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Book Reviews

Kindness Matters: Most People (A Book Review)

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Most People by Michael Leannah, illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Publisher: Tilbury House Publisher
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Age Range: 4 – 7
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Publication Date:
August 15, 2017

Looking for a book to teach kids about kindness?  How about a straightforward book to help children see the good in people even when bad things happen?

The world can be a scary place. Anxious adults want children to be aware of dangers, but shouldn’t kids be aware of kindness too?

Michael Leannah wrote Most People as an antidote to the scary words and images kids hear and see every day. Jennifer Morris’s emotive, diverting characters provide the perfect complement to Leannah’s words, leading us through the crowded streets of an urban day in the company of two pairs of siblings (one of color). We see what they see: the hulking dude with tattoos and chains assisting an elderly lady onto the bus; the Goth teenager with piercings and purple Mohawk returning a lost wallet to its owner; and the myriad interactions of daily existence, most of them well intended. Most People is a courageous, constructive response to the dystopian world of the news media.

When you read or watch the news, sometimes it can feel like the only things reported are terrible, depressing events. Am I right? Typically the media tends to concentrate on the negative events and bad people in life, rather than the good. Despite that, I still believe most people in this world are kind. Do you? That’s the overall message of this heartwarming book.

Little readers follow two families (one Black family and one White family) from sunrise to sunset interacting with various other people in their community. Along the way they see people doing both good and bad things until they finally arrive back home again.  The families enjoy dinner and dessert together on the rooftop of their apartment building where all the people from their community also live.

This picture book is filled with various diverse characters of different skin tones and physical abilities. There is even a blind person shown along with their guide dog.  I love the sense of community and messages of kindness. I also like how the book explains that people who do bad things can change.  Because deep down aren’t all humans good people? I like to believe so or at least hope this is true. As the book states, “there is a seed of goodness inside {each person} waiting to sprout.”

The author’s note acknowledges that while children need to be careful of strangers, they also need to know that most people are good, kind and helpful. Our children don’t deserve to be overly fearful of the world no matter how much the media communicates this.  I think this book can help spark lots of great discussions with smaller children whenever tragedies strike as it’s easy enough to understand.  A great book to add to your home or school library.

About the Author
Michael Leannah was a teacher in elementary schools for more than 30 years and is the author of a forthcoming instruction manual for teachers, We Think with Ink. His children’s fiction has been published in Highlights for Children, Ladybug, and other magazines, and he has written two other forthcoming children’s books and contributed to Midwest regional histories and biographies. He is the father of three grown children and one three-year-old granddaughter.

About the Illustrator
Jennifer E. Morris is the author and illustrator of May I Please Have a Cookie?, Please Write Back! (combined sales over 1 million copies) and other children’s books. She also illustrates children’s magazines, greeting cards, party ware, and educational materials and is the recipient of the Don Freeman Memorial Grant awarded by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Jennifer currently lives in rural Massachusetts with her husband and two children.

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