Book Corner, Pay it Forward Summer

Pay it Forward Summer Book List

pay it forward summer-2

Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 7.48.17 AMFrom the Publisher: “Fifth-grader Javon has the big responsibility of being a Book Buddy to a kindergartner named Richard. But when he meets Richard for the first time, he isn’t so sure he’s up for the challenge. Richard won’t talk to Javon or even look at him. He seems sad, but Javon quickly realizes that Richard reminds him a whole lot of himself at that age, and Javon is determined to help his new friend.Both boys learn a lot that year, but what Javon learns from Richard is the most important lesson of all: that helping someone find their happiness can make your own heart happy, too.”



This book is one of my ABSOLUTE favorites and is a great illustration of what paying it forward means.  Mary starts a revolution by secretly leaving blueberries on her neighbors front porch.  This kind deed spreads like wildfire and before you know it kindness is EVERYWHERE.  I recommend this book for ages 3 and up.

From the Publisher: “Can one child’s good deed change the world? It can when she’s Ordinary Mary―an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house―who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world.”


Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 7.46.10 AMOrdinary Mary is back and she is ready to change the world again!  Mary’s bravery and kind words on the school bus lead to ripple effect of kind words and kind deeds throughout the school day. This book would be great for children ages 3 and up.

From the publisher: “Follow Mary in this feel-good story as she once again inspires others with positivity and kindness through a variety of ordinary deeds! Including examples that happened at schools as a result of using the first book, this book focuses on the ability kindness has to change an entire school. Can one child’s good deed change the world? It can when she’s Ordinary Mary―an ordinary girl on her way to her an ordinary bus stop and an ordinary school―when with one act of kindness she makes a friend. Through her school day, Mary’s courage and kindness spreads, reaching farther than could ever be imagined.”

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One Good Deed by Terri Fields is the story of a boy who changed his neighborhood with one kind deed.  Jake’s kind deed of sharing berries with his neighbor led to a chain of kindness that spread throughout the day and the neighborhood.  This is a great illustration of how one kind deed can cause a ripple effect of kindness and joy.  This book would be great for ages 3 and up.

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As you know we are HUGE Peter Reynolds fans in this house and this new book is another winner.  Be You is a beautiful book that encourages all of us to BE OURSELVES.  It reminds us of the unique qualities that make us who we are.  It is a celebration of being different, kind, persistent, a good listener and not afraid to ask for help when we need it.  This book is perfect for children ages 3 and up.


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Miles of Smiles by Karen Kaufman Orloff is a sweet story of how a simple smile can spread from person.  It is fun to watch the smile of a baby spread around the land and thus spread joy and kindness.  This book is perfect for children ages 3 and up.



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Pass it On by Sophy Henn is a simple and sweet story of sharing joy and passing it on to others.  This book shows that you can pass on love, smiles, joy and laughter to everyone you meet.  I would recommend this book for ages 3 and up.




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Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a favorite in our house.  This is the story of how one woman changed her neighborhood by planting seeds.  I would recommend this story to ages 5 and up.

From the publisher: “Alice made a promise to make the world a more beautiful place, then a seed of an idea is planted and blossoms into a beautiful plan.  This beloved classic and celebration of nature—written by a beloved Caldecott winner—is lovelier than ever! Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication.”


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Because Brian Hugged His Mother is out of print but I was lucky to find it read on YouTube.  This book is a sweet and simple story about the ripple effect that can happen when one person does a kind thing.  I’d recommend this book for ages 3 and up.


Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 6.53.26 AMI read this book a few years ago and found it so inspiring.  This is the middle grade version of the original story and so it is appropriate for grades 3-7.  In this story a boy named Trevor takes on an extra credit project to change the world.  He does 3 kind deeds and asks that the people who received his kindness to pay it forward by doing 3 more kind deeds for others.  He believes that this ripple effect will change the world.

From the Publisher: “Pay It Forward is a moving, uplifting novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts his teacher’s challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world. Trevor’s idea is simple: do a good deed for three people, and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to “pay it forward” to three others who need help. He envisions a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading across the world, and in this “quiet, steady masterpiece with an incandescent ending” (Kirkus Reviews), Trevor’s actions change his community forever.
This middle grade edition of Pay It Forward is extensively revised, making it an appropriate and invaluable complement to lesson plans and an ideal pick for book clubs, classroom use, and summer reading. Includes an author’s note and curriculum guide.”


Books for the Adults


Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 7.01.39 AMFrom the publisher: “As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she’s distilled what she’s learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It’s that simple–and that hard.”


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From the publisher: “What if everyone started performing good deeds every day? This inspiring collection presents many true stories of people who’ve committed, received, and observed voluntary acts of kindness—and seen for themselves how small acts of goodness can make a big difference in people’s lives.”


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From the Publisher: “Kindness Boomerang contains 365 daily acts, one for each day of the year, accompanied by inspirational quotes, personal stories on the power of paying it forward, and tangible steps to change your outlook on life. This book empowers you to bring positivity into your everyday life and the lives of those around you. Wahba invites you to practice kindness in relationships, kindness with yourself, kindness with nature and kindness in many more forms. This book is a call to action for anyone who wants to live a more connected and fulfilling life.”

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From the publisher: “The best way to make yourself feel great? Do a random act of kindness for someone! These 101 stories will make you smile and get you excited about what you can do, too. Make miracles happen for yourself and others. It’s easy. Just think outside the box and look around. There are so many ways that you can help—and it turns out the biggest beneficiary may be you! Scientific studies have shown that “doing good” is not only good for the recipient of the good deed, but also for the person doing it, making that person happier and healthier.”


Blog, Pay it Forward Summer

Arcade Kindness

I recently took my children to a large arcade complex to celebrate the end of their school year.  They love this particular arcade but I prefer to take them during school hours when it is quieter and less chaotic (a perk of homeschooling).  As we pulled into the empty parking lot, they planned out the way they would spend their tokens and dreamed of the tickets they would collect.  I smiled at their chatter and decided to channel my inner child while we were in the building. I was planning for a fun day and never would have guessed that a trip to the arcade would be a powerful lesson in kindness and paying it forward.

“Mom, there are tickets all over the place!  Somebody is forgetting to get their tickets!!”  Caroline could not believe that someone would leave tickets behind.  At first I thought it was a forgetful person, then I realized that a mystery person was leaving the tickets for small children to find.  Caroline grabbed a fist full of tickets (about 40) from four nearby games and looked over and saw a small girl.  “Mom, can I give these tickets to that little girl?”  My heart melted as I nodded my head yes.  The little girl was so excited to be handed this handful of ticket treasure.

Later on, the kids and I were playing a game and we spotted a bag of tokens that had been left behind.  We searched the entire arcade looking for the mom and child who had just been there.  We found them in the bathroom and the mom was so grateful that we had found her tokens and brought them back to her.

Zach had his moment to shine when Caroline needed 200 more tickets to get a giant stuffed unicorn.  Without hesitation he gave them to her and she beamed at him as she snuggled her new stuffed friend.  A few weeks prior, at the same arcade, my 4 year old niece and nephew were given 3,000 tickets by a generous gamer.  They were ecstatic with all of the loot they were able to turn it in for!

There may be a lot that is wrong with our world but there is also a lot that is right.  The kindness at the arcade took me by surprise but it was a great way for the kids and I to kick off our Pay it Forward summer.  We are now plotting ways to pay forward the kindness that has been shown to us over the years.  I plan to share our progress with you as the summer goes on.  How will you and your family Pay it Forward this summer??

featured, Kindness, Making a Difference, Pay it Forward Summer, Service Projects for Families

Art for Hospice

Make a Difference May

It is hard not to smile when you look at the children’s artwork on this page.  In January, our Kids in Service NH group painted cheerful paintings for the patients at a hospice house. Volunteers visit the residents and ask if they would like to choose one of our paintings to cheer up their room.  The painting of their choice gets hung on their bulletin board and it is our hope that everyone who visits their room is brought a little joy in a very difficult situation.


This spring, we partnered with the hospice house again and painted small terra cotta pots.  I sealed each one with glaze and then we planted a flower in each pot.  The 20 pots were delivered to the patients staying at the hospice house and other hospice patients around the community.

Make a Difference May-11

Creating artwork to cheer up hospice patients is a WONDERFUL service project for all ages.  You could paint uplifting paintings, make blank greeting cards with the children’s drawings on the front or paint pots like we did.  I recommend that you reach out to the volunteer coordinator at your local hospice house and see if they would like children’s art donations.

Hospice is a very difficult and sad concept for young children.  I suggest that you tell your children that you are painting happy art for people who are sick in the hospital.  That is all they need to know to be invested in this project.  I am sure that their art donation will not only bring a little joy into the patient’s heart but the hearts of their family as well.

Kindness, Making a Difference, Pay it Forward Summer, Service Projects for Families

Project Dollar Store

This is such a fun project and can be easily prepared while sitting in front of a cozy fire. Both of my kids loved being “ninjas” as they secretly spread out the baggies of love all over our local dollar store.  Will you and your family accept this mission of LOVE?

Your Mission:  Put together baggies with $1 dollar bills and messages of love.  Spread them all over the dollar store with out being detected.  Drive away with love in your hearts.

Supplies:  ziplock baggies, $1 bills, sticky notes or paper and tape, writing/coloring tools

Procedure:  Have your children write some positive messages on the sticky notes or paper (they can also draw simple pictures or color over your notes in crayon if they are not writing yet).  Add a note that tells the person to use this dollar to buy something for themselves.  Attach one note to each $1 bill and place the bill in the baggie.  Zip up the baggie and then get ready for some SECRET FUN!  Drive to the local dollar store and hide these baggies all over the store. On the way home you can imagine together how people will react when they find your kind gesture of love.

Did you complete this mission?  

Take pictures of the process and email them to us at  

We’d love to include your children in our Incredible Kids of the month!