Kinder Book Club: Swimmy

For a classic book by a great children’s author, check out Swimmy by Leo Lionni. Congratulations to last week’s contest winner!

Swimmy is consistently picked by Miss Kindergarten as her very favorite book, and it is easy to understand why. This simple story begins with a tragedy when Swimmy’s entire family of tiny red fish is devoured by a much bigger fish. Lionni illuminates Swimmy’s exploration of the wide, we world around him with extremely poetic imagery.

The poetry and the pictures alone make this book a delight to read.

Soon Swimmy joins a new school of fish, cowering in the dark rocks to stay safe from the dangerous bigger fish. In love with the wonders of the ocean, Swimmy concocts a clever plan to free his new family from their dark hiding places.

Think of the book’s ending as your child’s first lesson in social organizing. Swimmy rallies his new family to swim close together in the formation of a large fish. As the only black fish in the bunch, Swimmy himself poses as the eye. Protected and freed by their collaboration, the fish swim off to see the lovely secrets of the ocean.

The girls and I have read and reread this story many times, and it always leads to an interesting discussion. We don’t always push through the entire list, but the following questions come up often after we read this thoughtful and artful story:

Discussion Questions

  1. Swimmy saves the little red fish by getting them to look like one large red fish.  Why did this make the other fish leave the little red ones alone?  Were the other fish fooled?
  2. All of the little fish worked together to make a big red fish. What other kinds of things can only be
    done when everyone works together or cooperates?
  3. How could you be like Swimmy in your own life? (how can you work together with your friends to do something you couldn’t do alone?)
  4. Have you ever had to solve a big problem? How did you do it?


About Sarah

Sarah Aadland is striving to make family volunteering a meaningful habit for her family of five. Join the conversation as she ponders what they may (or may not have) learned and looks for helpful information about raising compassionate kids.Though she plans to one day put her Masters in Public Policy back to work for social justice, she sees family volunteering as a way to build a stronger community, a better world, and a more connected family. In addition to her children, Sarah tends a large garden, a small flock of chickens, and a habit of mindfulness amid the necessary rituals of parenting.

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