Making a Difference Globally

K, 1, 2

Children hear a true story about a woman who performs a brave act for the common good. They identify the benefit the whole community shared and define philanthropy and common good.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy and common good.
  • identify acts of bravery and perseverance.
  • respond to the text of The Librarian of Basra.
  • Blank index cards (one per child)
  • The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
  • Internet access (specifically for the website)
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (optional)
  • community: a group of people that live, work, or play together, who have common interests, or who regularly interact with one another
  • philanthropy: giving time, talent, or treasure, or taking action for the common good.
  • common good:


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Locate Iraq on a map. Name some of the countries and identify geographic features surrounding it.

  2. Give a brief and age-appropriate summary of some of Iraq's history. Consider talking about recent events in the region.

  3. The following online source provide educators and parents tips on how to talk with younger children about war and issues of conflict:


  5. Tell children that you are going to read a story, The Librarian of Basra, that takes place in Iraq. The Librarian of Basra is based on the actions of Alia Muhammed Baker, who managed to haul most of the Basra Central Library’s 30,000 volumes to safety when the library was threatened by war. It is a story about one person making a difference in a very difficult time and place.

  6. Read aloud The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter. Discuss student response to the story:

  7. o In what ways does Alia take action? o What effect do her actions have on Basra? o What obstacles did Alia face? o How did she overcome these obstacles? o In what way were her actions brave and difficult? o Tell about a time that you had to do something difficult and how you kept going even though it was hard. o Is it possible for one person to make a difference to lots of people? o Have you ever felt that you as one person made a difference with your friends, family, neighborhood, or school? What did you do, or what would you like to do?

  8. Define philanthropy as giving time, talent, and treasure or taking action for the common good. Ask children what talent Alia shared and how her actions helped the common good. Ask what goodher philanthropy did forher community and country of Iraq. The books were saved for future use by all; they all shared the results ofthe good she did--it was a common good.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.