Best wishes from me and from small Henry and his brilliant creator Julie Morstad.
In some ways I feel we are both mothers to this imaginary child....
|The Fantastic Mr Fox|
|Adam Rex illo for Neil Gaiman's Chu's Day.|
I made a decision when I was doing How to Catch a Star that the books were not going to be set anywhere and the boy was going to be as vague as possible so that anyone could apply themselves to the story. And because he’s vague and because the landscapes are vague, it means that people all over the world think that the boy is one of their friends and that the geography is where they’re from. And that allows people in and to fill in the details with their own personal details. So he’s a little bit of me, a little bit of everyone else who’s reading the story.
|You can buy a limited edition print of the Lost and Found cover here. You know you want to.|
|all images property Cozy Classics|
I agree that it's a good message and that those young Nova Scotians deserve kudos for what they did. It's good to remember when the news is full of the stories of what some other young men from that area did and the consequences their actions had. Rehtaeh Parsons was driven to suicide by the sexual assault that she suffered and the distribution of images related to that assault. Those were criminal actions--not anything as innocuous-sounding as bullying--but part of her suffering was to do with the the ongoing circulation of those images and the cruel comments made about her by her peers through social media. And that kind of cyberbullying is all too common right now.When students in Nova Scotia saw a younger student being harassed because he was wearing pink, they decided to do something. They took it upon themselves to buy every pink shirt in town and they did it on their own dime. The next day they handed these shirts out at school. Suddenly the bullies who were making this young man’s life miserable were surrounded by students in pink. They learned in no uncertain terms that the vast majority of kids were not going to accept their behavior. Message sent. To me, the kindness, courage, compassion and creativity exhibited by this gesture is what being Canadian is all about.
The program is based on the idea that if we are able to take the perspective of the Other we will notice and appreciate our commonalities and we will be less likely to allow differences to cause us to marginalize, hate or hurt each other.
Today, there is a dearth of empathy in young people. After analyzing data among almost 14,000 college students over the last 30 years, a University of Michigan study two years ago concluded that college students are 40 per cent less empathetic than their counterparts in 1979. Indeed, the most significant drop has been in the past decade. What’s more, cases of bullying and suicides are climbing at an alarming pace. That means empathy education is needed more than ever before.Happily, empathy education is being addressed in at least some of our schools. I learned today about The Empathy Factory which is a fantastic initiative out of Nova Scotia. According to their site: "The Empathy Factory was founded on the belief that by instilling empathy in our youth, injustices will be stopped, communities transformed and hope inspired."