An Election Eve note from the author
When I wrote Enemy Pie, one of my aims was to write a non-preachy kids’ story based on kindness and mutual respect. I wanted to tell a story that highlighted the existing possibilities in our personal relationships, once we get past our negative judgements and assumptions about one another. I’ve talked to countless kids and parents who have tested out this recipe on their “enemies,” and it’s always inspiring to hear these stories. One thing I’ve noticed over the years: kids get it. But the adults? Less and less so. Grown ups (myself included) need the message of Enemy Pie much more often than our kids do.
Enemy Pie has been in print for over 16 years. This past year, sales increased by over 50%. That has never happened before. And this would be great news, except for one thing- there has simultaneously been a massive surge in bullying and hate talk in our schools, the likes of which most teachers also have never seen before. This spike in bullying has been attributed to one thing- the incendiary rhetoric of Donald Trump. (http://www.nea.org/home/68560.htm).
A big part of my job is speaking at elementary schools. I’m always aware of the role I play as a visiting author. I’ve been given a position of respect, and I take great care to make sure that I return that respect to each student. It’s a given to everyone involved that schools aren’t bringing me in for my own glory. I’m there to serve the kids. There is a definite power and responsibility that comes with such a role of leadership. And ultimately, like it or not, we all play that role, just by being adults. But how much more so, with the president of the United States? With such authority comes great respect. And with such respect comes tremendous, massive responsibility.
I am not writing here to endorse any specific candidate. But I am passionate in my opposition to one. Donald Trump is a truly frightening role model for our kids and our nation. I can’t understate my belief here. Our young people- whose mental habits are still developing, whose foundation of empathy is still being built, and whose sense of possibility is still being defined- these kids desperately need a role model who inspires them to envision a future built on courageous hope instead of ruthless fear. In Donald Trump, we have a divisive, hateful person whose disastrous impact would literally be felt for generations.
The result of this election couldn’t be more important. Our future leaders are watching.