If you ever pick up a newspaper in front of your children, turn on the news, or even have an adult conversation about the day’s events, there’s no doubt that they are aware in some way of the tensions, divisiveness and frankly, ugliness, in our world right now. As parents, we’re always thinking about ways to explain it all, and ideally, to make our kids part of positive solutions as they learn how to live their best selves. And now our friends at Little Pickle Press have released a new book around the simple theme of kindness, that couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

What Does it Mean to be Kind? is author/publisher Rana DiOrio’s fifth title in a series around meaningful topics like, What Does it Mean to be Present? and What Does it Mean to be Green?  The simple message, brought to life by Stéphanie Jorisch’s sweetly colored watercolors of diverse children (and their blue polka-dotted cats) is that there are lots of simple ways to be kind in everyday life.

Related: How to talk to your kids about prejudice with the help of 12 of our favorite books

The book features both general and specific examples of of acts of kindness that readers of any age can relate to: Smiling at the new student in class. Giving someone a compliment. Helping an animal. Forgiving someone who has hurt you. Sticking up for someone being bullied. Being patient. Taking the time to understand why someone else is sad.

It’s so helpful for children to see a big broad concept like kindness broken down into actionable behaviors. But what I love best about books like these, is that that each line on each page is more than a definition; it’s a conversation starter.

This gives us the opportunity as parents (or teachers or caregivers) to sit down with our kids, page by page, and open up dialogue about times that our children may have experienced these kinds of things, how they reacted, and then to figure out together whether that was the best option, or maybe there could be a better one.

Can you think of a more perfect addition to your child’s library?

What Does it Mean to be Kind? A perfect children's book for our times

What Does it Mean to be Kind? does end a little on the nose, with an imperative to show your friends what it means to be kind, and a mention what that can mean for the world. But when you consider how important it is for kids to get a clear takeaway from heady messages about behavior, and to feel empowered to make specific changes in their own outlooks and behaviors, I think it’s actually the exact perfect ending.

As for my favorite of all the kindness examples, in the book, I keep coming back to Seeing the best in people even when they’re struggling to be their best.

This is of course way harder than helping lost dogs or even sticking up for a friend, because it’s about giving the benefit of the doubt, and understanding that people who do bad things aren’t always bad people.

Hey, it’s a lesson I’m still learning myself every day.

Find What Does it Mean to be Kind? by Rana DiOrio and Stéphanie Jorisch on the Little Pickle Press website, or from our affiliate Amazon. And check out their other lovely collection of titles which are helping to raise the next generation of mindful, thoughtful, global citizens.

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