H ow often do we make snap judgments based on how another person looks? The style of their clothing, the color of their skin, the number of piercings, or the way they wear their hair can really put some people off. After all, don’t we prefer to be friends with people who look like us? .
T his is the thinking that leads to harmful words, bully behavior and racism and it is the primary message of first time author, Stacie Sullivan-Simon’s new children’s picture book “I Am Me & You Are You.” Inspired by her desire to create a story of tolerance and inclusion for her children Mason, 4 and Skylar, 12. Simon has written a simple, yet powerful message for young children and their parents. “When you turn on the news today it seems like we have taken huge steps backward in terms of racism,” said Stacie Sullivan-Simon. “I want my children to know that beneath our outward appearance, we are all people of value, individuals who deserve to be treated with kindness, acceptance, and equality.”
I llustrator Chad Thompson has brought the story to life with his colorful drawings that show a young boy and his friends coming to the realization that no matter what we look like on the outside, we are really all the same. The main character recognizes that no matter who we are, we start each day getting washed and dressed, eating a meal, and heading to school where we hope we’ll enjoy learning and time with friends. “I really enjoyed working with Chad, the artist,” said Stacie. “He understood the message behind my story and did such a great job of taking my words and breathing life into them with his wonderful drawings.” .
S tacie encourages parents to use books like “I Am Me & You Are You” to help their children understand how hurtful it can be when we judge or bully. “If we focus on what is on the inside, we’ll make it a more peaceful world,” Stacie says. Stacie recommends that we teach our children to “Stop, Think, and Do the Switcheroo and put yourself in that person's shoes.”
S tacie Sullivan-Simon is an author who discovered her writing ability while creating a fun book with her young son. She enjoyed the writing experience so much Stacie was inspired to write “I Am Me & You Are You.” The theme of Stacie’s book is racism and bullying. Two societal ills experienced as a young child by the author. When Stacie was little, she approached a clique of children who stood on the steps of a neighbor’s home. s she drew near, Stacie could hear the cluster of kids threatening to beat her up and yelling taunts at her. Stacie, a slight, scrawny girl, fearlessly stood her ground.
P lacing her hand on her hips, she returned a challenge to the gathering of children. “I dare you to come down from those steps and try,” she retorted! Not one intimidator answered back. Stacie glared at the group and indignantly said, “I thought so.” Then she turned on her heal and strolled away.
S tacie Sullivan-Simon desires to live in a world where children and adults alike are caring, understanding and accepting of the differences in one another. One of her much-loved quotes is: "The things that make me different are the things that make me" — Winnie the Pooh. “I Am Me & You Are You,” a book that speaks to this ideology is an excellent resource that parents can use with their children and teachers can use in their classrooms.