Channel kindness: Stories of kindness and community

Reviewed by Morgan Dysart

(2020). Born This Way Foundation Reporters with Lady Gaga.

Many of us have heard the words 'Be kind', particularly in the last few years during the Covid-19 pandemic. At a time when the world is so chaotic, with a lot of divide, anger and sadness, the stories in this book provide hope and are a good reminder of the little things we can all do every day that have the ability to change (or even save) lives. This collection of 51 real-life stories shows the impact that kindness has, and the power we each have within us to make a change. Kindness is the responsibility of all of us, and through these short stories we can be inspired by the actions of others. 

Reading each individual story allows you to step into someone else's shoes and think about issues that may not have ever affected you before, or even to just see things from a different perspective. Issues covered here include disabilities, abuse, grief, identity, mental health, bullying and more. There were many topics that I personally hadn't considered or come across before, so it was informative and eye-opening. 'Channel Kindness' prompts you to consider your own actions and beliefs and think about whether there are changes you could make, particularly to the way you treat people, the language you use and the labels we put on others. It's not just about being kind to others though. It's also about being kind to ourselves and to our environment in order to make the world a better place. This book  encourages you to be brave in sharing your own struggles and to realise that it's okay to seek help. 

I've already recommended this book to a school who is focusing on kindness this year. It's a very easy read which can be broken down into the short individual stories and then used as a discussion point to get children talking about what they may be able to do within their own community. When shared, these stories can create conversations that need to be had.

The fact that this book was created by Lady Gaga and her Born This Way Foundation shows us that celebrities are human too and sometimes they struggle with the same things that we all do. Often, we admire celebrities and wish our lives were more like them because we think they have nothing to worry about, but in reality that is far from true. The more I learnt about Lady Gaga, the more I was inspired by not only the work she is doing to make a change in the world but also the things she has been through herself. 'Channel Kindness' celebrates how we are all unique but never alone in our struggles. 

We all have the ability to be kind and if we do choose to be kind, we may just find that it starts to have a ripple effect - and that's how we start to change the world. 

The Mental Health Foundation’s Information Service brings you reviews this Pink Shirt Day on books with bullying prevention themes.

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“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”