While working for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Cincinnati, Sarah Rathel was struck by inspiration. There needed to be more books that encourage children to understand and accept the differences between one another. After working with children in treatment for cancer, Rathel realized how few resources there were for explaining why children look different, whether those differences are due to cancer treatment, learning disabilities, family background, or illness. From this stroke of inspiration, she wrote the first book in her “Something Different” series: “There’s Something Different About My Hair.”
The book, written in rhyme and illustrated with lively drawings of children with diverse hairstyles, shows children who are all happy about how they look, no matter what their hairstyle looks like. One of the characters, who has lost her hair due to illness, says that she is still the same on the inside. The books are meant to encourage children to understand and appreciate the differences in other children’s appearances, manner of speaking, families, and backgrounds.
For Rathel, the books provide a response to the anxieties of the children she worked with at the Ronald McDonald House over the years. For some children, that space was safe because it spared children from the judgment of others. According to Rathel, children would tell her, “We like to be here because no one is staring at us.” Ronald McDonald House provided a haven for difference, and Rathel’s books seek to inspire other children to be a haven for difference in their classrooms and neighborhoods. By encouraging self-awareness and individuality, the “There’s Something Different” series is a great resource for parents of all children.
Visit http://somethingdifferentbooks.com to purchase or learn more about the “Something Different” book series.
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