“The Courage to Be Kind” is a children’s book co-written by educators Rena Rosen and Jenny Levin. Rosen has first-hand experience of being stared at while growing up with a facial difference. While her close home community treated her with respect, the broader world outside did not demonstrate the same level of acceptance.
Rosen says she always wished there was a book which portrayed physical differences to children in a way they would relate to and understand, as well as help parents and educators start a conversation to promote positive and inclusive interactions. The book, illustrated with comic-strips which teach lessons to kids about how to interact with people who may look different. Children will often stare out of curiosity, and it is up to parents and teachers to explain the social niceties and to promote kindness, rather than letting children be rude. Instead of “shushing” children when they ask questions or point, Rosen said it’s important to explain why pointing and staring is rude, and promote inclusion instead. “We all have such a variety of abilities and differences,” says Rosen. “It is important to remember that there is a person behind a facial difference or a disability.”
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