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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Do you believe in magic? Mia does. She understands that real magic comes from deep within a person. How is that possible? Well, she sees a new girl sitting all alone in the cafeteria and makes the effort to be friendly. Both Mia and the new girl feel sparkly with joy. The others sitting at Mia’s lunch table also feel the sparkly joy and they pass it on. When Mia is having trouble with math, a boy offers to help and they both feel sparkly with joy. And the new girl helps an elderly lady by holding the door for her. The magic pays it forward and everyone is feeling sparkly with joy. Yes, there is real magic and it comes from deep inside each of us.
Julie Cassetta’s picture book story, Magical Mia: Kindness is Contagious, is told in rhyming verse. With its eloquent lyricism, young readers will be singing along and perhaps adding their own suggestions of how to spread the magic. The plot develops with Mia’s sparkle about her magic secret, which is then shared in multiple ways and, in the end, everyone is helping someone else and spreading the magic of caring. The illustrations are beautiful and almost magical in themselves and certainly help carry the story along. This is a great way to introduce the notion of paying kindness forward – it really does have a charming magic all of its own. And, to top off the story, the author provides a list at the end of the book suggesting ways young readers can share the magic by being kind, caring, and helpful. Beautifully told.