Making a Difference for Learning

K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy and common good.
  • identify acts of bravery and perseverance.
  • 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:
  • literature guide for The Librarian of Basra
  • Winter, Jeanette. The Librarian of Basra


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Locate Iraq on a map. Give a brief and age-appropriate summary of some of Iraq's history and recent events in the region.

  2. 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.

  3. Read aloud The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter. Discuss the events of the story and the generosity of the librarian. How did her actions impact the whole community? This literature guide has questions and activities to expand comprehension of the story.

  4. 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 good her philanthropy did for her community and the country of Iraq. 

  5. Discuss ways they can take action to promote learning as a way to make the community stronger. They may design a reading buddy program, start a little free library, or share awareness of countries where children don't go to school. They may find a nonprofit to support that is already taking action in one of these areas. 

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.