Fear, Born of Prejudice, has Found a New Face


What would you do if a monster with pointed sharp teeth, blue skin and green hair popped out of your kid's closet one night? What would your kid do? Scream for help, I'll bet - and rightly so with such a scary sight confronting him! But what if that blue skinned, green haired monster with sharp pointed teeth was your kid? And what if the thing that jumped from his closet had big blue eyes, orange hair, freckles and, ooooh, big white teeth showing in a grin plastered on his face? Wouldn't the monster kid, too, have a right to be frightened?

This is the premise of "The Kid in My Closet", Linda Meyer's new book. Jonster the Monster goes to bed one night and is frightened out of his wits by a little boy kid who pops out of his closet in a twist on the ubiquitous children's fear of the monsters in their closets (or under their beds.) Meyer has written or edited eleven books prior to this one, three selling in the hundreds of thousands. This educator has observed, as we all have, the results of prejudice around the world: The Middle East, Darfur, Ireland to name a few. Many Americans now shun Muslims and Sikhs without even a hint of involvement in the 9/11 catastrophes. This bias exists not just in our adult minds, but also in our children and our schools. With her illustrated book Meyer attacks in a humorous way the bias founded in differences, hoping the reader will see that two who are very different can become very good friends. Fellow educators and children who have read the book agree it gives a very good lesson about friendship.

A famous anonymous quote tells us: "Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable." Linda Meyer has a good grasp of that philosophy and her delightful book, "The Kid in My Closet" does too.


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