A World of Kindness
A World of Kindness
Are you kind?
Do you wait your turn?
Will you help someone younger . . .
. . . or older?
Are you gentle with animals big . . .
. . . and small?
Do you say please and thank you? It’s easy, you know.
A World of Kindness, the new collaboratively created picture book produced by the editors and illustrators of Pajama Press, offers young children aged two through five a simple introduction to the concept of kindness.
Using a direct address to readers in the form of second person questions, this book invites child readers to assess for themselves whether their behaviour qualifies as kind. Each question provides a concrete, easy-to-understand example of kindness, and the attractive images in the illustrations compel readers to “choose kind”.
The real strength of A World of Kindness is its art. While the text occasionally lapses into condescending directives (such as, “Do you say please and thank you? It’s easy, you know”) from what seems to be an all-knowing adult narrator, but the illustrations never preach. Instead, each illustration in its own way and style authentically highlights the joy of kindness—or the bleakness of its lack. In this way, the beguiling yet genuine images provide a much more compelling reason to be kind than adult-generated lessons: because kindness is beauty in human form.
A World of Kindness is a bit too prescriptive to make an appropriate gift; however, it could be an effective teaching tool. In particular, the varied artistic styles lend themselves to activities involving children’s own creative interpretations of kindness, on their own terms. Preschool and Kindergarten teachers will find that A World of Kindness makes a lovely companion to now-classic picture books on kindness such as Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Michelle Superle is an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, where she teaches children’s literature and creative writing courses. She has served twice as a judge for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and is the author of Black Dog, Dream Dog and Contemporary, English-language Indian Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2011).