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Each Kindness

by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Published by Putnam, 2012
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-24652-4

Ages 5-9

When the new girl Maya first comes to school, “Her coat was open and the clothes beneath it looked old and ragged.” Chloe ignores Maya’s smile that first day and every day afterward. And at recess, Chloe and her best friends, Kendra and Sophie, reject Maya’s attempts to play with them or impress them. Kendra calls Maya “Never New,” because “everything she has came from a secondhand store.” Maya isn’t at school the day their teacher brings a bowl of water and a stone to class. She drops in the stone and tells the students that kindness is like the ripples of water: “Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.” Chloe thinks about Maya, and is determined to smile back the next time she sees her. But day after day Maya doesn’t come back, and then the teacher announces Maya has moved away. Jacqueline Woodson’s moving story is anything but predictable as a young African American girl is left feeling regret for kindnesses undone, but also is surely changed. The writing pulses with feeling in Woodson’s quietly powerful narrative set against E. B. Lewis’s light-filled illustrations. Winner, 2013 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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