Reviews /

Be The Change: Be Kind – Rise Up and Make a Difference to The World

Authored by Marcus Sedgwick
Illustrated by Thomas Taylor
Published by Summersdale Books

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Be The Change: Be Kind is described as an ‘interactive activity title’ and it would be interesting to see where this book is shelved in bookshops. At just under one hundred and fifty pages it is a relatively short book yet it contains explanations of big, complex ideas and weighty subjects such as religion, philosophy and ethics. This is a thoughtful, comprehensive guide to kindness and its place in society.

In his introduction Marcus Sedgwick says that this is the book he wished he could have read as a child. He hopes to provide his readers with the tools to use kindness in everyday life and to make a difference. The structure of Be Kind, moving from an exploration of what kindness is and where does kindness come from to guidance on being kind to yourself and how small acts of kindness can change the world ensures that this is both readable and accessible. Alongside the information Sedgwick also presents a range of ‘what if’ scenarios that are relatable for his readers and encourage them to think about their own actions and those of others in an empathetic manner. There are opportunities for self-analysis and reflection with sections for the reader to complete themselves. These would work excellently in the classroom as prompts for discussion and practical activities during PSHE lessons.

The information given on religion, philosophy, ethics and topics such as genetics, altruism and egotism, ‘in groups’ and ‘out groups’ is presented in a considered manner and with examples to support the ideas. The overall presentation is engaging and Thomas Taylor’s illustrations and design give this practical handbook an added appeal.

There are many valuable tips included such as how to cope when others are unkind to you and simple, small steps to make in your own community to bring about change. The tone is both optimistic and encouraging and this would be a valuable book for use both in schools and at home. Although the age guidance suggests 9-12 years it would work with teens too.