Book Title – My Act Of Heart
Author – Various
Ideated & Curated By – Anjali G Sharma & Deepika Ahuja
Recommended Age – 7+ years
Ideated and Curated by Anjali G Sharma and Deepika Ahuja, My Act Of Heart is an anthology of stories written by children from around the globe which bring to fore the virtues of compassion and generosity towards everyone, irrespective of genders and races. The stories included in this book are heartwarming and at times quite funny as well! Majority of the plots in the book are of a child or a group of children (for the most part friends) who either go somewhere where they observe someone in need, or chance upon something or someone they can help. Whatever be the case, the children in question choose to act on the scenario and with the consent of their parents or grandparents, help those in need. Now, if every single story was about helping a human, we could get pretty bored reading the book after a point. But what makes this book interesting throughout are the varied acts of compassion which are each unique. The book manages to keep the reader engaged and wanting to know what is coming next.
Let’s talk about the book’s format. The book is divided into different sections based on the topic of the story. The sections have 3 main themes: Compassion towards animals, Compassion towards nature and of course, Compassion towards humans.
Compassion towards animals and nature sounds pretty straight forward. You just help an animal or plant in need.
But, compassion towards humans can mean more than just an old homeless man needing money. It can even mean being compassionate towards your own family! Which is why compassion towards friends and family is one of my favourite units in the book. Nowadays, with so much exposure to technology, we can easily forget about our caring grandparents or those uncles and aunts who spoiled us with chocolates on every special occasion, which is why it is important to keep a part of your mind reserved for your family. Our nani or dadi may not seem like the most interesting person to spend time with but that doesn’t change the fact that she would appreciate talking to you at least once in 3 days. Teatime with Grandma written by Aditya Tyagi of Ghaziabad, India touched me a lot. In this story, Aditya talks about how making a phone call to your grandma every morning could make her day and after a few calls, yours too! Apart from friends and family, there is another person who deserves undue love and care and that person is –
Yes! Us! We get so lost in what society thinks that we forget to love ourselves from time to time. The Girl in the Mirror by Ananya Ramanam of Hyderabad, India teaches us how to do just that. Every day, make a list of a few things you like about yourself. We are often made to think that appreciating self is akin to vanity but self-acceptance is not about pride. It is about loving oneself and treating ourselves the way we would have treated someone else in the same situation. We are often kinder to others and harsher on self, and Ananya makes a strong statement about changing this.
Now coming to:
They’re such innocent creations of God, yet they get so much mistreatment from humans.
We may see a small sewer rat or a stray pig in the less posh places of the world, instantly fling them into the category of “disgrace to the roadsides” and conveniently get on with our life. What if the cow or bull you just saw had been injured? Or what if a stray dog had lost its parents? Giving a hungry dog a bit of your evening samosa or buying a cat some cat food can barely make a difference to your life.
But who can say it won’t make a difference to them?
My Upgraded Version by Ishika Roy of Ghaziabad, shows us precisely this. In this story, Ishika is walking home from her tuition when she sees an injured hamster. She brings the creature home and nurses it until it regains its full health. Then she makes it her pet and names it ‘Kookie’. This story in particular, gives me a feeling of warmth and happiness. Small acts like these are enough to change our lives forever. Which is why I no longer classify street animals as ‘vicious’ or ‘disgusting’. Every living creature can feel and we must remember this.
Now finally, my closing thoughts on this book.
I feel that the best part of this book is the little sections at the end of each story. It’s nice to know about how well everyone is treating those around them, but it’s not enough to simply read about them, toss the book aside and get back to our daily lives. We need to actually implement them in our lives when given the chance. This is why you should not skip the little sections of advice at the end of each story. Every story in this book is unique and teaches us one lesson or another that could come in use someday in the future.
If you ask me what I disliked about this book, I can think of nothing really.
It’s just my own preferences that made me find a few stories more interesting than the others, but that might not be the experience of every reader. You don’t need to be of a specific age to read this book. In fact, quite a lot of stories are written by 7 or 8 year old children which makes it an easy read. Anyone and everyone can read this book and I think they should too. The last thing I have to say is that this book goes to show how much kindness is hidden inside each and every one of us. The choice to bring it out and discover your own kindness is yours.
You can purchase your copy of the book from here.
// This book review has been penned by 11-year-old Sharanya Swarna from Hyderabad as a part of the book showcasing and reading activities at BTB //