According to the National Center for Education, nearly 1 out of 4 kids say they are bullied each year. While millions of school kids head back to in-person learning after a year on lockdown, the last thing they should be worried about is being different. In “You’re Going to Like Me, Grumble! Grumble!” school children learn positive ways to deal with social differences. The inventive tale, brainchild of child advocate Tiffani Staten, shows little ones, age 5-8 years old, how to cope with difficult situations. The Hampton grad, with a heart for change, weaves a whimsical story of an unlikely hero who finds the answer to peer pressure by accepting himself. Ernest's journey is symbolic of every child who has a challenge like a disability, gender bias or the sound of a new dialect, language or tongue.
Meet Ernest Floofer, a brown, hairy being, with a kind heart and gentle soul. Ernest is just like any other Quarkian, until his family uproots and moves him to Weetown, the land of bright-colored beings. In “You’re Going to Like Me, Grumble! Grumble!” Ernest sticks out like a sore thumb and his brown color is not at all like a Weebly. The classmates laugh and jeer at him, so he tries every trick in the book to fit in, but soon Ernest learns to feel good in his own skin. He finds that his deep mocha hue is just as beautiful as the emerald greens, bright blues, or precious purples of the Weeblies. He is special on the inside and that is what counts. Staten knows this need for acceptance all too well. The brown skinned beauty was often the only African American in her classroom. It was there that she suffered from the "Imposter Syndrome" - always changing her appearance or personality to fit in with the crowd. Now, Staten stands tall just like Ernest and she teaches others to embrace their "quirkiness".
The book, lovingly illustrated by Zachary Gladwin, shows the complexity of the skin color issue in a way only kids can understand. This gentle account of Ernest’s woes helps young readers move through the steps of self-actualization to build confidence in their appearance, as well as their innate abilities. Ernest is more than his brown, hairy covering. He “likes to draw, build things, and play outside.” It teaches youngsters that being different does not have to be “weird” or negative — it is just different from what you are used to.
“You’re Going to Like Me, Grumble! Grumble!” takes the issue a step further by showing kids how to evaluate genuine beauty. In a pilot study conducted by CNN, they found both Black and white children to hold biases against people of differing races. White children labeled Black children as dumb, and Black kids thought white kids were ugly — all because of their skin tone. This groundbreaking book helps to right this systemic wrong by bringing awareness to the underlying pigment issue that separates Americans
This timely tale of self-care and self-confidence is the perfect addition to any library, and can be found at Target, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.