Tomorrow I'll Be Kind

review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
Tomorrow I'll Be Kind [node:content-type] Poster Image
Book about kindness is beautiful but preachy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Models social-emotional learning in text and appealing pictures: self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, personal responsibility, decision-making.

Positive Messages

Being kind means being helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, grateful. Do the right thing, take responsibility, be a leader. Be true to yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Three animal friends are great role models of various kind actions. We see them helping with trash clean up, taking turns at the slide, thinking of other's needs, taking responsibility for a ball that broke a window, giving generously of time and effort at a not very fun task (packing for a move), appreciating all they have. All characters are animals; gender is not emphasized, with colors and clothing mostly gender-neutral.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tomorrow I'll Be Kind, by Jessica Hische is the follow-up to her bestselling Tomorrow I'll Be Brave. This book follows a bunny, a cat, and a mouse as they model for young readers various ways to be kind. They offer bandages to a friend with a scraped knee, share gifts, save money to pay for a broken window, give comfort to a friend who's grandma died, donate toys, and offer to share ice cream, among other situations. Messages about being helpful, being a leader, taking responsibility, sharing, and more of the same are impossible to miss. The animal friends are impeccable role models; even when they make mistakes, they always do the best thing to turn it around. The stylized hand lettering of the "kind" key words and the colorful illustrations will certainly appeal to kids.

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What's the story?

In TOMORROW I'LL BE KIND, three friends -- a bunny, a cat, and a mouse -- get in a variety of situations that call them to be kind. Every two pages, a keyword like "helpful," "gentle," "generous," and so forth is presented in a hand-lettered and large, stylized font. The pages in between show how this word can be brought to life in brightly colored, commonplace settings (playground, playing at home, bike riding at the park, a street baseball game, etc.). The final pages review the keywords and show the animals asleep and dreaming together about all the ways they had been kind.

Is it any good?

This attractive book delivers its message with too heavy a hand, but its engaging illustrations and hard-to-argue-with lessons on kindness will appeal to young readers and adults. The hand-lettering of the keywords and bright, inviting pictures show kid-friendly ways to be helpful, honest, generous, and kind. The illustrations cluster around the keywords, or weave in and out of the letters in playful ways, but this sometimes makes them difficult to decipher. The illustrations mostly extend the text in critical ways -- showing just how kids can "take the lead," "wait" or "think of what others need." Although, some examples are abstract enough that the pictures will only make sense to older readers. The colors and clothing on the animals are generally gender-neutral, meaning all kids will be able to see themselves in these pages.

The biggest gripe is that the text teaches so explicitly about how to behave with kindness that it can come off as preachy and too obvious. Still, a book aimed at instructing kids on how to be more kind is a wise addition to any children's bookshelf, and one this pretty is likely to be requested over and over.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different ways to be kind that are shown in Tomorrow I'll Be Kind. What are some of the ways the animal friends show kindness? Tell about a time someone was kind to you. How have you been kind today?

  • What pictures do you like best? Why? How do the faces show what the characters are feeling? How do the big words relate to the pictures?

  • What do you think about books that tell how to behave well? How are they different from books that tell a story? Which do you like better?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and stories of kindness

Themes & Topics

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