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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

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

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Author/Publisher/Website: Kerascoet
Copyright: 2018
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: Jun/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781524769550
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: K-3
(View recommended grades and subjects) English Language Arts

Resource Description

When Vanessa, a shy new girl at school, is walking home on her first day, a boy bullies her and Vanessa is left feeling sad and unwelcome. A girl witnesses the bullying but does nothing to help and wonders all evening how Vanessa must feel and what she can do to help. The next morning the girl goes to Vanessa’s house to walk her to school and on the walk children join in until the whole school supports Vanessa. This powerful story without words is a useful read-aloud to demonstrate the positive impact of a small act of kindness and how kindness can spread, and to spark discussion of bullying, friendship, personal and social responsibility, reaching out when someone is struggling, and how easy it is to be kind.


Does the resource support BC curriculum?
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Social Responsibility
The picture-only storybook supports the Big Ideas of the K-1 English Language Arts that stories can be shared through pictures as well as words and the K-3 Big Idea that stories help us learn about ourselves and our communities. It also supports students in their understanding of the Curricular Competencies in communication, critical thinking, and their personal and social responsibility to each other as students need to carefully view the pictures in order to understand the story about bullying.


Is the resource engaging?
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Is the content of particular interest to male students?
Is the content of particular interest to female students?
A story told only in pictures, I Walk with Vanessa uses detailed and engaging drawings to tell of how a new student to a school is initially bullied by a boy and then befriended by an empathetic classmate and eventually welcomed by the school community. It is a situation that many students can relate to and this book may extend their thinking around taking responsibility for a situation and offering a solution to the problem. The notes at the end of the book support furthering student understanding of appropriate behaviour in dealing with the uncomfortable idea of bullying.


Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Is the location of illustrations appropriate?
Is the resource easy to use?
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
The characters in the story are drawn in a simple but accessible way with their emotions easily read as it is those alone that tell the story. The background is drawn in but is not coloured. As there are no words in the story, students will need to be close to the book or it needs to be projected on the screen for the full impact to be realized.


Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
Plot description:
Vanessa is a new girl at a school and is feeling uncomfortable and alone. While walking home her first day, she is confronted by a boy from her school who bullies Vanessa and makes her feel sad and unwelcome. A fellow student witnesses the boy being mean to Vanessa and does not initially do anything. But after spending her evening and night thinking about what has happened and imagining what Vanessa must be feeling, she comes up with a plan to support her. The next morning the girl knocks on Vanessa's door and invites her to walk to school with her, picking up friends and more friends along the way until the whole school community is behind her and Vanessa feels welcomed.
Related Comments:
The simple but evocative drawings tell a powerful story of a character taking responsibility for an injustice she has witnessed and solving it. In I Walk with Vanessa: A Simple Act of Kindness, one simple act of reaching out to a person struggling to belong, makes the world of difference and demonstrates to students how easy it is to be kind.
Literary Highlights:
Complex conflict
Picture book
Visual Highlights:
Picture book


At intended grade level(s)
A Walk with Vanessa was a New York Public Library Best Book of the Year and Parents Magazine’s “Best Book that Champions Kindness” of 2018 book. An anti-bullying resource at the back of the book has information for both students and adults.


I Walk with Vanessa could be used in discussions about friendship, bullying, and personal and social responsibility. As the book uses only drawings to tell the story, students will need to be part of the telling as they use their critical thinking to figure out what is happening in the pictures. It could be used as a creative writing activity in which students write the words that would go with the pictures.