Sometimes It’s Hard to Be Nice by Maggie C. Rudd, illustrations by Kelly O’Neill. Albert Whitman & Company, 9780807575734, 2021
Format: ARC (Hardcover available March, 2021)
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+
What did you like about the book? This book is going to be a hit with library storytime programs and elementary schools–it is all about what it takes to be nice. This story is filled with so many scenarios that many children will see in their own lives. The story shows that it is hard to be nice when your cousin comes to play and breaks a toy, when you need to attend your sister’s dance recital, or when your grandma makes a dinner that you do not like. During each of these situations, the reader sees what can be done to be nice. This includes accepting the broken toy, going to the recital anyway, and eating a couple of bites of dinner and saying thank you. Other situations in the book include times when being nice takes a little practice. One example is visiting an elderly relative in a nursing home that seems a little scary and funny at first. However, the next time it will be better. The story also shows examples of how doing something nice can make you feel good such as playing with a younger sibling, cleaning up toys without being asked, and helping a parent find the car keys. There is even a part in the story that deals with standing up to a bully to help a friend.
I especially liked the part in the story where it shows how being nice can take some practice. Many times children are not so nice about something, but realize their error and want to try again. I thought this was important for children to see this and know that being nice does not always come naturally-the key is to try.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing.
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of five and ten years old. This is such an important book to open discussions about being kind to others. Some younger children might enjoy the situations in the story as well.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, anyone who works with children between the ages of five and ten years old.
Where would you shelve it? Picture Books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, parents will want this book!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: January 1, 2021