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“Acts and words of kindness do count.”– The Power of One
The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts
by Trudy Ludwig
Must Read, Picture Book
4 – 8
A young girl is devastated after a boy yells at her. Fortunately, another girl sees the confrontation and decides to act. The story shows how “one [person] is a lot bigger and more powerful than you think.” To emphasize this point, each sentence starts with the word one. “One good listener can make even the smallest voice heard. One shy smile can lead to a friendship.” The picture book shows that one person and one act of kindness can start something beautiful.
The story follows three kids—two girls and a boy who is a bully. None of the characters have names, and when the boy yells his words appear as scribbles in a quote box. A small plant represents the two girls’ growing friendship and shows how “one caring friend can open the door for several more.” The bully eventually apologizes, and the girl forgives him. The boy’s words appear as flowers in a quote box. By not showing the boy’s words, Ludwig leaves an opening for parents or teachers to discuss different ways to apologize.
The Power of One’s message is made clear through both the text and the lovely illustrations. The kids in the illustrations have many skin tones. The kids wear neutral colors which allow the red flower (a symbol of friendship) to pop off the pages. On some of the pages, the negative parts of the illustrations appear in shades of gray. Again, this focuses the reader’s attention on the acts of kindness.
Each page has 0 to 1 sentence. The picture book is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently.
Everyone can relate to the kids in the illustrations because everyone has had their feelings hurt, and everyone has used mean words. The Power of One’s message is simple: One person can make a difference and help build a kinder community. “Acts and words of kindness do count.” The picture book gives young readers ideas on how they can make a positive difference. For example, “Acknowledging others presence, so they don’t feel invisible. Standing up to put-downs.” The back of the book includes recommended books and websites so parents can find more resources to teach about kindness.
The Power of One is a must-read because it will allow teachers and parents to start a discussion on acts of kindness and making a positive impact on others. Other books that show the importance of kindness are I Am Enough by Grace Byers and All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold. Each book will help parents and teachers encourage children to think about the power of their words.
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