Kindness is Many Things, Through Children’s Eyes

Students Cap School Year by Publishing Book

Ta-da! Davione Harvey said he worked on his part of the book for “13 minutes”

Kindergartners in teacher Cheryl Hutchings’ Stoney Creek Elementary class recently wrapped up their inaugural year of school, and capped the achievement as published authors of a book called “Kindness Is …”

All of Hutchings’ students had a hand in contributing a page of their own writing with their thoughts on what kindness means to them. Each also added a drawing and something personal about themselves.

The cover of “Kindness Is…”

“Publishing a class book has been a goal for a few years,” Hutchings said. “It takes a significant amount of time to write first, second and third drafts with 30 kindergartners. We made it happen this year.”

Publishing is free through the company Hutchings used. Costs are covered by purchases of the book.

Charlotte Haney said she had never contributed to a book before Mrs. Hutchings’ class. “This is my first time,” she said, adding that “when I’m older, I’m going to be an illustrator and a person who draws pictures for books.”

What she liked most about the process, Charlotte said, “is that it will get passed around all over.” Her page reads “Kindness is using kind words.”

Revena Colby with her page and illustration

For classmate Revena Colby, who wrote that “Kindness is fun because you can work together!” the most challenging part was “to make all the words.”

That’s precisely the part that motivated Hutchings, whose own page reads that “Kindness is letting others know they matter.”

“I love helping students find their words and share their ideas,” she said. “I love the idea of a class book to capture where they are at this moment in time.”

Where they are is thinking about treating others with kindness. “Their statements were their own reflective contributions,” Hutchings said. “(There was) no teacher input in the process.”

Teacher Cheryl Hutchings reads the page she contributed to her class’ book

And seeing it all come together was monumental, considering the school year began with the fledgling writers learning how to hold a pencil.

Davione Harvey said he wasn’t at all surprised he would become a published author as part of his kindergarten year.

“I just thought I would,” he said, shrugging.

What will his next book be about?

“About loving,” he said.


Students Create Book Promoting Leadership

Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them.


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