I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët

I Walk with Vanessa: 
A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness
Purchased with grant funding 
for my school library

Without words, and with powerful hopefulness, the husband and wife team Sébastien Cossett and Marie Pommepuy show readers what can come of a truly simple act of kindness. The title page shows a family moving into a new home, a page turn shows the new girl, Vanessa, being introduced to the class. It is clear to readers that Vanessa feels separate and alone. As begins her walk home from school alone, she is bullied by a boy. One girl sees this happen. She watches as Vanessa begins to cry, running home, and sees where the new girl lives. She tells her friends what she saw and they all head they separate ways, heads hung in sadness. Several pages show the girl at home, preoccupied, thinking. At breakfast the next day, she has an idea! She heads out early, striaight to Vanessa's house, where she knocks on the door. Holding hands, the two girls begin the walk to school together. On their way, they are joined by the neighborhood kids, new friends are made, there is excitement and smiles on every face. A glorious two page spread is filled with smiling children of all ethnicities and races, all walking with Vanessa. A closer look reveals the bully, facing the opposite direction, his face red with an expression of dismay. Together, Vanessa and her new friend enter school hand in hand.

Backmatter includes tips for children on how to help someone who is being bullied while a section for adults includes helpful words (aggressor, target, bystander) to use when talking about this book with children. It's hard not to read this book without getting a little teary, and look forward to seeing how students at my school respond to it and how teachers use it in the classroom.

Kerascoët illustrated 
Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

They also illustrated the unforgettable adult graphic novel (I read it, loved it, but ultimately decided not to review it here) Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann.


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