Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Small Kindnesses

Last month I was in Colorado visiting schools and promoting When You Are Camping.  I was really thrilled to be a guest reader at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver while I was in town.  I love that bookstore.  It's no longer in the red brick, three-story, Cherry Creek building that I grew up visiting, but the dark wood bookshelves, green carpet, and plethora of titles new and old took me right back in time.  Ahhhh (happy sigh).  While I was there, the children's staff had selected a half-dozen titles to read to the children in addition to Camping
One of them was a wonderful story about an old sailor on a boat who, night after night, finds himself taking in stray cats on the dock.  I fell head over heels for Barbara Jusse's title, Old Robert and the Sea Silly Cats, illustrated by Jan Jutte.  The prose is melodious and beautiful, Old Robert is a truly loveable character, and the little twist at the end just leaves you feeling warm and happy.  I found a nice synopsis at Shelf-Employed: A Picture Book Round-Up.

Old Robert's generosity and unconditional kindness to the sea silly cats, one and all, compels me to share this story with my daughters as well as my young library patrons...and with you! 

I am not sure how many books you can read to a group of children about kindness before they begin to suspect you of brainwashing, but I have compiled a short list here of some adorable new titles that showcase some very kind characters.  For maximum effect, and fun, I would probably pair one of these with a very, very bad, bad guy book or some other silliness like Alborough's big bear.  Of which, there are a few listed below, too. 

Old Robert and the Sea Silly Cats by Barbara Jusse and Jan Jutte

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead

Little Bird by Germano Zullo

A Splendid Friend Indeed by Suzanne Bloom

I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Prince and Macky Pamintuan 

And now some villians--
some more villainous than others:

It's the Bear by Jez Alborough

I Want My Hat by Jon Klassen

Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon

My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza

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