Book cover: The Kindness Clubby Courtney Shienmel
Bloomsbury USA Children’s, 2016.
224 pgs
Grades 3-6

Chloe Silver is starting 5th grade, and as if that weren’t bad enough, she has to start at a brand new school.

Chloe’s parents divorced over the summer, and now Chloe is trying to find a way to navigate her new life. Chloe is desperately trying to find her way into the “It Girls,” but when she gets assigned to do a science project with two classmates who are not part of the “in” crowd, things get complicated.

Her science group designs an experiment to see if being kind to others can change their attitudes toward you; they call it The Kindness Club.

When Chloe’s chance to be in the “It Girls” is jeopardized by being in The Kindness Club, her own kindness is put to the test.

Can Chloe find a way to be kind in the face of meanness? Or will social pressures take a front seat to being kind to herself and others?

Sheinmel’s story reminds us that “it’s always cool to be kind.”

One of the great elements of this book is that it focuses in on the everyday experiences of school, trying to fit it, and being true to yourself/learning how to surround yourself with people that allow you to be the best version of you.

Another strength of the book is that the characters take a small class project and turn it into a daily habit to try to be more kind.

At the end of the book the children begin brainstorming other ways that they could be kind and discuss briefly the difference between small kindnesses and large kindnesses (how much time/resources are involved, etc.)

After reading The Kindness Club, a lot of kids may want to start their own school kindness club — and with the guidance of a solutionary-focused teacher, they could do some great things.

Note: This book is supposed to be part of a new series, though there is no indication yet what the new stories will entail.