The world needs more compassion and where else to start, than with raising compassionate children. This book includes twelve steps of “growing” compassionate children, a Grower’s Guide. It follows the steps needed to grow a healthy plant, starting with preparing the soil, where a plant can be deeply rooted in solid healthy ground, like a child growing within a strong foundation made up of positive values and principles. There are stories and topics addressing the impacts of societal issues such as the use of social media, anger, mental health, and violence to focusing on acts of kindness and making this world a better place for all. The topics are diverse and include math and science concepts as they apply to plants and growing compassionate children. It talks about the importance of knowing, understanding, and preserving our roots, where this knowledge and increased understanding leads to a more compassionate child.
Sonja Lange Wendt is an award-winning author of the Cultivating Compassion in Children books series. Her books are intergenerational and address important and sometimes difficult topics with children on inclusion, acceptance, disabilities, bullying and aging. Serina and Seymour Seed kick off and end each story. Seymour and Serina are the seeds of compassion children have, but sometimes they need planting and nurturing to cultivate the best in them. Through increasing awareness, understanding and discussion, these books teach that using compassion in different situations shows kindness in the greatest way in this sometimes difficult to navigate world.
Sonja uses a variety of setting and characters from grandparents, little girl, little boy, and bugs to engage children in the stories. The settings all include nature and the outdoors. Each story ends with thought provoking questions to be asked by the adult and discussed with the child.
These books are generally fitting for children ages 4-8 but as C.S. Lewis states, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Her books are brilliantly illustrated with vivid colors and scenery.