Author: Grayson Smith  Illustrator: Timothy Banks

Summary: What if on the first day of class a complete stranger comes in? Norm does not know much about the way kids behave in his new class, but he really wants to learn and to belong. He is VERY different, but he brings his own special talents to the class and with the help of the teacher and children he soon fits right in.

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WITS Connection: Helping and seeking help, inclusion, social responsibility, kindness, helping others, Indigenous.



  1. Find answers to these questions so you can understand more about Norm’s history, ancestry and culture ( h ).
  • Who is a Norseman?
  • What did Norsemen wear?
  • Where is Scandinavia?
  • Who lives there now?
  • When did Norsemen first come to Canada?
  • Where did they land?
  • How did they get here?

Definition of a Norseman:  Another name for a Viking, a native or inhabitant of medieval Scandinavia or areas colonized by Scandinavians during the Viking period.  (

  1. Viking ships: How do these boats move? (sail, oars) How did they know where they were going? Who already lived in the places where the Norsemen visited?When people immigrate to Canada today where do they come from today?

3. Look at the cover of the book. What do we learn about Norm? (He’s big, he dresses very differently). What does his face say about how he is feeling (jolly, happy, laughing)? What do the children’s faces say (worried, concerned, sad)? Why might they be worried or unhappy?


  1. What does Norm do that frightens the children?
  • Laughs too loud.
  • He’s too clumsy.
  • He gets too excited.
  • He plays too rough.

He does things that usually get children into trouble (He accidently rips pages in the books).

TEACHERS: Children are often frightened by other children who are big, loud, or aggressive and also by frustrated teachers’ angry responses to these children! Aggressive children who always seem to getting into trouble are often rejected by other children and they often need help to find ways to fit in and belong to the class (…. And of course they may also need specialized help to with their behaviors)

  1. How does Miss Whallomp help Norm at first? (She introduces him to the class and welcomes him.) Brainstorm: What else could she do to make things easier for Norm and the class? (talk about his history, clothes, smiling face)
  2. Why does Norm cry all the way home after school? (The children tell him not to come back. He’s alone. He wants to belong, but he doesn’t know how to fit in.)
  3. What do the children do to help Norm fit in? (Apologize for telling him not to come back.) They take turns helping him with math and art! Laugh as loud as he does! Keep their lunches on the floor). What else could do? (e.g. Get a big desk for him, give him a job on the playground helping other children.)


  1. Find out where each child’s family (ancestors) came from. Find a costume from that group of people? ENGAGE THE PARENTS! Find a picture of the costume on line and print it out. Create a collage of pictures to show what everyone would look like if they work their traditional outfits.
  2. What were Norm’s special talents? (He was tall and could hang things on the wall. He has a great laugh. He tries hard and doesn’t give up.) Have each child think about their own special talents. (kind, good at sports, likes to sing, can draw, can read really well ). How can they use these talents to help other children or to contribute to the classroom?
  3. Have each student fill out their own STUDENT PROFILE – (TOPICS: Name, Hometown, Home language, My Talents or Strengths, Things I’d like to be able to do better, What my teacher can do to help me. ) See an example at the end of the book). ENGAGE PARENTS IN FILLING OUT THE “All children are unique handout” below.
  4. Use the OLD NORSE ALPHABET to write your name! (see end of book or use the alphabet below). Help children write their names in their ancestral languages.
  5. Check out this work sheet to explore children’s backgrounds  ALL CHILDREN ARE UNIQUE