By NAFISAT ALAO
East Toronto author Jodie Davis is seeking to inspire kids from age four to eight years old to shrug off the pressure of trying to fit in so they can embrace their unique selves.
In his recently released book This Monster Wears Pants, Davis demonstrates how being considered unique and different from what is “commonly known” can be a good thing.
This Monster Wears Pants tells the story of Marvin the fashion-loving Monster, Sammy the skateboarding Salmon, and Max the vegetarian Bear as they learn that it’s OK to be different.
An award-winning executive producer with more than 20 years of experience in the television and digital world, Davis said the goal of the book is to entertain and show kids its OK not to be defined by the labels society gives you.
He said the title of the book sets the stage for the story it tells.
“When you think of monsters, you think of them being scary and not something that people want to look at. So I thought why not put a twist on it and allow this monster to be a bit fashionable and allow him to be okay with not being a scary monster,” said Davis.
He said the book was initially created based on his own experiences of being judged and bullied as a kid.
“Being a mixed-race child, I was one of very few kids who didn’t look like everyone else. There was a lot of teasing and bullying and not fitting in with the crowd that I had to deal with, and I did turn to clothes to try and figure out what my identity was. Which is why I had the main character wearing pants as well to use it as his identity,” said Davis.
He has had an interest in writing from a young age. “I have always loved creative writing and started young…it’s an outlet for saying things that you feel aren’t the right things to say…by writing it you can get it out there and it can make space in your mind for other things. I have always had that creative bug.”
He said he first wrote the book several years ago but did not get it published at that time.
“I wrote this book seven years ago when my daughter was four, and she loved it. That gave me the confidence to try and get it out there to other people to enjoy it,” said Davis.
He discussed the importance of having such books available to children at young ages in order to help them navigate their feelings.
“I think it helps them, especially if parents can read to their kids. I think reading to your child is a very essential thing to do. It plays a big role in bonding and allows you to talk through things, and when you see it in a book format it can give you the opportunity to speak to your kid in a different way than if it was a problem they brought to you,” said Davis.
“Allowing kids to see things in a different light allows them to think about things differently and realize that things don’t have to fit into the certain definition that people put other people into,” he added.
This Monster Wears Pants has made the Amazon best-sellers list and has made a difference for children who feel like they don’t fit in. The themes of authenticity, inclusivity and diversity brought to life in the book are also timely for adults.
The book is available to be purchased on Amazon for $15.99 for a paper back version.
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