate activist who founded an organisation that helps politicians understand how climate change affects indigenous communities. This section is rounded off with a double page spread on standing up for nature, and everyday acts of kindness.
Kindness close to Home
Encourages us to look after our selves (so we can be kind to others) and a few suggestions of how to get on with or show kindness to siblings/family, and the idea of caring out one act of kindness each day.
The book has a good glossary, index and a list of selected sources to explore more.
This is wonderful resource to have at home or in the classroom for 8 to 12 year olds, with plenty to interest older teens and adults too.
Because of You John Lewis by Andrea Davies Pinkney and Keith Henry Brown
Tybre Faw is a young man from Tennessee with an interest in history and civil rights, he wanted to meet his hero civil rights activist John Lewis. What I love about Tybre Faw’s story is how his two grandmothers supported and believed in him, and drove him 400 miles to see his hero.
Switching between Tybre’s story, and the story of John Lewis growing up (who was himself inspired by Martin Luther King). This beautifully illustrated true story tells you how John Lewis became involved in the civil rights campaigns in 1960’s America. In 1965 a peaceful march over Edmund Pettus Bridge turned violent, but it became a turning point in the campaign for the right for blacks to vote.
Tybre Faw was determined to meet his hero and he knew that he marched to the Edmunds Pettus Bridge every year. He waited for him by the back door of the chapel with a sign:
John Lewis, who by this time is an old man, invites Tybre Saw to join him on the march. The two become friend for life. The story ends with Tybre making a reading at John Lewis funeral.