Value: Self Worth 

Time: 20 minutes

Appropriate Ages: 10-20


  • Book: Junkyard Wonders, by Patricia Polacco

  • Piece of paper and pencil for all kids



  1. Read story. At the following points in the story, prompt with the following discussion questions:


Do you think these kids could be friends? Why or why not?

Do you think any of these kids could ever do something great, or do you think they will always struggle? Why or why not?


Have you ever been afraid to tell an adult something? Or when you told the adult they just didn't understand?


They all seem to have a talent they are good at. I wonder what your talents are. (Make a few suggestions for each child.) What do you think?


Why do you think she decided to talk all of a sudden? 


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Why did the kids change their minds about themselves, from thinking they were junk to thinking they could achieve big things?


What do you think the lesson of this story is?

2.Tell your child the following, "Now I want you to write a few things down on your piece of paper to answer a few questions. You can share them with me after if you want to, but you don't have to. You can write or draw pictures to answer the questions. I will do the same thing for myself." (This takes the pressure off them that you'll be reading over their shoulder).

Have you ever been embarrassed to go to school or be with other kids for any reason?

Have you ever felt like junk? When was that time? Why did you feel that way?

Do you have hidden talents that no one knows about?

Is there something you want to do or you think you could do, even if no one else thinks you can do it?

If you could grow up and be anything in the world, even if it seemed too hard, what would you want to grow up and do or be?

3. Ask your child if they want to share any of their thoughts or ideas with you. If not, no pressure on them.