I grew up a socially awkward homeschooler. (For the record, I don’t believe homeschooling is the reason for my social awkwardness.)
When I had access to TV, I mostly watched the shows with talking animals, like 101 Dalmatians or my favorite, Redwall, which was the show that got me into reading. All the live action shows with humans tended to be about kids in school, and that was a foreign culture I couldn’t relate to. Talking animals were easier to understand. The only show with humans that I regularly watched was the Wild Thornberries, which was about a homeschooled girl who talked to animals. That was just the sort of show I liked, and to this day, it’s one of the only shows I can think of that actually represented homeschool kids. (If we want to talk about representation, let’s talk about how rarely homeschooled kids and homeschool culture gets positive representation in the media.)
When I started reading, I mostly read animal stories and reread all the Redwall books at least twice, then I began branching out. When I read Animorphs, I immediately connected with Ax, the one alien. He stuck out like a sore thumb, didn’t do very well passing for human, and had a unique perspective on humanity. He sadly got less books since the publishers thought kids couldn’t connect to the alien. Go figure.
Even now, when I’m consuming media, I tend to relate to the alien, or the one who doesn’t fit in. Normal humans aren’t as interesting. Sadly, these nonhumans seem to get pushed to the background because the writers think I can’t relate to them.
I wonder if this is why it seems like outcasts are attracted to sci-fi. We don’t fit in the main crowd, so it’s a lot more fun to read about another world, one where we can imagine we would fit, and one with characters that feel like outcasts or are socially inept because they’re aliens.