A little fish in the deep blue sea

I LOVE Leo Lionni‘s books. Swimmy is a perfect read aloud to share as we read and talk about what is courageous.

Swimmy is a little black fish who manages to escape when a large tuna fish swims up and devours all of his brothers and sisters. He swims off – sad, lonely and afraid. His solitary swim through the ocean takes him past many beautiful sights: a forest of seaweed, a medusa made of rainbow jelly, and sea anemones who looked like pink palm trees swaying in the wind. (Lionni’s images depicted visually and in text are just amazing)

Swimmy surrounded by all of his brothers and sisters

Swimmy eventually comes across a school of little fish just like his own hiding amongst the rocks and weeds. They are too afraid of the big fish to come out and play and explore. Swimmy could not accept that they would just hide forever. “We must think of something,” he insisted. Eventually he had a very clever idea. The fish would swim together like a big fish with Swimmy being the black eye. All together as one, they chased away the big fish and reclaimed the freedom to swim in the sea back for themselves.

What did we learn from this story? The answers were very thoughtful.

  • If you lose your friends and family, you can move on and find others.
  • To lead, you need to be courageous
  • Being brave sometimes means being a leader and teaching others
  • Helping people not only makes you brave, it makes you helpful (Indeed!)

Leo Lionni - photo courtesy of Random House

Leo Lionni was a prolific writer of beautiful children’s books. To learn more about his life and works, check out this site from Random House Children’s Books.

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