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Children's Fiction Emotions & Feelings

When We Are Kind

by (author) Monique Gray Smith

illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Jul 2020
Emotions & Feelings, Multigenerational, Friendship
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


"Notably centering Indigenous families and characters of color in personal and communal activities—and encouraging readers to evaluate their actions toward others.”—Publishers Weekly

When We Are Kind celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness and encourages children to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives. Celebrated author Monique Gray Smith has written many books on the topics of resilience and reconciliation and communicates an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages. Beautifully illustrated by artist Nicole Neidhardt, this book encourages children to be kind to others and to themselves.

About the authors

Monique Gray Smith is a mixed–heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry and a proud mom of twins. Monique is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. Her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Monique and her family are blessed to live on Lkwungen territory in Victoria, British Columbia. 

Monique Gray Smith's profile page

Née à Santa Fe au Nouveau-Mexique, Nicole Neidhardt est d’origine diné (navajo) du clan Kiiyaa’áanii. Elle est titulaire d’un baccalauréat en beaux-arts et complète actuellement une maîtrise en beaux-arts à l’Université OCAD de Toronto. L’identité diné de Nicole est au coeur de sa pratique artistique qui intègre notamment l’usage du pochoir au mylar, la peinture, l’art numérique et les fresques de grandes dimensions. Elle vit à Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Nicole Neidhardt's profile page


  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Awards
  • Nominated, Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award
  • Nominated, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards - Shining Willow
  • Short-listed, Ontario Library service (OLS) First Nation Communities Read Awards - Children’s
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Commended, Children’s Book Council & National Council for Social Studies Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • Commended, Quill & Quire's Best Books of the Year

Editorial Reviews

“Simple statements have the resonance of affirmations and establish a clear chain of connectedness…A panoply of Indigenous characters is featured in rich detail. A visual feast for families interested in seeing the Native world through small, kind deeds.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Using minimal text, the message of kindness is delivered in illustrations that are beautiful, colorful and detailed. This title is highly recommended for use in preschool and primary or elementary classrooms and libraries.”

Must Read Literature

“Visually appealing at every turn and offering up details in clothing and surroundings, there is much to see here. The words inspire questions and memories about being kind in the world, and with family and friends.”

Sal's Fiction Addiction

“A perfect addition to your bedtime routine, and would make a great gift for every teacher and librarian your child knows, so each school has a copy upon reopening.”


“Gentle…Notably centering Indigenous families and characters of color in personal and communal activities—and encouraging readers to evaluate their actions toward others.”

Publishers Weekly

“An accessible picture book that will work well as a read-aloud in a group or for quiet reading alone. Whether at home or in the classroom, its pleasing repetition of phrases. such as 'I am kind when' and 'I feel', will appeal to young readers and invite re-reading. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Thoughtful and beautifully illustrated.”

Canadian Teacher Magazine

“Lovely…A gentle message that shows how kindness connects us and reinforces our deep relations.”

Toronto Star

★ “Simple, yet powerful...This gentle book is inspiring for children and adults and is highly recommended to have at home and in public and school libraries.”

Canadian Children's Book News, Red Leaf Literature selection

Other titles by Monique Gray Smith

Other titles by Nicole Neidhardt

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