This delightful picture book written by Kameel Vohra and illustrated by Alvin Adhi is a fun, rhyming story of Anika’s experiences when she discovers a “witch” is moving in next door. Everything she thinks a witch would do or be is quickly diffused when she talks to her new neighbor. Soon she sees the “why” behind the “witch-like” image and learns her neighbor is not someone to be scared of after all.
This book is amazingly relevant, and I can’t imagine one person who hasn’t experienced this story from one or the other’s perspective. So, let it be a lesson to us all as we pause, share, read and teach our children to not jump to conclusions. This little book has a big impact as it encourages children (and readers of all ages) to challenge assumptions. We all make them when we meet someone for the first time. But when we’re able to move past the experiences and prejudices that have shaped our perspectives, we can be free of judgment and open to acceptance. And like Anika, may even make a new best friend. Hands down, a children’s picture book you should share with your family.
As Vohra states, “Growing up in an immigrant family, I know what it’s like to be seen as an outsider. No child should be made to feel like they don’t belong. Which is why I’d really like to help children recognize unconscious bias, see beyond the superficial and beyond unfounded fears. New and different people are as exciting as they are sometimes unnerving to children. With this story, I hope to help kids understand how appearances are often misleading, how unconscious bias can affect our thinking, that we should face our fears and how open dialogue makes things better.”
Image Courtesy of Kameel Vohra