The Kindness Project by Deborah Abela

I couldn’t agree more with Maryam Master – β€˜An absolute gem of a book!’ So wonderful to read and you simply fall in love with all of the characters. It is a book that you will delight in reading to your primary class, just make sure you take the time to share Deb’s wonderful use of fonts with your audience. If you could get multiple copies of the book, it would be interesting to have children read some sections aloud in small groups.

Kerry and I were fortunate enough to chat to Deb about this book and the writing process in general. What a fabulous experience. Take a listen…

Story Corps

The ‘Story Detectives’ in The Kindness Project reminded me of Story Corps.

Story Corps is an American based group whose mission is to help us believe in each other by illuminating the humanity and possibility in us all β€” one story at a time.

Beauty and Truth

There is a lovely thinking routine I use called Beauty and Truth. It encourages us to look for the beauty and truth in situations. I have used the following Story Corps clip for this routine. Watch this video and think:

Where is there beauty in this story? (Knowing the last words you say to your sons is ‘I love you’)

What is the truth in this story? (Life can be unpredictable)

It would be so interesting to share this routine with your class and look for the ‘beauty and truth’ in the lives of the four main characters in The Kindness Project.

I wonder what the beauty and truth is for ‘nursing homes’ aka Alcatraz

Beauty: Elderly are cared for and are safe.

Truth: They can feel like a prison.

This PDF from Project Zero explains the routine.

You can learn more about thinking routines on their website. Click on the logo to access their website.

Developing Characters

Deb has created some great teacher’s notes with penguin. You can download them HERE.

In her notes, she listed the following pre-reading questions:

Is there a particular character who stands out on the cover for you? Why do you think you picked that character?

How many characters can you see? What kind of personalities do you think they might have and how do you think they might fit into the story?

It was then that I realised that I hadn’t actually made the link between the cover image and characters!! (I’m putting that down to being too excited to get to the text). What I realised is that none of the characters resembled how I had visualised them. DJ was much bigger and Layla didn’t look as confident in my mind.

This makes me think about how a character’s journey and experiences throughout a story will change how we ‘see’ them. It would be interesting to have outlines of each character (Nicolette, DJ, Layla and Leaf) and encourage students to add words to the display throughout the sharing of the story….words that describe appearance, behaviour, emotions etc.