A five-year-old left in tears when a classmate asked her why she “looked different” has hit back – by proudly inspiring an anti-racism book.
Annelise Myrie’s class was talking about Tanzania in a geography lesson when a boy said she “looked like the people” from the African nation.
The little lad added she was “ugly” – and her “skin looked like poo”.
Inspired by the incident, her family, from Chinnor, Oxfordshire, have written a book to educate kids about race.
The book, written from Annelise’s point of view by her godmother Rachael Price, 46, came after in-depth discussions with the little girl’s mum Claudia, 36.
Claudia said: “Annelise was upset when her classmate said that about her, and I remember her crying about it, but the school handled it well.
“But it made me question, ‘what is a five-year-old’s understanding of colour?’ – and with Rachael’s help, we were able to open up that conversation.
“We don’t blame her classmate – what he said was wrong, but him having questions was not wrong.
“The book was written to help people become more open discussing race and asking questions, especially with children.”
The comments were made last summer to Annelise, whose parents are of Ghanaian and Jamaican descent.
The boy had also asked questions about why Annelise looked different to her peers.
Claudia said her daughter was “forgiving” and the two classmates were friends again just hours later after the school quickly intervened and he apologised.
The book, called ‘Elissy’s World: The Same But Different’, was released last month ahead of World Book Day.
Claudia said: “Rachael really helped and supported us in spreading our message – she was able to speak about it when I couldn’t.
“We want to spread love and education and help people to accept everyone’s differences.
“We should be open to asking and answering questions in a positive way, especially for children.
“Having open conversations about race will make the world a better place.”