Wednesday, March 5, 2014

“Everyone Is the Only One”

In 2004, I wrote a picture book manuscript called Everyone is the Only One. (I remember precisely where I was when the idea hit: the guest room in a friend’s house.)

It is about a boy named Ansel who feels uncomfortable for being the only dwarf at his new elementary school. Once his classmates learn this, they remind him one by one that each of them is also the only one in some way…only one with braces, only one allergic to peanuts, only only child, and so on.

I submitted to editors. No takers.

A couple of years later, I learned that the idea actually did get published, and in the year I sent it around…just not by me. Jane Naliboff’s The Only One Club follows a similar premise, except the central character’s distinction is that she is Jewish.

I’m glad this concept saw print, and I like Jane’s spin (not only the Judaism angle, which was what I had considered prior to dwarfism, but also that the first Only One starts a club revolving around it).

Parents and educators: I encourage you to encourage your kids to look at their circle of intimates and determine the ways in which each of them is also the only one. It’s a wonderful and worthy challenge that will get kids thinking about how we are different and how that is good.

“Instead of always telling our children that we are all equal and the same, we should tell them that we are all different. Saying were the same naturally makes them look for differences. Conversely, saying were all different (in appearance, cultures, etc.) makes them instinctively look for ways were alike.” 
Erica L. Scott, Binghamton, NY, 2009 letter to Newsweek

1 comment:

Rachel Molly Loonin said...

iT'S good to see you have remained positive about this - you know the old adage that there are no "new" ideas. I wonder, though, if when you put that energy out there of your idea for the book, even if the author didn't know you directly , if somehow she got that idea to write a book of a similar idea but different spin. In a similar vein, a musician friend of mine recently did a lot of experimental recordings of nature and power tools (this isn't a joke) , and he is just starting up his music career (restarting I should say), and just a few months later one of our favorite more popular musicians that we love to hear perform is now touring and using a power drill as part of his act. Go figure. The energy HAS to have been put out there. But looking at the good is always a good thing.