Some Books to get you Ready for World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on November 13th with increasing popularity because it’s an idea that everyone can get behind. We all benefit from being kinder to one another. If you have any doubt, the people at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation have done extensive research into this topic and have scientifically proven that there are many benefits to increasing kindness. They’ve created cheerful videos to share the results! You can use their monthly kindness calendars at home and work and they have a kindness curriculum that can be used in classrooms. 

If printing out a new calendar seems like more of an investment than you were looking for (maybe next year?) then you can look to the library catalogue for some beautiful resources to try for World Kindness Day. One favourite picture book with a kindness theme has the sweetest illustrations combined with an incredible rhyming message. It’s the creation of American artist, Jessica Hische, called Tomorrow I’ll be Kind. Each page has little animals promising to be helpful, kind, generous, and patient even though it is not always easy for someone young. The book encourages conversation about what these characteristics might be, based on the illustrations which show mice, rabbits, and a bunny enjoying kid-friendly activities like taking a turn at the playground or helping a friend after they fall. Each page is a single vignette but the animal friends appear in each other’s ‘stories’ so there is continuity throughout the book. It’s a fantastic book with a message that doesn’t spoil the pleasure of reading it. 

An excellent picture book for a slightly older reader is from UK publisher Usborne, called I’m (Almost) Always Kind by Anna Milbourne. The title sets the tone for this book, admitting that it can be difficult to be kind at all times. This book follows a school-aged child who realizes that always being kind is a rather difficult goal to reach. The examples they include are easy to relate to – like caring for a younger sibling, being generous with a parent, and trying to find common ground with a new classmate that they think is ‘grumpy.’ The enthusiastic kid makes mistakes – some are funny (Amelia Bedelia style funny) – until they get the hang of it with advice from their mother. The book has the added bonus of clever little cut outs which are windows to the next page. It’s a beautiful book, well worth the read at any time of year. 

Another pick for families to read together or for an independent reader who wants to make plans for World Kindness Day is Naomi Schulman’s Be Kind: 125 Kind Things to Say and Do: You can Make the World a Happier Place, beautifully illustrated by Hsinping Pan. If you ignore the colourful images designed for children many of these suggestions would be of value to the adults in our lives. It includes suggestions like being the first one to say good morning, always refilling the toilet paper roll, cleaning out the hamster cage without being asked, or taking out the trash. Other suggestions are very kid-specific like picking up toys, setting the dinner table, or finishing chores that are assigned to a sibling (although it would also be kind for adults to help their siblings with chores too). She includes ideas which can be done at the family dinner table, in the yard, at school, or when a person is out in public and has simple reminders like sharing a smile. The entire book is a joyful read. 

World Kindness Day is over 25 years old now, starting in 1998 by a non-profit organization committed to increasing kindness around the world. In recent years the day has seen an increase in popularity through social media posts from groups like the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and I appreciate the lists in which they suggest ways to make kindness the norm, not just something to celebrate on a single day. They also remind us that another element of being kind is remembering to start with ourselves. An excellent way to do this would be to pick up a good book or browse the non-fiction shelves for a recipe book or hobby that might inspire you. Be kind to yourself and cozy up with a new television series or film or check out some excellent music you can use to dance around your kitchen. We can provide excellent recommendations here at the desk – we look forward to seeing you 😊