New Children’s Book Shows Kids How Different is Awesome

I’ve spent plenty of time here letting you know my thoughts on taking the heavy emphasis on gender out of marketing to kids; this is a topic that will always be important to me. There is something else I’d like to see emphasized in our culture – a push to educate kids on how differences make us unique and and original individuals. Despite lots of progress and change in media over the past decade, our kids are still presented with mostly “ideal” images of their peers in ads and television and film. Wouldn’t it be great to see more diversity, not only in race and gender, but in differences in ability as well? I can think of but one example of children with disabilities used in advertising off the top of my head and that’s simply not enough (shout out to Target for often using models that are not “typical”).

I truly feel that teaching our kids that differences are wonderful and not “weird” is vital to the future of our society, so it was especially great to come across a Kickstarter project for an illustrated children’s book called Different is Awesome. The author, Ryan Haack, was born missing his left forearm and in response to questions about what his life is like, he started the blog Living One Handed. Haack loves his life and talks often about the fact that his lack of a hand has never been a problem for him. His passon is sharing with others, especially kids, that our differences are what make us awesome, and that we can all learn from each other and make each other better because we’re different. Pretty inspiring, don’t you think? Haack’s method of spreading this great message is his beautifully-illustrated children’s book, and he’s launched a Kickstarter to raise $25,000 to publish it.

New Children’s Book Shows Kids How Different is Awesome

Haack says on his Kickstarter page that this book is important because “When kids are little, they are open to new ideas. Their perspectives about what’s “normal” are still being shaped…” I think he’s right and this is a great way to teach an essential life lesson at a young age. Haack is pretty close to his goal but only has about a week left, so if this is something you’re interested in or passionate about teaching kids, I hope you’ll watch his Kickstarter video below and then hop on over and give if you’re able.

And before you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you teach the kids in your life about what makes them and all of us different and awesome. I hope you’ll share in the comments – it would be great to hear what you’re thinking and doing with your own kids.

  • Wow, so inspiring. The more time goes on, the more I’ve come to be fascinated with “differences” like these. In fact, I based my first book on Misfit Super heros, but that book missed the mark somewhat (it takes many people two reads to understand it, then they love it) – but I learned a lot from it. I’m so glad to see Ryan hitting that mark with remarkable clarity ! I hope it makes the impact he is looking for!

    • brendachapman

      I hope it does, too! Thanks!

    • sianychick

      um misfit superheros sounds kind of awesome!

      • brendachapman

        Don’t they? 🙂

      • Haha thanks, you can get a free digital copy on my website http://scottwiser.com, it was a great first book, but my current book project is MUCH BETTER.

        • sianychick

          yep its awesome!

  • sianychick

    I think about this a lot with my two boys. They are have very different things they are good at. I really hope I keep encouraging these differences because they are the things that make us who we are.

    I follow this lovely blog and she wrote a book called the beauty of different. ( http://www.chookooloonks.com/write/ )

    x

    • brendachapman

      I will check it out… thanks!

  • Very inspiring. We created an animated feature film that explored this through a zebra born with half its stripes. I’ve had the privilege of viewing with audiences from around the world and listening to the questions they ask, and it’s fair to say that kids can adjust their thinking on “normality” very rapidly – if their thinking is engaged at all. It’s harder for grown-ups.

    • brendachapman

      Yes… we all have open minds to begin with… then the onset of grown up prejudices hit us. Is your half-striped zebra film available somewhere? Sounds like something worth seeing.

      • It’s called Khumba – it’s on Netflix and other platforms in the US – still on circuit in rest of world.

        • brendachapman

          Thank you. I’ll check it out.

  • Ryan Haack

    This is the first I’m seeing this, Brenda! Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement! I’m SO happy the project funded and we are working hard to complete it! 🙂

    • brendachapman

      That’s so great! Good luck with it!!!

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