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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
I'm Compassionate! Are You? is a children’s social issues storybook written by Felicia Napier Johnson and illustrated by Tyrus Goshay. Jade’s mom knew something was wrong as soon as her daughter walked up to the car. When Jade sat down, she gave her mom a note from her teacher. In it, Ms. Ray asked Jade’s mom to speak with her about having compassion for others and to have Jade write a paragraph about the meaning of compassion. When her mom asked her what happened, Jade explained that she and her friend had laughed at another girl in class. That girl always wore the same dress and it didn’t seem very clean. Jade didn’t understand why the girl’s mom didn’t take care of her as Jade’s mom did. Her mom explained that everyone deserves respect and consideration even if they’re different. No one knows what another person’s situation is. When they arrived at the hairdresser for Mrs. Jackson’s appointment and settled in, Jade realized that her mom was right, and, in the process, she made a new friend.
Felicia Napier Johnson introduces the concept of compassion for others in a compelling story about a little girl who learns about homelessness after she and her friend are unkind to a less fortunate classmate. I loved seeing how Mrs. Jackson explains compassion to her daughter. Having Jade meet Sincere at the hairdresser and learn about the tragedy and the hard times her family has experienced makes a big impact on her and will do so, I believe, for any child who reads this book. Johnson’s book is a grand selection for storytime, but it’s also written with new readers in mind. Tyrus Goshay’s bright and cheerful illustrations work so well with the text. I especially appreciated the emotive facial expressions he gives to the characters in the book. I'm Compassionate! Are You? is most highly recommended.