The Sound of Kindness by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Teresa Martinez (Magination Press, June 2023) is a glimpse at the good and kind parts of the communities around us. In the beginning, a child asks what kindness sounds like. Her father answers that we can “hear” kindness as we listen.
The rest of the book gives examples. The examples the child and parent hear include people greeting each other, inviting each other, helping, encouraging, and apologizing. The characters show concern for both friends and strangers (and even a duck), in a huge variety of situations.
The Sound of Kindness is a true picture book, which means that the images are essential to capturing the messages of what the people say. Each illustration emotes a positive and happy feeling. The people are bright and cartoony. The backgrounds are more of a watercolor pastel, but together the colorful pages contribute to the positivity of the entire book. The illustrations give specific details, such as a child apologizing to another because they each grabbed a half of a jump rope; the other child insists they share. Such specific examples make it a great book for one-on-one reading with a child, encouraging discussions about all the specific situations, similar to ones they would experience.
The book ends with a couplet about how we can contribute to the sounds of kindness by what we do and say to the people around us. Two pages of end matter explain to the adult reader why observing and imitating such examples of kindness is essential for our society.
The publisher of this book is American Psychological Association. I’m glad they’ve created socio-emotional books for children to support parents and caregivers hoping to educate our children with such basic but essential concepts such as “being kind.”
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance review copy of this book provided by the publisher, American Psychological Association, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.