Guion the Lion, by Rebecca Macsovits, is a cute story about a colorful lion who tries to find the switch to turn on the colors in the world around him. He goes to bed thinking he hasn't found the switch in the dark and gloomy world - but then wakes up to find out that he knew what it was all along! It's a great story to help kids realize that they have the power to make the world a better place.
I had a chance to interview the author to learn more:
What was the inspiration behind Guion the Lion?
My oldest son is an active eight year old and like others his own age, he balances homework, after-school activities and playdates. He also happens to have Down syndrome. When I tell adults, their initial reaction is “I’m sorry” and typically it is because they don’t understand Down syndrome and the unknown can be scary. However, Guion’s peers at school see him as a friend and an equal member of the class even when he does things on his own timeline. My wish is for everyone to see those with differences through the eyes of a child; you see "different" as something good or you just ignore it all together because it doesn't matter. What better way to express that than through a children’s book.
What do you hope children get out of the book?
For kids (and adults) who do not have friends with special needs (or any other differences for that matter), my hope is that they will understand that it is ok to receive and give help to those who don’t look or sound just like them. Discounting someone without knowing their capabilities or just because they are different-looking is a loss. For all others, I believe it will be a positive reinforcement of their behavior.
How can children make the world a little brighter place?
Continue being kids and embrace differences. Help others and let others help you. Your world will be much richer and fuller and in turn you'll make our world a more colorful place.
On a side note, I wanted to share a few, recent and fun stories I’ve heard from parents of my son’s typical friends:
· One boy commented that Guion was the best swimmer he knew
· One girl commented that Guion was one of the best players at the game of tag
· At a recent friend’s birthday party, the birthday boy had to select a friend to help him hand out treats; out of everyone, he picked Guion.
He’s much more the same than different and I love that his friends (and his siblings) see him this way. I hope to educate and encourage others to do the same with all those with whom they come in contact.