It’s Okay to Ask

by Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
Grade K-3


Written by the experts at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and illustrated by beloved Twin Cities artist Nancy Carlson, It’s Okay to Ask! introduces five children who have disabilities or complex medical conditions. They love to read, play, tell jokes, and make friends. As you get to know the characters in the book and learn that it’s okay to ask questions, you will discover that everyone is more alike than you might think and that people of all abilities can be friends.

Discussion questions from SOMN

  • Before reading:
    • Read the title of the book and look at the cover. What do you see on the cover? Who are the people pictured? What are they doing? What do you think this book might be about?
    • Talk about friendship. What does it mean to be a friend? What do you like to do with your friends?
    • Introduce the story. Have you ever been curious about people and asked them questions? In this book you will meet five new friends and some kids who are curious about them.
  • While reading:
    • Make predictions. When you meet each friend, a child asks a question. Before turning the page, ask, “What do you think will happen next? What will the friends do? Where will they go? Will they be friends?” Turn the page and read to find out. What happened? Did you guess correctly? If not, what surprised you?
    • Notice similarities and differences. How are you the same as the kids in the book? Do you also like to dance, ride bikes, read? What else? How are you different? For example: Do you spin on your toes while Maya spins on her wheels? Do you ride a two-wheeled bike while Carter rides a three-wheeled bike?
  • After reading:
    • Discover what tools help us. Kids use all kinds of tools to help them do things. Maya uses a wheelchair to dance, and Ahmed uses a tablet to talk. What kind of tools help you? Do you use a stool to reach high places? Do you wear glasses to help you see?
    • Learn about making friends. Pretend some of the kids in the book moved into your neighborhood and you want to be friends with them. What would you want to do with them? How would you invite them to play? What would you say?

Classroom activities from SOMN

  • Read the book like a play.
  • Play “I spy” in the park scene. Find and name the five friends, find the butterfly, the dog, and so on.
  • Describe the emotions expressed by each child. Think of a time you felt like that and draw a picture of that feeling.