Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth – Teaching Literary Skills with Picture Books

I am sharing a book a day for the next 30+ days. Picture books that can be used to teach literary skills to middle or high school students. Just because they are in the older grades doesn’t mean that picture books can’t be a great resource on its own or as a paired passage. Here is #26

Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth – Teaching Literary Skills with Picture Books

Description from Amazon:

Jon J Muth, author of the best-selling book, THE THREE QUESTIONS, has crafted another profound and winning picture book.

“Michael,” said Karl. “There’s a really big bear in the backyard.” This is how three children meet Stillwater, a giant panda who moves into the neighborhood and tells amazing tales. To Addy he tells a story about the value of material goods. To Michael he pushes the boundaries of good and bad. And to Karl he demonstrates what it means to hold on to frustration. With graceful art and simple stories that are filled with love and enlightenment, Jon Muth — and Stillwater the bear — present three ancient Zen tales that are sure to strike a chord in everyone they touch.

Literary Skills that can be taught with the book Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth?

– nuisance
– rummaging
– tattered
– sympathetically
– misfortune
– sedan chair
– brooding
– preoccupied
– lamented

– Explain what lesson Addy learned?
– Explain what lesson Michael learned?
– Explain what lesson Karl learned?
– What lesson was taught with each of Stillwater’s stories?

Author’s Purpose
– Why did the author choose to have the stories come from a Panda?
– Why did the author decide to share the lessons of Stillwater through short stories?


–  What does Karl’s large amount of stuff symbolize in regards to his feelings for Michael?
–  Why do the short stories and Zen lessons come from a Panda?

– Discuss the impact of the story on social and emotional skills
– How does this story relate to self management?

Zen Shorts can be found on Amazon click HERE

Want more? There is more and can be found on the resource at TpT.

Follow this blog and my TpT store for more great picture books to teach to secondary students.

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