Swimmy

Leo Lionni (1963), A. Knopf

Swimmy is different than all of the other fish around him – while they are red and all look alike, he is black. One day, a large tuna comes around and eats all of the other fish, leaving Swimmy all alone. Scared and sad, Swimmy swims deep into the ocean, farther than he’s ever gone before. He runs into many interesting and beautiful creatures, until he comes across a group of red fish just like his old school! However, these red fish are well aware of the dangers that lurk in the ocean and are hiding away, too afraid to swim out or explore. Swimmy takes the lead and shows them how to look stronger than the tuna so that they will never be attacked again.

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Talk with a child about this book

Swimmy is different than all of the red fish around him – not only is he a different color, but he’s also faster than all of his friends as well. Do you think he thought it was a good thing or a bad thing to be different? Why?

How do you think Swimmy felt when he lost his original school of red fish? How do you think he felt when he found the second, identical school and had another chance?

How did Swimmy show that he was a leader to the second school of red fish?

When Swimmy was first alone, he felt very sad and scared. What happened that helped him move on from feeling those things?

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