Book reviews · Education

Building confidence

10 April 2017

Dear Clarice,

You chuckled helplessly when you saw this book cover  and could not put it down until you finished reading it.



On the surface, this picture book looked like a comedy, but “A Bad Case of Stripes” is an exceptional book on how not to let your self-esteem be governed by what others think of you.

Many children at your age are at an impressionable age where you are finding your footing in this world. You are eager to please and you take what people said very personally. Sometimes, you will be hurt by their intentional or unintentional mean words. At times, you will try to be someone else to become “one of them”.  That’s when you will lose yourself, my dear, like how Camilla Cream in the picture book lost sight of the bigger picture and became a stripey girl, or polka dot girl or even part of the wallpaper in a room!

Lesson Plan

If I were to combine this picture book with a lesson plan, I would ask students to pair up and draw each other. The result is to see how they perceive their friends, and whether their friends agree with their perspective in what they draw, and why. It can be a caricature or a representation of their friends. This will lead to a learning of what they looked like in the eyes of the beholder. This will be followed by an audio reading of the book from here: Audio video book of “A Bad Case of Stripes” . For the guide hand=-holding the children in this reading, remember to highlight the little bits for every detail of the people’s facial expressions, backdrop and colours are integral to understand the nuances of this picture book.

The Brook Hill Lower School has also turned this into a delightful play, available from here: a play of “A Bad Case of Stripes”.

If I had older children, I would make them role play like the Brook Hill Lower School. The actors of Camilla Cream and her visiting mogul doctors will have very good times, learning what it is like to be the victim and what it feels like to be the nasty mean ones !

Every parent or child who wished to build their confidence and not let others run their lives should read this book. It may only be a 32-page picture book, but the depth of the issues explored goes beyond these 32 pages.





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