Book of the Month – March 2023

Reading with children can improve their language, literacy, and social-emotional skills, increasing their knowledge of the world around them.

Just Ask! Be Brave, Be Different, Be You!

By Sonia Sotomayor

Picture of the front cover of the book Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor.

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask./

Make Connections Beyond the Book:

  • How do you use your voice?
  • What do you do when you are curious to know something?
  • Do you have the courage to ask?  Why or why not?
  • What do you think the world would be like if everyone was the same?
  • How can you learn more about other people?
  • How do you feel about asking people questions about their differences?
  • Who can you ask for help to understand things that you have questions about?

Extension Activities:

An extension activity is an activity that extends the learning of the lesson.  Extension activities can be done in school or at home, in a small group or individually.  They help personalize the story and increase relatability.  Ask kids what they think makes a garden beautiful. Talk together about the many different plants, trees, flowers, and food that can grow in a garden. Get them thinking and talking about what kinds of things they would want to grow in their own gardens. Have students share what makes their garden one of a kind and talk about how everyone’s garden is different. Then ask students to think and talk about what makes each one of us unique.

Picture of the Framework for Systemic Social and Emotional Learning.
Framework for Systemic Social and Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning Theme

Fostering Inclusiveness

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Focus

These selections will get you thinking about which voices, perspectives, and examples are prominent in the other books and materials you share with students and asking which ones are missing and why.

DESSA Competencies Connection

Self-Awareness * Social Awareness * Relationship Skills * Personal Responsibility * Optimistic Thinking * Decision Making * Self-Management

Student of the Month Award

In recognition of a student who displays strengths/skills in the DESSA area of: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

One Book, One School Community…

“The idea is that… (a community) that opens the same book does it in greater harmony.”

-Mary McGrory, 2002

PS 188Q Parent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission Statement
To promote an inclusive, empathetic, and compassionate community at PS 188Q that empowers and celebrates our diverse students and families (including historically underrepresented individuals of various ethnic, religious, socioeconomic and LGBTQ+ populations), by implementing initiatives that will result in greater student success (academic and socioemotional), and providing families with resources and opportunities for discussion.