Power of Goodness collects stories from the lives of real people

that depict instructional moments in how to rely on the power of goodness in difficult situations and the amazing results of doing so.  Our vision is to inspire readers, listeners, viewers, and participants to act with courage and to bring good into the lives around them.

The stories are written for children and illustrated by children

in ways compelling to people of any age, depicting the excitement of action, the joy of seeing from new perspectives, and the encouragement of small acts that make big differences. We invite you to:

  • Follow us on Facebook at the link above.
  • Subscribe to our E-news list at the form below and share with your community.
  • Read the story collections.
  • Download or purchase our publications.
  • Book an exhibition or event for youth or community, teachers and counselors, or citizen leader.
  • Register for online or in-person training.
  • Submit suggested new stories or translation, or to join the review or support teams
  • Donate for new stories, translations and youth networks to spread the message of peace.

For more information write to PeaceMinistries@FriendsPeaceTeams.org

Story Collections

Legal Note 

These stories were published for Power of Goodness of Peacebuilding UK and Friends Peace Teams.

Conscience Studio (cc-by-sa) 2016 Story Attribution: Content under Creative Commons licenses may be downloaded, translated, and used to create new stories provided you give appropriate credit and indicate if changes were made.

Friends Peace Teams


The Power of Goodness: Community Guide and Agendas

offers thematic mini-workshop agendas for experienced community facilitators or AVP facilitators (AVP-USA AVP International) who have taken the AVP-Cultures of Peace special topic series to use for 1.5 hour programs in peace libraries, school clubs and social events. It includes background materials and tips for facilitating, but primarily offers agenda that carry a theme across the opening, story, discussion, activity, play and reflection.

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English Edition (July 2016)

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.

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Power of Goodness: Teacher’s Manual

A collection of methodological and didactic information and recommendations that draw from years of experience gained by the psychologists of the Little Star children’s rehabilitation program in Chechnya, a project of the British charity, Peacebuilding UK, since 1997. It’s aim is to enhance and simplify the task of the teachers working with the book, The Power of Goodness, in the classroom.

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Teachers Manual Power of Goodness

Recent Articles

Submit Stories or Translations

It’s the collaborative, volunteer work of many ordinary people everywhere who make this possible! There are many practical ways to help the Power of Goodness Global Story Pool. Your participation is greatly appreciated. To get involved, please email us your name, address, and phone number. 

  • USE the stories: Read and discuss the stories then send us a brief description about using the stories with your contact information. You may also choose to send photos.
  • READ our eNews: To keep yourself informed on the development of this work, subscribe to our eNews email list.
  • TRANSLATE the stories: Translate to your local language. Once formally edited and confirmed by three different types of users—child, adult and professional, please send us the translations with names of translator, editor and reviewer comments.
  • SUBMIT a Story: If you have a story pass it along whether it is already written or just an idea, experience or relationship contact us. We can help you research and develop the story into final form for possible inclusion in the Global Story Pool.
  • ILLUSTRATE a Story: Collaborate with local writers and artists to locate young people ages six to twenty to illustrate stories.
  • COORDINATE a Local Print Edition: If you have a small group locally who have been submitting local stories and would like to explore creating a local print edition.
  • COORDINATE the Story Pool: This work is coordinated by a team of volunteers who work over email and Skype.
Guidelines for Readers       Guidelines for Writers       Guidelines for Illustrators 

Schedule the Exhibition

This traveling exhibition presents original artwork by young people ages 6 – 20 from Chechnya, Russia and around the world illustrating stories of nonviolence and reconciliation from the lives of real people. These works capture the excitement of action, the joy of seeing things from new perspectives and the encouragement of witnessing how small actions make big differences.

For any questions, please contact the Peace Ministries Committee.


Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation grew from a book, Lighting Candles in the Dark, originally collected in English and published in the U.S.A. by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM, 1964), which later turned the copyright over to Friends General Conference (FGC, 1992 and 2001).

That book included short stories about people who showed bravery and courage as they dealt nonviolently with dangerous or difficult situations and social issues. Friends International Library committee added a pool of inspiring stories from many countries and cultures based on universal themes—courage, nonviolence, justice, friendship, cooperation, and care for the earth—that spoke to Russians and Chechens.

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Power of Goodness 

Violence and war erodes fundamental cognition. Children and adults need to engage in developmental play in order to recover from war, violence, or prolonged stress.
  • From conflict to peacebuilding: the power of early childhood initiatives. Connolly, Paul and Jacqueline Hayden (2007). Redmond, WA: World Forum Foundation.
  • Early childhood education of Syrian refugees. Sesame Street and International Rescue Committee (2017). 100 and Change MacArthur Foundation Award.

Chechnya’s Minister of Education wrote a letter of support that states that copies of the Power of Goodness should be available in every library throughout Chechnya.

July 2007

To Friends International Library

Johan Maurer, Anne Friend, Sylvia Mangalam, Mikhail Roshchin, Janet Riley

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Chechen Republic expresses deep gratitude to the Friends International Library and particularly to project coordinators Janet Riley and Mikhail Roshchin for the publication of the book “The Power of Goodness” as a gift to Chechnya’s children.

This is a priceless gift! It’s noteworthy that it was published in three languages–English, Russian, and Chechen–which will enable greater mastery of these languages.

The contents of the book also deserve attention. They basically include the best works of world-class writers–stories of nonviolence and reconciliation, of good deeds, carried out by people in various times and countries. It is encouraging that stories from Chechen writers were included in the collection.

The book is filled with aspirations of truth, kindness, help to one’s neighbors, and diligence, which will be very useful for the moral development and effective upbringing of the rising generation. By their contents, the stories are close to children in that they are devoted to real events and to children, and in some cases they speak of Chechnya.

The children of Chechnya, having lived through the horrors of war, need rehabilitation. And one of the first signs in this plan is the Chechen version of Power of Goodness. It carries with it the philosophy of love and counterbalances the hatred and cruelty that is flooding this world.

The publication of collected stories for children on tolerance, kindness, and compassion for people is a part of that help that the children of Chechnya especially need. On earth, where cruelty and callousness have continued to dominate for decades, the people, the children, yearn for kindness, the spirit of charity, and creative work. For this reason, those who took part in this noble work deserve special appreciation.

Without a doubt, the appearance of this book in three languages and the possibility of reading it is an invaluable gift for Chechnya’s children.

To the authors of the project, thank you. We hope that the project will continue and that we will be able to collaborate with you. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Chechen Republic ask you to provide, to the extent possible, this book to our school libraries.

With deep respect,

L.M. Dadaev, Minister of Education and Science of the Chechen Republic

Literacy for Peace and Justice

Literacy, peace, and justice go hand-in-hand. Where literacy levels are low violence towards women and children are high.

Violence against women in relation to literacy and area of residence in Ethiopia. Negussie Deyessa,etc. Glob Health Action. 2010; 3: 10.3402/gha.v3i0.2070. Published online 2010 Feb 25. doi: 10.3402/gha.v3i0.2070

Our work addresses the relationship between illiteracy, poverty, and conflict. Despite enormous investments by international agencies the statistics are evidence of need for literacy, development, and peace.

  • 1 in 4 young people in low and lower-middle income countries is illiterate. Source: GEM Report 2012/14, p.208.
  • Women represent nearly two-thirds of the world’s illiterate. Source: UIS (2014)
  • Conflict-affected countries have only 20% of the world’s primary-school-age children but 50% of the world’s out-of-school children. Source: Fixing the broken promise of education for all. Executive summary, 2015, p11.
  • Literate people are more likely to participate in the democratic process and exercise their civil rights. Source: UNESCO, 2012
  • An increase in secondary school enrollment from 30% to 81%, for which success in reading is necessary, is estimated to reduce the probability of civil war by almost two-thirds. Source: ABC’s 123’s and the Golden Rule: The Pacifying Effect of Education on Civil War, 1980-1999, by Clayton L. Thyne as cited by Rebecca Winthrop, Brookings Institution, in US leadership in global education: The time is now.
  • There are 17 million school-age refugees in countries affected by conflict. Source: ODI Education cannot wait. Proposing a fund for education in emergencies, p.7

Recently, the international literacy association proposed recognizing the right to read as a fundamental human right, and we add the right to safety and safe haven should the first and foremost fundamental human right.