Author: Kathryn Otoshi
Ages: 4 and up
Summary: Kathryn Otoshi's book is about the color Blue and things he likes to do. Sometimes the color Red is mean to Blue and makes him feel small. Red does this to all the other colors and makes them feel sad. None of the colors stand up to Red, until One comes along. One stands up to Red and says, "If someone is mean and picks on me, I, for One, stand up and say, NO." The other colors join in and Blue sees all the colors change into numbers. It made him want to count too! He stands up to Red and all the other numbers stand up to Red. Red rolls away and feels small, and One tells Red that he can count too!
Element 5: Raising Awareness: This book raises awareness about bullying and how it makes people feel when they are bullied. It shows students how they can stand up to bullies because they count. This book shows how bullying can hurt peoples' feelings and make people small. "One" shows how when people do not stand up to bullies that things can get out of hand. It raises awareness that sometimes when one person stands up to a bully then it gives everyone else the courage to stand up for themselves too. This books also presents the idea of befriending the bully, even after standing up to him/her; because everyone counts!
Activities: This book is a very great introduction to discussing bullying and how it makes people feel. I would do a read-aloud of the book, and prior to reading have students think about each color and what each color means. I would take moments to stop and talk about feelings for example: when Red is picking on Blue by saying, "Red is hot. Blue is not," to Blue. I would have students think about how Blue feels, and how Red uses his words to hurt Blue's feelings. After reading the book I would have each student make a paper cut-out of themselves and decorate it with as many colors as they want, because they are unique just like the colors in "One." When the cut-outs are done I would have students talk about words that are hurtful, and have them participate with words that are hurtful that they may have heard before (making sure not to use any names and bad words). For each hurtful word or saying they must crumple their paper cut-out. This represents how hurtful words can make people feel, just like Blue when he was picked on, they make them feel crumpled and small. After I would have the students give examples of nice words and things to say to people and with each one un-crumple their paper cut-out. At the end, after their cut-out is flattened out, it would show that the paper still has some wrinkles in it. This shows that even after kind words and time, people are still affected by hurtful words and will carry it with them. This activity creates awareness that words can hurt people, and we should understand how our words affect people, so use kind words.