Let's face it, everyone falls into the trap - judging others by appearances. If you wore the wrong length white socks when I was a teenager at school, ( we weren't allowed to wear tights!) then you had to run the gauntlet of the pretty popular girls, all down the corridor.
Not even wearing a mask could save you.
But if we only judge by appearances, then we never really get to know other people.
"I didn't know we had immigrants in the UK," commented one teen reader of my novel, HIDDEN, about immigration and human rights. "But I learnt a lot from your book."
Fiction can tackle controversial and sensitive issues such as immigration more effectively than a lesson just before lunch. By writing books with strong, convincing characters and plots, the edgy issues become part of the landscape of the novel as naturally as the streets or the beach.
I believe that young people are very interested in the world around them and they like to take on a challenge. After all, growing up is all about taking risks.
Hmm - maybe its time I practised my Free Running moves for the next chapter!
Miriam Halahmy's new novel, HIDDEN, was published in March 2011 and is about two teenagers who rescue an illegal immigrant from the sea and hide him to save him from being deported.