Kristen Bell wants to diffuse any controversy surrounding her new children’s book.
The mother of two, 39, is the co-author of “The World Needs More Purple People.” She says it’s a story about the importance of teaching what makes each person unique while finding “common ground” with others who may be different, while also noting it does not deflect from issues of color that have moved to the forefront in public discourse this year.
“Some people interpreted that as trying to say it was colorblindness, which I want to be really clear it is not at all,” she said Tuesday on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. “When I say find sameness or common ground, I mean look at each other as human beings, right? We have an identifiable feature. We can tell we’re human beings, so you first start with someone’s humanity and that is step number one.
“And the second step is absorbing all these differences that create us, that provide the beauty within all of our human race and each individual culture. But I personally think you’ve got start with looking at everyone’s humanity and then you can say, ‘OK, now let’s see what makes you uniquely you and me uniquely me and figure out how we can do it together.’”
The country is not unified at the moment, with people at odds, a development that Bell said fueled the book, even though it was written a few years ago as a way to help kids.
“When we wrote this book, there are themes of everything that’s going on. We wrote it two years ago and it came out of this personal experience of feeling like our children were absorbing this political divide, this very polarizing political divide. And so, we wanted to give some language to what they were seeing and help with the divisiveness,” she said.
“So, red plus blue equals purple and that is our idea of a purple person. We wanted to create a sort of road map to social identity for our kids that would help them navigate all the divisiveness they were digesting, even subconsciously, so really this book is trying to point kids towards their fellow humans and see friends rather than enemies and look at character while celebrating all of our differences.”
Bell said it was vital to remind readers that there are some universally admired traits that can serve as a baseline for interacting with others.
“What we tried to do in the book is find things that all humans can agree are good qualities in character, right?”
“So we’re giving kids a chance to look for things that they can find common ground in. So purple people ask great questions, laugh a lot, use their voice and don’t lose their voice and they are uniquely themselves. Those are the pillars I’m trying to teach my kids.”