Normal Norman

There is nothing more exciting for me than reading about a book coming out and then finally getting my hands on it.  In March of this year,Normal Norman by Tara Lazar with art by Stephen Britt was published by Sterling Children’s Books.  Normal Norman is the story of a purple orangutan who is anything but normal.  Our very serious narrator, who just so happens to be a junior scientist, is working on a presentation to define the word: normal.

Allow me to introduce Norman.  He will help me demonstrate the word normal.  You see, Norman is EXCEEDINGLY normal.  In fact, we selected Norman because our scientists found Norman to be the most average animal on earth.  Regular.  Ordinary.  A common, everyday creature.

Throughout the story Norman reveals all the ways in which he is normal.  Whether it’s eating pizza, wearing glasses, sleeping in bunk beds and of course his stuffy Mr. Scruffles.  Norman is normal, but not a normal that our junior scientist is expecting.

I love that this book presents preconceived notions in such a kid friendly, bite sized way.  As a parent of a school age petite and a teacher, I know just how difficult it is for kids to stand out on their own, to be themselves and be cool with being who they are.  This book challenges readers to think about what it means to be normal, what it means to fly your own flag.  I love that Tara Lazar wrote this book, this is a book that truly needs to be in all elementary classrooms and libraries, this book needs to be put in the hands of kids who have ever doubted if they are normal or enough like everyone else.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might recall my daughter Zoe has epilepsy – so we know how important it is to fully embrace your own normal; not someone else’s version of what it should be.  I think that this book would be absolute perfection in a special education classroom as a read aloud.

This message is so critical and so important in building self confidence, in believing in yourself and not changing who you are in an effort to be like someone else.

Let’s do something special with this book:

  • I think a really cool exercise would be to have kids draw a picture of themselves and then list all the ways they are unique and special and normal in their own way.  lower elementary grades
  • Read it often and discuss what is happening and your petites views about this story; here are some questions we’ve been discussing when we read Normal Norman.
    • What did you like the best about Norman?
    • What does it mean to be Normal?
    • Is Norman normal?
    • How is Norman special?
    • How are you special?
    • What makes you normal like Norman?
    • Why do you think the scientist gets so frustrated with Norman not being normal?
    • What is your favorite part about being you?
  • Here is a really awesome activity packet to go along with Normal Norman from the brilliant Tara Lazar.  elementary grades

My petites love this book and I am certain that yours will too.

Happy Reading!



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