Author Speaks to Students About Overcoming Fears

When children’s book author James McLeod spoke to the students at George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School about being happy with who they are, he spoke from experience.

McLeod was bullied as a boy when he developed vitiligo. Now he speaks to audiences with upbeat energy to tell them it’s OK to be different.

“My goal is to empower kids to overcome their insecurities and fears,” said McLeod, the author of “The Boy Behind the Face.” His website is “That Vitiligo Guy.”

A force of infectious positive energy, McLeod spoke to the students in the school auditorium, then had pizza for lunch with some of them in the school library.

“It makes you feel good about yourself,” fourth grader Cecilia Martinez said about his presentation.

Third grader Jake Bauman enjoyed McLeod’s stories of how he overcame bullying.

“I was inspired by how he stood up for himself,” he said.

The presentation also complemented a writing program the students are engaged in.

“In addition to supporting the inclusive ideals that we foster at Davis, it was a wonderful opportunity for students to see how the power of their own words and their own stories can have a positive impact on others,” Principal Anthony Bambrola said. “All of our classes, from kindergarten through fifth grade, are engaged in narrative writing units right now. This presentation showed them that, no matter how young or old we are, our stories can change the world!”

Martinez was also impressed by McLeod – “He’s strong and he’s bold,” she said – and she appreciated his message. “It’s good to be different,” she said. “It makes you stand out.”

Resource: New Rochelle High School Newsletter(

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