The Brand New Kid


Author: Katie Couric

Summary: Lazlo S. Gasky is a new Grade 2 student in Brookhaven School. He looks different and has an accent so the other second graders think he is weird and tease him. After one of the children gets to know him better, things change for Lazlo.

WITS Connection: Talk it out, Seek help

WITS Lesson Plan (PDF)

Learning Outcomes

    1. Select your province to see learning outcomes for this lesson.

Questions and Activities


  1. Can you describe an experience in which you were the brand new person to join a group?
  2. What does it feel like to be the newest member of a group?
  3. The name of the boy on the cover of the book is Lazlo. Take a close look at his face. What do you think he is feeling?


  1. Why do the children think Lazlo is “weird”? What does it mean to be weird? Why do people who are different seem weird when you first meet them?
  2. Why were the children “shooting looks,” throwing items and tripping Lazlo?
  3. Review the pages where children are teasing Lazlo. Can you identify the bystanders illustrated on those pages? What is a bystander? What happened when the other children just watched Lazlo getting teased? The teasing increased.
  4. What caused Ellie to reach out to Lazlo and spend time with him? What happened when Ellie stood up for Lazlo?
  5. What can we do to help brand new kids who join our class or group?
  6. How do we know what people are feeling by looking at them? Why does Lazlo look down at his shoes or at the table? What emotion is expressed when someone fidgets?
  7. When Miss. Kincaid’s voice is “shrill and tight” what emotion is she expressing?
  8. What does “sick in the head” mean? Why do the children ask Ellie if she is sick in the head?
  9. What emotion is Mrs. Gasky expressing when she has tears in her eyes?


  • Organize students in pairs and distribute one Venn Diagram handout to each pair. Ask students to describe their similarities and differences using the Venn diagram based on the statements below:
    • My favourite colour is___________
    • I like meeting new people
    • I do not like meeting new people
    • I like trying new activities
    • I am sometimes nervous when I try new activities
    • I like being the brand new kid
    • I do not like being the brand new kid
  • Distribute a Family Tree handout to each student. Ask students to fill in the names on their family tree and then take the tree home so their parents can write in what provinces/territories or countries the children’s grandparents and great-grandparents came from. Find the countries that students’ relatives are from on a map of the world.
  • Invite students or their parents to bring in a cultural symbol and tell the class about it.
  • Invite students to bring in and tell about their favourite ethnic foods.