A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon is a great book to teach individuality, or be unique. I like to use the word unique because, for me, the sound and the spelling really make it a good word. This book is really suitable to show students that it's okay to be yourself, liking things that other people might not like, be good at something others think is strange or different and not worry about what People think of it.

If you are looking for an activity for this book, you will find a lot, but if you want to make it yourself, to fit what you are teaching here is a list of reading skills and strategies and some ideas on what you can teach Using this book.

Instead of creating a pack of skills and strategies I used to use for this book, I took the character traits and created some activities related to being unique, but first of all here is the information you need to Planning your lesson.

Summary of the book

A Bad Case of Stripes was an interesting story about a girl who wanted to fit in. She wanted to fit in so much that she would do what people wanted her to do, even if that wasn't exactly who she was. For example she loved to eat lima beans, but because she knew most people thought they were gross she also pretended like she thought they were gross. One day, when she was figuring out what to wear to school that would impress everyone, something happened.Her skin turns into stripes! The story continues as she turns into whatever people say about her until she finally learns to be herself again. She "cures" herself by eating a handful of lima beans, the same beans that she pretended she didn't like.

The book itself might be somewhat abstract for very young children, but for the most part it was set up very well for children to understand that just because someone is different that it's not a bad thing. It teaches that if you pretend to be what other people like or think you should be then you don't have control over your life anymore. What I personally get out of this book is to be who you really are. If people pick on you for it then they aren't really your friends. True friends will accept you for who you are and I think the book also shows this. For example when she kept becoming what everyone wanted her to become they all laughed and picked on her, but when she was herself everyone accepted her.

If you were thinking about reading this book to your classroom or having your students read this book I would suggest it. For younger kids they might not completely understand the meaning behind it, but the story itself is very entertaining as it creates a humorous way of telling the story. If the teacher provides clues and asks the students questions then the children should be able to understand. For older kids they should understand the meaning behind the story and it should still be entertaining. If you notice that someone is not being themselves because they are scared of not being accepted by their peers then this may be a good story for the classroom, as it not only teaches people to be themselves, but it also shows others not to pick on each other for being different. In the long run, we are all different.

This can simply be about things such as fitting in with the latest clothing, ideas, music, etc, but it also can be related to different cultures and kids being scared of fitting in with a new environment. It can relate to many things, but the key is that different students are going to have a different response to the book because they have different backgrounds and will relate this to the different things such as times when the might not have been like another group or times that they have picked on someone for not being like them.

Reading level: 3.5
Theme: individuality
Genre: humorous fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: lima beans, fretting, impress, relieved, ointment, distraction, contagious, prodded, virus, bacteria, fungus, bizarre
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