What Do You Do with a Chance?
In the story, a child who is unsure about what to do with a new experience learns to cultivate courage, curiosity, and a willingness to try new experiences. Reading this with a child provides an opportunity to discuss a "growth mindset," which means to be open to new experiences and take risks rather than be limited to what is safe or familiar. The book also calls attention to times we let fears and what other people think get in our way of doing the right thing. What can we do to help others take their chance?
Literature Guide by Maureen Klein
Ask: The title itself is a question. Talk about a possible answer to the question before reading. Use clues from the cover picture. Discuss the meaning of "a chance."
Show: The author and illustrator work closely together to communicate. Show the first two pages of the story and ask what they notice about the colors used.
Connect: Have the listener(s) pay attention to the use of color throughout and connect it to how the main character feels at the beginning and throughout the story.
Connect: Pause at the page that begins, “I went to reach for it, but I missed and fell.” Discuss with listeners when they have experienced that feeling. Share a time you tried something and it didn’t work out.
Ask: What are some things that make us want to give up?
Show: Look at the details on the page that begins, “Then I thought, ‘Maybe I don’t have to be brave all the time.'” Say, “Our main character felt foolish and embarrassed when he fell. How does he feel now?” Ask listeners to give evidence from the pictures and text to support their answer.
Ask: How would you describe how the main character changed throughout the book? If needed, specifically prompt students to consider the character’s feelings. Ask students to give evidence from the text to support their answer.
Show: Look at the text that describes what a chance can become. Talk about what chances they may encounter and expand the list of ideas.
Connect: What do YOU do with a chance? How can you help others see their chances and be brave? How does listening to others help them take chances?
- Make a list of ten things that you would like to do. Think of things you’d like to try or experience or learn that might be difficult for you to achieve. Pick one of them and make a step-by-step plan to do it, including the steps that require more information or resources or help from others.
- Taking chances helps you be your best self. Draw your best self, including what you hope for yourself.
- Go out with your family to a new place where you watch people do hard things.
- Go to a marathon and cheer runners.
- Visit a university library and get familiar with the books, art, and other resources.
- Go to a hiking trail to walk or visit a beautiful site, such as a mountain.
- Volunteer as a family at a place that addresses an issue you care about.
- Talk about what small steps each person can do toward a bigger goal.
- Talk about what you do when you see someone taking a risk and they fall down. What are ways to encourage people? What are ways to stop people who laugh when others fall?
- Ask ten people (family and friends) to tell you something they hope to do some day.
- Make a list of 10-100 things you want to do in your lifetime. Keep adding to it.
- There are so many wonderful picture books with themes of courage and growth mindsets. Read some of these titles:
- What do you do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
- What do you do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
- Brave Irene by William Steig
- Tomorrow I’ll be Brave by Hische