A Melbourne dad who dressed up as Queen Elsa to support his son in a now viral TikTok video, has penned a new children’s book with a heartwarming message – you don’t need to blend in and “different is best.”

My Shadow Is Pink by best-selling author and illustrator Scott Stuart tells the tale of a little boy who wonders why his shadow is not blue like his dad’s and why he likes “books and pink toys, princess, fairies, and things ‘not for boys’.” The book had its genesis in Stuart looking for ways to help his son Colin, who was being bullied at childcare for having an Elsa doll.

“When Colin was three, he fell completely in love with Elsa, and he had an Elsa doll that he absolutely loved,” Stuart told Star Observer in an email interview.

“One day, he came home completely distraught from childcare because someone there had said that Elsa was only for girls. That night I started looking for media that reflected a young boy with interests that were traditionally “for girls.” I could find barely anything, and most of those weren’t particularly empowering, so I sat down and started to work on what ultimately became My Shadow Is Pink,” said Stuart.

The book, besides winning plaudits from celebrities, including Dannii and Kylie Minogue, has bagged five star reviews from Colin.

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 “He absolutely loves it. He has really connected with the concept of having “shadow” selves that reflect different parts of your personality, and that sometimes, some of those are shadows that you may wish to hide. But having the physical book in hand has really allowed him to feel even more accepted, and be even happier being his own true self.”

It was in April that Stuart shared a video of dressing up as Frozen’s Queen Elsa to go to the cinema with Colin.

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♬ Show Yourself – Frozen 2 – The Blue Notes

The video soon racked up almost 5 million likes from across the world and generated conversations around gender diversity and acceptance.

Stuart says when he posted the video he never expected it to go viral.

“I thought some people might think it was cute, but that was about it. I actually wasn’t interested in sharing our journey online originally, but my wife said something to me that really impacted me. She said, ‘there are so many young boys out there that have the same interests as Colin, but they’re not being accepted for who they are. They need someone out there who they can look to for that acceptance.’ So I started sharing our journey online, and it immediately started getting traction.”

Stuart hopes the video and now the book helps other parents navigate conversations around acceptance and helping their children be their true selves. He admits it was not an easy path for him after being raised with traditional views about what it meant to be masculine and the norm.

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 “When Colin first wanted to wear an Elsa costume, I was uncomfortable, because I had been raised to accept very rigid definitions of masculinity. But I chose to work through that discomfort and we discovered an enormous amount of joy in our family that wasn’t there before, simply because we let Colin live his own authentic life. I think that as parents, when our kids want to be themselves in a way we weren’t raised with, we often lean into the possibility of something bad happens (what if they are bullied?), and we forget about the possibility that there may actually be pure joy, acceptance and positivity because of that,” said Stuart.

Embarking on a fascinating journey with his son, there is no stopping Staurt. A follow up to My Shadow Is Pink is his next book How To Be A Real Man, which will hit the shelves in January 2021. He is also working on another book My Shadow Is Blue that will be launched next year. Meanwhile, he is raising funds on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform for a five-minute animated short film based on My Shadow Is Pink.

All we can sing is: Let it go!

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