Many of us try to look for the silver linings. We hope for the best while planning for the worse and in the past few months we’ve experienced life in ways that we’ve never before. During COVID times, we’ve seen many who have found use of their unhurried and unscheduled lives. Not just adults but kids too.
Toronto-based author Erin Silver is set to release her latest book, What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19, celebrating kids around the world who have discovered ways to help, to learn, and to make an impact within the communities.
Erin, an established writer in Toronto, was first approached by a publisher to write the book early in the summer and had about a month to find the stories, research and write the book. As a mother herself, she had been inspired already hearing stories about how kids have found ways to make the most out of these most unusual times. She and her husband and sat down one weekend and searched the internet for stories. “Every time we found one on Twitter, on blogs, or in the news we’d get really excited!” said Erin. “Each one was such a gem—it was like winning the lottery many times over. There are definitely even more stories out there. We had to select ones from around the world and were specifically looking for kids under 13, good deeds that weren’t too similar, etc. It was really uplifting to work on this project at a time when the pandemic made things feel really bleak.
While searching out these inspiring stories, Erin felt it was important to show kids on a global scale as well as local. “There are so many impressive young people out there trying to make a difference in the world. But it was also important to show examples from other places, too. COVID affected everyone and brought us all together in a way. It was amazing to find kids as far away as Africa, India and Australia working toward the same goals with the same will to help others. Kids are incredible and their stories show you’re never too little to make an impact.”
One of the most surprising findings for the author was learning about the kids and their resilience. She explains that when most of us were locked in our homes feeling down, depressed and helpless, these kids found ways to help others. “They took a bad situation and made it better for people in need. I was amazed at their kindness, innovation and determination to help in a crisis. Their stories are incredible,” said Erin.
Erin also learned that even little kids can do big things. “They have the power to inspire, educate and bring people together. The kids are shining lights during a dark time. Reading about their accomplishments and writing about them made me feel that everything would be ok.”
Erin was also excited to find many great examples of kids helping others even in her own neighbourhood. She tells us about how one dance team raised over $20,000 for hospitals by holding a dance-a-thon. A hockey team supported a local food bank. Another girl was part of a young entrepreneurs program that put together a virtual concert and an online fitness fundraiser to raise money for Doctors Without Borders and children in Africa. “Each brought their own interests and skills to the forefront to help others. I was truly honoured to chat with these kids and bring their stories to light.”
What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19 by Erin Silver will be available October 27, 2020. Currently available for pre-order through Second Story Press. It will also be available on Amazon.ca and at independent bookstores.