‘Values’ book is most-kept title in book club for 5-7 year-olds.
One Good Deed by Terri Fields and Deborah Melmon, a heartfelt story about how paying it forward can positively impact everyone in a community, was Literati’s most-kept title in Club Nova (for 5-7 year-olds) in February, with 65% of members keeping it. Interestingly it’s a Jewish book, but the only reference to ‘Mitzvah,’ a selfless good deed, comes right at the end, and far from being a ‘religious’ book, it has a universal message that inevitably resonated with Literati members.
Jessica Ewing, Literati’s CEO, says good values books are hard to find. “It’s rare to see one that is touching and has a good storyline that isn’t didactic or hitting you over the head.”
One Good Deed, which was sent to members as part of the club’s In My Heart theme, had a touching storyline, and espoused universal values of good will. Dr. Mark West, an expert in children’s literature at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, says it reflects values that run through many religions and ethical systems. “Much like what I was taught in Boy Scouts – to do a good deed daily. It introduces a Hebrew word at the end, but it’s not heavy handed in terms of the religious aspect. It’s universal in a sense and can apply to everyone – that if you do something nice for one person it inspires them to do a nice thing for someone else.”
It’s rare to see (a book) that is touching and has a good storyline that isn’t didactic or hitting you over the head
In the book, the people on this street are initially described as being miserable – nobody smiles. And West says in some ways it reflects modern suburban life. “We used to have a ‘front porch culture’ where we we’d hang out and get to know our neighbors. Then we made a terrible transition in the years after WWII and became a backyard culture; one which celebrates privacy and isolation, and now lots of people don’t have the faintest idea who their neighbors are. But doing a nice thing can be a way to break that down and this book instills that in the young.”