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THE KINDNESS MACHINE by Christina Dankert


by Christina Dankert illustrated by Chad Dankert

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-955119-08-5
Publisher: Purple Butterfly Press

A second grade teacher uses an invented machine to teach students about kindness in a picture book by author Christina Dankert and illustrator Chad Dankert.

Cora is confused when Mr. Wilson asks the class if anybody has a superpower. “What if I told you that ALL of you have a superpower?” he asks. Mr. Wilson then unveils the latest of his “extraordinary inventions”: the Kindness Machine, a contraption with levers, buttons, springs, and a screen at the top. When a button is pressed, the screen shows “an example of how to practice kindness.” Mr. Wilson helpfully elaborates. For instance, when the screen reads “LOVE YOURSELF,” he explains that while it’s “important to be kind to others,” self-compassion is vital, too. “If you make a mistake, tell yourself that it’s okay,” he says. When Cora presses a button, the screen reads, “BE A CHEF.” Mr. Wilson says: “Kindness is like baking a cake. The ideas from the Kindness Machine are your ingredients….The real magic happens when you combine them.” The students acknowledge that kindness involves superpowerlike actions, and the next time Mr. Wilson asks if anybody has a superpower, everyone raises a hand. Mr. Wilson’s examples of kindness are practical and easy to apply, such as offering smiles and compliments. Christina Dankert, a second grade teacher, writes from experience, and Chad Dankert gives his digitized full-color pictures a fun, cartoonlike quality. Cora has dark skin and interacts with classmates who have diverse skin tones, and a helpful list of discussion questions encourages children to think further about what they’ve read.

A creative story teaches children ways to be kind.