Everyone Is Special

K, 1, 2

Sometimes when a child or adult has a special need, health concern, or comes from an unfamiliar faith or background, we are unsure how to act. This Little Critter book demonstrates how to be kind and curious, and show respect for their abilities and strengths.

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Session
  • show awareness of how people with different abilities, backgrounds, and appearances are alike and different
  • A Very Special Critter by Gina and Mercer Mayer 
  • Just Ask by Sonia Sotamayor
  • Mayer, Gina and Mercer. A Very Special Critter. Racine, Wisconsin: Western Publishing Company, Inc., 1992. ISBN: 030712763X.
  • Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor and this literature guide to facilitate conversation


  1. Read aloud the book A Very Special Critter and talk about the way the children in the book respond with kindness and curiosity with the new student in a wheelchair. Discuss the differences and special needs in the people we know that it is helpful and kind to talk about.

  2. Before reading aloud the book Just Ask by Sonia Sotamayor, read aloud the author's “a letter to readers” in which she talks about her diabetes and the way it set her apart from other kids. She openly shares her purpose for writing this book and her hopes for the ways readers will see themselves in her characters. Discuss the way to ask that is respectful. 

    In this book, Sonia and her friends of diverse backgrounds and abilities share what is unique about each one of them as they work together to plant a garden. It is their differences that make the garden diverse and beautiful. The reader is invited to consider how they interact with the world and the ways they are different from everyone else. The illustrations show diverse characters, mixed race children, and children with disabilities. 

  3. We all know people or have met people who are different from us. Thinking of how the kids in the book interacted with each other, what might be some ways we can build relationships with people who are different from us?  What did the characters in the book have in common with each other and with us? What are things you can do to support people who are different than you are? 

  4. Answer the question in writing, “What will you do with your powers?”  Be creative.  

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.7 Give classroom examples of when a student does not need the teacher's permission to act philanthropically.