Creating a Culture Of Accountability with the Best Seller ‘What Should Danny Do?’
“Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success.”
John Hays Hammond
I believe children want to be entertained and to have fun, but also want to be challenged and to be given the opportunities to express themselves thoughtfully and creatively. I believe all children want to do the right thing, but many times need help to reflect, self-regulate, and make the best decisions. This beautiful children’s book What Should Danny Do? by Ganit & Adir Levy is so perfect to help children to use their ‘Power to Choose’ wisely in all different scenarios and situations and is really so much fun!
My students and my son fell instantly in love with Danny and the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style text. There are actually 9 stories in all within this charming and adventure filled book.
This is the ‘Power to Choose’ cape that Danny wears in the book. Danny loves to pretend he’s a superhero and the cape was given to him by his dad so he would always remember that his most important superpower is the ‘Power to Choose.’ He knows that with this special power he can change his day by changing his choices.
We had so much fun creating puppets that looked like ourselves wearing the P2C (Power to Choose) cape. The children worked so hard to make their puppets look exactly like them and then used their mini versions of themselves to put on puppet shows which showed them making wise choices.
We used construction paper, multicultural people shapes, felt, popsicle sticks, and some fuzzy yarn for hair to make our puppets. As you can see, the children in my class really took their time and put a lot of effort into creating their puppets. They were thrilled to take their puppets home to continue playing make believe and they were excited to tell their families all about Danny and the ‘Power to Choose.’
We love writing in our own personal journals every day and thought it would be so much fun to pretend to be Danny and create journals to write in as if we were him. We wrote about how we changed our day by making wise choices.
The children had the opportunity to review sequencing skills with this next activity. They just folded a paper into fourths, opened it, and wrote first, next, then, and finally on each of the four parts. I asked them to choose one of the nine stories within the book and retell the story in sequence by drawing a picture and writing a sentence or two in each section.
The best part about What Should Danny Do? is the way it genuinely empowers children. I received this book and cape on a Friday evening and William, my 9 year old son immediately began reading it. Once he realized the meaning behind the cape, he wanted to wear it. He was completely drawn in by the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style of the book and also the fact that Danny reminded him of himself.
My husband, Jim, read all nine stories with William later that night and really loved how the book showed the consequences of Danny’s not so wise choices as well as of the wise choices.
The next morning Jim was out at my Uncle Vinny’s barber shop with William and our thirteen year old daughter, Angelina. Jim was talking to Angelina about something that William knew was not his business and should not get himself involved in. He has been spoken to in the past about not bothering his sister and making a situation worse when she is being reprimanded or reminded of something.
Jim said that when he had to speak to Angelina, William made a wise choice. William actually said, “What should I do? Point out that Angelina should listen better? No, then she will get upset and everyone will tell me it’s not my business and probably I’ll be in trouble too.” He then said, “If I use my power to choose and choose to say nothing I will definitely not get in trouble.”
When I brought the book and cape to school that first Monday after we received our book, William asked me to bring it back home and he’s asked me to bring it back home every day since then. I definitely need to order another book. Or actually a few more, because it’s always being read by someone in our classroom and it’s so hard to wait to read a favorite book when you are 8. It’s actually hard for me to wait to read a book I really love to read too, and I’m almost 46!
Make Freshly Squeezed Lemonade: In the book, Danny and his family set up a lemonade stand. I love to prepare special meals, treats and beverages with my children at home and at school. This is a really simple and refreshing recipe and children will have so much fun squeezing the lemons to get the juice. You will need 1 cup of sugar, 5 cups of cold water, the juice of 8 lemons (kids can squeeze the juice out), and mint sprigs or lemon peel for garnish. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and chill. Serve in tall glasses garnished with a mint sprig or lemon peel twist or pour it in a thermos and take it to your next picnic.
Design Special Plates for Special People: In the book, Danny has a favorite Ninjitsu Ninja plate. Children can decorate a paper plate to show a person they love that they appreciate them. For example they might want to make a special sport themed plate for their grandpa if he is is fan of a certain team or a plate decorated with their sister’s favorite things. Using regular paper plates is an easy and affordable way to allow your children to express themselves creatively and have something special they created to give to someone they love. There are also great kits put together to make it easy for children to decorate, bake and make real, permanently painted plates. Find one awesome option here.
Create a Sidewalk Chalk Mural: Danny and his family go to so many great places throughout the nine stories in this book. Children will enjoy being outside in the fresh air working together to recreate the different settings and characters with sidewalk chalk. You can find a really great set of chalk to use at home or a school setting here.
I will be sharing more great books and screen-free activities to go along with them here on the blog. Of course, if you are a regular visitor of the blog, you know I also have a book coming out soon ( I’m SO excited I can’t stop talking about it!) with screen-free activities based on more than 200 children’s books, integrated with a variety of subjects and topics, and focused on authentic, hands-on learning. Go ahead and check out the details here.
Thank you so much for your time and attention. I hope you found this post worthwhile and that it inspires you to talk to your children about the ‘Power to Choose.’
Check out the empowering book What Should Danny Do? on Amazon by clicking here. It’s on sale now!
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Have a beautiful day!
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” John F. Kennedy