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Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. Today is Dr. Suess's birthday and Read Across America Day, so I thought it was fitting to highlight one of my favorite Dr. Suess books, Horton Hears a Who, and this activity I found on suessville.com.

Dr. SuessPhoto credit: suessville.com

Not only is Horton Hears a Who entertaining, like so many of Dr. Suess's  books it also has an inspiring moral: "A person’s a person no matter how small." This goes along great with Heifer's mission of helping the world's poor and our 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development.

If you don't happen to have the book or movie on hand, you can find a great synopsis of the plot on Wikipedia. In short, Horton (an elephant) hears a small speck of dust talking and learns that it is actually a tiny planet home to the Whos who live in Whoville. They are in danger of being destroyed, and Horton wants to help. He agrees, proclaiming, "even though you can’t see or hear them at all, a person’s a person, no matter how small." Horton is laughed at for this and no one will help. Finally, the Whos are loud enough to be heard by others, and they are saved.

This activity, A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small—So share a good deed that made you feel tall! (found on www.suessville.com) suggests having a  discussion about what your kids have done to help someone in their family, school or community. 

What did they do? How did they help? After talking about it, have the kids draw a picture of their good deed or write something about what they did. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Did they:

  • Help Mom or Dad with chores?
  • Volunteer in the community?
  • Baby-sit for a little brother or sister?
  • Send a card to cheer up a friend?
  • Recycle and help the environment?

I also found a lesson plan with more interesting questions if you want to go deeper:

  1. What did Horton do that was so important?
  2. How do you think it made the Whos feel that Horton cared so much?
  3. What would have happened to the Whos if Horton didn’t protect them?
  4. What was the lesson of this story?
  5. What does, “a person’s a person no matter how small” mean?
  6. Have you ever done a good deed for someone else? How did it make them feel? How did it make you feel?

Ryan BellRyan Bell and his sister, Meghan.

When I think about Horton helping so many on that tiny planet, I am reminded of 12-year-old Ryan Bell, who is doing all he can to spread the word and get others involved in helping Heifer project participants around our planet. If you like the story of Horton hearing the Who, you'll love reading about Ryan, who is getting the world to hear him, recently raised $30,000 for Heifer International.

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