Say Something Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
by Peter 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 spark youth voice and small actions to respond to issues they care about.

"The world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea... say something! If you see an injustice... say something!" This easy to read “call to action” for youth ages 4 and above explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something in a way that suits us individually. Perfect for youth activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice.  

Literature Guide by Mary Beth Budz 

Before Reading 

Ask: What do you think are some of the specific things the people on the cover of the book are saying? What is the illustrator communicating with words, faces, postures, and props?   

Show: Read and talk about the messages in the speech bubbles on the inside front pages of the book. Show the various ways we can say something with fonts and voices. Talk about how the type communicates a tone of voice.   

Connect: This book is about using our words to make something better in the world. The variety of people and words show the importance of respecting everyone's words. We don't have to agree, but we can show respect through listening to be kind and learn. We do not all have the same point of view, so it is especially important to listen to others and also share our words so others learn from us.    

During Reading 

Ask: What are some reasons people and the world need your voice? Talk about the things that need voices, like empty lots and loneliness.  

Show: Look at the pictures of the different ways to say something. Look at the many ways people use their voices, like with whispers and painting.  

Connect: Talk about things we care about. It may be someone who is hurt or a need in the community. Then talk about ways we can speak up to let others know we care or to tell people to do something. Sometimes all we need to do is ”say something” to make a difference.   

After reading: 

Ask: Why does the world need YOUR voice?   

Show:  Look at the pictures of the kids who said something. Talk about how they appear to feel. Are they proud, confident, happy? Talk about why saying something can make you feel those ways.

Connect: If people don’t use their voices and actions to communicate about things they care about, how will people know about needs, injustice, or something you feel passionate about?


  1. Pick a topic to say something about and create your best “voice” to convey your message. This Spread Peace activity guides youth action. 
  2. Read about kids like you who took action for something they cared aobut. This article is about kids who started nonprofits.   
  3. If you are not sure what you are passionate about, do this Map Your Heartbreak activity with other kids, your class, or your family. 
  4. Make a poster or video to teach others about something you care about, like polar bears or pollution at a nearby park. 
  5. Ask everyone in your family what they love about your community. Then ask them one thing that needs to be better. Talk about one thing you can do together to "say something." The community may be your town, neighborhood, or sports group. A community is anywhere people are gathered together with a shared interest or location.
  6. Do research about an issue you care about to find out the facts.
  7. Contact a local nonprofit that does work you appreciate, like Ronald McDonald House. Ask about their work and what help they need from volunteers or advocates. Say something to others to support their work.