The Kindness Club: Chloe on the Bright Side

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The Kindness Club book coverWhat the Book is About:

When Chloe Silver’s parents get a divorce, Chloe has to split her time between their houses and start 5th grade at a new school. Chloe is committed to making new friends, and it’s not long before she feels caught between two groups. She’s thrilled to be invited to join the popular crowd and their It Girls Club, and she’s also enjoying working with quirky Lucy and nerdy Theo on their science project about kindness. Meanwhile, Chloe is struggling to be kind to her father’s new girlfriend and the girlfriend’s daughter. Over the course of the book, Chloe and her friends learn about the challenges and rewards of treating people with kindness.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Gemilut chasadim, or acts of loving-kindness, are central to Jewish life and practice. These are generally understood to include the giving of one’s self and one’s time to any and all individuals, whether healthy or ill, wealthy or poor, a stranger or a friend. Although this book does not overtly mention gemilut chasadim from a Jewish source, the entire story promotes the Jewish value of kindness.
  • Sakranut, or curiosity, is another central Jewish value. Pirkei Avot 4:1 tell us, “Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from every man.” The children’s science teacher encourages them to be curious, and it is this curiosity that leads them to explore the impact of kindness for their project.

Positive Role Models

  • Chloe is a thoughtful girl who anticipates the needs of others and does her best to treat everyone with kindness.
  • Lucy is a creative girl who remains true to her own style and is a good friend to Chloe, even when Chloe chooses to hang out with others.
  • Theo is a smart and curious student who works hard and keeps The Kindness Club on track with their project.

Content Advisory

Mrs. Gallagher, Lucy’s elderly next-door neighbor, shares the story of how her husband died. He was driving, and a boy chased a ball into the street in front of him. He swerved to avoid the boy and crashed into a pole.

Talk it Over

In the book, Chloe realizes that “sometimes you have to be kind even you don’t want to be.” Have you ever felt like you had to be kind even when it was hard? Do you think that there are times when you shouldn’t have to be kind?

More for You

Chesed, or loving-kindness, is one of 13 primary middot, or character traits of Mussar. Mussar is a Jewish spiritual practice focused on concrete instructions for living a meaningful and ethical life. Fundamental to Mussar is that by cultivating specific inner virtues, such as patience, gratitude, simplicity, and kindness, we can improve our lives and our communities. Mussar was developed by in the 19th century by Orthodox Lithuanian Jews and has recently experienced a resurgence in the American Jewish community.

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