The Boy with Pink Hair
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The Boy with Pink Hair was born that way, and people were really surprised! When he starts school, he is teased because he is different, but when plans for a spaghetti dinner on parent day fall through, the Boy with Pink Hair comes to the rescue with his unique abilities. His talent at making amazing pink food and getting everyone to help saves the day, challenging stereotypes about what it means to be a boy or a girl and showing that anyone can make a difference in their school or community.
WITS Connection: Ignore, Talk it out, Seek help, Addressing gender stereotypes
- Select your province to see learning outcomes for this lesson.
Questions and Activities
- Look at the cover of the book. What do you think this story will be about?
- What does it mean to be a boy or a girl? Gender stereotyping can be very strong in early elementary school; encourage children to think about the fact that the way we look doesn’t define who we are.
- What activities can boys and girls both do? What kind of jobs can they have? Sometimes gender differences are hard to understand for early elementary school children. Research suggests that very young children believe you are not inevitably a boy or a girl just because you are born that way, and gender can change depending on your appearance and activities. Stereotypes based on sex differences tend to decrease in elementary school but then sometimes intensify in adolescence.
- Why did people think the Boy with Pink Hair was different when he was born?
- Why might some people laugh or stare at him? What other people sometimes get stared at? People with visible differences, physical handicaps or mental health problems, etc.
- How did the Girl with the Ponytail help the Boy with Pink Hair? How might other boys in his school have helped too? What do children do to help in your school and community?
- What can we do to help people who are teased or bullied by others? Bystanders and friends can help stop teasing and bullying. Use the Bully Circle poster to illustrate.
- Create mixed-gender groups of about five children, and ask them to think about something they could do together to make their school a better place. Plan a playground cleanup, put on a performance, create decorative posters, etc. Help them figure out what each person can contribute and then execute the project. Remind students that working together helps us see beyond a person’s appearance to appreciate their unique talents.
- Create mixed-sex pairs of children who do not know each other well. Most friendships are same-sex at this age. Have the partners share their talents with each other. Sports, cooking, dance, singing, caring for others, participation in afterschool activities, etc. Next, ask the children to present something about their partners that shows their unique talents. Students can draw a picture or create a collage from magazines. Display the pictures in a class book or on a bulletin board.
- Consider men and women in your community who are well-known because of their contributions. Mayor, firefighter, nurses, doctors, volunteers, etc. Note a variety of men and women. Take some pictures of them and add these local heroes to your bulletin board.
- Continue thinking about gender differences and how kind actions, not appearances, define who we are by comparing this story with The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz. In The Boy Who Grew Flowers, a girl again helps to make an unusual boy feel more accepted. How might boys also help in such a situation?