This month's kindness corner pick, The Bad Seed by Jory John, tackles the power of labels, second chances, and how kids live into the expectations set for them. This book is especially powerful to us here at Hopkins because we see the power of labels in action. As part-time substitutes and interventionists at various schools around the Denver metro, we hear this very common story: Children will approach us in the morning, as the substitute, to warn us of the 'bad student' in class. While their warning may be well intended, it is also misguided. Labeling a child as bad does not give the child a chance to be good. Children hear how they are labeled and live into those labels. When students give us this warning, we attempt to re-frame the situation and educate the class on how there are no 'bad' students/children, only bad/poor choices.
In The Bad Seed, Jory John shares the story of a sunflower seed who is known by others as, 'the bad seed'. Our friend hears how others talk about him and focuses on all of the things that he doesn't like about himself.
After learning more of the little seed's backstory and the reasons why he comes across as 'bad,' we find out that this seed has some good qualities too. Children learn the wonderful lesson that we are more than our actions or a single event. The fun and clever illustrations of Pete Oswald will entertain children as they learn a wonderful lesson of kindness and second chances in The Bad Seed.