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BE KIND, Illustrated by Jen Hill, Climbs the NY Times Bestseller List

last updated 31 August 2018


“These days, it seems more important than ever for books to show young people how to act with thoughtfulness, civility, and kindness.” ―The New York Times Book Review

With four weeks and counting on the New York Times Best Sellers list, Be Kind’s success is showing that empathy is an unstoppable force. Author Pat Zietlow Miller’s timeless (and timely) message and Jen Hill’s beautiful illustrations come together to create a “lovely exploration of empathy and thoughtfulness” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review).

The book is now in its SIXTH reprinting, and Jen’s artwork will be exhibited at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show in New York City this November.

The team behind the book couldn’t be more thrilled that Be Kind is finding its way onto the bookshelves of little ones who are just beginning to learn the vital lesson of kindness towards others.


We asked Jen Hill about her experience working on the book, and how it feels to watch it go through several reprintings and become a best seller.

This book has changed my life tremendously. I’d worked hard at making my career a success for over a decade prior to BE KIND, and came to accept the rigorous pace and long hours in my studio as part of the life of an illustrator. I was happy just to be working steadily.

When BE KIND came along I knew it was something special, and I poured my heart into it. Creating compelling characters rich with emotion is what I enjoy most about illustrating, and this manuscript was full of opportunity.

As BE KIND gains even more momentum and popularity I marvel at the number of people who have spent time with the artwork I created. For me, this is the most gratifying part of the book’s success. (Having “New York Times Bestselling Illustrator” attached to my name isn’t too shabby either.) I’m honestly just thrilled to be a part of the wonderful team that created this book together. From author to editor to art director to agent, we all inspired each other to think bigger and bigger. It was a joy. Seeing it in the world is the icing on the cake.

Editor Connie Hsu at Macmillan felt that the experience of making Be Kind was very much aligned with the message of the book itself:

A remarkable theme of the bookmaking journey was the absolute kindness both Pat and Jen brought to the process. Jen was incredibly thoughtful and considerate of Pat’s vision for the book, and Pat shared her appreciation every step of the way. She sent Jen and me both a magnet that read, “Remember to always be kind.”

A book’s success always feels best when you feel everyone on the team came together seamlessly to create a wonderful book!

Jen’s agent, Anne Moore Armstrong says:

I was thrilled when Caldecott-winning editor, Connie Hsu sent along Pat’s text and just knew in my heart immediately that this picture book-making team was going to be special; you could just sense the timeliness of the book and that it had potential to become a classic backlist title. The world needs and craves kindness, and so Be Kind is like a young anthem for our time.


A spread from the book.

To see Jen’s full portfolio, click here.

To contact Jen’s agent, Anne Moore Armstrong, send her an e-mail here.


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