They are the words the provincial health officer used to inspire British Columbians through the COVID-19 pandemic. “Be kind. Be calm. Be safe.”
And now those words of Dr. Bonnie Henry are being brought to life in a new picture book from Victoria-based author Monique Gray Smith.
Smith, who is of Cree, Lakota and Scottish ancestry, celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness in her newest picture book, When We Are Kind.
Beautifully illustrated by Diné (Navajo) artist Nicole Neidhardt, When We Are Kind encourages children to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives, communicating an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages.
“The words that go with the last page are ‘When we are kind we remember we are all related.’ And in these times, and not only these times, that’s a really important thing to remember, that we are related and how I act toward somebody will come back in another way,” Smith says.
“So kindness is really fundamentally important for children and their families to foster.”
Smith 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 One Book Giveaway and given to every Grade 1 student across Canada.
When We Are Kind will be released in English and French, as well as an English-Diné dual-language edition (When We Are Kind / Niha’adaahwiinit’iįgo).
Smith is also the author of Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, a middle-grade nonfiction book about residential schools and reconciliation.
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