FEATURE ✨ “There is absolutely ZERO reason to not have this on your shelves.” —@girlsreadtheworld. Thanks for tagging #kidlitpicks_wordless
When I brought out this book, my oldest immediately proclaimed she was going to read the story to ME. And so she did, sans prompting or commentary from me. She captured the whole story (with her own creative additions, e.g., Vanessa was Gloria, the bully was Pedro, and the friend was Katie; or how Katie had a peanut butter toast for breakfast, but couldn't take it to school, because her school was nut-free). But what I noticed was that she didn't focus on the bully at all. Pedro's being mean got one shoutout. Instead, she spent a lot of time telling me about the friends, what they were doing, thinking, how Katie walked with Gloria and then MORE kids, and then ALL THE KIDS did and they were all buddies.
I thought about this afterward, wondering if I should have pointed out the bully and explained more about why Vanes-- er, Gloria, was so sad. But then I realized that it is kind of awesome that she didn't emphasize the bully. She was focused on the kindness, the friendship - which is exactly what this book shows us. Kindness is the default. That's why ALL THE KIDS came to walk with Vanessa; the bully was the exception. That's why I didn't have to tell my daughter what the story meant.
And that's why this book is so beautiful. No matter the reader, her age, her background or how she ultimately interprets it, the message of kindness rings loud and clear. It's a marvelous book for reinforcing the importance of kindness for the youngest readers, as well as for older kids who really do understand more about bullies (there's a glossary in the back for use when talking to your kids).