Author: Emily Hughes
Plot Summary: In this book, we meet a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth—she was taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears, and to play by foxes. She is unashamedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly wild. That is, until she is snared by some very strange animals that look oddly like her, but they don't talk right, eat right, or play correctly. She's puzzled by their behavior and their insistence on living in these strange concrete structures: there's no green here, no animals, no trees, no rivers. Now she lives in the comfort of civilization. But will civilization get comfortable with her?
Posted In: Ethics, Philosophy of Childhood, Social and Political Philosophy

Discussion Questions
  • 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” look like?
  • How do you facilitate or create places and spaces so that no one feels like the wild girl does in the house, and more like she does in her wild space?
  • What does it mean to have a community that accepts you (like the girl feels in the wild with her animal friends/teachers)?
  • Do you think the girl could ever fit in and feel comfortable in the house? How could the people have changed their behaviors to make her feel more comfortable?

For this lesson plan, you can use the book or watch this video read aloud.

If teaching high school students, this children’s book might be accompanied with a reading and discussion of the poem “The Summer Day,” by Mary Oliver.

This lesson was submitted by Christine Salma, Katherine Caldwell, and Melissa Jacquart.