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The Playlady: Book Review and Discussion Questions

The Play Lady A book review by Teach Peace Now

~Giving of Oneself~

The Play Lady: The Senora Juguetona

by Eric Hoffman and illustrated by Suzanne Tornquist is the story of a kind neighborhood woman who lets the local children play in her garden. One day her trailer is vandalized. Note: The graffiti on the trailer is very strong and full of hate.

The children are upset for this to have happened to their friend.  So they take action and get their parents to help fix up the mess.

It is a story of about giving of oneself in ways that make a difference and shows activism is possible even by young children who see a wrong and work to make it right.

Written in both Spanish and English, the book features a multicultural mix of people. The main character, the play lady, is Korean. The children are black, Hispanic, and white. One is in a wheel chair. The book provides strong, positive role models for all children.

A Redleaf Anti-Bias Book for Young Children  Bilingual Spanish/English text Recommended for preschool through upper elementary

The Play Lady Pre-Reading Questions

Has someone ever said something hateful to you? How did it make you feel?

What would you do if someone said something hurtful to one of your friends?

The Play Lady Follow Up Discussion Questions

Why did the children like to visit the Play Lady?

How did they feel after vandals destroyed her belongings?

What did they do? What other things might they have done?

There is also an excellent set of questions and activities at back of book.

The Play Lady Follow Up Activities

Visual Art: All grades - Draw a scene from the story showing an ally taking action.

Dramatics: Upper grades - Write original role plays showing different ways the 3 roles can interact and then perform them for the class.

Related reading:

The Hating Book by Zolotow

Giraffes Can't Dance by Andreae

Going Further

Here are some resources if a hate crime happens to someone you know or in your neighborhood or community

Responding to Hate Crimes: A Community Resource Manual

Reporting Hate Crimes

Safe Horizons Help for Victims

Find more TPN books reviews and lessons on addressing hate and bias here.

What do you think we should do stop the proliferation of hate crimes?

Post your thoughts and comments below.

Teach Peace Now
Teach Peace Now

We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.

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