For the past couple of years, there’s been a surge in demand from teachers looking for books addressing kindness. Elementary schools have created yearlong curricula around kindness, and publishers have poured out numerous books — many beautiful and/or powerful, some preachy or simplistic — on the topic. And while I personally value kindness deeply, I have found myself wondering if this curriculum most effectively reaches those not particularly inclined toward kindness (whether due to temperament or environment), or if it helps children navigate difficult situations where kindness is not the key component of resolution.
For instance, let’s say two kindergartners are playing, and one deliberately knocks over the other’s block tower. We can remind the knocker-overer that her actions weren’t kind, which may or may not lead to remorse and apology. But how do we address the knockee, who is definitely not feeling kind toward her creation’s destroyer, help address the knocker, and help the two come to a satisfactory resolution?
One of the great things that came back this past fall, after a long time off, was our monthly meetings with BookPeople’s Teen Press Corps. Moving from our third-floor event space to the outdoor picnic tables, it’s been so great to get together, share ARCs, talk about what we’re loving (or hating), and catch up.
So, after a year off, I’m back with another round-up of rants, raves, and requests from BookPeople’s Teen Press Corps. From eighth graders through freshmen in college, our current group reads everything from period fiction to gruesome thrillers to intricate space operas. Voracious and opinionated, they jumped at the chance to share their current thoughts!
It would be a hard heart indeed that did not love the Iditaread. This time-honored reading challenge takes place during the Iditarod each year at the Mallet and Cape Cod Hill schools here in rural Maine, with each classroom becoming a sled dog team which reads its way across the race to see which team can read the most books. Each team has one Lead Dog and one Spirit Dog selected by their teacher. Here is the definition for selection provided by Mallett librarian Arika Galkowski.
With the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many of our parent customers are asking for books to help talk about war in ways that are age-appropriate and and honest without traumatizing their children. As you can imagine, this is a delicate proposition and personal for each family. What we do know is that when we can talk with children about the confusing and often scary things they know are happening in the world—things they inevitably hear about from us, on the playground, in snatches of conversations overheard out and about in the world, and in the news that filters into their lives—we can help them also see the good and hopeful things people are doing to help one another during times of crisis, and how we can work for tolerance, understanding, compassion, and healing.