Friday, April 24, 2009

Stellaluna


The picture book Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon, is a wonderful book for inspiring discussions about what makes something what it is and about friendship. It tells the story of a young fruit bat who becomes separated from her mother and lands in a nest of baby birds, becoming an adoptive member of the bird family. The baby bat learns to act like a baby bird and struggles to accommodate herself to the family, but she never completely fits in. Eventually she is able to regain her identity as a bat, and she and her bird friends wonder together about friendship and being alike and different at the same time.

The following are some questions that can be used to discuss this story in a classroom or other group setting or just with your own children:

WHAT MAKES A . . .
Duck a duck?
Cat a cat?
Human being a human being?
Animal an animal?
Bird a bird?
Smile a smile?
Feeling a feeling?
Thought a thought?

COULD A . . . AND HOW DO YOU KNOW?
A duck catch mice?
A bat write a letter?
A television eat grass?
A person fly?
A dog purr?
A teddy bear talk?
A person turn into a lion?
A painter plant a garden?
A child drive a car?
A doctor play the piano?
A book talk to you?

ONE THING BECOMING ANOTHER
What makes a child become an adult?
Is an adult the same person he or she was as a child?
Can an animal ever become a person?

FRIENDSHIP
Can you be friends with any of the following?
The moon.
A car.
A stone.
A pair of shoes.
A book.
A movie.
A cat.
A plant.
A house.
A piece of land.
An idea.
A dream.
A painting.
A tree.
A parent.

If someone is a friend, is the following true?
I spend time with him or her a lot.
I talk to him or her a lot.
We share thoughts with each other.
We share feelings with each other.
I like him or her.
I want to be near him or her.
We help each other.
The person thinks that I am his or her friend.

4 comments:

iqboy23 said...

Those questions--as with most associated with philosophy--really made me think. Could you befriend an idea?

Jana said...

This is an interesting question -- befriending an idea -- do you think that friendship requires reciprocity? I can embrace an idea -- but can I befriend it?

Mike A.G. Muega said...

Hi! I'm at the other side of the world, teaching Philosophy of Education in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. I've been working hard to introduce philosophy for children in our country (at the pre-college level) and it's place in teaching Values Education in school, but I and my friends seem to have achieved only very little in the past 10 years. P4C appears to be very deeply embedded in the American educational system now. How did you do it? And are there no groups or movements there that try to challenge P4C? You're blog is very informative and helpful.

Jana said...

Hi Mike,
Thanks for your message. I wouldn't say that P4C is deeply embedded in the US school system, though we have made some progress in the last decade. Most schools in this country, however, still don't offer philosophy. It's true that we have not run into much opposition, at least not in the Pacific Northwest, but it is a slow process -- the US school system is really multiple school systems, with each public school district having its own authority for the most part as far as curricula.