The Circles All Around Us Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
by Brad Montague - 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 explore the power of community and the difference we can make when we have the courage to open ourselves up to others.

Draw a circle around yourself and consider the love you have inside. Then consider what happens when we share that love with the world. “The Circles All Around Us” challenges the reader to open themselves up to others and in doing so, make the world a better place.

Literature Guide by Maureen Klein

Before Reading

Ask: The author dedicated the book “For all the kids making the world better right where they are.” What do you think Brad Montague means by that?

Show: Look at both the front and back covers of the book. What do you notice?

Connect: We are all a part of different “circles” in our lives. As you read the book, think about your different circles (your families, your classes, your teams, your friends) and how it feels to be a part of a circle.

During Reading

Ask: How is the main character changing? Who is he letting into his circles?

Show: Look at the page that reads, “It doesn’t mean the circle is easy.” In what ways might the people on this page have a hard time getting along?

Connect: Describe a time when you felt “outside” a circle. How did that make you feel? What can you do to invite other people so they don’t feel left out?

After Reading

Ask: Pause and think about the story. What stood out to you the most? How did the story make you feel?

Show: Look at the page in the middle of the book that reads, “In the circles all around us, everywhere that we all go, there’s a difference we can make and a love we can all show.” How did the people in these four pictures show love and make a difference? In what ways can you show love and make a difference to the people in your life?

Connect: Simple acts of caring ripple out into the world and impact more than just one person. Give an example of an act of kindness that someone did for you that made a difference to you and others. Give an example of an act of kindness that you did that impacted more than just one person.


  1. Before the book, there was a video on instagram. Watch the video “A Very Important Story about Circles.” Talk about what is similar to and different from the book.

  2. Draw your circles either on paper or outside with sidewalk chalk. Begin with yourself. Next add a circle for your immediate family.  Add their names to your family circle.  Then continue drawing circles to represent all the groups you belong to in your life. Consider who might be outside your circle.  What can you do to invite them in?

  3. Create a work of ripple art by marbling oil and food coloring.  The colors ripple together to create something unique and beautiful.

  4. Take “The Circles Challenge” and do something to share your love with the circles around you.

  5. Being new to a community can feel uncomfortable.  Think about how you might help someone new feel welcome using ideas in this Learning to Give lesson on “Creating a Welcoming Classroom All Year.”

  6. For many immigrants, life in their new country can feel like being outside the circle. Read the book “A Different Pond.” Discuss how you can help welcome refugees in your community. Then take action.