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New Village Press

Random Kindness & Senseless Acts of Beauty

Random Kindness & Senseless Acts of Beauty

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With beautifully crafted words and exuberant watercolor illustrations, Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty offers a poetic and empowering message for world peace. Recognizing "we are right on the edge of destroying ourselves," this modern allegory inspires taking joyful steps to end violence. It expands upon the idea that "we are all in the circle together," and presents a timeless parable for readers of all ages. The Haiku-like text delivers a call to "make a new earth grow beneath our feet."
In the playful style of 12th century Japanese picture scrolls, Mayumi Oda's art depicts humans as animals who lose their way when their leaders become confused and drawn to violence. It is up to each individual?the frog who plants a thriving garden, the cat who supports an elderly neighbor as they walk?to create a better world through simple acts of kindness. The message of this book is the sweet realization that each person can become an agent of goodness and beauty.
This twentieth-anniversary, full-color edition, with a new foreword by venerable peacemaker Desmond Tutu, is dedicated to Fukushima recovery in the face of world climate crises. All royalties will be donated to community resiliency across boundaries and antinuclear advocacy.

Author: Anne Herbert, Margaret Paloma Pavel
Publisher: New Village Press
Published: 09/30/2014
Pages: 36
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.60lbs
Size: 8.10h x 6.90w x 0.50d
ISBN: 9781613320150
Audience: Ages 9-12

Review Citation(s):
Kirkus Reviews 08/01/2014

About the Author
Known to many as the 'Matisse of Japan', artist Mayumi Oda has done extensive work with female goddess imagery. Born to a Buddhist family in Japan in 1941, Mayumi studied fine art and traditional Japanese fabric dyeing. Mayumi has exhibited over 50 one-woman shows throughout the world. Her artwork is also part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT), Library of Congress (Washington, DC) and many others. She has authored books about her own creative life, including Goddesses and I Opened the The Gate Laughing, and Merciful Sea: 45 Years of Serigraphs. She has also illustrated several books for notable authors, including Thich Nhat Hanh's popular Touching Peace and Present Moment Wonderful Moment.

In addition to her work as an artist, Mayumi Oda has spent many years of her life as a global activist? participating in anti-nuclear campaigns worldwide. She founded Plutonium Free Future in 1992. On behalf of her organization, Mayumi lectured and held workshops on Nuclear Patriarchy to Solar Communities at the United Nations NGO Forum and the Women of Vision Conference in Washington, DC. In 1999, she launched the WASH (World Atomic Safety Holiday) Campaign and is currently working to raise awareness among the citizens of Hawaii about the use of Depleted Uranium at the Pohakuloa military base. Her current activist work and the royalties beneficiary of this edition of Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty will be community recovery work in Fukushima, Japan.

Feeling a deep connection with the mother earth, Mayumi has always enjoyed growing her own medicinal herbs and vegetables. In 2000, she started Ginger Hill, a farm and a retreat center on the Big Island of Hawaii. The artistically landscaped five-acre property is home to a number of workshops and retreats ranging from traditional Hawaiian Hula to medicinal cooking. Mayumi currently lives in Fukushima Japan and spends summers at Ginger Hill Farm. She travels worldwide, teaching workshops in creativity and self-realization.

Mayumi Oda's website is Mayumi's activities and workshops can be found at her farm website; her blog is


Dr. M. Paloma Pavel is president of Earth House of Oakland, California. She is editor of Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis (MIT Press, 2009), and co-edits Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Books for MIT Press. She is a frequent national and international lecturer and keynote presenter on the theory of living systems and urban sustainability, and consults with individuals, communities, and organization on building healthy just and sustainable communities. She is co-founder of Breakthrough Communities which builds multi-racial leadership for sustainability and justice at regional, national, and global scales. She has worked in Japan for over 25 years with the Web of Life network on issues. Visiting faculty - University of California at Davis - Advisor to the Center for Regional Change. Performance artist, and filmmaker, using multi-media approaches to activate internal resources for leading change.

Dr. Pavel holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University as well as degrees in psychology and economics. She was previously core faculty, California Institute of Integral Studies; consultant to the Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative, Ford Foundation; a performance artist (Border Crossings); filmmaker (Sustainable Solutions, Voices From the Community); Monk, eco-spiritual Benedictine monastery; Peace Boat faculty - circled the earth;
Founded the Eco-Justice film series in the SF Bay Area with eco-activist, Kayaked Haida Guai (former Queen Charlotte Islands); weaver and fiber artist who started a collective in Maine (still going) and built a leadership center by hand on the coast of Maine, now succeeded by the urban Earth House Center in Oakland offering multi-racial leadership training.

Anne Herbert (born 1952) is an American writer and a past assistant editor of CoEvolution Quarterly, a precursor to the Whole Earth Review. She is perhaps best known for being the person who coined the phrases, "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty." and "Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries."

An article in the December 1991 issue of Glamour about the history of the "random kindness" phrase described Herbert as "tall, blonde, and forty" and as living in Marin County, California.

Having known Anne Herbert in the 80s, Kevin Kelly wrote (in 2012) about her writing: ..".it was telegraphic, lyrical, abbreviated, evocative, extremely personal and mystical. She wrote in short bursts. Like proverbs from a secret bible...It was not like any writing I had encountered... She was decades ahead of her time..."

Syndicated columnist Sally Schneider notes that Herbert's writing is "often like haiku (without the constraints): tiny meditations that caste a unique light on everyday things."
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