Discussion Question Category: Social and Political Philosophy


Sulwe’s mama tells her that real beauty begins with “how you see yourself, not how others see you.” What does real beauty mean to you? What influences our definitions of beauty? How do cultural myths and others’ stories influence our perception of ourselves? What does it mean to accept ourselves? How can our differences become Sulwe

Last Stop on Market Street

Cover illustration for Matt de la Pena's picture book Last Stop on Market Street

CJ and his nana have a weekly routine. Are routines important? Why? Why is it important to understand the ways in which people are different from each other? Why is it important to understand the ways in which people are the same? Does having more things make people happier? Why? Why do people help other Last Stop on Market Street


What feelings/thoughts do you have about this story? Why do we think the girl is “wild”? What makes her “wild”? Have you ever had a time you felt like the Wild Girl? Can you describe it? What was that experience like? What does it mean to behave “wrongly”? What does your “wild girl wild space” Wild

Worm Loves Worm

Draw what you imagine you might wear on your wedding day. Why did you draw what you did? Are you a girl? A boy? Neither? How do you know? Can you be both the bride and the groom in a wedding? How about neither? Why? What is love? How do you know you love someone? Worm Loves Worm

If I Were in Charge of the World

Either read the poem to the class or project it in the room and have the students take turns reading stanzas. Have the students work independently to write down their own “If I Were in Charge of the World” lists. Encourage them to make that list in whatever mode most resonates with them (e.g., poem, If I Were in Charge of the World

I’m in Charge of Celebrations

What is the difference between loneliness and being alone? Is it ever possible to be totally alone? Do we have control over whether or not we feel lonely? Is loneliness a choice? How do we connect to the natural landscape, our surroundings, and changes in seasons? What does this connection look like? Is something beautiful I’m in Charge of Celebrations

Who Wants to be a Prairie Dog?

Is there only one way to do things? If you manage to accomplish the same tasks but do it differently than people expect, is that doing the tasks wrong? What is the value of hurrying? Can being reprimanded and judged be positive? Is there value in assuming what someone is capable of? Can people thinking Who Wants to be a Prairie Dog?

Story of Jumping Mouse

What is worth persisting at?  Especially without knowing what to expect? If you don’t know what’s going to come out of something, why keep at it?  For example, doing the chores (they are usually for cleaning, but do you get rewarded?), or going to school, or walking a long distance. Do good things always have Story of Jumping Mouse


Is Swimmy scared when his school of fish are eaten? What does he do? Is Swimmy brave? If so, what makes him brave? Is Swimmy afraid of all the new creatures he encounters? Why or why not? Does Swimmy like being alone? Is a school of fish a community? What makes a community a community? Swimmy