Along Came A Different

A fun way of looking at prejudice 

It is not easy at all to explain to a child what does it mean to be “different”. Sometimes he wants to know more than we know, and he comes up with questions that will put us on spot.

Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin is the book you will need in this occasion.

In this story, the author makes it clear that even if someone is different to you, the two of you can still be friends. There are shapes and colors.

There are the Reds, who are round and eat red apples, the Yellows  who are square and eat bananas, the Blues who are triangle and wear blue bow ties. They all love being who they are and being in their little groups. They don’t mix, they play just between them, they even get angry if something doesn’t work in the way they want!

Being yellow is the best thing ever!

So, what does it happen if, at one point, comes a different? Will the different respect the rules that the others shared? Will they ever get to like one another?

Rules start to pop up, rules like only Blues are allowed to breathe the air in their area, this corner belongs ti red and before long an extensive list of rules is drawn up which culminates in no talking/no sharing/no being friends!

For a while the rules seem to work but then more “Differents” arrive, including a different Different who likes everyone! How is that even possible?

In this book, Tom McLaughlin has created a simple but efficient story of our divisive times. He really captures how we treat people differently because they might look/like/behave differently to us and manages to turn it around with a positive ending that celebrates differences and coming together.

Individual differences are the more-or-less enduring psychological characteristics that distinguish one person from another and thus help to define each person’s individuality. Among the most important kinds of individual differences are intelligence, personality traits, and values. (source)

For a kid who is at preschool or even at school, is not easy to understand why do we have different skin’s color, why do we dress in different ways, why do we have different way to talk and react, and who can we play with.

How do I use this book in my job

I used this book with one of my kid at nursery. We read it with a group of 4 kids, and we also worked on colors, shapes, matching different shapes to different colors and tracing (pre-writing skills).When it comes to the part of the rules, we tried to think about kinder and nicer rules, and this helped them to understand that we can all be friends! It’s not a simple topic, but somehow you will be able to answer to all of their questions.

You can also work on social skills. Play together means that a kid needs to be able to share toys, to take turns, to follow even simple rules.

Talk about it and start to let them think, in their life, how to be kind with each other.

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