Be You Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Celebrating Differences
By Peter H. Reynolds - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to enhance children’s understanding of kindness and uniqueness.

We all recognize that every child is born to be uniquely themselves, but we also recognize the call to conform and minimize differences. This book challenges children (and maybe adults too) to embrace the many ways we can all be our best selves.  Every child is born to be….to be BRAVE, to be KIND, to be UNDERSTANDING, to be AMAZING. These adjectives are just a few of the many addressed in this book. Share this book with listeners to help spark meaningful discussions about all the wonderful, caring ways they are born to be.  As children see the value in themselves, they can respect the uniqueness and value of others.  

Literature Guide by Lisa Sandor

Before Reading 

Ask: What does it mean to be you? What are you doing when you are being you? How do you feel when you are being you? How do you feel when you are pretending to be someone that is not you?  What can you do to encourage others to be themselves?

Show: Look at the cover of the book. What do you think the character on the cover is feeling or trying to tell us? How can you tell those things are true? Why do you think the illustrator put those hearts under the boat? Why do you think the balloons are holding up the boat?

Connect: Introduce words that describe (adjectives) such as brave, curious, kind, persistent. What do these words mean? How might the reader describe themself?  How might they describe the adults in their life? How can we ask others how they want to be described? How can we create space for others to share who they are?  

During Reading

Ask: When you are curious, what can you find out? Is being different a good thing? Why?  

Show: Look at the page: “Be Kind, Be Understanding,” Emphasize the message and the importance of listening to others and recognizing how they feel.

Connect: Pick out a couple of phrases ahead of time that will resonate with the readers.. Give the phrases time to sink in as you say them. For example: “It’s okay to be different” and repeat. “Be ready, be me” and repeat.  

After Reading

Ask: What does it mean to be you and how do you find out who you are? Discuss a time when you were kind and/or understanding.

Show: Go back through the pages and talk about which adjectives stand out to you. What ways of being do you feel you are like? For example, are you understanding or curious; are you kind to others? What do you wish to be? Look at the front cover again, what the character is feeling or thinking. Has your answer changed? What would you add to the cover? Do you see yourself in this cover? 

Connect: Talk about how the world needs each person’s unique self. We have people who are good at music (Mozart), people who are good at sports (Shaq), and people who are healers (Mother Theresa). We all have something to give, and listening to the stories of others teaches us about all the things we could be and all the amazing things we already are.   


  1. Create an All About Me Book. First create “Me on the Cover”  - Using a plain sheet of paper folded in half (to make a book) design the front cover about yourself. Be creative. Discuss what you drew and why. What areas of kindness, compassion or uniqueness were you thinking about when you drew your cover picture? Then create "Me on the Inside" - On the inside of the book, draw pictures of acts of compassion, kindness, and understanding. 
  2. “Be Me” Acrostic poem - Using a sheet of paper, print the word “Be” at the top of the paper. Print your name (one letter on each line vertically) down the page on the left-hand side. Choose a word beginning with the letter sound that describes a way to “Be” about you. Draw a self-portrait depicting all your special qualities.  
  3. “Reflections” - Hang small mirrors with these reminder messages attached: “Be kind” “Be awesome” “Be brave” “Be nice” “Be understanding” “Be happy” Use colorful sticky notes to make the messages stand out.  Take a photo of yourself looking into the mirror and make copies to keep. 
  4. Make a graph with 5 adjectives. Ask others to add a tally under the adjectives that describe them. Graph and discuss the results. Which traits are dominant? Analyze similarities and differences amongst your group or family. What would happen if you have many brave people but no thinkers?