Believe it or not, there is a movement going on in schools around the country involving KINDNESS. Students are being taught the importance of kindness towards others, then asked to perform random acts of kindness themselves. Kids can change the world by acting with kindness!
Be Cool. Get in on the KINDNESS craze by reading one of these books!
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes – Wanda Petronski is different from all the other girls in Room 13. Every day she wears the same faded blue dress to school, and every day she tells about her hundred dresses at home. Her classmates joke about her imaginary clothes – until they learn the wonderful secret of the dresses. Newbery Honor Book, 1945 Print, eBook, eAudiobook
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson – Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her. Print, eAudiobook
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie. Newbery Honor Book, 2001. Print, CD, Spanish, eBook, eAudiobook
The BFG by Roald Dahl – The Big Friendly Giant is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and it’s lucky for Sophie that he is. If she had been carried off by any of the other giants she would have been breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are headed to England to steal some little children, she and the BFG decide they must stop them once and for all. Print, Spanish, CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco – At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem. Print, Spanish, eAudiobook
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo – Just before Christmas, when Frances sees a sad-eyed organ grinder and his monkey performing near her apartment, she cannot stop thinking about them, wondering where they go at night, and wishing she could do something to help. Print, Spanish
El Deafo by Kate DiCamillo – Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee. Print, eBook
Wonder R.J. Palacio – Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2014-2015, 4-6 Nominee. Print, CD, Large Print, Spanish, eBook
Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris – In Chiang Mai, Thailand, nine-year-old Tua releases an abused elephant from its chains–can she complete the rescue by getting it to an elephant refuge without being caught herself? Print, eBook
Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming – After a young Dutch girl writes to her new American friend in thanks for the care package sent after World War II, she begins to receive increasingly larger boxes. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006-2007, K-3 Nominee. Print
Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident. Print, CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli – An anonymous valentine changes the life of the unsociable Mr. Hatch, turning him into a laughing friend who helps and appreciates all his neighbors. Print
Books recommended by: Kristen Williams, guest blogger and former Indianapolis school teacher
Tara Feinstein, proud of both her East Indian and Jewish heritage, questions what it means to have a bat mitzvah and deals with her own doubts about her faith.
Like more and more American kids, Tara struggles to find her identity among two cultures: one Jewish, one East Indian. At the same time, she is going through the universal experience of being a teenager: learning to find her own voice within her family, navigating changing relationships and owning up to her mistakes. If you feel like a minority in your school or if you have diverse classmates you are curious about, this is a great read. Particularly fun if you like languages (includes a Hindi-Hebrew-Yiddish-English glossary at the back)!
Recommended by: Danielle Wilkins – College Avenue Branch
October 5, 2016, World Teacher’s Day & May 3, 2016, National Teacher Appreciation Day are both great times to remember favorite teachers, both real and imagined. Is this the year for a favorite teacher for you? Do you have anybody that is McGonagall good? Listed below are some all-time favorite teachers from kids’ books. When the librarians in Indianapolis made suggestions for this list – Miss Honey from Matilda was suggested the most often. She gets a gold star!
Miss Shirley in Anne of Avonlea – Anne, now sixteen years old and a teacher atAvonlea school, finds that she isn’t much different than her mischievous and spirited pupils.
Mr. Terupt in Because of Mr. Terupt – Seven fifth-graders at Snow Hill School in Connecticut relate how their lives are changed for the better by “rookie teacher” Mr. Terupt. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 4-6 Nominee
Mr. D’Matz in Clementine’s Letter – Clementine’s beloved teacher, Mr. D’Matz might be leaving for the rest of the year to go on a research trip to Egypt. The only solution, she decides, is to hatch a plan to get Mr. D’Matz back even if it means ruining his once-in-a-lifetime chance.
Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall & Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.
Ms. Washington in Ida B. – In Wisconsin, fourth-grader IdaB spends happy hours being home-schooled and playing in her family’s apple orchard, until her mother begins treatment for breast cancer and her parents must sell part of the orchard and send her to public school. A Junior Library Guild selection; Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006-2007, 4-6 Nominee
Mr. Scary in the Junie B. Jones, First Grader Aloha-ha-ha! – Junie B. and her family are going on a vacation to Hawaii! And ha! Mr. Scary is giving Junie a real, actual camera to keep a photo journal of her trip! But taking good vacation pictures is not always easy. ‘Cause what if your airplane is full of grouchy ladies? And what if there is an unfortunate inner tube incident at the swimming pool? (And, oh my! Let’s not even mention what happens if a tropical bird gets tangled in your hair!) Will Junie B.’s vacation end up picture perfect? Or will her trip to Hawaii be-horrible?
Mrs. Brook in Mockingbird – Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee.
Miss Loupe in Operation YES by Sara Lewis Holmes In her first ever teaching job, Miss Loupe uses improvisational acting exercises with her sixth-grade students at an Air Force base school, and when she experiences a family tragedy, her previously skeptical class members use what they have learned to help her, her brother, and other wounded soldiers.
Mrs. Pidgeon inGooney Bird is so Absurd – Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class studies poetry and her students write haiku, couplets, free verse, and finally, a tribute to Mrs. Pidgeon‘s mother organized by the irrepressible Gooney Bird Greene.
Miss Stretchberry in Love That Dog– A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.
Mrs. Fibonnaci in Math Curse – When the teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem, one student acquires a math anxiety which becomes a real curse.
Miss Honey in Matilda– Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.
Mr. Lincoln in Mr. Lincoln’s Way – When Mr. Lincoln, “the coolest principal in the whole world,” discovers that Eugene, the school bully, knows a lot about birds, he uses this interest to help Eugene overcome his intolerance.
Mr. Newton in Science Verse– When the teacher tells his class that they can hear the poetry of science in everything, a student is struck with a curse and begins hearing nothing but science verses that sound very much like some well-known poems.
Miss Chew in The Art of Miss Chew – Describes how a teacher named Miss Chew encouraged individuality, and accepted learning differences, and helped a young student with academic difficulties get extra time to take tests and permission to be in advanced art classes. Inspired by the author’s memories of her art teacher.
Miss Finkleman in The Secret Life of Ms Finkleman – Spurred by a special project from her social studies teacher, seventh-grader Bethesda Fielding uncovers the secret identity of her music teacher, which leads to a most unusual concert performance and a tutoring assignment.
Mrs. Olinski in The View From Saturday – Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars – During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
Ms. Mirabel in Word After Word After Word– A visiting author teaches five friends about the power of wordsand writing. A Junior Library Guild selection
Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes – Ten-year-old Fred (short for Frederika) narrates the story of school and village life among the Athapascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrived as the new teacher.
While searching for the Rat with the Human Face, friendships fray as club members Dave and Lyle compete for Marilla.
Lyle, Dave and Marilla from The Poop Fountain are on another adventure. This time, the trio is out to find a rat with a human face that lives in the basement of a scientific research facility. Calling themselves the Qwikpick Adventure Society after the gas station owned by Lyle’s parents, the group overhears an electrician talk about the mysterious animal he saw while doing work in the building. They knew immediately they had to see this rat for themselves.
As with any plan, logistics are important. How do they get to the science building that is 40 miles away? How can they get away without their parents finding out? How can they avoid getting caught illegally entering a building?
The story is presented as an unofficial report of the society (with extra sheets paper clipped on to cover more personal matters not appropriate for the report) written by Lyle. We know from the beginning that after the adventure the society has been banned and that Marilla is not allowed to see Lyle anymore (which is too bad because he likes her and she may like him).
The kids are smart, fun and a little too curious for their own good. Their third adventure, To Kick a Corpse, is also available.
In this latest misadventure, Nate, the all-time record-holder for detentions, is in trouble up to his eyeballs again. His mouth…well, sometimes he just can’t help himself.
Rather than take Nate’s advice for making the headlines of the school newspaper less boring – “Lunch Stinks! Students’ Lives at Risk” – Kayla suggests he use his cartooning talents for a gossip column. Nate jumps at the chance, providing cartoons that tease both students and staff members alike. When the new issue comes out EVERYBODY is laughing…except the Principal, who thinks Nate crosses the line and Randy, who does not appreciate the public exposure and retaliates with an ominous “you’re dead” directed at Nate in the hallway.
Uh-oh. This is war! Can Nate once again save himself…from himself? Lincoln Peirce