By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd 

Choosing to be kind, having hope, and offering words of encouragement are always the right things to do. These acts are especially welcomed in today’s world that seems fraught with so many sad stories and bad situations. Selections this month were made with the confidence that readers will not only hear messages of kindness, hope and encouragement, but will choose to help spread them as well.

Preschool to Pre-K — Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer
Among the many virtues that parents teach children, kindness ranks at the top of the list. Every time someone makes the decision to be kind, the results cause a ripple affect. And that is a good thing. This joy-filled book gives wonderful examples that show children what acts of kindness look like. If everyone made an effort to show more kindness, imagine what a difference it would make in our world.

Early Elementary — I Knew You Could Do It by Nancy Tillman
Never underestimate the power of an encouraging word. Encouraging words may inspire people, especially children, in ways that have a long-lasting impact, potentially a lifetime. Written by Nancy Tillman, the bestselling author of On the Night You Were Born, this beautiful book celebrates little moments and big ones shared in a fairy tale theme that clearly communicates the message, “I believe in you.”

Older Elementary — Ramie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Celebrated author, Kate DiCamillo, is well known for her book, Because of Winn Dixie. This equally heart-warming book features an unlikely friendship between three girls who each have their own challenges. Raymie is dealing with the fact that her father left town with a dental hygienist and decides it is her responsibility to get him to return home. Readers will love this memorable story by two-time Newbery Medalist. From Booklist — “As in her previous award-winning books, DiCamillo once again shows that life’s underlying sadnesses can also be studded with hope and humor, and does it in a way so true that children will understand it in their bones. And that’s why she’s Kate the Great.”

Young Adult — Mosquitoland by David Arnold
After recently moving to live with her father and new stepmom in Mississippi, Mim Malone learns that her mother is sick. She heads back to Ohio on a Greyhound bus to be with her real mother in her real home. The long journey brings with it several turns Mim never saw coming, causing her to rethink many aspects of life. USA Today says that “Mosquitoland stings in all the right places, which is why it will no doubt be many teenagers’ new favorite book and win over the crustiest old-timer, too.”

Moms — Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This New York Times bestseller is one of Reese Witherspoon’s favorite books and was one of her Book Club picks. Reese says, “To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” It is also a soon to be released series on Hulu. In this story, Elena Richardson always plays by the rules. She lives her neat life in a planned suburb of Cleveland until Mia Warren, artist and single mother, moves to the area and rents a house from the Richardsons. Mia’s mysterious past and unconventional approach to life shakes up this community and Elena, giving Elena cause to dig into Mia’s past. However, this curiosity comes at a cost. This book is a great selection for book clubs.

Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.

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