RESOURCES

Big Bob, Little Bob by James Howe

Updated: 2 days ago

PICTURE BOOK LESSON PLAN

GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+

WELCOME

This is a reading guide designed to accompany James Howe's book Big Bob, Little Bob. We recommend that grownups read the focus book and the reading guide content BEFORE reading with young readers. This guide will help you prepare your own questions for your young readers and choose vocabulary, history, and other related topics to integrate into your learning and discussion.


Lesson content was written by Connor Mishler as part of his work in the Social Justice in K12 Education course at Portland State University and was designed to start or deepen anti-racist and anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities. Feedback and editing was from Kayleigh Prentice, Sandra Rios-Ayala, Chloe Clark, & Kara Roozekrans.


THEMES

  • Identity

  • Family

  • Self-Affirmation

LISTEN TO THE READ ALOUD


SUMMARY + CONNOR’S NOTE

This book follows Little Bob, a young boy living in his hometown, when Big Bob, a boy with much different interests and tendencies, moves in. Little Bob likes to dress in traditionally feminine clothing and play with dolls, and Big Bob likes to play sports and do other things. When Blossom moves in and tells Little Bob that boys shouldn’t play with dolls, Big Bob sticks up for his friend. Eventually the three learn to play together despite their differences.


This book does a splendid job of teaching tolerance without putting any of its characters into boxes. It would have been easy for the writers to label Little Bob or to point out the differences between the two Bobs using other labels, but the writers understand that people, especially children, don’t work like that and aren’t just labels. Little Bob likes to dress in traditionally feminine clothing and play with dolls. There might be any number of reasons for that, but it doesn’t matter; it's just what he likes to do, and the other characters understand that and accept him for his choices. Looking past simple labels helps children understand issues better and grow to notice more in people than just surface level judgements.


HOW WE DESIGN OUR READING GUIDES

This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist reading and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.


The Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


LEARNING FOR JUSTICE STANDARDS REFERENCED

The Learning for Justice Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades K-2. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Standards and Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:


DIVERSITY.3-5.6: I like being around people who are like me and different from me, and I can be friendly to everyone.

**Big Bob quickly accepts Little Bob, even though he is different, and Blossom learns to like both Bobs and be friendly to them.


DIVERSITY.3-5.9: I know everyone has feelings, and I want to get along with people who are similar to and different from me.

**Big Bob wants to get along with everyone from the get go.


JUSTICE.3-5.11: I know my friends have many identities, but they are always still just themselves.

** Little Bob likes things that don’t conform with traditional “boys” identities, and that is okay.


ACTION.3-5.17: I can and will do something when I see unfairness—this includes telling an adult.

** Big Bob immediately calls out Blossom for bullying and sticks up for his friend.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

BEFORE READING

  • What are some ways you and your classmates do things differently from each other? DIVERSITY.3-5.6

  • Do you enjoy playing with people who like to play differently than you? Why or why not? DIVERSITY.3-5.6

AFTER READING

  • How can you better include people who do things differently than you? JUSTICE.3-5.11

  • How would you feel if people thought the way you played or did things was weird or wrong? JUSTICE.3-5.11

  • Do you think it is fair to make judgements about people without getting to know them or asking them about themselves? DIVERSITY.3-5.9

  • What are other areas of your life that people do things differently than you? DIVERSITY.3-5.9

  • What can you do when you see people treating others badly for doing things differently? ACTION.3-5.17

ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES

READ NEXT

  • It’s OK to be Different by Sharon Purtill and Sujata Saha

  • What If We Were All The Same! by C.M. Harris

  • Remarkably YOU by Pat Miller






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