Kindness Just Because

K, 1, 2

Fairy tales are great stories for helping students work out complicated moral issues in a make-believe context. Found in countries all around the world, the same story plays out in different contexts. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is a Cinderella story from Africa in which kindness, generosity, honesty, and love are rewarded and selfishness is punished. 

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • analyze events in the story and discuss acts of kindness and selfishness.
  • describe the setting and look at a map of Africa.
  • discuss acts of kindness and a policy for how to treat friends and strangers. 
  • a map of Africa
  • a read-aloud coppy of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe


  • After some time, come back to talk about acts of kindness. Did you do some of the things you planned? How did you feel? How did the people you were kind to react?
  • Do you treat people the way you want to be treated or do you treat them the way they treat you? What is the best policy?

Steptoe, John. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. New York: Lothrop, Lee Shepard Books, 1987. ISBN: 0688040454.


  1. Hold up the cover of the book Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. Say, "We are going to read a story about two beautiful daughters, one of whom may marry a king if she is worthy. What do you think a king would be looking for?"

  2. Read the book to the class. While reading:

    • Discuss the artwork and the different types of wildlife that are seen on each page. Ask students how the environment in the book looks different from where they live.
    • Ask, "Is it important to be kind even if no one knows it was you who did the kind act?"
    • Hypothesize about what may happen next, what the motives of the characters might be, and why something is happening.
  3. After reading, talk about the sequence of events and how each girl responded. Encourage different vocabulary to describe how each girl acted (proud, generous, afraid, etc.). Discuss the ending and what they think of the process the king used to choose his bride.

  4. Discuss and make a list of some kind acts that you can do for people you live with, friends, and strangers.

    • Are the acts of kindness the same for each group of people?
    • Be sure to think of small acts of kindness as well as a bigger act that may involve some time and giving up an opportunity for yourself.
    • Make a plan to do some of the things on your list.

    What could be done without letting others know you did them? Why would you want to keep it a secret?


Observe how students participate in the discussions of details in the story. Observe students' ability to list the tests that each girl encountered and analyze her actions.

Cross Curriculum 

Spend some time looking at maps of Africa. Read the names of the countries and talk about different regions and their climates and wildlife. Find Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.