South Orangetown Central School District

Cottage Lane Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders were treated to a special visit today from author James McLeod. McLeod’s autobiographical book, “The Boy Behind the Face,” tells of challenges he faced growing up with vitiligo, a disease that causes loss of skin color.

“All of the students at today’s assembly had a chance to read James’ book before today,” said library teacher Kristine Wagner, noting that the event was aligned with CLE’s character education and social emotional learning programming. “The book explains that everyone, no matter the size, has a superpower. James gave examples of his own experiences and how he used self-love to motivate himself to overcome his shyness and make friends. Our minds are powerful and we can use the tools that we carry around to control our emotions.”

In sharing his story, McLeod encouraged students to love themselves and “be more kind” to each other.

James McLeod presenting to CLE fourth and fifth graders