From Blank Pages to a Published Book: Local community celebrates the Launch of Anti-Bullying Book ‘Courage to be Kind’

June 12 15:45 2024
Kids Create Masterpieces with Local Author’s Guidance, Showcasing Youth Empowerment and Community Collaboration Spirit. “Courage to be Kind,” co-authored by Katherine Cheng-Arif and Liestman Elementary students, promotes kindness, empathy, and youth empowerment through a heartfelt story.

Houston, TX – Liestman Elementary School, part of Alief ISD, is overjoyed to announce the launch of a truly special book, “Courage to be Kind.” This heartwarming project was brought to life through the collaboration of Katherine Cheng-Arif a local author known for her unique approach to writing, Katherine Cheng-Arif aims to give real kids and teens a chance to share their stories, empowering them to make a meaningful impact on readers who face similar challenges. Her dedication to involving young people in the creative process makes her work especially impactful and resonant.

In addition to 13 remarkable student consultants from Liestman Elementary. The book features beautiful illustrations by Arnaz, a high school senior, and stands as a testament to the power of kindness and the strength of community.

For weeks, students from Kindergarten to 4th grade met after school, brimming with enthusiasm, to develop the book. Together, they crafted characters, deciding on names, personalities, and appearances. The process was a journey of learning to compromise, collaborate, and harness their individual strengths. Throughout this journey, Principal Galindo was a constant source of support, cheering them on every step of the way.

The students’ deep admiration for Principal Galindo inspired them to include him in the story as a guiding light for Leon, the bully. They wanted to share their respect and love for their principal with other children, highlighting his role as a role model and mentor.

“Courage to be Kind” is more than just a book; it’s a celebration of youth empowerment, compassion, and community spirit. It showcases how even the youngest among us can create something meaningful and impactful when guided by kindness and the willingness to learn from each other. This heartfelt project reflects the core values of Liestman Elementary and the extraordinary potential of its students.


“Courage to be Kind” follows this same philosophy. More than just a book, it is an inspiring project that showcases the creativity and wisdom of young authors – aiming to spread a message of kindness and community spirit. “Courage to be Kind” celebrates the small, yet powerful, acts of kindness that turn misunderstandings into lasting friendships, in addition to teaching young readers about empathy, resilience, and the life-changing magic of forgiveness.

The story follows Rose and her friends in a vibrant narrative where kindness proves to be the key to resolving conflicts. An accidental bump in the school hallway escalates into a larger conflict, and it is up to Rose to lead her peers towards peace and understanding. Under the guidance of Mrs. Luna and Principal Galindo, Rose and her classmates learn that true courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to stand up for what is right, even when it is difficult. As tensions rise, Leon, known for his quick temper, discovers the hard way that bullying is never a solution and that offering an apology can be the bravest act of all. This book is ideal for young readers navigating their own social challenges, emphasizing that anyone can be a hero through acts of kindness and learning from their mistakes.

The launch event for “Courage to be Kind” was attended by Principal Galindo and distinguished honorary guest, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. Their support and encouragement added a special touch to the celebration and, in a heartfelt gesture, Congresswoman Fletcher awarded Congressional Certificates to each of the kid consultants, Katherine Cheng-Arif, and illustrator Arnaz Irani. This recognition honored their work on this book promoting anti-bullying, kindness, and empathy by stepping into the shoes of others.

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher said she was thrilled to be at the book launch which she said was filled with so much joy and so much excitement. She said she was so inspired to be in the room and listen to the children reading and how it was important to be respectful and be understanding.

In addition to the book launch, the Be-Leafing Foundation generously donated 700 books and 700 packets of map pencils, totaling $10,000 in value. The Be-Leafing Foundation’s book donation program provides libraries, schools, and individuals in need with access to educational materials. Its mission is to ensure that everyone, regardless of financial situation, can experience the transformative power of books.

“Courage to be Kind” is now available for purchase on Amazon.

For more information about Katherine Cheng-Arif, please see To learn more about the Be-Leafing Foundation, go to

About the Beleafing Foundation

The Beleafing Foundation believes that access to books is a fundamental right that everyone should have. Its book donation program reaches low-income families, underfunded schools, and underserved communities, ensuring that educational materials are available to those who need them most. This program is made possible by the generosity of donors who share a passion for education and literacy.

About Katherine Cheng-Arif

Katherine Cheng-Arif is an author and passionate advocate for youth empowerment through literature. As a first-generation immigrant, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Policy and Management and an Associate degree in Sociology from the University of Southern California, completing both degrees by the age of 20. Recognized as a young entrepreneur in Newsweek and DBA Magazine, Katherine has authored four books, all available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kindle.

Katherine’s work is defined by her commitment to amplifying young voices, giving real kids and teens a platform to share their stories. Her latest project, “Courage to be Kind,” was developed in collaboration with 13 kid consultants from Liestman Elementary School and illustrated by a high school senior, exemplifying her dedication to involving young people in the creative process. Her contributions to community service and disaster relief highlight her commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

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