Little Mouse Big World
One day a four-year-old, with an overblown sense of personal power, demanded that I make up a story for him RIGHT THEN. At that very moment this story began to tell itself. “There was once a tiny little mouse….who…ummmm….thought he was …..… AN……… ELEPHANT!!”
How was the story going to help this little mouse preserve its dignity while learning to accept the reality of its own limitations? As the story unfolds we learn to accept that each of us has to recognize our gifts and limitations as we struggle to find our way in the world.
Once upon a time I believed that it was my job as a parent to correct my children and make them behave.
Then one day, ONE DAY, I realized that I was spending my days correcting, criticizing, ordering, manipulating, rewarding, and punishing, AND it was NOT working. And because of that I was determined to find a better way.
Like all parents I wanted the best for my children. I wanted them to feel loved and cherished, and to behave so that they would fulfill their potential. Don’t we all feel pressured by this idea, that it is our job as parents and care-givers to constantly ‘perfect’ our children? How will they learn how to act if we do not correct them and insist that they comply? But is that truly the right approach to raising children?
In the end, there is no substitute for unconditional love and acceptance. Most of us are learning this skill by the seat of our throughly well-kicked pants. That’s why I wrote this book. To change how we treat children, from being their constant critics to becoming their biggest supporters.
Love bugs personify and apply everything I have learned from and about REALLY taking care of children. The Love bugs are on the right track because they have mastered how to love unconditionally. Love bugs inspire parents, caregivers, and children to make the world more wonderful through unconditional love and acceptance. Love bugs show us the way.
This story affirms the dignity and self worth of a young child who knows he is a boy despite the fact that his body is female. Chris’s story portrays his determination to be his true self, and the lesson his teacher learns. May this story open hearts and minds.
Backstory: I once knew a 4-year old child who was labeled as ‘gender confused.’ From what I could tell, it was the adults who were confused, not the child. ‘She’ knew she was a boy.
Since birth, this child only played in the stereotypical ways that boys do. She, rather he, would even occasionally slip up and say to me, “Daddy, er, I mean Nina” at the times when every other child would have said, “Mamma, er…”
Unlike children who appear to be living in a fantasy world in seemingly excessive, neurotic and socially isolated ways, this child was extremely well adjusted, popular and perceived as vibrantly confident with peers and adults, and ‘himself.’
I had the impression that his parents and most adults went along with this identity, but with the hope that it was just a stage. In any event, at the time, there was no stopping it.
My Favorite Color is Pink
This book, about a child who knows she is a girl despite the fact that she has a male body possesses the strength and courage to be her true self, is an affirmation for all people who are longing to claim their birthright to be themselves. It goes to the heart of teaching compassion for children. My goal is to open a conversation that helps navigate through this transition with empathy, understanding and acceptance.
Backstory: In order to field test About Chris I shared it with a friend’s 10 year old son. He wondered if Chris was teased, and I assured him that, in this instance, the other boys looked up to Chris.
We talked about the stereotyping of what constitutes male and female appearances and behaviors, and how Chris was able to ‘pass’ as male. This led to a discussion about how the ‘sissies’ at school were bullied more routinely then the ‘tomboys.’ So, before the final revisions of About Chris were completed, I knew that I also had to write My Favorite Color is Pink.
Backstory: We are labeled one or the other, either/or, and the possibilities are diminished. This storybook [literally] illustrates a continuum of gender possibility. After reading the pictures my 4 year old grand child said it well: “You can be all kinds of ways!”I wanted to present the truth about gender. So I created a wordless picture book in order to avoid gender-specific pronouns. Why?Because pronouns shape and limit our beliefs and biases around gender identity, While many of us can check the ‘female’ or ‘male’ box when filling out a form—without hesitation or concern—the truth is that gender, both physically and psychologically, is full of possibilities. Imagine a world beyond pronouns where we can reclaim those possibilities.