Monday, March 23, 2015

Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Genre: Non-Fiction, Informational, Teens and Adults
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I originally agreed to read and review this book because it sounded like something I needed on my school shelves.  I had no idea how right I would be.  This book was written after two major events in
 the author's life.  The first event involved an article she had written for The Huffington Post. She suddenly found herself a victim of cyberbullying.  The second event was her daughter wanting to post things to social media.  Because of her previous experience she realized how important it was to teach her daughter social responsibility on social media.   This review came at a most opportune time in my school year.  We recently had a group of kids making negative comments to each other through something as simple as clapping.  Clapping toward a person was the same thing as calling them a very negative name.  When I spoke to each of my classes and explained that this was a form of bullying and would not be tolerated and that administration had been alerted to this form of bullying it stopped, or so I thought.  Two days later a young lady asked to show me her Instagram. She was upset by the next level these students had taken the clapping.  They were told to mention the name of the person and to send the clap on through to their followers to gather claps.  She was very disturbed by this.  For this reason I am glad I read the book this weekend.

This book has taught me a parent of grown children and a teacher several things.  First I need to make sure I check and double check my own responses.  I need to take time to address my students on the issue of social responsibility on social media.  I've seen several of them on Facebook and I have had private conversations about what they are posting.  It seems that I should just assume that not all parents are going to teach their children and I will do so. This week is our last week before Spring Break and end of the quarter.  I am going to dedicate one of those days to this lesson.

Lessons can be taken straight from her table of contents.  We must always remember that there is someone on the other side of the screen.  One of the most important things she talked about was not talking about someone's body.  That means good or bad.  My favorite was Chapter 6, "If You Wouldn't Say It or Show It to Your Mama, Keep It Offline". This is the one I am going to start my class with.  I need to remind my students that "The Internet Isn't Permanent, But It Is Public and It Is Loud" (Chapter 8).  Students don't think about this at all. Chapter's 9 and 10 are the other two that I find so important to discuss with my students.  Chapter 9 is called "Just Because You See It, Doesn't Mean It's Yours".  Kids seem to have a real problem, as do some adults, understanding this. Finally, Chapter 10 teaches that we are responsible for every word we write online.  Just because we post something as anonymous doesn't mean we aren't responsible.  I guess I've always figured if I was ashamed to put my name to it then I didn't need to post it.  

This is a book that all parents and teachers should read and share with their kids.  It is probably one of the most valuable books around.  It teaches lessons that not only kids but adults need to know as well.

About the Author
Galit Breen was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously spoiled miniature golden doodle. You can learn more about Galit by visiting:

1 comment:

  1. I can't thank you enough for this generous review! I would absolutely love to hear how your classroom discussions go!

    Thank you, again, truly. This means so much to me!