Here at Write Publish Sell, we love to feature the authors and books that we help. This month, we have a special interview with Christina Dankert, author of The Kindness Machine. This book will be available in March of 2022. If you’re a parent or teacher, you’ll want to read below to learn more about this book and how it can help teach your child about kindness.
About Christina Dankert
Christina Dankert is a second-grade teacher and mother of two. As a mom and teacher, she reads a lot of picture books. She believes that all children should be able to find themselves in picture books to identify with and connect to characters. She believes that picture books are a beautiful springboard into deeper conversations after the book is closed. She feels that now more than ever we need more kindness in the world.
Please tell us a little about your The Kindness Machine.
I wrote The Kindness Machine for parents, teachers, counselors and caregivers. My book focuses both on how to be kind to others but also how to be kind to ourselves. The concept of kindness to ourselves is missing in the picture book world. If we can teach children to be kind to themselves early on, we can help raise young people who give themself grace, have positive self-talk and more self-love.
The current description that you’ll find on the back cover is this: There’s a mysterious new machine in Mr. Wilson’s 2nd grade class. Instead of grownups telling children to “make good choices” and “be kind,” this special machine shows the students exactly what they can do to bring kindness to their classroom and even to themselves! But what happens when it’s time to leave school? Mr. Wilson lets his class in on a secret that they have their very own Kindness Machine inside them to spread kindness wherever they go!
Why did you write The Kindness Machine?
As a mother I want my children to grow up knowing what kindness looks like and what it feels like. Parenting is one of the hardest, but often most rewarding jobs. Parenting isn’t easy and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Striving to not only talk about kindness, but show it through our actions and our words is so important. The Kindness Machine is extra special for me because my husband is the illustrator. He is showing our children through his illustrations the importance of being kind. This book is one more way to show kindness not only to our own children, but to my students as well.
As a teacher, I want my students to grow up being kind to each other and to themselves long after they have left the four walls of my classroom. I want kindness to not only occur in the classroom but in the hallways, cafeteria, playground, neighborhood and community. This book is one more reminder of how to be kind to others and ourselves and is meant for all students, not just the students who have been in or will be in my classroom.
Who is The Kindness Machine for?
This book is for parents, teachers, counselors and caregivers who strive to teach their children or the children in their care to be kind. The concept of kindness can not be taught once but must be modeled and practiced consistently over time. The Kindness Machine allows for more time to be spent talking directly about kindness and time to reflect on ways to be kind to others and ourselves.
What is YOUR favorite part of the The Kindness Machine?
My favorite part of the book is the very last line. When I read the line to my children and other children during early drafts, the response to the last line is interactive and makes my heart very happy. My goal was to write a book that left the reader or listener feeling happy and empowered. I did not initially expect it to be interactive, but I am so happy that it is.
When did you start writing books?
I started writing ideas for this book about five years ago. The title popped into my head and over the years I began to jot down ideas, character ideas, settings, etc. The pandemic affected everyone in some way, and for me I walked away from my teaching position for one year to be with my family. This opportunity allowed my late nights, which were typically filled with lesson planning, to be spent on writing.
How is this book different from other books in your genre or niche?
There are plenty of children’s books about kindness. The idea of being kind to ourselves is a concept I include in the book that separates it from a lot of other kindness books already published.
What challenges did you face writing your book during a pandemic?
After I finished the first draft, I reached out to the local library and other authors. They both suggested finding other writers and joining writing groups. This was a challenge due to the pandemic and groups were not meeting in person. I was able to overcome this challenge by attending the Women in Publishing Summit. It was through this virtual conference that I not only learned a wealth of knowledge about the publishing world, but it is where I met my writing tribe. We continue to meet virtually twice a month and are all over the United States and Canada.
Do you have any other books? Where can they be found?
Not at this time, but I am continuing to write and have plans for another book.
Where is the best place for readers to connect with you?
My website is christinadankert.com and it is here you can read my weekly blog. You can subscribe to my newsletter which will be sent out once a month and includes free kindness printables. I use Instragram as my main form of social media to share both children’s and adult books, support other authors and spotlight meaningful picture books that I believe can have a positive impact on children. I have a Facebook page which is updated with my weekly blog posts and monthly free printables.