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Four New Stories that Put Kindness Front and Center

Be kind. These two simple words have cropped up all across the nation—on signs, on bumper stickers, on t-shirts—because for a lot of people, it feels like there’s a distinct lack of civility out there right now, a lack of kindness.

We’re happy to add a little kindness back into the world with the reissuing of four superb novels that have kindness as a primary theme. Written for kids but with stories that are good enough to engage an adult audience, these four books may be just what your youngster needs when the world feels a little too uncaring.

Tending Ben’s Garden: At the top of the list is the achingly beautiful story of a young girl’s fierce love for her younger brother. Ben is an unusual child, but Kate understands him. He’s gentle. He’s kind. He got Papa to help him plant a garden, and he built a scarecrow. The garden is for the animals; the scarecrow is so they can play with it. That was before Papa was killed, and now Mama is losing everything, like many families did during the Great Depression. She sends Ben to live in a children’s home, and a couple decides to adopt him. Kate is devastated. She is determined to get Ben back, but she, too, is just a child. What can she do? Plenty, it turns out. But in the meantime, she tends Ben’s garden for him so that it’s perfect for the day—someday—when he comes home.

Charlie Boy: Charlie feels lost at home. His mother has died, his father has all but abandoned him, and he can’t find his place among his siblings. So he goes out scavenging on the streets and has an unexpected encounter with a bicycle shop owner named William Metzger. Charlie is actually trying to steal from Will, but Will is a kind man; rather than call the police, he offers Charlie a meal. And so begins a friendship that changes Charlie’s life. This historical fiction novel explores the early days of the career of the real William Metzger, who opened the first automobile dealership in Detroit in the 1890s as a pioneer in the auto industry, rubbing elbows with men like Charles King, Horace and John Dodge, and Henry Ford. Charlie has a front seat to it all, but it is Will’s friendship that teaches him what he really wants out of his life.

The Shot Not Heard Around the World: Jeremy is eager to fight the British in the American Revolutionary War, but when he actually finds himself face to face with a Redcoat, he can’t pull the trigger on his musket. The Redcoat is not some faceless enemy; he’s just a young man. The man, too, refuses to shoot; Jeremy is just a boy. Jeremy later finds the man injured and sneaks him to the local doctor. Doc Thorndike treats Roger, and the three ultimately make arrangements for Roger and Jeremy to apprentice as surgeon’s assistants. These acts of kindness, extended among the characters, set the tone for the rest of the story. Their job is to help people, and they do—including helping on the battlefront at Bunker Hill, where Jeremy learns that the best way for him to help in the war effort is not to take lives but to save them.

Make Me Disappear: Sam loves magic, so he’s thrilled when the great magician Blackwell LaVeque agrees to take him on as an apprentice. Sam’s home life is difficult; his mother has died, and his father is set to marry a woman who clearly doesn’t like Sam. When she starts talking about boarding schools, Sam persuades Blackwell to send him to Wundriana, the realm where all things go when they disappear; he has no intention of returning. But Wundriana isn’t the paradise that Sam believes. He befriends a woman named Kristina who is trapped there, but an evil figure named Sinjin begins pursuing the pair, trying to steal a magic book that Sam has brought with him. That book, however, might hold the key to getting Kristina back to her family, and Sam is willing to risk his life to help her. But what about Sam? What he doesn’t know is how much his father and Blackwell truly care about him and what they’re each willing to do to bring him home.

Many of the Royal Fireworks novels for children and teens carry themes of kindness and civility, and they all contain positive lessons about honor and integrity that are important for kids to learn and to see in action, even if only through fictional characters. And each one is only $12.00. Check out our complete library of novels today!

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