by Jacqueline Woodson
“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”
This beautiful book addresses some of the many ways in which children experience the feeling of being different and how it makes them feel. It provides kids with encouragement to be brave and share who you are with others. And out of that Doing something even when you know it will be hard. confidence and connections can be formed. It also provides many opportunities for talking to your kids about how to be a good A person willing to speak up or simply stand next to someone else (or a group of people) when they are being treated unfairly. An ally is also committed to learning and understanding more in order to help create changes./friend to others.
Talk About It
- Have you ever walked into a room and not known where you fit in? What thoughts/feelings did you experience? Encourage kids to think about a time they were new to a school or camp or went to a birthday party where they didn’t know many kids. You can also give examples from your own life, even adulthood, where you have felt this way. Be sure to go beyond a factual description and talk about how you felt.
- How do you think Roberto felt when the class laughed while he was introducing himself? If you were in that class, how could you have supported him and made him feel welcomed? Some examples: smiling at him; speaking up that it is not nice to laugh at people; telling him you are happy he’s part of the class; introducing yourself and asking him to play with you at recess
- You can use the introduction of Roberto’s accent to talk about how accents are one form of representing the geography of where we come from, including the various accents within the United States. Remind your child that they tell us nothing about someone’s personality or the kind of friend they could be.
- Why do you think Angelina felt unsure in talking about her summer experiences? (It’s important here to encourage our kids to think about the fact that every family is unique in both the access they have to travel or bigger experiences and the choices they make on how to spend time together.) What could the teacher have asked instead? Some examples: Who did you spend time with this summer? Tell us about a book you read? What was a fun moment you had spending time with your family just being at home?
- How would you feel if a friend laughed at you the way Nadja laughed at her friend? It is normal to be curious when you see, smell, experience something different, but how could Nadja have been a better friend in this situation? What could she have said/done when she saw her friend’s lunch? Some examples: Say nothing about the food and just talk about other things. Politely ask, “What are you having for lunch? I’ve got pb&j again.”
- When the boy is excluded on the playground, how could you be his A person willing to speak up or simply stand next to someone else (or a group of people) when they are being treated unfairly. An ally is also committed to learning and understanding more in order to help create changes.? What would it feel like if no one wanted to play with you? Have you ever been left out? How did it make you feel? What would have made you feel better?
- Once Angelina begins sharing her story, she starts to find things she has in common with other kids in her class. Why is it important to look for the things people have in common? To be someone’s friend do you have to only have things in common or are differences important as well?
- Take some time to write down your story. What do you want people to know about you? What are parts of your cultural background that you love? What are some traditions in your family; favorite foods, etc? Reach out and ask other people in your life to share their stories with you.
- Draw an outline picture of you and one of your friends. Choose one color and use the space around the two of you to write down all the the things you have in common. Now pick each of your favorite colors and use it to fill in each of your outlines with the ways in which you are different that you appreciate about one another. This could even be a project you work on together.
- As a family make a poster listing the qualities that make someone a good friend/ally. Put it up somewhere where everyone can see it. Make a family agreement to be an A person willing to speak up or simply stand next to someone else (or a group of people) when they are being treated unfairly. An ally is also committed to learning and understanding more in order to help create changes. for others. Find a way to share your idea with others and get them on board as well.