Written by: Michael Leannah
Illustrated by: Jennifer E. Morris
Recommended by: Lonna Pierce, school librarian, MacArthur Elementary, Binghamton Teachers Association
Suitable for: K-5
Why I chose it: In the aftermath of disturbing current events, from Charlottesville and the white supremacist rally, to North Korean missiles in the sky, to terrorist attacks all over the world, children of all ages need some perspective: "Most people smile when they see a baby. Most people want to help when they see someone who is in trouble." The words reassure us. Using colorful, striking illustrations against stereotype, this picture book is a powerful tool to counteract the violence and frightening images that inundate our families daily.
What I like best: The metaphor used to quantify the percentage of good and bad people in the world is simple yet profound: "If you lined up all the good people, they would make a line that would stretch from here to the tallest mountain. All the bad people could crowd together in a dark and gloomy room." Children and adults can picture this easily, and avoid constant worry about their safety.
How teachers can use this book: Most People would make an excellent introduction to discussions in morning meetings, or to defuse concerns children have about their future. Rather than obsess about worries, perhaps they could brainstorm some acts of kindness to perform in their community: "Most people like a kind word." Studies have identified that many of our students come to school with high levels of anxiety. If a 10-minute reading can help allay these fears and bring about a more realistic outlook about good people in our world, it's worth considering for students.
About the author: Wisconsin teacher Michael Leannah has written an instruction manual for teachers called We Think with Ink. His books include Goodnight Whispers and Farmer Huckinshuck's Wild Ride.
"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians and other educators. Have a recommendation? Send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to firstname.lastname@example.org.