Read + Discuss
Picture Book Lesson Plan
GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+
This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany Jairo Bultrago’s picture book Dos Conejos Blancos/Two White Rabbits. Lesson content was written by Paulina Hernandez as part of her 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.
YOUTUBE READ ALOUD VERSION
Dos Conejos Blancos is a beautiful picture book, translated from Spanish to English, about a young girl who is traveling alongside her dad across Central America and Mexico to get to the border. The dangerous and challenging experience is conveyed through the voice of the young girl who doesn’t know where she is going. To pass the time, she counts the people, animals, stars, and clouds she sees along the way. Sometimes she sees soldiers but she doesn’t count them. She sleeps and dreams knowing that the travel will not seem as long. Their traveling is sometimes put on hold because her father has to earn more money to continue their journey.
This book is a great read for elementary school children to learn about the lived experiences of countless immigrant children and their families. The story can be a window for children and families to view and understand a world very different from their own, and a mirror for those who rarely see their lives portrayed in the books they read.
The father and daughter travel on a train called “La Bestia”, which is often a form of travel for many immigrants from Mexico and Central America. The book also introduces the topic of immigration, which in today’s world is very relevant. Like the young girl in the book, many children are embarking on the dangerous journey to the United States searching for a better life and opportunities.
This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist 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 IN THIS LESSON
The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades K-2. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:
I know and like who I am and can talk about my family and myself and name some of my group identities.
I like being around people who are like me and different from me, and I can be friendly to everyone.
Domain #7 I can describe some ways that I am similar to and different from people who share my identities and those who have other identities.
I want to know about other people and how our lives and experiences are the same and different.
Domain #10 I find it interesting that groups of people believe different things and live their daily lives in different ways.
READ + DISCUSS QUESTIONS
Have you traveled with your family? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #1
When you are traveling with your family what do you do to pass the time? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #1
Meet immigrant children HERE. After meeting immigrant children, how is their travel different or similar from the girl in the story? How is it different from when you travel? Why do people like the young girl in the story travel? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #7
We hear the story from a young girl’s point of view. How do you think her dad feels about traveling? What do you think he does to pass the time? What do the people you travel with do to pass the time? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #8
What do you think about the story’s ending? Do you believe that is how it ends? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #8
What do you think is behind the border shown on the last page? DIVERSITY DOMAINS #6 AND #10
After reading the book and meeting immigrant children, how would you describe what it means to be an immigrant? DIVERSITY DOMAINS #6 AND #10
Activity 1: Although the book is told from a young girl’s perspective, the illustrations tell a more complex story that demonstrates actions and emotions children might not yet or fully understand. Select two scenes that you and your young reader(s) can discuss. Ask them open-ended questions about what they see, such as what is going on in the scene or why it might be happening. For example: Have you ever seen people traveling on top of a train? Why do you think they are traveling on top of the train instead of inside?
Activity 2: As a follow-up question to number 6 of the discussion, have the child draw what they think is behind that border that is shown at the end of the book.
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh