Lesson Plans To Instill love of Diversity

sharing latest kind submissions from two teachers who have used my children’s books in their classrooms!

Fun and Easy! Teaching friendship and diversity!

Submitted by Dana Mascioli — Teacher –PA

If I Were King, by Randa Handler

Summary: A group of animals are hanging out, when friendly and good-natured Zebra asks the others to play pretend. Everyone takes a turn pretending to be king. Zebra does not understand that everyone is not a true friend, especially Lion. Her true friends tell Zebra to find her own turf, but she does not understand. So, she sets out on a journey, befriending everyone until she discovers the meaning of turf, true friendship and that it is cool to be different.


-Paper plates


-Paper glue


-Color copies of animals in book


1-Ask the children which animal each person prefers.

2-Make color copies of the animals in the story.

3-On the back of the plate, trace the face of each animal.

4-Cut out a circle of the animal’s face at the traced line.

5- Glue the cut out onto the plate.

6- Punch a small hole through the sides of the plate, with a pencil.

7- Place a ribbon through each hole, and tie a knot.

8- Have each child select a favorite animal to wear around the neck.

9- Read the story aloud, and ask each child to participate whenever the animal on the plate speaks.

10-When the story is finished, ask each child to imagine what he, or she would change for the better, and whether or not he or she knows his or her turf.

11-Ask each child to describe likes and dislikes, and the reason for choosing the particular animal as a favorite.

Below is a Review by R.W.Reed. Posted February 26, 2014 (5stars)

“If I Were King is a charming tale of self-discovery, set amidst a jungle setting and told through the eyes of a zebra. I read this book to a gaggle of young kids, and received wonderful responses from them while we explored the story together. As an adult, I appreciated the subtle but important lesson this book taught, and how thoroughly engaged the children were. I gave them prompts to keep them tuned in to the tale, such as: “Zebra is bored with her routine! Do any of you have a daily routine that you get bored of? What do you wish you could do differently?”

When we got to the silly scene about what each animal would do if they were the king of the jungle, I asked the children the same question. Responses ranged from: “Fly over everything and make sure everyone was doing what they ‘supposed to,” to, “Make every day a holiday so we can play outside.” The book was beautifully illustrated, and the children enjoyed the drawings showing animals outside of their normal environment, doing things that were not best suited to them.

One shy little girl asked me why the other animals didn’t want to play with the zebra; they wanted to know why they couldn’t all be friends. It opened up to a really great conversation about acceptance, leaving your comfort zone and exploring new things, but also about being safe around people who you don’t know. In summary, I loved this story, and so did my kids! It far exceeds its value when you consider the important lesson it imparts, and the fun you’ll all have learning it. Five stars and much approval from our reading circle!”

Cubbie Blue And His Dog Dot, by Randa Handler

Submitted by Dana Mascioli- Teacher-PA

Summary: Three multi-racial 7 year old boys befriend a tiny enchanted creature, Cubbie Blue and his minute dog, and learn about each other and the world. Everyone goes on adventures near and far, with personal differences intensifying the fun.

Here are some reviews from other educators who have posted online:

“I’m always looking for books that encourage children in my classroom to visualize in new and other worldly ways. Great visual and mental stimulation with a loving tailwind in the content and illustrations!’ Jessica Warne, CA teacher

“Author Randa Handler has written a magical and quirky story that will not only entertain children, but will teach them about diversity, problem solving, multicultural differences, and social justice issues.” Patricia Tilton, childrensbookheal.com. Ohio

“Magical Friendships make a great book! Cubbie Blue and his Dog Dot is a terrific book for readers who want magic, adventure, and examples of good friendship in a well-written story.” Rachel Horon, Educator. Indiana

What you need:

-a cup

-a small doll

-play dough

Lesson Plan:

1-Book One of the series is an introduction to all the characters. Read aloud the story and stop and ask the children for feedback as it develops. Why is everything so scary to Cubbie? Is it his size? Is it the new environment? Would they be so scared? How would they know who is a friend and who isn’t?

2-Using the cup and the small doll ask the children to take turn and describe their life, the world around them and their school to him. How would they introduce themselves to tiny scared creatures? What makes them so different? Can they be friends event though so different?

Lesson Plan with Cubbie Blue Book #2 What’s Up With Mike?

Summary: Three 7-year-old boys, and their miniature friends Cubbie and Dot befriend a blind child. Cubbie helps the boys learn about Mike’s limitations and needs. And, in turn, the boys help Cubbie escape from the evil soldiers trying to capture him.

What you need:

-a cup

-a small doll

-play dough

Lesson Plan-

1- Read the story aloud and set up characters.

2- Glue the face of Cubbie onto a small doll and place in a cup. Ask the children to take turns describing the world around them to the doll.

3- Give each child some play dough and ask them to shape the letters that spell their initials or their entire name.

4- I spelled Emma with some play dough and placed it on a white card board. See screenshot.

5- Switch the card boards between the children.

6- Ask them to close their eyes and ask them to softly run their fingers over the play sough shapes. Let them practice reading each other’s names as if they were reading Braille.


Submitted by David Jadunath — Teacher — Montana-USA

Boy Who Spoke To God by Randa Handler

I was born in the West Indies, grew up in England, and live and teach in the United States.

Summary: A young Greek boy, in this modern non-religious folktale, helps Chinese, Greek, Indian, and Zulu feuding tribes find peace & harmony via his dreams of a perfect God. The tribes eventually learn that there is a way to be friends and coexist, while still having different beliefs and customs. A great way for us teachers to open discussion with children about friendships, cultural and religious diversity.

Boy Who Spoke To God makes a great lesson plan for elementary school children. Age 6 +. Think of it as chapter books with pictures. This book is a great tool to tackle the difficult subject of beliefs, without taking sides, and to teach an acceptance of differences.


-A Globe

-Downloaded pictures of exotic festivities.

-Copies of festive garbs, festive foods, or some traditional holiday cookies that can illustrate the four different tribes in the book. Chinese, Indian, Greek and African. A sweet taste of a culture might open the heart!

Lesson Plan:

1-Read the story aloud with the children. Make sure to point out the differences in the attire. Here are a few questions for the teacher:

What is Niko’s problem? When and why did he have it? What would you do if you were in his shoes? How would you solve it? Who did he go to for a solution to the problem? Did he finally find a solution? Do you agree with that solution? Why do you think the author did not illustrate God?

2-Because the story is written in a teachable manner, we can use it as a lesson plan and get to some more difficult questions, such as “Can you talk to God? And “What does God look like? Is it okay to be friends and not believe in the same God?

3-Using the globe, ask the children to point to where tribes similar to the ones in the book might live. What are the differences in lifestyles? What are the similarities? Do they all celebrate New Years on the first? Do they celebrate Christmas? Ask the children to take turns pointing to a spot on the globe, ask about the country. Is it similar to their spot in the world, or different?

4-Ask the children to take turns at describing the most exotic, or different city that they visited. Did they like the food? Did they understand the customs?

5-Have the children taste and describe the different desserts from the four different tribes in the book and talk about similarities or differences with their own favorite desserts.

Submitted by David Jadunath — Teacher — Montana-USA

I was born in the West Indies, grew up in England, and live and teach in the United States.

The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter, by Randa Handler

Summary: The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter is set in 1941, when Thanksgiving became a national holiday. It shows how a Japanese American girl and her Native American friend learn about the true meaning of the holiday and about their own traditions.

In addition to explaining why and when the holiday became a national holiday, the book thanks our veterans (I am a proud one!) and gives a historical vignette at the end of the book that can be handed out to the children. A great way to teach children to be thankful and welcoming of diversity, at a young age.

I like this blogger review, Randomly Reading: http://randomlyreading.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-thanksgiving-dinner-platter-by.html

And this is what a teacher from CA posted:

“Children will easily relate to this story which is educational as well as wonderfully inspirational: Educational, because many historical details of the first Thanksgiving are interwoven…and inspirational, because a little girl’s adventures on Thanksgiving Day enable her to understand and feel genuine gratitude when her conflicts and experiences resolve.” Jessica Warne. CA


-A globe, or an ipad with bookmarks about:

-Japanese Day of Thanks, or hardcopies of Day of Thanks festivities

-Photo of a traditional pilgrim grinder used to make cornmeal

-A few ears of corn

-A small mortar and pestle.

Lesson Plan:

1- Read the book aloud. Point out why the characters are dressed differently (1941).

2- Ask each child what he or she are thankful for.

3- Why is Takari’s mom not cooking a turkey?

4- You can follow the recipe in the book — screenshot above — and make cornbread the way the pilgrims did. It might be fun if children are 7 years and up.

5- You can use a mortar and pestle and show how cornmeal was obtained from the actual corn. Children can take turns pounding.

6- Compare traditions of Thanksgiving in Japan, Canada and US (mainstream, and Native-American celebrations). Using the history of the holiday provided by this book, and ask the children to share what they learned about other cultures and why they also give thanks.