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Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents (Little Light of Mine Series) [Paperback]

Sarah Conover , Valerie Wahl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (12 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091005567X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910055673
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 22.9 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,176,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Sarah Conover's collection of traditional Buddhist tales leads us to the kind of implicit understanding of ourselves and others that only stories can provide. Following the Buddha through his various transformations, these clarified and often humorous narrative journeys open the ancient master's profound and gentle teachings to persons of all ages, religions, races, and ideological persuasions. Over and over, this marvelous book tells us, "Let go of your anger, your fear, your greedy desire. Embrace gladness. Follow the path." The stories form a wondrous pageant of elephants, monkeys, monks, and men working through foolishness toward wisdom and delight. Sara Conover teaches high school language arts in Spokane, Washington. She has produced numerous award-winning documentaries for PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the United Nations.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous stories for parents and children 22 April 2009
I was looking for a book to read to my son, that contained the basics of Buddhism but wasn't difficult, dogmatic, stuffy....you know the thing. This little book has a lot of classist Buddhist stories beautifully retold, short reads that can (and do) lead to great discussions and more than once bring tears to my eyes. My (thoughtful, reflective) seven-year old gets the gists well though it might be better suited for children a bit older...will depend on the child I think. Not many pictures.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Water in the Jar 19 Mar 2002
By Roberta Proctor - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book thinking that it was one of those gifts that my son probably wouldn't like but that because it was a children's book I could get away with buying it indirectly for myself. Sort of a back-door self gift, at a time when I couldn't afford to buy myself something. Well, I was right about my liking it, but wrong about my son--he liked it too, and still does. We have read and re-read many of our favorite stories (I tend to get in reading grooves sometimes, like the period during which I couldn't read anything but stories from "Interpreter of Maladies").
If you have Paul Reps' famous "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones," you will recognize many of the stories in "Kindess" from there, but in a lushly expanded form. I am impressed by how Sarah Conover is able to expand a simple Buddhist tale without diluting it, and add detail without dragging it out. Everything seems necessary, even though I'm used to shorter versions of the same tales. This is the sign of good writing to me. Not all of the tales are long, though, so you can use it as a bedtime read regardless of the length of time you have available; there are stories you can read in 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes--whatever your time frame. What's nice, too, about the book is that it grows with the child. A year ago, my son's favorite tales were the simpler ones (though all are complex in the Buddhist way) such as "Great Joy the Ox" about kindness and "The Dung Beetle" which warns of the dangers of hubris. Now his favorite is a more conceptual story, "The Monk's Heavy Load," which treats the idea of being weighed down by resentments and memories.
Besides being delightful to read, the book is gorgeous to look at and hold. Only the cover illustration is multi-colored; those inside are sepia-toned, but this matters not a whit. Valerie Wahl's illustrations are carefully drawn to capture, (at most, one per story) precisely the key moment of each tale. An aphorism precedes each story also reflecting the theme of each tale. The pages are slick, heavy and a Zen pleasure to handle and turn, as long as the book lies flat on a table. The only negative point about the book's design is that its odd shape (a horizontal rather than vertical rectangle) and weight make it awkward for reading in bed. Hardcover children's picture books in this shape are easy to read, but this is a glossy paged book of 160+ pages which makes it both heavy and floppy (at least in the paperback edition I have). We've worked hard to keep ours in good shape, and we've succeeded, but it might be harder for families with lots of children (or less book obsessed parents).
I can't really imagine a person not liking this book, and if I could, I wouldn't want to meet him anyway. These tales drop lessons softly, the way fragrant blossoms fall from trees. They introduce children to Buddhism, which can't be a bad thing at any time, and can only help things these days. If you have no one for whom to buy this book, then do what I did and buy it for yourself and if, like me, you're worried that the child in your life may not like it, you very well might be proven wrong--much to your delight.
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and thoughtful tales for children 12 Feb 2001
By sally - Published on Amazon.com
I have been reading (and rereading) these beautiful Buddhist stories to my children, ages 6 and 8, every night. Rewritten from the traditional, this version is child-centric, sensitively written, thought (and conversation) provoking and actually relate to everyday life. My intention was to read one per night but my children beg me to read "Just one more. Just one more". In spite of the fact that I am no Buddhist, it is hard to imagine a child, parent, teacher or educator who wouldn't benefit from reading this delightful, well written book.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 4 Nov 2006
By Rita GotohChavez - Published on Amazon.com
Along with other books, I purchased this one to share with my 5 and 7 year olds. I was disappointed as many of the reviews commented on the appeal of the book for younger children. I would recommend this book for much older children (pre-teens)as we feel the language was too formal for our kids' age range.

My kids absolutely enjoyed Prince Sidharta, When I was a Monkey and Every Breath a Smile and were able to understand the stories and messages without any explanation.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindness goes a long way 3 April 2007
By Coffee queen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First I used this book with my children as we learned about different religions and spiritual views. As they got older we visited it again because these Buddhist stories are applicable to so many situations in life regardless of your views on God, theist, or atheist.

Now as a religious education teacher of younger people at the Unitarian Universalist fellowship I use this book extensively when teaching about buddhism, kindness, compassion and many other concepts. Well written and engaging for all ages, but best for elementary school age children. My middle schoolers still love the stories.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom for all ages 19 April 2005
By Thomas A. Burton - Published on Amazon.com
I've been reading this book to my small son, who seems to like the pictures now more than anything. I know all of the stories now and find myself reading them as life events take place. It's amazing how stories can make a point more than just description. This book does just that.
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