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The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy

228p. (The Kindness Club). Bloomsbury. Nov. 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781681191171.
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Gr 3–5—The Kindness Club is back with a second installment. With the club's origins established—Chloe, Theo, and Lucy developed the club as a class experiment and it stuck—the sequel is free to explore the more complex emotions surrounding loss, friendship, and the social dynamics of fifth grade. Sheinmel's ability to embody the tween perspective shines in the recklessly energetic Lucy as she attempts to create the perfect birthday experience for a classmate who has just lost her mother. Similar to the first book, this is a fast-paced, light read with lots of lessons peppered throughout, though Sheinmel keeps the narrative from tipping to patronizing. Ultimately, Lucy and her friends live up to their mission and are able to help their classmate in a way that is sensitive, appropriate, and, of course, kind. This is an excellent entry to the series, even if readers haven't read the first installment. Though the resolution is improbably rosy, the positivity of the narrative is a great selling point and many libraries will appreciate having this series available for tweens dealing with bullying, feelings of isolation, and friendship feuds.
VERDICT An optimistic choice; recommended as a general purchase for medium to large collections.

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