B.C. author celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness in new children's book

·2 min read

The timing may never have been better for a newly released book by Vancouver Island children's book author Monique Gray Smith.

Smith's When We Are Kind, recently released by Orca Book Publishers, celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness and encourages kids to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives.

The Victoria-based writer said the book was in the works long before anyone had heard of COVID-19, but that given the current pandemic, everyone can use a little stress relief and acts of kindness can help with that.

This, she said, is because acts of kindness, whether you are the person engaging in the act or benefiting from it, can increase your dopamine and feelings of happiness.

Orca Book Publishers
Orca Book Publishers

"Kindness is a passageway to inclusivity and I think we are craving a society where there is a greater sense of belonging ... kindness is one of the ways to foster that," Smith said Wednesday in an interview on CBC's On The Island.

The book is intended to help "little citizens" understand the benefits of being kind to one another and Smith said she hopes by hearing the messaging now, they will still be mindful of being kind to one another when they are 15, 20 or 50 years old.

WATCH | Monique Gray Smith reads from her latest book, When We Are Kind

Smith, who is of Cree, Lakota and Scottish ancestry, has previously published two other picture books with Orca: You Hold Me Up and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize-winning My Heart Fills With Happiness, which was selected for the 2019 TD Grade 1 Book Giveaway and given to every Grade 1 student across Canada.

When We Are Kind is available in English and French (Nous sommes gentils), as well as an English-Diné dual-language edition (When We Are Kind / Nihá'ádaahwiinít'íįgo).

It is the first children's book by Diné (Navajo) illustrator Nicole Neidhardt.

The book, released on Oct. 13, reached number two on The Association of Book Publishers of B.C.'s list of the top selling books for the week of Oct. 31.