HENRY IS KIND
A Story of Mindfulness
By: Linda Ryden
Illustrated by: Shearry Malone
Published: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Henry and his class participate in a mindfulness project. Ms. Snowden has the class close their eyes and think of someone they want to send happy thoughts to. Afterward, she reminded the students that thinking kind thoughts about others make you feel good. But doing kind things for others is even better. Each student was assigned to perform an act of kindness that week and then draw a picture to be placed in the school. Henry’s classmates did things like pick up trash outside the school, taking a newspaper up to the door for their neighbor, and sharpening all of the teacher’s pencils. When it came time for everyone to share, Henry didn’t have a picture to hang up. He got upset because he didn’t think he performed any kindness acts that week. Ms. Snowden and his classmates reminded him that you don’t have to do big things to be kind, sometimes it’s the littlest things that mean the most.
I loved this story of Henry because as a substitute teacher, I’ve had a situation very similar to this in class with a student not thinking they had anything to contribute and we handled it the same way. It is so important to point out to kids that the everyday things we do, holding a door open, playing ball with someone, picking up a piece of trash from the floor are all things that spread kindness. These little acts that we do without thinking can sometimes make a big impact on someone else.
The illustrations are simple yet impactful in this book. The children’s’ faces in the story have little detail, but their emotions are clear. Every act of kindness is illustrated to show how meaningful these are to the recipients and how little effort they can take to complete. The end of the book includes a section for adults about how to incorporate mindfulness in your own home or classroom.
Henry’s story of kindness is a good lesson for kids and adults and a reminder that spreading a little joy can be just as important to the receiver as it is to the giver. This book would make a great gift for a classroom teacher, PTA/PTO leader, church school teacher, or home library.
Linda Ryden is the creator of the Peace of Mind Program, a cutting-edge combination of mindfulness, conflict resolution, and social-emotional learning. Linda is the author of the Peace of Mind Curriculum Series and is the full-time Peace Teacher at Lafayette Elementary School, a public school in Washington, DC, where she teaches weekly, 45-minute Peace of Mind classes to more than 500 children. Linda is the author of several children’s books. For more information, check out her website, HERE.
Shearry Malone studied art at Lipscomb University in Nashville. She is the illustrator of the ABSOLUTELY ALFIE books. Shearry’s style is reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s loose, quirky, timeless illustrations for books by Roald Dahl and others. For more on Shearry, check out her website, HERE.
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