The Power of Goodness: Art and Stories for a Culture of Peace is a short story book with children’s art from Chechnya, Russia and around the world illustrating narratives of nonviolence, healing and reconciliation. Together, the words and images capture the excitement of action, joy of seeing from new perspectives, and encouragement of witnessing how small actions make big differences.
These stories are written for adults but with language that is accessible to any age. The captivating children's art illustrating these stories adds a unique and moving dimension to the reader's experience.
With forwards from Pete Seeger and Musa Akhmadov these stories will inspire a new audience of readers and children's art lovers. Scroll down to read excerpts from the Forwards.
To purchase a copy of the first edition, visit CourageousGifts.com.
"This is a collection of Chechen stories, essays, and art created by children ages six to 20 who were inspired by their own experiences in their war-torn country... The illustrations by Chechen children and teens are thoughtful and a nice counterbalance to the heavy topics of the entries.” ~ School Library Journal
"The Power of Goodness is a collection of stories gathered during the Russian invasion of Chechnya, and after World War II, that are now used to provide instruction on peace and nonviolence. The illustrations were drawn by children and young adults impacted by international conflict who used the essays as tools for healing. Each essay tells a story of individuals who experienced conflict, but found peace and reconciliation. While many of the stories take place in Chechnya and Russia such as "Neighbors," there are examples of conflict resolution and nonviolence in France with "The House that Love Built," and the United States with "The Healing Power of Forgiveness." The essays offer a variety of perspectives and the stories are inspiring. They are a good reminder that even in the most dire of circumstances, peace is still relevant and nonviolent solutions can be found. Each individual action of reconciliation can be used as an inspiration for others." ~ Lynn Donahue, Director, Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, St. John Fisher College
“A unique, impressive, exceptional, phenomenal and extraordinary anthology, “The Power of Goodness: Art and Stories for a Culture of Peace” is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.” ~ Midwest Book Review
Chechen Edition (2014)
Today many of the world's youth are exposed to countless forms of violence and have few models of alternatives to help them pattern their lives. This edition of The Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation is the Friends International Library (FIL) committee's contribution to make these alterative a reality. This trilingual story collection grew out of a wish to help young people learn the ways of peace and help them live a philosophy of love, as opposed to hate. Each story in this edition is written in Chechen, English and Russian.
Most of the stories are about actual events, some from the lives of young people. Several stories are from Chechnya. All stories are illustrated by youth ages 9-20 from Chechnya, Russia, Germany and the Unites States. In the front end papers, we are pleased to include art by Ingush artist Ali Hashagulgov and a quotation by Kunta-Hadji Kishiev. In the back end papers, we are pleased to include art by US artist Maureen Sharon and a quotation by the 17th century Quaker Stephen Grellet.
Power of Goodness was awarded $80,000 for the Power of Goodness, Chechen Edition from the United States Institute of Peace, which received 518 applications and made only 25 awards!
Unfortunately printing prices in Chechnya skyrocketed, so the grant only covered printing and distributing 3,500 copies. There is a need for 4,500 to 6,000 copies throughout the Chechen school system. An additional $7,000 will allow an additional 1,000 copies to be printed and distributed. Please consider giving, if you are able.
Editions Under Development
We continue to expand the Story Pool. Editions under development:
- Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation, Volume 2 Indonesia
- Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation, Volume 3 Nepal
- Power of Goodness: Training Manual
To support these editions, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.
Excerpts from the English edition Forwards
In these dangerous times we can all be encouraged to be active by reading this book. Hooray for all the people, young and old, in widely separated parts of the world, who have cooperated to put it together. If we all get active in some little way, we will see this power (сила) leap over barriers of language, barriers of religion, barriers of politics.
“What you witness in childhood is like an inscription cut in stone”
This Chechen proverb reminds us of the part which early experience plays in our later lives. What happens at the start of life’s pathway has enormous influence on our destiny.
Nowadays the Chechen children bear bloodstained inscriptions – cut deep into their hearts by war, suffering and want. The suffering of Chechnya’s children is great indeed: so great that if they could only express it, their bitter tears would cover the whole of our planet.
‘No revolution whatsoever” – so said the Russian writer F.M.Dostoevsky –“could ever be worth a single teardrop from a child’s eye.” For what great cause, then, do the politicians contend in Chechnya – as they compel the shedding of so many children’s tears? To ease the pain in the hearts to Chechen children, and to set their minds free from thoughts that weigh them down… this is surely is a task that calls for help from the entire human race.
That help is partly provided by the publication of this collection of stories for children – stories which speak of loving-kindness and human sympathy. Such kindness is needed wherever cruelty predominates, so that it can surpass cruelty a hundred times over – and help to consign it to oblivion. Yet cruelty and inhumanity have held sway over the Chechen land for ten long years already.
And so the publication of this book – in three languages – means a very great deal. No doubt about it: a priceless gift is being offered to Chechen children – the chance to read it in their own language.
We give special thanks to the following people for their generous contribution to the Power of Goodness project:
Little Star Chechen psychologists
Pete Seeger (U.S. folksinger/songwriter)
Musa Akmadov (contemporary Chechen writer)
Zalpa Bersanova (Chechnya)
Hasan Turkayev (Chechnya)
Tatiana Pavlova (Russia)
John Coutts (Britain)
Shukran Suleimanova (Chechen)
Rosemary Wilvert (English - Story Questions)
Liana Forest (English - Story Questions)
Michael Hays (Art)
Foster Covers (Design)
Front: Kunta-hadji Kishiev (beloved and peaceful Muslim sheik who brought Islam to Chechnya)
End: Stephen Grellet (18th century Quaker)
Ali Hashagulgov (Front)
Mauren Sharon (Back)
Friends House Moscow
Chace Fund Committee
Obadiah Brown Fund
Jonathan Rhoads Fund
Sara Bowers Fund Committee, International Outreach Committee
Cynthia and Miles Edwards
Daniel C. Shaffer
Many small contributors
Friends International Library Committee dedicated the Chechen version of Power of Goodness to the memory of Tatiana Pavlova and Anne Friend who both worked faithfully on its creation.
—Janet Riley, Johan Maurer, Misha Roshchin, Sylvia Mangalam, and Chris Hunter
Jenna@Power-of-Goodness.info • 90 W University St. Alfred, NY 14802 USA • 607-542-9029