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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
The Blue Pencil is the first book in the One Kindness at a Time Series, written by Rachael A. Thomas and illustrated by Korey Woods. As young Johnny makes his way to school, lucky to have a backpack filled with all of the supplies he needs for the year, young Zoya makes her long, arduous journey to school on the other side of the globe in her old, mismatched and ill-fitting shoes. Zoya does her best to study hard both at school and at home, regardless of the poverty which brings her no school supplies of her own. Johnny delights in his brand new blue pencil and cannot wait to use it. As the teacher talks of sending a care package to less fortunate students in another land, each of the students in Johnny’s class must decide what they will part with to make those less fortunate students’ lives better in some way. Zoya cannot hide her surprise and delight when a package arrives in her classroom from a place far away. She writes Johnny a special thank you letter with her brand new blue pencil.
I really love feel-good stories such as this, showing that there is still innocence and selflessness left in the world. Rachael A. Thomas’ remarkable tale shines a spotlight on how remarkable these qualities can be, with a child who is lucky enough to want for nothing, eagerly gifting his most beloved possession to another without a second thought. The warm and wondrous feeling The Blue Pencil brings is a gift which Rachael has given to readers of the up-and-coming generation, in the hopes that they will not allow all of the hate and horrors in the world to ricochet into their own. Teaching kindness to children worldwide gives me (and so many) hope that there is still good in the world, and that the future may some day not be so bleak. I very much enjoyed reading The Blue Pencil and wholeheartedly recommend it to all young readers and parents alike, so that they might see what good manners, sacrifice and selflessness can bring to our untold future – one which can be filled with hope instead of pain and sorrow.