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Study Guides

Strange and Wonderful:
Dignity and Respect for Differences

       Teasing and boasting just can’t boost one’s self esteem and morale like true friendship and self-discovery. Let these tales warm your heart with the gift of respecting and enjoying all our differences. (Grades K - 12)

Study Guide & Bibliography

Depending on the audience, Megumi will select and tell two, three, or four of the following stories. Optional: The program may end with an interactive storytelling, where the audience help create a story, impromptu!

A Lion on the Path (Africa)
Kappa Spring (Japan)
Little Red Hen (Nicaragua)
Lion and Mouse (Aesop)
Monkey Bridge (Jataka)
Ooka’s Wasted Wisdom (Japan)
The Boy Who Drew Cats (Japan)
The Bremen Town Musicians (Europe)
The Girl Who Adored Bugs (Japan)
The Mouse Bride (Asia, Mayan)
The Mouse and the Lion (Aesop)
The Monkey and the Rabbit (Africa)
Two Goat on a Bridge (E. Europe & Russia)

To introduce the concepts examples of dignity (self-respect) and respect for differences.
To provide concrete examples of dignity (self-respect) and respect for differences.
To give the audience the opportunity to participate in storytelling through song, sound effects, and gestures.

Please choose and modify the following suggestions to fit your students’ needs.

For the Whole School-- "Diversity Week"
Make the week prior to the assembly a “Diversity Week,” and have the various classes engage in the following activities.

Look up the definitions of:
- respect
- dignity
- dignity
- wonderful

Hand out a blank sheet of lined paper to every student (and teacher) in a class. Have each person write the names of every student and teacher in class on the left hand margin of the paper, skipping a line. Take the entire class period to write down, for each person, 1) why you respect the person, or 2) why you think the person is wonderful.

For Art
Design a poster (not a contest)
What the students will learn: To appreciate the different meanings of, and artistic ways in which we express dignity (self-respect) and respect for others. Charcoals, scraps of paper, tissues, crayons, paint. Have each student design a separate poster with this theme.

For History
Research Nobel Prize Winners. Learn what they did to earn the Prizes. If the students are interested in giving prizes to teachers, yard monitors or students who promote peace, why not make a big show of it? Remember to not make it a competition! An individual class may try to come to a consensus (in itself a cooperative, and therefore a peace-building process) go give one every week or month, or just during school-designated “Peace Week.”

For Language Arts (reading & writing)
How do different languages (besides English) say “Dignity?” “Respect?” Use dictionaries and computers with this search, or assign students to interview friends and family. Learn to write letters which are non-Roman alphabets, too. Have friends and family come into the classroom to teach pronunciation and writing.

Collect what “dignity” and “respect” means to different people. Answers may be one-line sentences, or whole stories, and can be written up as interviews or whole essays.

For Political Science For older students, have a debate on whether dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped hasten the end W.W.II or not. Did it save lives?
This website is devoted specifically to the story of Sadako Sasaki:

For Music
Learn songs about dignity and respect and have a concert for specific grade levels, or for the whole school! Check out Peter Blood & Annie Patterson’s book, Rise Up Singing with titles like “Harriet Tubman,” and the CD by People Kids Choir, Peace is the World Smiling with titles like, “Turn the World Around.”


For History
Coordinate Peace Week with Martin Luther King Day (the third Monday in January), and learn about this man who advocated non-violence.

Coordinate Diversity Week with National Women’s History Month (March) and learn about Jane Addams, winner of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize.

For Language Arts (reading & writing)
Perform the following Reader’s Theatre with Diversity themes.

The Hidden One: A Native American Legend
Retold by Aaron Shepard
GENRE: Folktale (Cinderella tale)
CULTURE: Native American (Micmac, Canada)
THEME: Self-esteem
READING LEVEL: Grades 2 and up
TIME: 8 min.
The Crystal Heart: A Vietnamese Legend
Retold by Aaron Shepard
GENRE: Legend
CULTURE: Vietnam
THEME: Consideration of others; danger of assumptions
READING LEVEL: Grades 5 and up
TIME: 10 min.

E. Brody, J. Goldspinner, K. Green, R. Leventhal and J. Porcino, eds., Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories of Peace, Justice & the Environment. Pennsylvania: New Society Publishers, 1992.

Sharon Creeden, Fair is Fair: World Folktales of Justice, August House Publishers, 1994.

Aesop, Lion and Mouse.

Naomi Baltuck, "Hoichi," Apples from Heaven: Multicultulral Folk Tales About Stories and Storytellers, Linnet Books, 1995.

Mohammad & Najmieh Batmanglij, The Wonderful Story of Zaal: A Persian Legend, Mage Publishers, Inc, 1985.

Janell Cannon, Stellaluna, Harcourt Brace & Co, 1993.

Janell Cannon, Verdi, Harcourt Brace & Co, 1997.

Pleasant DeSpain, "Natural Habits," in Thirty-Three Multicultural Tales to Tell, August House Publishers, 1993.

Dr. Seuss, Sneetches, Random House , 1961.

Lafcadio Hearn, "The Boy Who Drew Cats," in The Family Treasury of Children's Stories, Doubleday & Company, 1956.

Donald Keene, "The Lady Who Loved Insects," Anthology of Japanese Literature, Grove Press Inc., 1955.

Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley, Children Just Like Me, UNICEF, 1995.

Barbara Lewis, The Kid's Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference, Free Spirit, 1995.

_________, The Kid's Guide to Social Action: How To Solve the Social Problems You Choose - and Turn Creative Thinking Into Positive Action, Free Spirit, 1991.

Rafe Martin, illustrated by Fahimeh Amiri, The Monkey Bridge, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, 1997.

Jean Merrill, The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars, Philomel Books, 1992.

Susan Milord, Hands Around the World: 365 Creative Ways to Build Cultural Awareness and Global Respect, 1992.

_________, "A Drum," in Tales Alive! Ten Multicultural Folktales with Activities, Williamson Publishing, 1995.

Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee, Baseball Saved Us, Lee & Low Books, 1993.

_________, Heroes, Lee & Low Books, 1995.

_________, Passage to Freedom, Lee & Low Books, 1997.

Dennis Nolan, (a fable originally written down by Apion) Androcles and the Lion, Harcourt Brace, 1997.

Anne Pellowski, "The Lion on the Path," in The Story Vine: A Source Book of Unusual and Easy-to-Tell Stories form Around the World, 1992.

Kimiko Sakai, Sachiko Means Happiness, Children's Book Press, 1990.

Allen Say, The Bicycle Man, Parnassus Press, 1982.

Taro Yashima, Crow Boy, Puffin Books, 1983.

Rosalma Zubizarreta, illustrated by Fernando Olivera, The Woman Who Outshone the Sun: The Legend of Lucia Zenteno, Children's Book Press, 1991.

Linda Rief, Nancie Atwell, Seeking Diversity : Language Arts With Adolescents, Heinemann, 1991.

Stephanie Sammartino McPherson, Peace and Bread: The Story of Jane Addams, Carolrhoda Books, 1993.

CD’s and Audio Cassettes:
Bill Harley, "Turn the World Around," in Big Big World, Round River Records

Little People Kids Choir, "Turn the World Around," in Peace is the World Smiling, Music for Little People, 1993.

Patricia Shih, "Why Not," in Big Ideas.

Hidden Villa is a hands-on organization that teaches ecological concepts and diversity, in Los Altos Hills.

our developing world, free teachers’ lending library of hands-on realia and lessons, run by Vic & Barbie Ulmer. 13004 Paseo Presada, Saratoga, CA 95070 (408) 379-4431,

PHP - The Family Resource Center, 3041 Olcott Street, Santa Clara, CA 95054-3222,

Letterbox Library "the only book club to specialize in non-sexist and multi-cultural books for children” unit 2D, Leroy House, 436 Essex Rd., London N1 3QP.

Multilingual Matters: News and Views for Intercultural People Frankfurt Lodge, Clevendon Hall, Victoria Rd., Clevendon, Avon, England, BS21 7SJ (616) 243-6194.