In Another Skin
You might have heard the name of To Kill a Mockingbird’s author, Harper Lee, floating around quite a bit recently as book lovers everywhere try to contain their excitement about her soon to be released novel, Go Set a Watchman. For an author with only one book, Harper Lee has been getting a remarkable amount of buzz. Yes, it is always exciting when a previously unpublished work comes to light, but I think there is some other reason the world has been captivated. Something else that is making readers from the ages of 10-100 clamor for an early copy. Perhaps it is because of the profound yet simple truths woven throughout Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Regardless of age, sex, race, or religion, this book has an undeniable effect on all who read it.
Recently, as I skimmed through the world of Pinterest, I came across a quote from Mockingbird that stood out in a new way. It doesn’t come from a significant portion of the book and it wasn’t spoken dramatically, but it had a significant and dramatic impact anyway. In the beginning of the story, Scout (the daughter), comes home from school complaining about her teacher. In reply, her father, Atticus, states “You never really understand a person until you consider things form his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." I love this. You see, Atticus didn’t just tell Scout to think about things from another perspective and then move on. He told her to “…climb into [someone else’s] skin and walk around in it…” This requires more than a brief moment. It calls for time, thought, and consideration. Truly making an effort to understand another person and what it’s like to be them, to look like them, feel like them, experience like them.
Another beautiful aspect of this quote is the fact that it is being spoken to a child. Atticus never believed that Scout was too young to understand this concept or to put it into practice. He didn’t dumb down the truth or lower his expectations for his daughter’s behavior. This is vital because, despite what many believe, bullying behavior can begin with children who are as young as 2 or 3 years old. The good news, though, is so can prevention. Scout was taught early on to consider others, so she knew how to treat people as she got older. In an article on www.ourfamilyworld.com, author, mom, and blogger Katie Hale describes ways we can prevent bullying behavior in pre-school children, placing a strong emphasis on understanding. Often children don’t understand what the word “bully” means or what bullying behavior looks like, but by introducing and explaining these concepts early on, we can prevent behavior before it ever gets out of hand and establish positive mind sets that will follow them as they grow.
Children can be taught to understand and to think from the perspective of another. When we thought about publishing our illustrated book This is A. Blob, we wanted to help assist adults in guiding children through this process of understanding. Most books on the topic encourage the victim and the bystanders and provide suggestions for children who are being bullied, but few ever consider the bully. In This is A. Blob, we follow a sticky purple bully named A. Blob and learn that there is often more to this bully than meets the eye. Through our discussion guides online, we invite children to put on his purple skin for a while and see the world from his point of view. Being considerate of others can be hard. Trying to understand those who hurt us can be even harder, but through books like This is A. Blob, as well as meaningful and straight-forward conversations, we can help our children “…get along a lot better with all kinds of folks…” as Atticus would say.
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. $14.95
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.