Author pens children’s book promoting diversity
One woman has used her childhood experience of being bullied to write a children’s book that promotes diversity.
Athina Gordon, a Vincentian residing in the United Kingdom (UK), started working on her book ‘Just Like You’ over a year ago while on vacation.
Gordon said that when she moved to England at the age of 10, she was bullied for many things, including her accent, skin colour and the size of her feet.
“I always wanted to write a book and then it just came to my mind to write this book to promote diversity and to educate the younger children about the different people in this world and that just because we all look different, we are still all the same,” she said.
Gordon, who is a paediatric nurse, also said that her book can teach children to be confident in themselves and not want to alter their appearance because of bullying.
‘Just Like You’ features a number of characters with different cultures and races, including an Indian, East African, Spanish, Irish and Polish, engaging in a variety of activities.
“It encourages them to know that they can have friends that are of a different race or culture regardless of their physical differences,” the self-published author said. “I just wanted to have a positive impact on the children of our society and just build their confidence in themselves to go yea, my hair is this colour, my skin is this complexion, but it’s okay, because this is how I was made.”
Also included is an interactive portion for parents to work along with their children in identifying and filling in their skin colour, hair, accent and a picture. Gordon said that this is so the child feels as though they are a part of the story.
A colouring page is also included.
“Most parents say that the book allows them to have that conversation about diversity with their kids, which for some was a topic they never thought of discussing because, I guess, they just think their kids would get that everybody is different, but its important to have that conversation with them so you can stop the prejudice thoughts and discrimination from such a young age,” she said.
Winsbert Quow, the Solid Waste manager at the Central Water and Sewerage Authority and a friend of Gordon, highly recommends this book.
Quow said that it has a timely message that is very relevant, as the discrimination and bullying because of racial and other differences can be seen both in the media and in real life.
“I thought the message of the book was very powerful and you can teach children at a very young age, which is what is needed now, to appreciate diversity,” he said, having read the book to his 3-year-old daughter.
He said that in reading the book to his daughter, she was able to ask questions and he was able to help her understand that she should appreciate others.
This is Gordon’s first book and she told SEARCHLIGHT that she intends to write more children’s books with similar messages.