How 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 put some people off. After all, don’t we prefer to be friends with people who look like us? This 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 and 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 tolerance and 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.”
Illustrator 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.”
Stacie encourages parents to use books like “I Am Me and 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.” This is a great way to remember that before we speak, we take a moment to imagine how our words and actions will be perceived by others and if they are harmful, to switch our thinking and be kind.
“We need this book,” said Lisa Umina, founder and publishing at Halo Publishing International. “This message is of universal importance and is told in such a loving and easy to understand way. I believe it will be the catalyst that parents need to have important conversations with their children about acceptance.”
Stacie is almost finished with her next book she has written with her four-year old son entitled “Oh no, Mason, That Can’t Be True,” a silly book that encourages creativity and imagination.
About Stacie Sullivan-Simon
Stacie Sullivan-Simon lives outside of Cleveland, Ohio with her 4-year old son and 12-year old daughter. She currently works as a RN Clinical Informatics Analyst II and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a Master of Science degree in Health Informatics. In her pastime, she loves to travel and interior decorate. She has always loved reading books to her children using her super whimsical, animated voice and has always dreamed of becoming an author.