Simple Anti-bullying Activity for “One” by Kathryn Otoshi

The picture book One by Kathryn Otoshi has a simple yet powerful anti-bullying message. While it’s appropriate for younger kids, the concepts are a little abstract. Here is an activity box that children can use to retell the story and begin to internalize its lessons.

Ideas for a storytelling basket to go with the anti-bullying picture book "One" by Kathryn Otoshi

I remember when Liam first started kindergarten at our local public school. In an act of desperation to get in the building and see for myself what went on there, I volunteered to help with the school yearbook.

I’m so glad that I did, because I got to see an amazing skit that the teachers put on for the students. They acted out the entire Otoshi book on stage in front of all the students. They did a great job, and the kids were riveted.

So was I.

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The book One  (affiliate) tells the story of Blue. Blue is bullied by Red. All the other colors express sympathy to him, but do nothing to stop Red. Then, along comes a character who stands up to Red — the number One.

Otoshi tells the story with simple language and illustrations. I think the lack of humans in the book keeps the anti-bullying message front and center.

To reinforce the message, you can make an open-ended storytelling activity for younger readers.

Ideas for a storytelling basket to go with the anti-bullying picture book "One" by Kathryn Otoshi

Fill a basket or divided plastic container with the following:

  • Wood dolls painted with acrylic paint. I did one for each color in the book, plus left one unpainted as well.
  • Felt circles for each color, plus a cut-out of the number “1”
  • Pompoms in colors matching the book. Include a small and a large for each color.
  • Lego bricks – one per color.
  • Markers and paper so kids can draw their own characters.

Read the story, and then let kids retell it using objects of their choice from the storytelling basket. Even if they veer away from stories about bullying, let them play and work it out in their own way.

Bullying is a serious issue. Anti-bullying activities like this are only a small part of the solution. Still, if more kids knew to stand up to bullies, wouldn’t our children all be better people for it?


Anti bullying activities | Ideas for a storytelling basket to go with the picture book "One" by Kathryn Otoshi. This would work at home or in a center/station in a classroom.

This post is part of the Bloggers for Public Education monthly blog hop. Our topic this month is Friends and Bullies. Check out what these other public school moms and teachers have to say on the topic…

I thought our school does not have bullying… from Planet Smarty Pants

Books about Making Friends and Bullies from Mama Smiles

Teach Your Kids How to Choose the Right Friends from The Resourceful Mama

Notes in the Locker by 3 Dinosaurs

5 Better Ideas than Bully Proofing your Kids from Thriving STEM


  1. What a great activity! Many people don't realize how young bullying can start and books and activities such as this one are great tools for beginning the conversation about this complex topic early, before problems have gotten out of hand. Thank you for the idea! I'll be pinning this to my "Children's books about bullying" and "Bullying prevention" boards =)

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