Kindness & Gratitude by Kathie Johnson

Kindness & Gratitude

In this column, I'll continue a mini-series on values in children's books. This time, I'll focus on kindness and gratitude. Of course, kindness is one outworking of love, which is a key commandment, and gratitude is often a response.

Stories of Kindness

Here are a few of the many books featuring kindness. Time for Horatio, by Penelope Colville Paine, is set in England. A small, scared kitten is picked up by a boy who, with his father, takes tourists on trips down the Thames. During a stop at Greenwich, the boy and kitten tour the Royal Observatory and learn about mean time. On the way back, the boy has a dream that the kitten has climbed to the top of Big Ben to stop the bells, because he doesn't want there to be "mean time." Instead, there should be "kind time." The boy then reflects on all that "kind time" would signify in the world. Lovely.

In James Herriot's Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb, set in the English countryside, a young lamb crawls under a fence and gets lost, then is covered by a late snow. A kind and observant girl finds him and brings him back from near-death with a hair dryer and milk, and then finds his owner.


Kathie Johnson has always had a love for children's books. She collected many as a teacher and began sharing them with other teachers. In 1986, she opened a children's library in her home, and it has continued to expand over the years. Many home-schooled and schooled children borrow books from it, and she takes great pleasure in finding the "right" book for a child. She attends First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley.

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