RESOURCES

Big Bob, Little Bob by James Howe

PICTURE BOOK LESSON PLAN


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

BOOK

Big Bob, Little Bob written by James Howe and illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson

LESSON PLAN CREATION

Connor Mishler

LESSON PLAN EDITING TEAM

Kayleigh Prentice, Sandra Rios-Ayala, Chloe Clark, & Kara Roozekrans

INTRODUCTION

This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany James Howe’s book Big Bob, Little Bob. 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-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.


THEMES

  • Identity

  • Family

  • Self-Affirmation

LISTEN TO THE READ ALOUD

SUMMARY

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 clothing that is often labeled "feminine" and to 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's gender or 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 what he likes. 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.


OBJECTIVES

This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to tolerance teaching 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 Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


TEACHING TOLERANCE STANDARDS REFERENCED

The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades K+. This book can be used with a wide range of ages. Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:


DIVERSITY STANDARD, DOMAIN #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 STANDARD, DOMAIN #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 STANDARD, DOMAIN #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 STANDARD, DOMAIN #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 DOMAIN #6

  • Do you enjoy playing with people who like to play differently than you? Why or why not? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #6

AFTER READING

  • How can you better include people who do things differently than you? JUSTICE DOMAIN #11

  • Do you think it is fair to make judgements about people without getting to know them or asking them about themselves? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #9

  • What are other areas of your life that people do things differently than you? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #9

  • What can you do when you see people treating others badly for doing things differently? ACTION DOMAIN #17

ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES

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