Click to order now!Any Small Goodness
Arturo Rodriguez, a middle school student, has support from his loving family, however it’s hard to make sense of the challenges in his world—the barrio of Los Angeles. As his father says, ”In life there is bueno and malo. If you do not find enough good, you must create it yourself.”
Any Small Goodness is a featured book in Cathryn Berger Kaye’s academic program Strategies for Success with 21st Century Skills and Literacy: A Learning Curriculum that Serves. Why did she choose this book for over 40,000 Los Angeles Unified School District students to read (and they loved the book)?
“Any Small Goodness is a one-of-a-kind story of a boy facing his community with questions and going after the answers. He notices people who are genuinely good and seeks out an understanding of these actions. When an act of violence is aimed at his close-knit family, he has to make a choice—turn to revenge or goodness. What he chooses to do is an example for us all.”
Author Tony Johnston has brought this teen and his community to life with rich descriptive writing, humor, pathos, and compelling events. We can also thank her for the Spanish glossary in the back to guide us through the appropriate Spanish words throughout the text.
Do you have a copy of The Complete Guide to Service Learning? This information rich resource includes an annotated bibliography of fiction, nonfiction and picture books for each of thirteen service themes. On the companion CD-Rom you will find additional titles plus interviews with 22 authors on why they wrote their books, their writing process, and author’s purpose, and an added thought about how their book may inspire youth to action.
In the interview with Tony Johnston, she says, describes, “I wrote Any Small Goodness on Post-it Notes. I walk a lot so I carry the notes with me and, time to time, write down an idea or a few lines. Finally I had notes all over the place, so I checked into a motel for a week and spread the notes over the floor. I asked the woman who cleaned the room not to vacuum. From those Post-its, I wrote this book.
“The heart of Any Small Goodness is about caring, loving people. Some of the book starts with kernels of stories I read in the Los Angeles Times. Most is invented, like ‘The Green Needle Gang.’ I’d love for some kids to do what they did (read the book to find out what). Arturo figures out that everybody has something he or she can do. He realizes that even when a terrible thing happens, responding in anger to get even isn’t the answer. That, as Papi said, ‘Any small goodness is of value.’ Sharing yourself with others— that’s the key. In writing and in life.”
Service Learning Ideas: Safe and Strong Communities This book has tremendous application for service learning. In the first part, Arturo takes an inventory of the remarkable people he knows and how they contribute. Imagine if students everywhere did the same, what role models they would find right in their own backyard. And if they celebrated them through chronically their stories, all the better. Also, in this book is an exemplary act of service. You will have to read this wonderful book to find out!
Fiction, 128 pages, Grades 5-9