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Different Just Like Me



How Different Just Like Me Came To Be.
Lori Mitchell's daughter, April, had been diagnosed with Vitiligo when she was only eight months old. Vitiligo is a loss of pigment or color in her skin. It started as a small dime sized spot on her inner thigh and now looks like white clouds going across her entire body.

At age four the vitiligo was just starting to spread to her face and hands and people started asking more questions about why her skin looked different. April started to ask some questions of her own. We went to a Baseball game and she wanted to know why everyone else looked different. There was a man in a wheelchair next to us, a tall man behind us, a large woman down a few rows, and so on. We told her we all have something that makes us different but we are all so much the same. We tried to find a book to help make that point and found one book about difference in race, one about the visually impaired, one about hearing loss, and so on. There wasn’t one book that said we are all the same and different at the same time. So April and I decided we would create one. That’s how Different Just Like Me came to be.

April is the main character in the book but we left out her spots. Why, you may ask. Because not everyone can see past her spots right away. That’s the point of the book. We wanted as many kids to relate to her as possible. We wanted kids to think “I’m like her, so maybe I’m like all those other people in the book.” We made her as generic as possible to get the point across. If we would have shown her vitiligo, kids may have thought “Well I’m nothing like her, so I must not be like any of those other people” and it would have defeated the whole purpose of the book. This way, by the end, maybe they’ll see how we really are all more alike than we are different.

There is, however, a woman with vitiligo in the scene at the train station, she is also on the back cover. On the cover of the book, April has two colors of skin. If you didn’t know about vitiligo you would think it was just light and shadow on her face and arms. I wanted to do something for all of April’s friends with vitiligo. She has vitiligo pen pals from all over the world.



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Different Just Like Me

Damned White Spots
This is the title of a new book published by Professor Karin Schallreuter. It is subtitled A collection of words and images by patients with vitiligo’

Professor Schallreuter is not only Professor of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology at the University of Bradford. She is also a guest professor at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald in Northern Germany where she works at the newly formed Institute for Pigmentary Disorders.

We will have this book available shortly. Click here for a look at the book at Prof. Schallreuter's web site.

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