Spreading the Love: Little Shop of Stories hosts first ever Year of Kindness

Little Shop of Stories hosts Year of Kindness 2017

Spreading+the+Love%3A+Little+Shop+of+Stories+hosts+first+ever+Year+of+Kindness

Isis Amusa

Spreading the Love

Little Shop of Stories hosts first ever Year of Kindness

Isis Amusa

Almost 900 incidents of harassment and intimidation were reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the 10 days following November’s election.

Afterward, Decatur discussions turned to the election season’s local impact.

“We had concerns on the hateful and divisive speech, atmosphere and tone of the election season and how that was impacting kids,” said Diane Capriola, owner of Little Shop of Stories.

To counter the hate, Capriola created the first-ever Year of Kindness project in Decatur.

Using monthly book club themes like refugees, racial justice and gender equality, the Kindness project aims to encourage compassionate and thoughtful dialogue with kids.

“We’ve only had a few book clubs but really believe that books can be great conversation starters,” Capriola said. “This can help parents and teachers have conversations with kids about confusing or difficult ideas that [the kids] might not understand.”

Madison Hatfield leads the reading and discussion at the book club meeting

As the project starts to get off the ground, organizers have already made an impact.

“We got publishers to donate books for the refugee family literacy center in Clarkston and they donated over 500 brand new books,” Capriola said.

Books are one of the most important parts of this project.

“I believe that we learn empathy through reading books,” Capriola said. “When you read a book, you are putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

In 2015, the Better Together Initiative hosted community-wide discussions to help people put themselves in others’ shoes.

The initiative’s goals line up with those of the Kindness project, which include spreading the awareness of others throughout the community. Advisory board members Linda Harris and Christy Amador fully support Capriola’s project.

“[The Better Together Initiative] isn’t doing this project, but we are here to support [Capriola],” Harris said. “At the Waldorf School, they have after school activities that help educate kids on the awareness of others. When we heard about this initiative, Better Together was able to make those connections.”

Amador expressed her excitement about the Kindness project.

“I think that raising compassionate kids eventually becomes a compassionate community. They will become the people who will bring those attitudes and actions forward,” she said.  

With a number of parents expressing gratitude for the book clubs, Capriola hopes to continue the loving and positive space created by this project.  

“I love kids, I love stories and I love bringing the two together,” Capriola said. “With this project, I hope the kids learn that through small acts of kindness, you can make a big difference.”

All photos by Isis Amusa.

Contact the writer, Isis Amusa at 19isisamusa@csdecatur.net

For more information go to

Little Shop of Stories: http://www.littleshopofstories.com/

The Better Together Initiative: http://www.decaturnext.com/2015/04/better-together-meet-the-leadership-circle/

The Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/20161129/ten-days-after-harassment-and-intimidation-aftermath-election