8 Books about
TO CHALLENGE & INSPIRE YOU
As Random Acts of Kindness Week comes to a close, I wanted to share with you some books I have been reading about the subject of kindness. When I went looking for books on kindness, I was pleasantly surprised to find there are many! These eight are the ones I chose (for now), and I wasn’t disappointed.
I have found myself inspired, encouraged and challenged about what kindness really means and what is really required to lead a kind life. I hope you will find them motivating as well.
by Angela C. Santomero
Angela C. Santomero is the co-creator of the successful children’s television programs Blue’s Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Her charming book, Radical Kindness, teaches the reader about what she calls ‘heart-seeing’: the art of interpreting what you observe with the conscious awareness that you can never know the whole story about another person.
Her challenge is to treat everyone as equally important and with the same grace we would all like to receive. This radical sort of kindness can only occur through practice, by loving ourselves, those closest to us and the world at large. But it has the potential to transform our world into a much kinder place.
by Brad Aronson
Brad Aronson’s wife was diagnosed with leukemia and they were overwhemed at the oupouring of kindness from friends, family and complete strangers. He started writing down these acts of generosity…and never stopped. Collecting stories of the kindness of others became something of a personal project for him, which has resulted in this truly inspirational book.
If you have ever wondered if there were any kind people left in the world, this book will remind you there are. And Aronson has provided more than a book of heartwarming stories, but also a practical resource to guide you into being a more intentionally kind person yourself.
Be Kind to Yourself
by Cindy Bunch
In Be Kind to Yourself, you will find a treasure trove of thoughtful Practices to help you re-connect with yourself and with God. Cindy Bunch is a spiritual director and editor, and she gently encourages the reader to be more gracious and compassionate with themselves as they work to recognize the joy in their lives. Her guidance is shaped by her own painful journey through this process, which she mindfully shares throughout the book.
Be Kind to Yourself is a small book with a big and generous heart. I look forward to gifting it to others.
The Kindness Diaries
by Leon Logothetis
Leon Logothetis had already had one adventure of a lifetime. Now he went looking for another. He decided to travel around the world, on a yellow motorbike with a sidecar, on the kindness of strangers. No money, no hotel reservations, just making connections and friends along the way.
The catch: he would use his own resources to repay the kindness he was offered. They wouldn’t know in advance, but as he got to know someone maybe he could offer a kindness back to them as well.
This book is filled with his stories. All the random strangers who ultimately believed in his mission and were willing to help. And how some of their lives were also changed forever.
Kindness and Wonder:
Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever
by Gavin Edwards
Fred Rogers is perhaps our greatest cultural icon of kindness. The first half of Kindness and Wonder is a wonderful (and relatively short) biography you should take the time to read, especially if you are unfamiliar with his life story. The insight into his history and a peek behind the scenes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood will humanize the man and make you like him all the more.
In the second half of the book, Ten Ways to Live More Like Mister Rogers Right Now, Edward’s creates a model for living based on how Fred Rogers lived his life, on and off of the show. It is such an inspiration to read about a man who was so much more than just a kindly children’s televesion host, but a true force for kindness whose legacy lives on.
The Language of Kindness
by Christie Watson
Other books about kindness are well, kind. They are gentle and positive and focus on the warm and fuzzy side of kindness. In contrast, The Language of Kindness shows us how gritty and painful real kindness can be.
Christie Watson was a nurse in the UK for twenty years. Here she shares her stories and describes what the most elemental kindness looks like from the perspective of a caregiver.
This powerful book shows us the path to powerful kindness is found through the acknowledgment of our shared mortality. We often look away from other’s illness and pain, a luxury nurses do not have. And this very personal, very challenging brand of deep kindness, is the sort of kindness we will all need, sooner or later.
by Houston Kraft
Houston Kraft makes a living teaching kids about kindness, self-regulation and resilience. He writes with humor and compassion, as well as vulnerability about his own personal struggles to be a kinder man. His book about what kindness has come to mean in our current culture versus what kindness really is will challenge your own ideas of what kindness in action really looks like.
Deep Kindness explains what is necessary to wield the sort of kindness described in The Language of Kindness (above). If you want to exercise more than a superficial version of kindness in your own life, this is a good place to begin.
by R.J. Palacio
If you haven’t read Palacio’s bestseller, Wonder, please grab yourself a copy ASAP. This lovely book about 10-year-old Auggie Pullman’s first year in public school was recommended to me some years ago. I bought a copy, but only read it recently. Auggie’s story perfectly describes how challenging it can sometimes be to choose kindness, but what a difference that kindness can make. This book will make you laugh and cry and remind you no matter what we look like on the outside, on the inside we are all looking for the same love and acceptance.
We all believe in kindness. We all want the world to be a kinder place. I hope these books will give you some food for thought about what that looks like in your own life.
After my reading I have had to give some more thought to what kindness will look like for me moving forward. We can’t all be a nurse like Christie Watson, or a Mister Rogers, or travel the world in a yellow motorbike. But perhaps we can work harder on heart-seeing others, and being open to opportunities to help, without judgment, when they cross our paths.
I hope these books have inspired you to do the work of becoming a kinder person. They certainly have for me.
You will learn a lot about yourself
if you stretch in the direction
Of emotional bravery.
Be a warrior for love.