It is about a boy named Ansel who feels uncomfortable for being the only dwarf at his new elementary school. Once his classmates learn this, they remind him one by one that each of them is also the only one in some way…only one with braces, only one allergic to peanuts, only only child, and so on.
I submitted to editors. No takers.
A couple of years later, I learned that the idea actually did get published, and in the year I sent it around…just not by me. Jane Naliboff’s The Only One Club follows a similar premise, except the central character’s distinction is that she is Jewish.
I’m glad this concept saw print, and I like Jane’s spin (not only the Judaism angle, which was what I had considered prior to dwarfism, but also that the first Only One starts a club revolving around it).
Parents and educators: I encourage you to encourage your kids to look at their circle of intimates and determine the ways in which each of them is also the only one. It’s a wonderful and worthy challenge that will get kids thinking about how we are different and how that is good.
“Instead of always telling our children that we are all equal and the same, we should tell them that we are all different. Saying we’re the same naturally makes them look for differences. Conversely, saying we’re all different (in appearance, cultures, etc.) makes them instinctively look for ways we’re alike.”
—Erica L. Scott, Binghamton, NY, 2009 letter to Newsweek