Book Review and Activity: One written by Kathryn Otoshi

I absolutely love this book! One does a beautiful job of illustrating the many colors of bullying. Blue is a quiet, passive, calm color who gets bullied by hot headed Red. The other colors are bystanders who do not agree with Red’s behavior, but don’t dare say anything. Every time Red says something mean and no one speaks up, he grows larger and more intimidating. Luckily, the number One shows the colors how to stand up to Red. All of the colors, including Red, learn that everyone counts.

Discussion Questions

• How does it feel to be blue?
• Have you ever felt like blue?
• How does it feel to be red?
• Have you ever felt red?
• Why did red act that way towards blue?
• Why didn’t the other colors say something to red?
• Have you ever felt like the other colors?
• What was different about one?
• How did one help all of the colors?
• Have you ever been like one?
• How can you be like one?
• What does it mean to count?

Food Coloring Experiment

This is a fun visual to use with students. For this activity you will read the story two times.

First Reading: In the story, every time Red says something mean and no one speaks up, he gets…bigger…and bigger…and Bigger… During the first reading, every time Red says or does something mean, you will squeeze one drop of red food coloring into a clear glass of water. Example: Red tells blue, “Red is hot. Blue is not.” The students will notice that the water appears redder with each added drop of food coloring.

Second Reading: This time, you will add an extra step to the experiment using a second glass of water. Again, every time Red says something mean, you will squeeze one drop of red food coloring into the second glass of water. This time when One and the other colors stand up to Red you will drop different colors of food coloring (blue, green, yellow) into the glass covering up the red. Before One showed up, what could the colors have said to Red? As each student shares an idea, he or she drops their color of choice (except for red) into the glass.

Compare both glasses of water. What is different about the second glass? The first glass is bright red. The second glass is a mixture of all the colors resulting in red being less dominant. When we stand up for ourselves and others we take away the bully’s power!