Living In Variety by Mariah Turner and Laila Johnston

Description: “Living In Variety” is a story that follows young Emmanuel Parker and his family as they move into their new home. Written and illustrated by two young girls from Kansas City, the story is inspired their brothers who have autism. Emmanuel makes new friends, and he learns a valuable lesson about showing love to others. It is a story that shows us, no matter our differences, our similarities, a willingness to be open can bring new friendships.

Discussion questions

  1. What does the word “variety” mean? How do you see that word being used throughout the story?
  2. How did Emmaunel feel after being yelled at on the playground? What feelings do you feel when someone is mean to you?
  3. How did Emmanuel and his new friends deal with the bully on the playground?
  4. Who were people who helped Emmanuel in the story? How do you know it is time to find an adult to help you?
  5. Emmanuel’s parents tell him that differences are great. What differences did we see in the characters in the book? What is something different about you that you love?
  6. In the book we see Emmanuel using headphones because loud noises bother him. What supports do you use to help you? Examples: glasses, asking a teacher for help, more time on a test

Classroom Activities

  1. This book was written and illustrated by 2 young girls who have brothers with autism. Write your own story about a cause you care about.
  2. Have students draw pictures of themselves. Then have them find a partner and share one difference they have and one thing they have in common. Have a class discussion about the variety we see in our own classroom.
  3. In the book Emily and Carlos invite Emmanuel to play freeze tag with them. As a class, come up with a list of games you can play together at recess and how to invite someone to play those