Every Little Kindness by Marta Bartolj

Every Little Kindness by Marta Bartolj

Review Copy from Chronicle Books

First published in Slovenia, Bartolj's Every Little Kindness is a beautiful, wordless story that follows one small act of kindness as it ripples out into the community. Using graphic novel style panels and a palette in varying shades of grey, with pale yellow and blue adding depth. A minimal and well placed use of red works to tell the story as it - and acts of kindness and compassion - flow from one person to the next, beginning with a woman and her lost dog. 

Heading out to hang "Lost Dog" posters around town, the woman brings along a red apple that, after some thought, she hands to a busker playing the guitar. The power of Every Little Kindness comes not from the (often told) story of a person who receives a kindness passing it on to another, but from the power of witnessing an act of kindness can have. A passerby (with a red messenger bag) watches as the woman gives her apple to the performer. A page turn finds this man walking through the park and picking up after a person who litters. A boy in red overalls notices this act. From here, kindnesses come in many forms. From returning a lost key to offering an umbrella, to noticing someone in need and helping and reaching out to someone who has been treated badly. As the story unfolds, the lost dog posters from the start of the story appear here and there, leading to the moment the woman and her dog are reunited, through the kindness of another.

Bartolj's story is simple, yet powerful. Her illustrations and palette work to emphasize the story she is telling, making a greater impact in the absence of words. 

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