Summary: Self-confidence is hard to come by when classmates make fun of the things that make Lili Macaroni herself. 

Butterfly-loving Lili opens by telling readers where her signature traits came from: she’s got Mom’s red hair, Dad’s freckles, Grandma’s eyes, and Grandpa’s “magical laugh.” She proclaims: “I am the way I am.”  

When Lili starts school, not only does she learn the three R’s, she also learns “that a heart can ache” when her new friends tease her for those very special family traits. Lili tries to become a new girl, renaming herself Sophia, but how will her family members feel if she erases their parts? Luckily, Lili’s wise father has a suggestion for easing the ache that also taps into her passion. He doesn’t solve the problem for her; Lili herself takes the next step to let her class know why she has been so sad. And the next school day, everyone sports a polka-dot butterfly on their shoulder to help with their own heartaches. The tale ends with an older Lili, her bedroom ceiling a mass of butterflies. “My name is Lili Macaroni, and I am who I am.” Boulanger’s changing perspectives and use of shadows to stand in for other kids’ teasing set the mood, Lili’s exuberant brightness changing to more somber tones with her sadness.  

Recommended for: Grades K to 3 

AuthorNicole Testa discovered her enthusiasm for writing when working with children in the second grade.  Her first novel, The Eye of the Night, was published in 1998.  She continues to create children’s stories in French Canada, where she is often inspired by nature. 

Illustrator: Annie Boulanger was born in Abitibi, Quebec, where she found her passion for visual arts at a young age.  Her studies at the University of Quebec in Abiti-Temiscaminque inspired her to expand her creativity into photography and cinema.  She is an avid traveler and the mother of two boys.  

WITS ConnectionTalk it Out, Seek Help 

Lesson Plan 


Pre-reading questions: 

  • Look at the book cover of Lili Macaroni and describe what you see.   
  • What do you think this book is about? 
  • Why do you think this book is titled Lili Macaroni? 
  • How do you think the girl on the cover of the book feels? 

During-reading questions: 

  • In the beginning of the story Lili Macaroni loved everything about herself.  She loved her red hair, freckles and big laugh.  Why do you think she loved these things about herself? 

Class questions: 

  1. What are some of the things that Lili Macaroni learns at school?   
  2. At school some of Lili Macaroni’s new friends laugh at her name?  What do they call Lili?  How does Lili respond? 
  3. Some of her new friends make fun of her hair?  What do they say? How does Lili respond? 
  4. Some of her classmates make fun of her eyes, nose and the sound of her laugh?  What do they say?  How does this make Lili feel about herself? 
  5. How does Lili respond to everyone’s teasing?  What does Lili do?  
  6. What WITS strategies does Lili Macaroni use to deal with the teasing at school? 

After-reading activities: 

  • Make Your Own Polka-dotted Butterfly: Use your imagination and create your own special polka-dotted butterfly. Cut it out and wear it when you are feeling sad. 
  • Create a picture of yourself. Using coloured pencil crayons draw and colour all the things that make you unique and special (e.g., your hair, eyes, nose, skin, mouth, ears, etc.).  When you are finished display your finished picture and say a few things you really like about your facial features. 
  • Integrate kindness into routines. Before transitioning to a new activity, provide students the opportunity to give appreciations. Appreciations are simple. Standing in a circle, allow anyone who wants to name a person, express their gratitude to that person, and share why.