Just a month ago, Dear Abby posted this:

Recently, a friend of mine shared that his daughter came home from preschool deeply upset because another kid said to her you know brown kids go to jail right?

Last week, during an elementary school discussion I was conducting about bullying, one of the children asked, But what if the bully is a grown-up?

For the past few months, I have been on a U.S. book tour for my childrens book Always Anjali which includes visiting classrooms, presenting at book festivals, and bookstore readings. The kids have been super engaged, curious, and challenging. The child who asked but what if the bully is a grown-up is five. And this child wasnt the only kid who brought this up. The conversation in the classroom stemmed from us discussing the conflict the main character faces in the book. The story is about seven year old Anjali who wants to change her name after she gets teased for being different. When her parents refuse, she takes matters into her own hands. She winds up learning to celebrate who she is and carry her name with pride and power. Its a universal story about appreciating what makes us special and honoring our differences.

The students and I were deliberating ways to handle being bullied or what we could do if someone was bullying our friend. After that boy asked the question about the grown-up being a bully, another child softly suggested If its a big problem, its best to not get involved. Let someone else deal with it. Its not our problem. Which then led to other classmates debating if and when we help our friends. A girl privately confessed that her teacher never pronounced her name right. And she was embarrassed to correct her. I wanted to make this articlerequired reading for every educator. In another classroom, when I came to the moment in the book where a kid at Anjalis school purposely says Anjalis name wrong and taunts her, a student starting laughing. Guffawing in fact. I asked him why he thought it was funny. He said Thats a good one. My dad would love it.

Four years ago, I found myself consuming as much childrens literature as I could with the hopes of cultivating a worthy library for my baby. In doing so, I found a huge gap in representation and narratives, which ultimately set me on course to write Always Anjali. As someone who has worked with kids my whole life, I was really looking forward to readings. I wanted to have real conversations with our children. I trusted that their hearts are minds were not just ready, but thirsty for more.

Their response spoke volumes.

How do we navigate a new reality where we cant even trust the news and our elected officials to be appropriate viewing for our children? Why are our youngest minds encountering grown-up bullies? Why are we showing our children that their identities arent worthy enough to get right?

Why are they conflicted about standing up for someone?

Be careful. Our kids are listening to us.

To borrow the words of Oprah, what I know for sure is that our kids are smart and they are hearing us. I ever marvel when I hear my exact words come out of the mouths of my kids. When I shared that Dear Abby piece with friends, most were skeptical it came out recently. Dear Abby is doing exactly the opposite of what my book and most would teach. Is this something we are debating now? The fundamental idea that you should proud of who you are and never change to fit in or make someone else more comfortable?

Its no wonder our kids are confused.

Its horrifying that hate crimes are the worst in a decade. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death among young people.

When I wrote Always Anjali, I couldnt have predicted the rhetoric and atmosphere it would be released into. I wrote it because I wanted my kids to see themselves as the heroes in the books they read, navigating the everyday triumphs and heartbreaks of childhood. Thats hard enough. I wanted the Anjali stories to be where children might turn for escape, empowerment, fun, and ultimately, hope.

I couldnt have anticipated the questions or imagined the emotions that have been coming up for kids and adults alike when they read the book. From parents telling me their kids are sleeping with the book under their pillow, to finally having their kids open up to them about what they have been dealing with at school, to hearing the personal journeys of those whom have connected to the bookit has been stunning.

But its not enough.

We have to be so much better.

Our children want in.

The future is certainly bright. Our kids show us their spirit everyday. The fact that they are even asking these questions demonstrate their want to get it right. Our kids are savvy and thoughtful and mindful. And more socially activated than any generation prior. Its inspiring. I cant stop thinking about a six year old boy who shared I know what its like to feel left out. Anjali felt like she didnt fit in because she couldnt find her name where everyone else could. Thats just terrible but she did stand up for herself in the end. It really shouldnt matter what anyone says to you. She realized that being her own person was cool.

Maybe the grown-ups need to be doing the listening.

When the boy asked me what if the grown-up was the bully, I insisted, You tell a different grown-up. And if they dont listen, you keep trying. Until you find a grown-up who will listen. But I wish I couldve added what I learned from this wise six year old soul a few days later. I asked her what she does when she feels sad or nervous.

She simply said, I do my affirmations. I tell myself that I am loved and I am safe. I am so lucky.

And I am so powerful.

***

In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month (October!), Sheetal Sheth and her publisher, Bharat Babies have teamed up with South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) to bring Always Anjali to underserved children throughout the country. For just $10, you can sponsor a copy of Always Anjali and SAYA will ensure it goes to a child who needs it the most. Anjalis story of resilience and courage can be a catalyst for change, and you can help make that happen.

To help, use the code FORLOVE at checkout. After that, the SAYA team will share the book with children who need it the most. With your support, we can help children advocate for themselves and #EndBullying.

1 Comment

  • SELf denied Holy Warrior for Jesus Holy Trinity says:

    global extermination by 2025 – And I’ve sent this & messaged DOD & military base’s in new mexico re: Dulce’s military base as well;

    Crime’s against humanity NO even begin to scratch the surface. ALL $ bought & sold out your humanity & NON-SELF owned Soul (as solely God owns ALL), but re: Even with & like THOSE upon indian reservation (no respect for THE LAND) = New Mexico’s 7 mile’s down Dulce military base (& their just ONE amidst USA, despite global elsewhere), but press – on your computer keyboard the key’s Ctrl & ‘F’ & search / find keyword – type in: Level 6 & see thereof text wordage around thereof: https://www.crystalinks.com/undergroundbases.html.

    Do your own research, come to your own conclusion’s, but DON’T deem vast that they have been doing & are (tick tock ‘time’, right now) aren’t even worse so: global extermination by 2025, & whom (TOP Power deem that 9-1-1 was JUST a TEST, to see just how the global masses would react & respond.

    Globalist’s, misc aren’t really doing what they plan on, their really just passing the time, evil – senselessly, & their talk of reducing 7 billion plus down to 500 million, huh, OH don’t think it’ll stop there, oh no, just so Satan who solely started this Holy War against God, can eventually ‘spite’ God with eventually exhibited all human eventually narrowed down & killed, like Satan’s timeless laughing off it’s ass at us (having put on a clueless humor show for that beast) & deeming to God, “LOOK AT THEM ALL, YOUR SO-CALLED PRIDE & JOY, THEIR SUPPOSE TO REPRESENT YOU?!”

    And you gonna tell me (fellow human’s) THAT no bothers you? OH it will, upon Coming Judgment Day before Jesus per / via your Heaven Life Record (everyone has one, even Adam & Eve), OH . . . I ‘GET’ much BECAUSE I chose to SELF denyingly Holy Warrior rise up for solely Holy Trinity. You (CARE?) to read – hear more? Huh, fine, it’s NOT my Holy intel & I’m no threat nor lone wolf (as lone wolf is NOT in nor of Holy Trinity). Men in Black? Crime’s against humanity NO even begin to scratch the surface.

    Like judge Marshall (“Time Cop”) said, “The sentence is DEATH, to be carried out IMMEDIATELY!” NO waiting around for the right cocktail, & thereof WATCH & WITNESS just how fast 6′ x 9′, misc tier’s would be cleared & emptied!

    Know that it was Adam that sinned first, NOT Eve BUT old men long ago would have vast past since – to date believe otherwise, & why would anyone think? YEAH, huh, right.

    Here’s another one: When satan got defeated re: Jesus’s testing in the desert, Satan just deemed (BECAUSE of ‘?’, ROGUE us all as a whole FROM Holy trinity), “Fine Satan would just go after Jesus’s next best thing, HIS Little One’s ‘children / kids’ through the adult’s”.

    Humanity could (& should have SELF denyingly chosen to Holy Warrior rise up & represent solely Holy Trinity < as to why we were created & thought up in the first with WITH all we'd ever need ie: gift's, talent's, skill's & free will, NOT EVER to exhibitedly deem (UGH) that God is somehow a maid & janitor for us?

    Uh, NOT HE wouldn't even have to exhale & we'd go out quicker than a candle & think NOT fellow humanity why Jesus REALLY came, huh, there'd be WHAT? Animatedly White streak's down all adult's back in fear & terror finding out the REAL Truth), with that we were solely created to self denyingly care take of each & Earth, NOTHING off!

    And the dying Earth? Try: The Natural balance is off < once like a force field shielding, like a computer firewall going down, thus, having allowed in, because of Adam first & THEN Eve, which Satan seeing Adam failing God priorly THEN did God allow Satan to try testing Eve.

    And re: children / kid's, Jesus: "If any adult's keep any of these Little one's from me, they will NEVER see my Father". MUCH has been changed, suppressed, misc by whether the Vatican, fill in the blank's over centuries, even destroyed so that later humanity would NOT know of the truth or say that 1) Satan started this nevertheless 70 century – to date Holy War against God, 2) Adam FIRST, NOT Eve, sinned & then Eve of course but old men long ago changing writing’s would have any & all believe otherwise, & SO . . . what then? Satan wins? YEAH, NOT! THINK AGAIN!

    And THEN, there’s this > THEY of globalist’s, etc TOP – down, globally are gonna take out ALL humanity IN, whether clueless or on purpose, accordance WITH this Holy War that Satan solely started against God 70 centuries ago, (voluntary & NON-voluntary suicide / murder, just so Satan can apparently SPITE God that & with, “LOOK AT THEM ALL, THEIR ALL GONE, THEIR (were) SUPPOSE TO HAVE BEEN YOUR / YOU’RE PRIDE & JOY . . .”

    And plus there’s then the > THEIR really not doing – all that they have done & do – do for really no reason, THEIR really just doing it to pass the tick tock ‘time’ . . .

    And worth noting, when Satan got defeated in the desert amidst Jesus’s testing, Satan just deemed, “Fine, I’ll just go after Jesus’s next best thing, HIS Little One’s (children / kid’s) THROUGH the adult’s.

    God gave us all each – embedded within all we’d ever need to self denyingly Holy Warrior rise up & represent Holy Trinity, as we were created to solely do so & THAT of care take of each & Earth, NOTHING off, EVER! THIS PLANET, Earth! It’s like One who goes after dessert before eating the main meal or like human evil weed’s overtaking the garden that is all else . . . PONDER THAT!

    Globalist’s, misc aren’t really doing what they plan on, their really just passing the time, evil – senselessly, & their talk of reducing 7 billion plus down to 500 million, huh, OH don’t think it’ll stop there, oh no, just so Satan who solely started this Holy War against God, can eventually ‘spite’ God with eventually exhibited all human eventually narrowed down & killed, like Satan’s timeless laughing off it’s ass at us (having put on a clueless humor show for that beast) & deeming to God, “LOOK AT THEM ALL, YOUR SO-CALLED PRIDE & JOY, THEIR SUPPOSE TO REPRESENT YOU?!”

    Huh, LISTEN . . . to our fellow human Brother, just another Son of Adam & Eve, Steven Frederic Seagal’s word’s very carefully & TAKE IT TO HEART! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz2NeCowTwU

    Los Angeles County (California, USA), 88 cities & 20 + year’s = vast dead & killed fellow homeless human’s; https://www.elanafreeland.com.

    Author: Paul L. Williams. https://books.google.com/books/about/Killing_the_Planet.html?id=u6qexQEACAAJ&source=kp_book_description

    Huh, TRY THIS on for size per / via you’re brain = global extermination by 2025, & whom (TOP Power deem that 9-1-1 was JUST a TEST to see just how the global masses would react & respond. https://soundcloud.com/groundzeromedia/pulling-the-shameless-plug-w-deborah-tavares-july-24-2019

    Deborah Tavares, (she lives in Sonoma County – Northern California), & is a activist with a research team – Email: NoSmartMeters@gmail.com, deboraht@sonic.net, Her website: http://www.stopthecrime.net, & check THIS podcast she did: YOU local – global humanity NEED to SERIOUS listen to, because ceasing of humanity is Coming, please & SHARE it! Or you can hear it here > https://soundcloud.com/groundzeromedia/the-genocide-agreement-w-deborah-tavares-february-8-2018

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