TIME Magazine’s Kid of the Year Orion Jean Releases Inspirational Children’s Book ‘Race to Kindness’

Written by on May 7, 2024

Orion Jean
Orion Jean / “Race To Kindness”

*In our exclusive conversation with Orion Jean, TIME Magazine’s 2021 Kid of the Year, we explore his newest project: a children’s book titled “Race to Kindness.”

At just 13 years old, Orion has captivated audiences with his remarkable advocacy for compassion and empathy through his Be K.I.N.D. initiative, created in 2020. Now, through his new book, he inspires young readers to embrace kindness as a powerful force for positive change.

“Race to Kindness” showcases rhyming and lyrical text that delights readers of all ages, inspiring them to engage and propagate kindness through simple acts. Per the news release: With illustrations by Darshika Varma, the book is inspired by Orion’s accomplishments, including getting over half a million books donated to children and collecting over 100,000 meals for the food insecure in his community and across the country, all beginning when he was nine years old.  

The book description continues: “Race to Kindness features a boy who takes on small acts of kindness – like a smile or a wave – to bigger actions – where everyone matters and everyone can make a difference. Based on Orion’s Be K.I.N.D. initiative, the characters in the book use the letters in the word “kind” to “Keep your eyes open,” “Include others,” think about how “Nothing is too small” and to “Do something about it” when someone is struggling or facing a challenge.”

“Race to Kindness” drops May 7 from Zonderkidz, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 

Orion’s Be K.I.N.D. initiative was created in 2020, following his fifth-grade win at the National Kindness Speech Contest.

In our conversation with the young author, we discuss the profound impact of his message on shaping a more inclusive and compassionate world and how YOU can get involved with his latest initiative, “Race to 1,000,000 Acts of Kindness.” 

Follow the “Race to 1,000,000 Acts of Kindness” on social media using the hashtag #1MAK.

“Being Time Kid of the Year really gave me a bigger platform to go out there and spread the message I wanted to spread, which was kindness,” Jean told us. 

“There were so many amazing kids out there who were spreading their message as well, so being able to have that platform so more people were able to see what I was doing and the impact I was making in my community,” he continued. “I hope that it inspired other people to go out there and spread kindness in their community as well because, at the end of the day, that’s what I want. I want more people to join this race of kindness. I want more people to go out every day and decide, ‘Hey, I’m going to choose to be kind today.’ That’s what I want people to take away from this book, from this race, and from everything that I’m doing. You have the power to get out there today… and make that difference with kindness”

Watch our full conversation with Orion Jean below.

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