Courtney Sheinmel, Chloe on the Bright Side (The Kindness Club #1), Bloomsbury, 22 Nov 2017, 224pp., $9.99 (pbk) ISBN 9781681195315
First published in hardback in 2016, Bloomsbury have now released this book in a new paperback edition. The first in a series called The Kindness Club, this is Chloe’s story. Chloe’s parents have just separated and Chloe and her mum have moved to a new town, where she is about to start fifth grade. She is worried about making new friends, but is hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the friends she does make don’t get along with each other, and Chloe has to make some tough choices.
The series title may seem schmaltzy, the book itself isn’t. While Chole tries to be kind to everyone she doesn’t always succeed, and there are valuable lessons learned and personal growth along the way. The characters and situations are realistic, if at times slightly cliched. However, for the most part it is a well written and engaging book, with a relatable main character. The message of the book is scientifically demonstrated and isn’t overly didactic, and frankly the more kindness is promoted in the world, the better.
This book would be suitable for primary school and public libraries. While the cover may appeal more to girls than boys, the story and the message are just as applicable and relevant to all readers.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble