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  • Writer's pictureJoey Amato

A Kids Book About Kindness Underscores Pride’s Messages of Love and Inclusion



In A Kids Book About Kindness, available now, author and LGBTQ+ cultural leader Jackson Cooper (he/they) shares accessible and actionable ways for children and grownups to create a kinder world. Using interactive prompts that encourage conversation, colorful sticker- and emoji-like images, and a four-part “kindness toolkit” of smiles, words, energy, and time, the book is written for children five years and up and their caregivers to read together and help create a world where kindness is seen, shown, and felt by everyone.


Posing questions like “When was the last time someone made you smile?” and “If you could hold kindness in your hands, what shape would it be?,” A Kids Book About Kindness proclaims that everyone has the supplies to be a kind person. The book highlights small but meaningful gestures of kindness that can make a big difference, pairing these actions with mantras including “Kindness is for all, no matter who you are, who your family is, how big your house is, what school you go to, or what your hobbies are.”


Its joyful and inclusive approach demonstrates that showing kindness to yourself and others is empowering and contagious, fitting for June’s Pride Month. As inspiration, Cooper, who also serves as Executive Director of the American Genre Film Archive, a nationally renowned nonprofit and one of the largest film archives in the world for genre films, thought back to his childhood mentors who first demonstrated the value of kindness to him, and the creative safe spaces he found in the arts.


“At a very early age, I was surrounded by incredible creatives and artists who believed in creating meaningful communities,” Cooper remembers. “As a young queer person growing up in the South it offered me a true safe haven for me because it brought people of all backgrounds, philosophies, and mindsets together to appreciate the power of community–something that connects us and epitomizes the value of kindness.”


To write the book, Cooper, a Raleigh, North Carolina native now based in Seattle, drew from more than 15 years of experience working in the cultural space, producing more than 100 live classical and chamber music concerts, theater performances, and film retrospectives, and his career in arts philanthropy and education.


It was within these artistic communities that he learned the value of process over product: “When I began to write this book, I wanted to position kindness as a practice, something that requires work and repetition much like an actor learning their lines or a singer warming up before a show. Kindness is part of a process of becoming the best versions of ourselves.”


While the book is accessible to everyone, Cooper sees it as a tool especially helpful for families with LGBTQ+ parents or for young queer people navigating their identities and experiences within the world, especially during a politically charged election year.


“There is no dedicated, siloed space for kindness; it can and should be brought into every space we visit, whether that’s an office, a classroom, a restaurant, the grocery store, or at home,” said Cooper, who is also launching a podcast spin-off of the book in 2024. “I want the next generation to have the tools and confidence within them to go out and share their gifts. Kindness is key to unlocking every person’s potential.”


A Kids Book About Kindness is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop. For more information about the book and author, visit jcooperarts.com.



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