Swimmy - a book on working together

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I have yet to come across a parent who really hopes and prays that her child will grow up to a quiet wallflower that goes along with the crowd.  The idea of teaching kids how to be an individual who can work in a team crosses the minds of parents all the time - especially this parent.

And yet, this idea is easier said than taught... It's a fine line between being yourself, and being a selfish brat. Then there is the idea of teamwork, where you speak up enough to be heard, yet humble yourself to accommodate the group... There are adults that can't do this one yet!

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I enjoy using books to introduce these concepts that scare me when it comes to helping teach my kiddos. The concepts can be easily introduced in a story, and then discussed and acted out the more we get into the book.

So for this two-fold life lesson, we've been using Swimmy by Leo Lionni.


The story follows swimmy, a little black fish, who is the only survivor of a big fish attack. Instead of being scared and hiding away, swimmy decides to explore the big sea. In the process he finds the beauty of nature, and discovers a self-confidence.

By the end, swimmy is leading a new school of fish in an effort to work together and explore the beauty of the sea.

The art in this book captivates both of my boys and myself - this short book takes twice as long to read because of the time we spend discussing the art. It is no wonder this is a Caldecott Honor Book - if you haven't read this one, give it a try!

This book also lends itself to great crafting projects which will give you more time to talk about the lessons of the book. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Watercolor craft - includes painting, cutting & gluing - ages 4+
  • Small school of fish - make your own school of fish and practice shapes! - glue... ages 2+ (and a brave mama...)
  • Window hanging - create your own scene from Swimmy to hang in your window with contact paper, tissue paper and other craft supplies - all ages!
And if you are looking for a way to entertain your kiddos while you get some chores done - or just need a little break, here's a great video of Swimmy - it takes a while to load...

Have you read this book with your kids?  What were you thoughts?  Any other crafts you did after reading this great story?

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