When I began to write children’s stories, I promised myself that the work would always remain idealistic and secular. My utopian goal was (and still is) a collection of stories that are void of religion and politics.
Human unity is my windmill, and I it’s Quixote.
Interesting then, that I chose backyard animals for my fables of compassion, empathy, understanding, and acceptance. Actually, it was by design. Simply put, a squirrel is a squirrel, not a liberal, or conservative, or revolutionary. It’s a squirrel.
But the stories themselves do have connection to issues we humans are forced to endure. The second book in the series The Adventures of Rugs introduces a precocious kitten named Kaylee. She is cute, friendly, and eager to fit in with her new backyard buddies.
If only it were so easy.
Kaylee is a multi-colored kitten, a mixture of black and white (irony intended). Every other cat in the neighborhood is one solid color. It’s only a matter of time before poor Kaylee is bullied and taunted by the other cats.
Don’t do it, Kaylee! is a story about bias as well as bullying. Kaylee is devastated because she is rejected by her own kind. Rugs, Riley, and Allie do everything possible to let her know she is welcome into their world. While their acceptance helps, Kaylee still mourns the loss of friendship and belonging with other cats.
No problem, the other cats reveal. Simply climb the tree and kill the baby birds in the nest, and you will belong.
Don’t do it, Kaylee! is my humble attempt to create a fable that revolves around the ugliness of such taunting and the subsequent feeling of rejection. But, more importantly, the story deals with the two choices Kaylee sees before her. The price of acceptance, if you will.
When I read this story to preschoolers, the tale generates much discussion. Every child in the class knows someone who has been treated just like Kaylee. It’s never them, of course, just someone they know. I witness how it resonates with them when Kaylee learns the lessons of truth and self-esteem. The kids quickly catch on that the price tag for popularity can be too high.
I invite you to browse my Amazon Author Page at http://amazon.com/author/bobmoulesong. Here you will learn more about my humble attempt to share a lesson about being different, unique, and yet belonging. Perhaps we can collectively teach a new generation about acceptance.
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