A Year of Good News

Are you one of those who feel that last year we had more than our fair share of bad news? Then let me tell you about my book project.

Me – Martin Smatana

I have always loved positive stories: whether in books I’ve been reading since I was a little boy or films I’ve been making as a grown-up, but above all, in real life, always trying to live it as best as I can. Still, the doom and gloom of the pandemic eventually caught up with me, too. At first it made me feel there was no way out of the mass of bad news that seemed to have taken over the world around me. But I was determined not to let the barrage of bad news get the better of me and set out to look for some good news.  

I discovered that good news is actually not all that rare. Often it concerns tiny, seemingly inconspicuous acts and facts that might be found at the far end of your street just as easily as at the other end of the globe. Lots of good things happen every day but often end up buried under the weight of “big” events and dry news agency reports. So I’ve decided to put them under the spotlight and retell them in my own way. If you want to know more, check my video below, or read further:).

Admittedly, I’m not very good at drawing with crayons or on the tablet but I have managed to make a fully-fledged animated film using textiles. Maybe you’ve heard of it: it’s called The Kite and it is about the most important things in our lives – human bonds that not even death can sever. While working on the film, I also tried to find the silver lining in a difficult, sensitive subject. Taking The Kite as an inspiration, I decided to use discarded clothing as the medium with which to depict the good news that I had come across in the media. 

A garbage collector in Bogot., Colombia, has collected over 25,000 books people had thrown out and now runs a public library for poor children on the ground floor of his house.

I started by making the occasional image for a close circle of friends. But when I saw how my stories lifted their spirits, I decided to cheer them up with an illustrated good news story every week. Now, after a year’s work, I would like to share the good news with you, too.

After a year of distance learning teachers in Spain decided to move lessons to the local beach. The children were socially distanced and in the fresh air, and the teachers used their proximity to the sea and islands to give object lessons in biology and geography.

My book consists of 52 good news stories from around the world. Some go further back in time, others are more recent than the “pandemic” year, 2020. If any of the stories catches your imagination, the QR code at the end of the book will take you to the original news source where you can find out more about the background to the story and the people involved.

Since an 85-year-old grandma admitted to her grandson that she’d never seen the ocean or mountains, they have travelled all over the United States, covering 40,000 miles and visiting 61 national parks.

I’d love to continue in my work, so if there’s a positive story that recently caught your attention, I’d be happy if you shared it with me. Also, I’d like to encourage you to become a messenger of good news yourself and spread the word about our book in your country, as we’d love to have it available in foreign languages, so that it could help readers all around the world to reclaim their positive view of the world. And if you wish to order the book or send me your comments, please also drop me a line!

In any other case – happy reading everyone!    

Martin Smatana

A Year of Good News

Original sources of good news

Would you like to have the whole picture? Check out the original sources for more information on all stories included in the book.

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