“A Flicker of Hope” is a beautiful book about a little candle whose flame is not as bright as it once was. The story is a reminder that there will be dark clouds, but they are temporary and teaches ways to ask for help and how to find hope when those clouds appear. It emphasizes ways to ask for help and our ability to be hope builders for others. It is a beautiful story that will teach your kids (and adults too) meaningful lessons of hope and resilience.
The author tells the story of how sometimes dark clouds overhead seem too heavy and you may feel like giving up. The little candle knows all about this. The candle so many hard things to deal with and all she can see is darkness; for example, she is worried about bad grades, making the team, and wondering who her real friends are. But her story begins to change when someone notices she needs a boost of hope. The little candle is reminded that she has a purpose and her own unique gifts. She sees that she isn’t the only one with dark clouds, and as she finds hope, her dim light begins to shine brighter.
Skills to teach with “A Flicker of Hope”:
- Beginning, middle, end
- Author’s purpose
- Encourage students to focus on their own strengths
- Discuss how to ask for help when you need it
- Discuss perspective and taking challenges day by day
5 Favorite Activities for “A Flicker of Hope”:
1. Reaching Out for Help:
The story uses a flame as a symbol for feelings of sadness, depression, or loneliness. Throughout the story, the big candle teaches the little candle ways to handle these feelings and discuss them. One way is to reach out to others.
Students can discuss why it is important to reach out for help when they are feeling sad or frustrated. When they think about asking for help, it can seem overwhelming; but as they write or talk about ways to ask for help they can hear how others may feel and find new ways to approach a friend or an adult when they feel they need someone to talk to. They can write down one (or more) people that they feel they can turn to when they need it. Actually thinking of someone that they feel comfortable talking to will be a good way to help them remember that person is there for them if they should need it.
2. Unique Qualities
When the little candle is standing under the dark cloud, it is hard for her to see anything but that darkness. She doesn’t feel she can light up anything around her when her world seems so dark. But the big candle offers her some light, taking her wick and offering some of her own flame to help the little candle burn bright. It is a beautiful symbol of helping each other and taking our own gifts to help others that may need them.
Students can brainstorm and think of the qualities of a good friend. Just as the big candle was willing to give the little candle a boost to take some of her light, a quality of a good friend maybe someone that would share their unique gift with you! Talk about friends, what makes a good friend, qualities that students have that make them unique friends, and things that they like to do with their friends.
3. Asking for Help
The little candle is the only one that can see her dark cloud, just as our feelings may not be visible to those around us. Someone may not know when we are feeling sad or lonely. Students can relate to this and think about times when they may have had a problem and weren’t sure how to ask for help. You can have students write about a problem they’ve had or share it with friends. They can reflect on that time and how they could ask for help. This will help them as they think of problem-solving solutions and ways to ask for help in the future. Sometimes talking it out will help students that may not feel comfortable asking for help; the discussion can open up their eyes to problem-solving ways they may not have considered before.
4. Be a Hope Builder
A hope builder will be there for others, to give them light, give them hope, and build them up when they need it. And if we each become hope builders, there will be a whole hope-building community. Students can think of ways they can be hope builders; whether at home or at school, think of ways they can lend support to those around them.
5. Looking Out for Friends
Just as the big candle noticed the little candle needed some hope and that she had a dark cloud that was wearing her down, students can think of signs that classmates or friends might give if their flame is not burning bright.
Discuss things that you can look for in others and signs that might let you know someone may need someone to talk to, someone to listen to, or someone to lend some hope and light. What actions, expressions, or words might you look for and how could you act in return?
This is such an important book to share. The symbolism is so meaningful and is such a great way to open up discussions with your students that may be struggling or know someone that may be struggling. Even if they are not going through it right now, having these conversations is important and something they won’t forget. There are so many great conversations to have and lessons to learn as you read through the beautiful pages.
I hope you and your students love it!
You can grab a free one-page guide for using this book in your classroom here:
You can find more of my favorite read-aloud books HERE.
And read more about why I love reading aloud and think it is so important HERE.
You might also like to find activities about self-love.
Check out all of my favorite read-aloud books and grab free read-aloud guides HERE.
Shop this post:
You can find the book, “A Flicker of Hope” here:
This is an affiliate link and I receive a small commission when you purchase with this link.