The People You May See

“Let curiosity be greater than your fear.”

PEMA CHODRON
author LIsa Marie koehler illustrating her book the people you may see

Photo composed by Marisa Delhay, edited by Lisa Marie Koehler

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A Books For Littles Author Spotlight featuring Lisa Marie Koehler

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The other night, my 2-year-old and I were snuggled up for story time. We were reading ‘Clean It‘ by Georgie Birkett, and my son pointed to the leg prosthesis/brace (it’s not particularly clear what it is) on the main character and made his ‘Explain this’ request, which, in his squeaky-toy voice, sounds like this: “Hu-uuuuuuuuuh?”

Moments like this are exactly why story time is sacred to our family. This is our neutral space where my kids feel comfortable asking questions, discussing ideas, and we have no agenda apart from spending time together and learning about the world. It gives them a safe place to ask questions, and time for me to explain how people look different, why, and most importantly – that this is normal.

Sowing seeds of compassion

It’s given me a chance to catch natural prejudice before it begins. As we learn, all of us have to form theories and generalizations – and children are not born color-blind. When my sons voice a theory, I have a chance to explain the truth.

Actually – brown skin is not ‘dirty.’

Actually – people with dark skin did NOT do something bad to deserve slavery.

Actually – men can be teachers.

Actually – mommies are not ‘better’ at parenting.

Of the thousands of books we read each year, surprisingly few feature anything other than white, neurotypical, enable-bodied, male children and their moms (dads are rarely featured unless they’re coming home from work). Although books celebrating diversity are becoming more common – they are still rare.

That’s why, when a member of Books for Littles told us about a new book she had published, I was so excited to chat with her.

 

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The People You May See

An interview with the author – Lisa Marie Koehler

A book for all ages

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On Inspiration:

“I have a friend who wears a hijab and I was thinking about how it must feel to be her; how most of the looks she gets come from a place of curiosity.”

“This book is a tool for guardians and teachers to explain why people look different before children make mistakes in public. I included tips to explain to children how best to approach a person in a respectful way, or how it can be rude to stare, or what not to do (like pet a service dog).”

Why Lisa created this book:

“I want more than anything to make a difference in the world. We can work together to spread kindness and love. The first step to doing that is by gently and lovingly teaching the next generation how to face the world.”

“So my friend who wears a hijab became the first page and then it snowballed from there. I used Facebook to search for volunteers who typically get curious looks when they go out in public. They loved getting a chance to explain their differences to children as well as the general population.”

What she learned:

“This book is technically a children’s book but so many adults have learned from this experience – including myself. Going into this project I knew what a cochlear implant was, but I never knew how it worked or how it is implanted. So I learned something!”

“I have had many people come up to me to thank me for giving a voice to the voiceless. They say that they have been waiting for a book like this that shows life the way it is without sugar-coating it with flashy cartoons or talking down to children.”

“After flipping through the book, lots of people have their own story to add. I’ve heard lots of comments.”

‘I identify with this page because I used to wear an eye patch as a kid!’

Thank you for including this page – I have kids ask me about my piercings all the time and I just want to show them that I am not scary but rather sweet.’

‘The students at my son’s school are usually curious about why he has two mommies – I’m so glad there is a page for this!’

Join us

Want to help Lisa get the word out about her book? Want to join Books for Littles as we foster kindness and compassion in the next generation? Want to start a loving tradition with a favorite story-time book? Here’s how:

  • Click here to share this post on Facebook so other families can get inspired too.
  • Like & sign up for updates from Lisa’s fine-art page on Facebook – and don’t forget to join our free Books for Littles group, too!
  • And of course – buy two copies of ‘The People You May See‘ – one for yourself, and one to donate to your local library or school. This particular link is an affiliate link that costs you nothing – but supports both Lisa and Books For Littles. So I’d really appreciate it if you click-through before your next Amazon order!
  • Once you’ve read it – write a review on Amazon to support Lisa’s work and motivate her to write a sequel!

 

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“With the turn of each page a child is provided with the opportunity to be curious, ask questions, and have them answered from the comfort of their own home.”

Marisa Carney, via Amazon reviews

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Stay in the loop – get updates on upcoming Books For Littles posts

shelf of picture books for preschoolers

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If you liked this post:

Check our more Books For Littles blog posts before your next library trip.

Have a request or recommendation? Join the discussion on the Books for Littles Facebook group.

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This post may contain Amazon affiliate links (all my 2016 profits fund my do-goodery Invisible Obstacles and Somewhere Out There Series). If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, clicking through to Amazon before your next order would be a great way to support the work I do.

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