Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A dozen or so books, including some that may appeal to the children and others you do not expect will be appealing
- Gift wrap paper, book jackets, newspaper, construction paper in a variety of colors and designs, some appealing, some plain or ugly
- Optional: Ribbons, bows and stickers
Preparation for Activity
- Using the gift wrap paper, book jackets, newspaper and construction paper, wrap the various books in book covers and book jackets that do not match the books. If you wish, use ribbons, bows and stickers to further decorate some of the book covers. Be sure to wrap some books that are appealing to children in less appealing book covers and vice versa.
Description of Activity
Gather the group in a circle. Place the books randomly on the floor. Go around the circle and allow each child to point to one book they would like to read based on the cover of the book alone. More than one child can point to the same book. When all have selected a book, go around again and ask each child to point to one book they would not like to read based on the cover of the book alone.
Remember in our story, Mullah Nasruddin was judged by the other townspeople for his clothing. They decided whether they wanted to talk to him or not based on what he was wearing. There is an expression that says, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Do any of you have ideas about what that means?
Allow the children to offer some answers to the question and then say, in your own words:
"Don't judge a book by its cover" means you can't tell what is inside a book from what is on the outside. And you can't tell what is inside a person from what you see on the outside either. Let's see what's inside these books.
Allow the children to take turns choosing a book and looking to see what sort of book it is. With each book, ask the children to raise their hands if they wanted to read the book based on its cover. Next, ask them to raise their hands if they didn't want to read the book based on its cover. Finally, ask them to raise their hands if their opinion changed once they saw what was inside the book.
Conclude by saying, in your own words:
In our Unitarian Universalist congregation, all people are welcome, no matter what they look like on the outside. Just like these books, you have to look under the cover of a person to find out what they are really like on the inside.
If time allows, choose a story of reasonable length and read it to the group.