The Kindness Kangaroo Project
It is not about the books, it is about the journey. Author Sandra Wilson has just completed a series of Emotional Animal books to help children understand emotions. For each book, Sandra worked with a classroom to gain story ideas and get illustrations once the story is written. She visited schools from Woodstock to Cobourg with many stops in between. The importance of the project was to have the children participate in a discussion about emotions and discuss ideas on how they can and should respond in various situations. Then, with their ideas and drawings included in the book they were able to see that what they have to say is important and what they do is amazing.
With each school visit Sandra experienced the excitement of the children having their ideas heard and recorded. She was met with kindness and hugs and was sometimes chased down the hall to be presented with paper hearts. (The book Kindness Kangaroo says that kindness is giving a paper heart.)
The project evolved as it grew, and sometimes the stories changed to suit the children or classroom situation. One class had trouble with a little one who kept leaving the room and running off, so Reckless Raccoon became a story about safety and the importance of staying where adults can see you. Another classroom was about to learn about one of their classmates who had been diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome. So, Timid Turtle hid in his shell because he was embarrassed about his tics. The class all gave wonderful ideas on how to help Timid and so, when they learn about their classmate they will already know how to respond, and the little boy won’t feel out of place because he will be just like Timid.
Although the series of 26 books was quite an accomplishment, Sandra gained so much more throughout the journey of the project. The children she met all had amazing ideas to share and the stories they inspire have already touched so many. The pride these children carried when showing off their drawings in the printed books was a reward for Sandra like no other. Sharing the spotlight with the students of these classes was something she didn’t even have to think about. Building confidence and self-esteem in children as well as recognizing their talents and encouraging their creativity is a joy for the author to experience.
Sandra hopes that, with the help of sponsors for the books, she can get the books into the hands of children all over Ontario, through schools and libraries, and encourage children to draw, to write, to be creative. She wants children to be able to relate to the book characters, to see themselves in the situations and know it is okay to feel that way but that maybe there are different options on how to react with these feelings.
By providing characters with abilities of all types Sandra hopes to help children see how similar everyone really is. A child who struggles in school (Determined Dog has dyslexia) or struggles in their mind (Anxious Alligator) has feelings just like anyone else and can also make great friends.
It is a journey of love for the author, a passion project that is creating a legacy to be proud of and filling her heart to capacity.
Titles in the series: Anxious Alligator; Bravo Bear; Courageous Caterpillar; Determined Dog; Empathy Elephant; Fabulous Flamingo; Grateful Giraffe; Hopeful Hippo; Impatient Iguana; Jealous Jaguar; Kindness Kangaroo; Lovable Lion; Manners Monkey; Nervous Newt; Optimistic Octopus; Pleasant Penguin; Question Quetzal; Reckless Raccoon; Sensitive Sea Lion; Timid Turtle; Unique Urial; Victorious Vole; Whiny Walrus; eXcited Xerus; Yakkety Yak; Zany Zebra.
Interested in becoming a Kindness Kangaroo sponsor?