by Janell Cannon, has a lot to offer to a philosophical discussion
on identity, making promises, the difference between being and feeling,
and family. The question sets encourage children to explore what
makes up one's identity, preservation and changing of identity, how
being and feeling affect relationships and identity, what makes up
a family, why people make and break promises, and what kinds of promises
there are. All the question sets are intended to combine these themes
in order to guide an engaging philosophical discussion. While thinking
about issues in their own lives and hearing about others they may
find that what seems to be a simple question will not have a simple
answer, therefore encouraging them to think more critically and to
always question the answers whether it be their own or others'.
Question sets A through D integrate the issue of identity in some way. Figuring
out one's own identity is one of the most complicated processes children go through.
Through one's own strengths and limitations, and influences of others, this identity
is shaped. Stellaluna struggles with this same idea because of her strengths
and limitations as a bat and and their effects on her relationship to other bats
and the bird family. Stellaluna also struggles with maintaining identity while
adjusting to different surroundings and animals. The questions will guide the
children in exploring their own identity in terms of how it is created, how other
people affect it, if and how it can be maintained, and if and how it can change.
Question sets A and B raise the issue of the difference between being and feeling.
Philosophers have often grappled with ideas of complexity of the self. Set A
explores this issue specifically within one's own identity. in relation to one's
identity. Set B explores this issue in terms of identity in relation to others.
These questions will give children the opportunity to try to understand and create
concepts of being and feeling by exploring their identity in terms of thoughts,
feelings, and physical appearance.
Question set C raises the issue of maintaining identity while obeying rules.
It also explores the idea of belonging to a group and how that affects identity.
These ethical issues will lead the children to discuss whether identity can be
maintained while belonging to a group and whether it should. This ties directly
into question set four where ideas of what and who makes up a family can be discussed.
The children will do this by comparing their own families to other families and
The last two sets, E and F, raise the issue of promises. The children will explore
kinds of promises and whether there is a difference between them. They will also
discuss why people make them and why they break them and whether this is ever
acceptable. This will give the children the opportunity to think more critically
about the effects and importance of promises they make to others.
to question set for this story