Celebrating Differences


I am enough 

"This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it."

Task

While you listen to the story I would like you to think about two things:

  • The characters, how they're illustrated and why this is important
  • The message of the story, what does the author want you to think and feel when you've listened to the story

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points with your family or friends:

  • "I'm not meant to be like you, you're not meant to be like me" - talk to your family about this phrase. Why is it important to celebrate our differences? What would the world be like if everyone looked, sounded and acted in the same way?
  • The author wrote this book because children in her family felt like they were less important than other children because of the colour of their skin or the way their hair looked. Why do you think children felt this way? What other ways can we sometimes think we aren't good enough? What can you do to make sure everyone feels welcome, equal and like they're enough?

The Proudest Blue 

A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school--and two sisters on one's first day of hijab--by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It's the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it's her older sister Asiya's first day of hijab--a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.

Task

While you listen to the story I would like you to think about two things:

  • The characters and how are they feeling at different points of the story
  • How do the illustrations (pictures) help you understand the story and the characters emotions

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points with your family or friends:

  • Why do you think Asiya was able to be so brave and strong, even though people were being unkind to her?
  • Why did Asiya’s mum say “Some people won’t understand your hijab…” - What did she mean by this?
  • What do you think might happen on their next day at school?

All are welcome  

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other's traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Task

While you listen to the story I would like you to think about two things:

  • Do any of the characters look like you? 
  • When the children are together, how do you think they feel? Do the illustrations help?

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points with your family or friends:

  • If someone new joined your class what would you do to make sure they felt welcome? Perhaps they have a different skin colour, follow a different religion, speak a different language, have a disability or a different family set up to yours. Does it matter? 
  • At the end of the book, there is a page of how to say ‘welcome’ in lots of different languages. With your grown up, research different ways to say ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘welcome’ in some different languages so that you can speak to people from different cultures and countries. What countries did you choose? 

The Environment


Greta and the Giants  

This inspiring picture book retells the story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg – the Swedish teenager who has led a global movement to raise awareness about the world’s climate crisis – using allegory to make this important topic accessible to young children.

Greta is a little girl who lives in a beautiful forest threatened by Giants. When the Giants first came to the forest, they chopped down trees to make houses. Then they chopped down more trees and made even bigger homes. The houses grew into towns and the towns grew into cities, until now there is hardly any forest left. Greta knows she has to help the animals who live in the forest, but how? Luckily, Greta has an idea…

Task

While you listen to the story I would like you to think about two things:

  • Why are the illustrations important to the story? How do they represent the different characters?
  • How do you feel at different points of the story?

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points with your family or friends:

  • Why was it important that Greta didn’t do it alone? Why did other people join her?
  • Think about different ways you and your family can contribute to improving our environment

There's a rang-tan in my bedroom  

When a little girl discovers a mischievous orangutan on the loose in her bedroom, she can't understand why it keeps shouting OOO! at her shampoo and her chocolate. But when Rang-tan explains that there are humans running wild in her rainforest, burning down trees so they can grow palm oil to put in products, the little girl knows what she has to do: help save the orangutans!

Task

While you listen to the story I would like you to think about two things:

  • What would you do if a rang-tan turned up in your bedroom?
  • How are the little girl and the rang-tan feeling at different points of the story?

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points with your family or friends:

  • How do you feel about the fact that rang-tans and other wild animals are decreasing in numbers and are heading towards extinction due to the destroying of their homes and poaching? I find it hard to imagine a world without lots of our amazing animals
  • What can you do to help?

Somebody swallowed Stanley 

This thought-provoking picture book charts the eventful journey made by Stanley, a discarded plastic carrier bag, who is swept into the sea. As he drifts through the ocean waves, he is mistaken for a jellyfish and swallowed by a series of unsuspecting animals.

Task

While you listen to the story I would like you to think about two things:

  • Why do the animals keep swallowing Stanley?
  • Why are some of the words in the story in capital letters? 

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points with your family or friends:

  • A lot of litter we drop can end up impacting on wildlife, not only in the ocean but in rivers, fields and woodland areas. What can you do to encourage people in our community to respect the environment and not drop litter?
  • What can you do in your home to try and reduce how much plastic we use?

LGBT+

This month is PRIDE month, which is an important time for members of the LGBT+ community to celebrate their love. There will be talks, protests and usually a parade to celebrate, it is full of joy and love. You will see the rainbow flag which is a symbol of the LGBT+ community being waved. How could you celebrate all types of love at home? What could we do to help people in other countries who are still not allowed to marry the person they love?


Worm Loves Worm - J.J. Austrian and Mike Curato

A heartwarming story about two worms who love each other and decide to get married. But everyone else is worried about who will wear the dress, who will wear the tux, what they will eat. It doesn't matter because worm loves worm. This book celebrates love.

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

  •  what were all the things that the worms friends were worried about?
  • what did the worms want to do?

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

  •  Have you ever wanted to change something?- what you are having for dinner, your bedtime or perhaps how much you recycle?
  •  How can we make change happen?   

There are people around the world who are not allowed to get married to the person they love. This is because they are the same sex- a man who loves a man or a woman who loves a woman. In countries that don't allow of the same sex to be married they will sign petitions, politicians might ask the government to change their mind. In 2015 the citizens of Ireland voted to support same sex marriage (there was a big party to celebrate) and earlier this year Northern Ireland became the last UK country to make same sex marriage legal.


And Tango makes three - Justin Richardson & Pater Parnell

Roy and Silo are just like the other penguin couples at the zoo - they bow to each other, walk together and swim together. But Roy and Silo are a little bit different - they're both boys.

Then, one day, when Mr Gramzay the zookeeper finds them trying to hatch a stone, he realises that it may be time for Roy and Silo to become parents for real.

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

- Is there anything you can’t do that others can? How does that make you feel? 

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

-  Why did the zookeeper give the two penguins an egg to look after? How do you think the penguins feel?

-  Tango, the chick has two Dads. She seems happy and all the visitors and other animals cheer them on. What can we learn from this?


Heather has two mommies - Leslea Newman

Our postal delivery was slightly late this week so we have borrowed this video from youtube with someone reading the story for you to enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPELRbTINk

Heather's favourite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn't have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn't matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because "the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another." This delightful edition for a new generation of young readers features fresh illustrations by Laura Cornell and an updated story by Lesléa Newman.

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

-How do you think Heather feels when she realises she may be the only one without a Daddy? How do you think all the other children feel?

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

-  Think about your family. Who lives in your house with you? Who lives elsewhere? Can you make a family tree? Post the pictures in the class comments and then we can compare how different all of our families are.


Race & Cultural Differences

Let’s talk about race - Julius Lester

Our postal delivery was slightly late (again) this week so we have borrowed this video from youtube with someone reading the story for you to enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoDUJY9u9Jw

This gorgeous book--great to read with kids of any age--allows for open-ended conversation and questions. I am a story. So are you. So is everyone. Julius Lester says, "I write because our lives are stories. If enough of those stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details."

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

  • Why do you think a book like this needed to be written? What did the author want you to think about?

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

  • Why do some people think one race is better than another? Is this true? 
  • This story has an important message about looking past someone's appearance, skin colour, hair colour and differences to yourself and instead spend time asking and looking to learn about people in order to find your similarities.  What are you going to do next time you meet someone who looks different to you?

Race Cars - Jenny Devenny 

Race cars is a book for older children, particularly those in KS2 as it serves as a metaphor for white privilege and systemic racism. It is written for children between the age of 7-12 years old. Race Cars tells the story of 2 best friends, a white car and a black car, that have different experiences and face different rules while entering the same race.

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

  • How would you feel if you were Chase and all the rules kept changing? 

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

  • Why do you think the race committee were so upset that Chase won the race?
  • Ace doesn’t notice the extra barriers that Chase has to go through during the race? Why do you think this is? 
  • Can you think of any real life situations where the rules are different for one group of people in comparison to another group of people? Is this fair or unfair?

The Journey - Francesca Sanna

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ovSdAh60U

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis this beautifully illustrated book explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by war. Suitable for children aged 7+

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

  • Put yourself in the shoes of the main character. How do you think you would feel at different points of the story? 

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

  • Why do you think they had to leave at night?
  • The main character is very hopeful at the end that things will change. How could we help someone who came to our school from a new country? Perhaps they are refugees too.

Lubna and Pebble - Wendy Meddour & Daniel Egneus

Lubna's best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does.

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

  • Why do the family end up living in a world of tents?  

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

  • Why was the pebble so precious to Lubna?
  • Have you ever owned or had anything that brings you comfort and happiness?

Malala’s Magic Pencil - Malala Yousafzai 

As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.

Task

While you listen to the story think about:

  • The story. I just want you to pay attention to the words and the message in the story. 

After you have listened to the story talk about these reflection points and questions with your friends and family:

  • If you had a magic pencil, what would you draw? 
  • How do you think you would feel if you weren’t allowed to go to school? Is it fair that in some countries boys are allowed to go to school and work and girls aren’t?
  • This is a true story, and around the world lots of children live in poverty and don’t get to go to school and others can’t because of their gender. We are very lucky to be able to go to school, learn and feel safe. How can we help other children? As the book says, we should think of the world as one family.