We have rarely shied away from criticism about our work being too “Woke” or being on the wrong side of Florida’s polarized political landscape- we can easily remember being called “… a tiny blue dot in a sea of red”, by a reader, amongst plenty of other ‘helpful suggestions’. However, this is the first time we have ever considered our work to be contentious. Primarily, due to recent book bans in other Southern states as well as Florida’s HB 1557 (also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) and other ‘anti-woke’ legislation supported by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, there is a very good possibility that as soon as our books hit shelves, they’ll be removed. This is something we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts as an aside, yet it is time to turn and face those who accuse us of creating books not suitable for children.
To think, this message, our mission and all the work we’ve put into it, are now controversial is sickening; consider this, the following is our mission statement: “Dimple brings tales of kindness and inclusivity to children everywhere during these challenging times of divisiveness and discord. Let us show our children that kindness does matter. Dimple and friends are just the ones to tell the tale, they are young monsters growing up, laughing, learning and playing in the deep, secret sunny woods, where no two monsters look the same. These little monsters learn about inclusivity and friendship, respect and kindness in a world where their differences unite them”.
How could kindness and compassion possibly be in dispute? Including old friends and new, learning and growing… how is that even a contestable ideology?? There are a few unique aspects to our books that many folks don’t think children are ready to grasp; that they are too young to receive. Yet, these are basic playground lessons that most children understand long before they can articulate them. The primary difference is that in Dimple’s Days, we include…well, everyone. And that doesn’t seem to sit well with the Florida Legislature or some parents of children which our kids go to school with. I (Kayte) attended a school board meeting in February and listened for hours as parents spoke one after another, after another to the board with their statements oozing homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, ableism and classism. I was horrified. I got up and used my 3 minutes, but not to talk about Dimple’s Days and what may happen but to remind everyone that we have but one thing in common- we are all human. That’s it, gay, trans, a person of color, a person differently abled, refugees and every single person in between, we are ALL human.
In this crumbling community, perhaps need monsters to show us the way.