Earlier this year I received a copy of a book in the mail, Just Like You by Bob Kroupa. I read the book to my son and nephew once or twice, and stuck it back on the bookshelf. The story is about two friends, Boris and Henry, who live in the Piney Forest. Boris and Henry are bullied by the other critters in the forest, simply because they are different. Recently we were at my daughter's school for schedule pick-up, when my son saw a mother, who at the time thought she was a little boy with a big belly. You see, this mother had a major physical deformity that was her belly and back to bow out, and the growth of her legs were stunted. My son laughed as I assume any 5 year old might do, but I was mortified. I got down to his level, and explained why it wasn't nice to make fun of that woman. I told him that some people are born with big heads, some with brown skin, some with no arms, some with super curly hair, and some with short legs and big bellies. Being born different is what makes us each unique and special; and being born with a deformity or disability doesn't make us scary, or give anyone the right to poke fun at. I went back to my bookshelf, and I grabbed this book, and again, we read it. I took the time to explain how Boris and Henry were different, and why it wasn't ok for the other creatures to make fun of them. In the end, Boris and Henry end up being the heroes of the story. As a parent, I can only hope my message got through to this tiny 5 year old. Then, a few days later in the car, my son asks me, "Mom, what if I was born with cat ears?". I told him, "that'd be pretty darn goofy kid". His response......."Mom, it's not ok to make fun of someone, just because they were born different, because inside, we are all the same."
This book not only hits on disabilities, but religion, skin color, and culture as well. No matter how many times you read this book, your child can take away a new, positive message each any every time.
The author, Bob Kroupa, has since founded the Just Like You Foundation to help ensure that no matter their differences, children are celebrated and nurtured.
*I was not asked to, nor was I paid for this review. All thoughts expressed are my own.*