October is National Bullying Prevention Month, making it a perfect time to really dig into what to do about bullying.
This article flips the conversation from focusing on those who bully, to those who take action to stomp out bullying by spreading kindness.
Before we go any further, I don't want you to miss this:
If you know me well, you know that I think that anytime is actually a good time to discuss this topic.
And you also know that my take on this topic is ... non-traditional.
I have found that real change with bullying online and off will only occur when you:
- Agree that this is all of our issue
- Delve into this topic head on and
- Flip the conversation from "anti-bullying" to "pro kindness"
All of my work is based on these three premises.
Today, I'm going to tell you what happened when I reached out to dozens and dozens of authors and asked them one simple question:
Would you be willing to give away one copy of your book for no other reason than to stand up for kindness?
The resounding answer was, as you may have guessed from this article title, "yes."
So I'm also going to tell you:
- Why I'm creating this list
- Why I titled it what I did
- What you can do with it
- And what it has to do with anti bullying, pro kindness, and you
It's worthwhile to start at the very beginning
In October 2015, for National Bullying Prevention Month, I blogged every single day about kindness that I had found online.
I wanted to flip the conversation from anti bullying to pro kindness.
I also wanted to shine a light on the good that people were doing.
I had a theory that if you choose to focus on and share the good things, the positive things would become so normal, that it would be the negative things that would stand out in your news feeds.
They would seem out of context and strange, rather than the other way around.
I worried that as a society, we had become numb
42% of kids are cyber bullied.
81% of kids report thinking that it would be easier to get away with cyber bullying than in-person bullying.
And cyber bullied kids are 2-9% more likely to attempt suicide than their non-bullied peers.
These are the statists that struck me the hardest when I first started delving into this topic.
They stuck with me because while they saddened me, they didn't shock me.
Bullying stories were in my news feeds daily.
I had a sense of just how prevalent bullying still was even though bullying prevention programs had been around since I was in school.
And I suspected that as a society, we had become so used to hearing stories of online bullying and cruelty, that we shrugged our shoulders passively when we heard about them.
And I thought that this was dangerous.
What I learned
I'm happy to report that my experiment did work the way that I wanted it to.
As the month went on, it became easier and easier to find the positive stories to share. And not only that, but people began sending them to me.
I don't believe that the number of stories about positive things going on in the world was increasing. But rather, my noticing of them became more heightened.
And the only simple—and 100% replicable—reason that this happened for me was that I was refocusing on the good.
And the negative stories?
Well, they definitely still prevailed.
But they seemed absolutely crazy amidst all of the goodness that I was sharing. As they should, right?
My hope was to normalize kindness and "oddify" online cruelty and bullying
And that's exactly what I did within my community.
Taking things a step further
This year, I wanted to do something again to take my focus from the negative to the positive; from anti-bullying to pro-kindness.
But I also wanted to nudge my focus, to our focus.
If I could do this, couldn't anyone?
I decided to find out.
I asked authors to give away one copy of their books in the name of kindness. You can get a full list of those authors and their books in the Kindness Zine—just click the image below!
Because my gut said that three things were true:
Refocusing on kindness is really powerful
In a world where you can choose to stand up for anything, standing up for kindness is being a change-maker.
And in a world where social sharing extends your message in a breath taking way, you can use this fact as a chance to do something good.
What this does for your child
Refocusing on kindness tells your child clearly and directly what you value. The message doesn't get muddled with any others and the directions are extremely clear.
Sharing stories of others who are practicing kindness also shows your child that there are real, live, successful people out there who value kindness.
And last, this creates a clear line from your child to role models who are choosing to make a difference.
So what can you personally do with a list of authors who stand for kindness?
And, importantly, talk about why you're sharing them.
Pretty simple, right?
Now another question you might be asking yourself is what in the world can you do with 45 books?!
I, of course, have some ideas for that, too:
- Read them. It's so often our words that can thread us together.
- Holiday shopping, done. There's nothing like the gift of books.
- Donate them. My heart melts every single time a book is given as a gift. Go melt some hearts!
- Give them away as Random Acts of Kindness. Can you imagine peoples' faces as you did this?!
- Be more purposeful in your acts of kindness and give away specific books to specific people. It's the act of getting to know each other that lessens our capability to be cruel and heightens our ability to be kind.
Convinced? Get the official book list by clicking this image:
There is one thing that I want you to do right now to take action and stand up for kindness.
Look through the list below, take in these authors, bookmark their blogs and their books for later.
And if you choose to read one of these books, drop the author a note and a review.
Their blogs are all linked as well. I can't even begin to tell you how much this means to an author.
So now, the fun part. Let's dig in.
Psst! PIN THIS!
"Every Ugly Word is a gripping and emotional story about the devastating consequences of bullying."
Alexa Bigwarfe & Kerry Rivera
Blog: Lose The Cape
"We try to be super every day, but we don't aspire to be supermom because she simply does not exist. We think it's time for all moms to join together and Lose the Cape."
"Alice's creative comfort food recipes are easy to assemble and can be eaten that day or frozen and stored for a later date."
"In Amalie Jahn's tale about destiny and sibling love, older sister Brooke risks everything and everyone she loves to try and save the life of her younger brother. An early lesson in loyalty, protection, and unbreakable faith among siblings."
"Author Andrea Gribble uses warmth and humor to gently teach kids 4-8 how to rediscover precious time with their families while still enjoying 21st century electronics within healthy boundaries."
Blog: Ann's Rants
"Irreverent, thought-provoking, hilarious, and edgy: a collection of personal stories celebrating motherhood, featuring #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jenny Lawson and Jennifer Weiner, and many other notable writers."
Note: click the button below for a copy of your next best reading list!
"With this unforgettable account of a family's love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe."
"Endlessly twisty, this deliberate head trip will keep readers guessing until the very end. The kind of dark, wild ride that begs to be read in a single sitting."
Avital Norman Nathman
Blog: Avital Norman Nathman
"Refreshingly honest, frequently funny, and overall intelligently self-reflective, these voices reassure the anxious and guilt-ridden that 'there is no such thing as a good mother. There is only the good enough mother."
"Equal parts suspenseful and sexy, philosophical and adventurous, Order of Seven delivers a story that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about the hands that carry fate."
"A perfect beach read, a best pick for a vacation or a delicious page-turner to wile away any afternoon."
"Full of wise, playful, and effective strategies ... if every parent picked up this book, we'd have a lot happier families."
"Christine inspires with thoughtful and motivating insights from her own experiences, explaining the value of letting go and receiving help—two challenging concepts every woman faces."
Blog: Christine Organ
"Christine Organ not only talks about faith and spirituality, she lives it, digging into each experience with a contagious curiosity and passion ... As you turn the last page of this book, you'll be inspired to step out of your own box, unpack your baggage and weave your own story of sacred connection with the gossamer threads of grace, wonder and everyday miracles."
"Entrenched secrets, mysterious spirits, and an astonishing friendship weave together in this extraordinary and haunting debut."
Blog: Ask Doctor G
"Get the Behavior You Want ... Without Being the Parent You Hate! is a roadmap of quick, concrete strategies to help parents use everyday opportunities to create respectful, responsible, and resilient children between the ages of 18 months and 12 years without screaming or nagging."
"Mi-she-gas (pronounced mish•eh•GOSS) is a Yiddish word that literally means insanity or madness, but is used more playfully in this award-winning humor book to describe how children drive their parents crazy (and vice versa)."
"Updrift gives sirens a sexy makeover in this gorgeously evocative read. Compelling and romantic, you'll be thinking about this book long after the last page is turned."
"Engaging and accessible, Kindness Wins is a straightforward and nonjudgemental launching pad to help you and your children discuss how to best navigate the murky social media waters."
Blog: Minivan Momma
"Her stories will not only have you holding your sides with laughter, but inviting your own parents to live with you. Or maybe not."
"A familiar message, but also a crucial and timely one, charmingly presented."
"The Last Boys Picked" is an important and relevant addition to the parenting bookshelf. It offers insightful and practical advice for helping all boys—those who don't play sports as well as those that do—navigate the somewhat difficult journey of boyhood."
"A journey into the heart of the Beat Generation and the complexities of family relationships. Zark's writing is sensitive and highly engaging."
"Gracen's third contemporary featuring the Harrison siblings is her best yet."
"Chosen Quarry kept me guessing at every turn. I absolutely loved the strong female protagonist and the fact she didn't suffer from any of the traditional foibles writers try to assign to women ... I read the entire book in one sitting, only raising my head at 2am when the last page was turned."
"What a powerful book. An insight into the world of both sides of adoption. I couldn't put this book down until I was finished with it. I found it touching, honest, and beautiful."
Blog: Jordan Rosenfeld
"A Writer's Guide to Persistence is your road map through the rugged terrain of the writer's path. You'll discover advice and techniques for cultivating a fruitful, deeply meaningful writing life by practicing your craft, polishing your work, and persisting through even the toughest challenges."
Blog: Julie Burton
"Burton's instructional guide to self-care for mothers is full of tips and techniques, and long on understanding and empathy."
"This is the first book I have read from this author and let me tell you that she spins a story to thrill anyone who appreciates a good fantasy."
"An engaging, not-to-miss debut with characters that stayed with me long after I finished reading."
"Kate is a born writer and teacher, and her enthusiasm for essays about motherhood and for teaching the nuts and bolts of writing so that ordinary mothers have the tools to write their stories is a gift to the world."
"For anyone who's ever lost—or maybe even found—a mother. I swore I'd never let my birthmother into my life, but then Mom died of ovarian cancer and my birthmother, Val, found me through my mom's obituary. Hard to argue with fate. Still harder to let go of childhood promises, even when you discover everything you dreamed of being in part of who you are."
Blog: Practical Parenting
"The Happy Kid Handbook is a must-read for parents who want joyful households without all the stress of 'perfect' parenting."
Blog: Katrina Kenison
“Katrina Kenison beckons readers into her world and proves to be an insightful guide and companion through the vicissitudes of life.”
"In Parting Gifts, Willis paints the portrait of three sisters with careful and exacting strokes. All three women are seeking to overcome their own personal and shared tragedies, and you will become attached to each one of them as they make their way back home to each other."
"Love. Fear. Passion. Hope. Walk through the many worlds of human experience that live in the creative mind of up-and-coming author Kim Bongiorno."
"Masterfully conceived and crafted, Barr's dazzling debut novel has it all: pass and jealousy, intrigue and danger."
"Liz and Lisa's voices are warm and comforting, like a relaxed chat with great friends while wearing cozy PJ's and sipping wine. Highly recommend."
"Written with love, empathy, and humor, Lisa Goich's story of her mother's final journey is at once heartbreaking and inspiring."
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler
Blog: Science Of Parenthood
"Science of Parenthood is a laugh-put-loud funny in a totally non-daunting format. (Sorry, every other unread book on my nightstand!)"
"Marina Budhos’s extraordinary and timely novel examines what it’s like to grow up under surveillance, something many Americans experience and most Muslim Americans know."
"Discover what happens when you choose to open your heart—and your hands—to the possibilities of each God-given moment."
"BROKEN PLACES succeeds as the gritty memoir of a women who was sexually assaulted when she was young and the author's story of survival will surprise the reader because of its candidness and unexpected ending."
"This is a must-read for every family that yearns to create peace and harmony."
"Impassioned, well-reasoned, and thoroughly researched, Bottled Up asks us to think with more nuance and compassion about whether breastfeeding should remain the holy grail of good parenthood."
"A scandalously funny memoir about starting a new family while taking care of the felonious one you've already got."
Well there you have it. 45 women who are putting their money where their mouths are, their books where you are, positivity where negativity is, and kindness where bullying is.
The concept of creating a healthy relationship with technology was born of my bestselling book Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online. Because a world filled with tweens who use the Internet even just a 'lil more kindly? Is a better one, as far as I'm concerned.
Free Resources For You:
Read the first chapter of Kindness Wins for free by clicking right here or on the button below.
AUTHOR: GALIT BREEN
Hi, I'm Galit. (*My name is pronounced guh-leet + means little waves, like in the ocean.) I give you the tools you need to let your kids benefit from the amazing things the online world has to offer them and create a popsicle dripping, chapter book reading (in one sitting!), leaf crunching childhood that they deserve. Welcome, I'm so glad you're here. What can you expect from me? I spill it all right here.