Children’s Literature and Guided Questions



Picture Book K-3

That’s Good, That’s Bad by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by David Catrow  (Henry Holt and Company, 1993)

Summary:  A young boy goes to the zoo where things that seem bad are good, and good things seem bad.


1.       What’s the difference in the story between good and bad?

2.       What’s something you’ve known that you thought was going to be bad that turned out to be good? What’s something you’ve known that you thought was going to be good but turned out badly?

3.       Is there a difference between doing a bad thing and being a bad person? What is the difference? What would make someone a bad person and not just a person who did a bad thing?

4.       If you were the snake in the story and a small boy thought you were a vine and started to swing on you, what would you think?    Do you think the boy thought the snake was bad?

5.       Think of some examples of characters in movies or books you’ve seen of bad or evil people. What made them bad/evil?

For Grades 4-7


Faithful Elephants by Yukio Tsuchiya illustrated by Ted Lewin (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1997)

Summary:  A zoo faces the reality of what to do with its large animals if it is bombed by the enemy.

1.       Do you think bombing a zoo would be evil?

2.       The people who bombed Tokyo thought of the Japanese as evil.  Were they?  Why or why not? 

3.       What’s the difference between someone being bad and being evil?

4.       This story is told every year on the national radio of Japan.  Why do you think the Japanese do that?  Does being at war affect how you think about good and evil?

5.       Some adults don’t think children should be exposed story. Do you children should know this story or be protected?

 Other worthy books:


Grades 1-4:  About Right and Wrong: A Unitarian Universalist Book for Kids by Betsy Williams, Jane Rzepka, Ken Sawyer, and Keith Kron and illustrated by Hannah Holby (uu&me!, 2014)  A young girl discovers that someone stole her schoolwork and then she then accuses the wrong person.

Grades 5-9: The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy by James Cross Giblin (Clarion Books, 2009) How one man’s quest to rid out Communism went too far.

Grade 3-up: Harry Potter (any)—JK Rowling (Scholastic)  Any of the books could be used as an example of resistance to evil as well as a discussion of evil.

Grades K-3:  Cinderalla—fairly tale from many cultures around the world   Along with many other fairy tales that deal with good and evil from a very two-dimensional view