Author explores hoodies in new children's book

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Hooded sweatshirts became a part of the national discussion earlier this year when Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

Many debated whether wearing “hoodies” sent a negative message, while others used them as a way to show support to Martin and his family.

Valley author Renee Fontaine says hoodies can also serve as a symbol for protection, which she explores in her new book “Boy in the Hoodie.”

“I actually wrote ‘Boy in the Hoodie’ about my son. He was three at the time, and it was to help him get over some fears he was having,” Fontaine explained.

Fontaine said she put a hoodie on her son one rainy day when he was feeling uneasy about the weather. 

Fontaine said that day changed her son’s view on hooded sweatshirts, and he now sees his hoodie as his protection from the world.

“I made it into the shining knight, and that’s his armor, and that’s going to keep him protected, no matter what comes his way,” Fontaine added.

Fontaine wrote “Boy in the Hoodie” before the Martin case came about, but she stated that she’s never viewed hooded sweatshirts in a negative light.

Fontaine will be signing copies of “Boy in the Hoodie” at the Barnes & Noble at Kierland Commons on August 11. She’ll also be at the Barnes & Noble at Tempe Marketplace on August 25.