The Lonely Little Monster teaches Friendship and Build Community
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The Lonely Little Monster teaches Friendship and Build Community

Categories Build Community , Friendship 
Book Title: The Lonely Little Monster

Author: Andi Green

Illustrator: Andi Green

Jewish Value: Friendship

Additional value:


Book Summary:

Nola, the Lonely Little Monster, is very lonely and only thinks about the small space that surrounds her. After many long, sad, lonely days, she discovers a new way to look at the world and realizes that there were always friends around her--she just didn’t know where to look.  

Enduring Understandings:

  • A community is a group of people who share activities and ideas; a classroom is a community of learners. 
  • Sharing community can help keep us from feeling lonely. 
  • Developing friendships is important in life. 
  • Having and being a good friend makes life easier and more fun!

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Jewish thought has always honored and valued friendship, recognizing the support, loyalty, and guidance that define a true friend: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falls, for he has not another to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

Customarily, the English word friend is translated into Hebrew as chaver. Whereas this is substantially correct, in traditional practice, a chaver was more than just a simple friend. In communities of study, one’s chaver was his or her study partner. This was the first person you would see at the beginning of every school day, and the last person you would say, “Shalom” to at the end. Your chaver helped you understand difficult texts, just as you explained puzzling ideas to him or her. The sages of old understood that one would never successfully, study, understand, or practice without a good chaver. Is today’s world so different? Few people will successfully negotiate the difficulties of life without good friends at their side.

Yehoshua ben Perachya said, “Provide yourself with a teacher, acquire a study partner, and judge all people with the scale of merit” (Pirke Avot 1:6). Why did Yehoshua ben Perachya think that having a teacher and study partner were somehow related with how we treat others? When we study with teachers, and learn with friends at our sides, we come to see and appreciate the many different voices in our world.

The strength in developing a community comes largely from showing up, from willing to be involved, from wanting to make a difference according to one’s own abilities. The best communities, the strongest communities, are those wherein different voices are welcomed, encouraged, and listened to. When we see the value and worth in every person—that is to say we judge all people with the scale of merit—we build strong communities.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you define a true friend? What can you do to be a true friend to others? 
  2. How can your desire to be a good friend contribute positively to the community as a whole? 
  3. Think about a time when your friends helped you overcome a struggle or challenge? What was that experience like for you? What would have that experience been like if you had not had a friend? How can you, in essence, “pay it forward?” 
  4. How can you incorporate the value of chaverut in your life and within the classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Add a job to your class’s Job Chart called “Acts of Friendship Finder.” This student’s job is to be on the “lookout” for acts of friendship throughout the day. When such acts are witnessed, the Acts of Friendship Finder is encouraged to let the student know he or she was “caught” being a good friend. Students or teachers can take “caught-you pictures” of their peers being “caught” in the act of being a friend. Once pictures are printed, attach a sentence strip to each picture, having students write or dictate what the student in the picture was doing that made him or her a friend.

Materials and resourcesmore


  • Copy of The Lonely Little Monster 
  • After the Reading: materials for the Cooperative Learning Project, including: 
    • large rolls of butcher paper 
    • yarn, pom-poms, fabric remnants, colorful “gemstones,” and other decorative items 
    • colored pencils or markers 
    • scissors 
    • glue


Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Talk to the class about some things they did for the first time and how amazing it is to realize that many people shared the similar feelings, fears, and excitement. Ask the following questions and record the underlying ideas that each student shares with the class:

  • Do you remember your first day of school? 
  • How did you feel walking into the classroom? Were you excited and scared at the same time? 
  • How does it feel to be a member of your classroom community? (Provide students with examples to help them understand this concept. Ask them to list other communities to which they belong.)

Explain that doing things for the first time can be difficult. For example, even if you have gone to school before, the first day of each year is still like it never happened before. Ask, “How do you feel when you know there is a friend that you can sit with at lunch or play with on the playground? Have you made any new friends this year? How did you start being friends?”

In the Jewish tradition, there is a special blessing that is said whenever we do something for the first time in a year, or whenever we do something for the first time ever. The blessing is called the Shehechiyanu, and it thanks G-d for watching over us, and protecting us, and for giving us the chance to do something wonderful or special. When we say Shehechiyanu, we are consciously grateful to G-d to be doing what we are doing, and that makes the action or event even more powerful. As appropriate, share the Shehechiyanu with your students.

Introduce the book The Lonely Little Monster. Look at the picture on the cover and read the title. Help students understand the concept of being lonely. Why do they think the little monster might be lonely? What helps people be less lonely? Say, “Let’s read the book to hear about Nola’s adventure of how she found friends.”

Reading The Story

Read the story aloud, stopping when appropriate to explore illustrations, address comments, clarify, predict, and guide students’ understanding of the story and the values of friendship—chaverut and to build community—kehillah.

Focus on pictures of Nola at the beginning of the story. Ask the following questions:

  • How would you describe the way she feels? What makes you think that? (her expression, eyes, etc.) 
  • Why do you think Nola is sad? (Reinforce understanding of the concept of being lonely.) 
  • In her search for a friend, where does Nola look? 
  • Nola begged the sun to stay with her, but “the Sun never answered and always went down.” What reasons might Nola give for the sun leaving? Why do you think the sun left Nola each evening? (Suggest that perhaps the sun goes down and sets every night to make space for the night to come and the moon to shine.) 
  • One night, Nola went to sleep and woke up hearing the ocean crashing about. What happened when she heard the ocean sounds? 
  • Nola began to cry when she saw new creatures. Was she crying because she was sad, or were her tears because she was happy? 
  • When you cry, does it always mean that you are sad ? When else do people cry? (when they feel happy or grateful, see something beautiful, etc.)

After The Story

Discuss the following questions:

  • Have you ever felt lonely like Nola? What helped you feel better? (Maybe you were feeling sad or left out and suddenly you saw someone in the classroom that you started to talk with.)
Reread the story or share the YouTube video: 
  • Encourage students to look around at the faces of their classmates when you come to the last few lines “… so if you feel lonely because no one’s in sight, look outside of yourself and maybe you might, see others like you who want to be found, give it a try, just look around.” Then ask students, “What do you see?” (Encourage them to mention the faces of friends—their classroom community.) 
  • What does it mean to be a friend? How do friends keep “lonely” away? 
  • What does it mean to be a part of a community? 
How would you describe a friend? Do you think that you have the qualities of a good friend?

The Mitzvah of Friendship: Cooperative Learning Project
  • Explain that being a good friend is a mitzvah. Say, “We can do this mitzvah right here in our classroom community. It makes a person feel good to see friends all around and to know that they have new friends sitting next to them. Nola found new friends by the end of the story. We are going to do a project and find new friends right here in our classroom. Are you ready?”

Note to teachers: Developing friendships is important in life, but learning the foundations of how to begin to talk to and relate to people that you don’t know well is daunting at any age. This lesson in making cutouts with a partner is developed to encourage team building and cooperative learning with a classmate with whom the student might otherwise not interact. The lesson is designed to begin the process of “getting to know” a classmate and facilitating a community of learners that is safe and familiar to both people.

Involve students in creating body-image cutouts and decorate them to match their personalities.
  • Prepare materials for students to use to decorate their cutouts. Cut shapes and clothes out of the fabric remnants and have the yarn cut in strips for hair. Place the gems and other items in bowls and have glue and scissors ready. 
  • Pair students with a partner who they don’t know well. 
  • Have one student in the pair lie down on butcher paper while his or her partner traces the outline of that student’s body. (Have them put their arms in a position as if they are holding hands with people on either side.) Then switch roles. Be sure to label the back of each cutout with the child’s name. 
  • Have the pairs work together to decorate their cutouts with things they especially like and with things to reflect some of their features (for example, yellow yarn for blond hair, brown “gemstones” for brown eyes, etc.) • When all of the silhouettes have been decorated and dried, have the students help you hang them around the walls of the room. Place them in such a way that each silhouette is “holding” the hands of another. • In meeting time, talk about the activity, what they enjoyed, and what they learned about their new friends.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Invite another class to visit yours. Have each child in your class create a personalized invitation for someone in the other class, asking him or her to your classroom to have snacks and play. Give the guests a tour of your classroom and arrange for your students to visit their classroom as well.

Have the students look at the book Glad Monster, Sad Monster, by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda. The book contains face cutouts in the form of masks. Have students wear them, talk about them, and express how the features on each mask make them feel.

Nola did not look like the sea creatures who became her friends, but they shared a love of being together. Have students compare and contrast certain features among the students in the class, such as hair, eye color, and height. Create a class chart to reflect eye and hair color, to graph heights, food preferences, etc. Discuss what they want in a friend. Is it the color of the hair or eyes? Is it the types of food they eat? Guide students in understanding that it is how a person acts and treats another that is most important in finding a new friend.

Count how many students are in the class and how may hands are in the classroom. Have each student trace their hands (suggest they help one another), cut them out and decorate. Post hands around the room to remind students how many hands there are to hold.

Read about the different WorryWoo Monsters that Andi Green, the author of The Lonely Little Monster, created, and share them with students (either through the website,, or from other books in the series). As a class, have students create their own WorryWoo Monster who will be their class mascot and special friend. You can start with a big stuffed animal and have students decorate it with a variety of craft items along with pictures. Have the class determine the WorryWoo Monster’s name. Place it in the reading corner where students can share books with their new friend!`

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

  • Song1
  • Song2
  • Song3
Please add your Content here!

Inspiration Text

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.” -Pirke Avot 2:21


Many things that are done in life can be broken down into steps, which helps big jobs seem more doable. As students become familiar with the song “One Step at a Time,” brainstorm additional verses that students might add.
When students achieve the first step in a larger process, take a moment to celebrate that achievement as it relates to their larger goal. For example, when students learn a letter of the alphabet and the sound it makes, point out that they are closer to becoming readers. Ask students what they would do to make a new friend. Invite adult leadership in the community to come share and practice steps they would use to forge new friendships (a great way to involve clergy, board members, executive directors or other teachers with whom students don’t interact regularly).
Follow these steps or make your own!
Step 1: Meet a new person. This could involve shaking hands, giving high fives, and saying “Nice to meet you!”
Step 2: Share your names.
Step 3: Have a conversation and find something you share.
Step 4: Continue conversations, makes plans to spend time together, or simply greet one another by name when you see each other again.
Remind students when they are trying to do something new, it is sometimes easier to break it down into small steps instead of trying to achieve a big goal all at once.


One step at a time, Is how all things are made
So step by step, day by day, friends grow, build, learn, and play
One step at a time, one foot in front of the other
Is how we’ll build a better world, working with our sisters and brothers

A new friend joins our class one day
One step at a time
They learn the rules, show us new ways
One step at a time


A baby grows in our family
One step at a time
They start in a belly but will get big like me
One step at a time


We help members in our family
One step at a time
Together, reach out and to our whole community
One step at a time


A house starts with an empty piece of land
One step at a time
Build brick by brick ‘til a home will stand
One step at a time

Additional Music Connections

Evidence of Learningmore

Students are actively involved in their cooperative learning activity and interacting with new friends as they work together on their personal cutouts.

Observing students on the playground and around the classroom interacting with “new faces” and students with whom they don’t usually play.

Involvement in the Jewish Every Day activity as each student takes on the role of Acts of Friendship Finder and looks for examples that day of acts of friendship.


Send home a letter about the importance of play-dates and encouraging play-dates with new faces. Take a leap and suggest a play-date with two children whom you think would get along well but don’t usually play together in school. This article could be a suggested resource for parents and outlines the many benefits of play-dates:

Send home a small “homework” assignment. Ask parents to help their child draw a picture for their class partner (provide their name to the parent). If a child forgets his or her “homework,” have the child complete the assignment as a table activity during arrival time.

Encourage parents to talk about friendship and how friends make us feel good. They may wish to talk about their own childhood friends and how they met. Remind parents also to talk about how friends make us feel sad sometimes and how we can work together to create even stronger bonds with friends when we talk about our feelings.

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
Will I Have a Friend? Miriam CohenLillian HobanThis is a classic picture book about the first day of kindergarten and a little boy’s concern about making new friends in school.
Sammy Spider’s New Friend* Sylvia A. RoussKatherine Janus KahnWhen an Israeli family moves in next door to the Shapiros, Sammy Spider and Josh learn about the Jewish mitzvah of welcoming guests. In the process, they each make a new friend and learn some Hebrew words.
The Dot Peter H. ReynoldsPeter H. ReynoldsA young girl has little self-confidence and believes that she can’t draw in art class. Cleverness on the part of her teacher brings out the self-assuredness of Vashti, who in turn, does the same for a classmate.
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Jacky DavisDavid SomanAt the playground, Lulu asks her friend Sam if he wants to play with her. They disagree about what they should play, but then they figure out that when they work together, they can create fun games that they both like to play.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Shari D. Silverstein Director of Professional Development & Educational Resources, Orloff CAJE