A few years ago, I went back to university to try to make some sense of life. I had been recently widowed and much seemed unanswerable. I was taking a postgraduate class based on a series of research studies. These studies centred on a small number of specific human properties (black men in the southern US; lesbians in Paris, etc). Sitting there, it occurred to me that, whilst we reinforce these boundaries, setting people apart in groups based just on their colour, gender or sexuality, there can never be true equality. We have to start to see everyone as an individual, based upon an equal number, but wholly unique, spread of properties (colour, gender, sexuality, physical & mental ability, wealth, politics, spirituality, class and age). Only then can we start to treat everyone as an equal individual.
I was inspired to write a story based on a child having adventures, where he meets people with very entrenched views, by reading The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry. I first read the book when I was a child and it has stayed with me ever since. In the new book, Alex (along with Blink, his super-sniffing, superhero -dreaming dog), visits places where people have very insular ideas. These meetings inform his world and he tries to convince them that there might be a better, more equal way.
Attitudes to equality will not change overnight; indeed, they may take generations, but we should start trying to change them now and children have the most open minds to accept the ideas.
If you are a parent (or grandparent, aunt, uncle or godparent) who would like your children to understand difference, individuality and equality, this is for you.
The book is available to order through Amazon, Waterstones and others.
I hope many of you will think this is a positive step for you and whatever children are in your life. If you happen to buy it, then thank you and I hope you enjoy it.