Dec. 23, 2011 at 7:32 AM ET
We know that people don’t always get along, but who ever thought that could happen to farm animals? Author Lori Corson-Webber uses her cows, goats and roosters as main characters in two books that teach children about respect and tolerance. “Everyone is Different” introduces children to Annie the cow, Randy the rooster, and Scooter the goat. Lori says her own farm animals are quite an inspiration.
“One day, I was pulling into the driveway and I saw Annie, licking the back of a calf on the other side of the fence,” Lori says. She looked to find the calf’s mother, who had wandered to the other side of the farm. “Annie somehow knew it was scared, and she took care of the calf.” Lori says she thought, "Why can’t we all get along like that?" and the idea for her first book was born.
In “Everyone is Different,” a tiff begins between Scooter the goat and Tilly the turkey, forcing Annie the cow to step in and mediate. Annie manages to get the two to see their differences, accept them, and understand that everyone IS different, and that’s ok.
Between her days spent as an EMT and studying for her RN degree, Lori managed to write a second book, prompted by some new additions to her farm. In “Everyone Grows Old,” young ponies learn a lesson about respect after a retired police horse moves into Clover Hill Farm. Lori is working on a third book that addresses gender-crossing roles in society. “Scooter the goat is a female, so she may be a police officer, and Annie may be an airline pilot.” As for the boys, Lori adds, “ Tilly the turkey may be a nurse.”
Lori’s colorful illustrations appeal to all ages, but her focus is on the early learning level where these important social issues take root. An advocate of teaching respect and tolerance, Lori takes her anti-bullying campaign right to the children by visiting schools and hosting events at child friendly venues. She reads her stories aloud to bring the animals to life and hopes that children will relate to the characters as friends. Lori says the message is simple, and hopes her stories can help teachers and parents spread the message that everyone really CAN get along.
What fictional characters have helped your kids learn about friendship, tolerance and respect? Share your favorites in the comments!
You can connect with Annie the cow (Annie Lee Cow) on Facebook.