Lend a Hand

By Booklist

Written in simple everyday language, these 14 free verse poems show young people in acts of sharing, caring, or kindness—from giving up a bus seat to an elder, or sharing a sandwich with a schoolmate who has no lunch, to donating hair for a patient’s wig, cleaning up a littered stream, and writing a letter to a soldier. The idea of “paying it forward” is a recurring one. “Trees” suggests, “Maybe they’ll remember /what this street once looked like / and go to a place / in need of some trees, / and plant a few saplings / like I’m doing today.” Ladd’s thickly brushed paintings feature intergenerational pairings among the multicultural cast. [Paired] in conjunction with home or classroom discussions about social responsibilities, waging peace, or bullying, these instances of individual and collective giving may serve as inspiring models.