September 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm , by Louise Sloan
This week, we lost another child to bullying. Fourteen-year-old Jamie Rodemeyer killed himself Monday, because—despite having made an “It Gets Better” video in May—he apparently couldn’t take the taunts anymore.
Last year around this time, we lost a whole string of teenagers to suicide for the same reason. If you missed it, please read LHJ’s award-winning article on gay teens and bullying, which includes important information about how everyone, regardless of their beliefs about homosexuality, can help to create a safer environment for all our children.
In addition, here’s one really fun way you can make a difference: Get a copy of The Boy With Pink Hair, a picture book by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton that just came out this month, and give it to a young child in your life or donate it to your local elementary school. It’s my five-year-old son Scott’s new favorite book. The illustrations are adorable and the story is about how the thing that makes you different can turn out to be the thing that makes you special, popular and successful.
That’s often true, but most of us have to wait till we are adults to figure that out. Not the Boy With Pink Hair, who was born with a “cotton-candy mop,” loves to cook pink food, and gets harassed about his hair by just about everyone—even zoo animals!—and especially by his kindergarten-class nemesis, the Boy With the Bad Attitude.
When the Boy With Pink Hair starts elementary school, the cafeteria stove breaks down right before a welcome party for parents and students. But our hero has an unusual hobby: He makes beautiful pink food, like pink marshmallow sandwiches with pink potato chips, and he knows how to whip things up quickly without having to cook on a stove. The principal calls on him to save the day. “Not the pink weirdo!” shouts the Boy With the Bad Attitude. But in the end, he, too, enjoys all the pink food and ends up seeing the Boy With Pink Hair for the special, valuable person that he is.
The teenage bullies who drove Jamie Rodemeyer to commit suicide might be lost causes. But this charming book (even if you don’t like Perez Hilton, you’ll love the story) may help us all create a new generation of Boys and Girls with Pretty Good Attitudes. And maybe it will get better.