Book of the Month – November 2019

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Zero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 . . . !” “Those numbers have value. That’s why they count,” she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. “If I were like One, then I can count too,” she thinks. So she pushes and pulls, stretches and straightens, forces and flattens herself, but in the end she realizes that she can only be Zero. As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.

Home-School Connection


  1. What does the number zero mean?
  2. Where do we usually see the number, zero?
  3. If you were asked to choose a number as a name which number would you choose? Why?


  1. Explore the meaning of the metaphors “count” and “value” with the students. Talk about how they have more than one meaning in this story. Zero’s definition of count means not only to put numbers in order, but also to be of value or to be important.
    What does it mean to have value? Do you have value?  What is your value?
  2. Why does ZERO want to look like ONE?  What do you think it would feel to be like ONE?
  3. Why do you think Zero only saw an empty hole inside?
  4. Why do EIGHT and NINE encourage her to look like them?  Is this a helpful idea? Or not?
  5. ZERO leaps and makes a grand entrance to impress the numbers. What do you think would have happened if ZERO was successful and she had impressed the numbers?
  6. SEVEN says, “Every number has a value,” “Be open you’ll find a way.” What does it mean to be open?
  7. When ZERO has a new idea, ONE tells her to “Lead the way!” Why is it important that it is ONE who tells her this?
  8. What does ZERO mean, when she says “if we help each other SOAR, we can count MORE.” What does it mean to help someone SOAR? How can you help someone SOAR?
  9. What does the phrase in the book, “bringing more value to everyone” mean? What are some ways we can bring value to the people here?

One Book, One School Community…

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

-Mary McGrory, 2002