Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace
by James Proimos 

Themes: Peace, S.T.A.R., Responsibility Paulie_Pastrami_Achieves_World_Peace.JPG

Grade: pre-K – 8

Story Synopsis: In most ways, Paulie Pastrami is an average 8-year-old boy – he eats pizza, mismatches his socks, and is learning to whistle. And yet, as a 7-year-old, Paulie achieved World Peace! He started with small, simple actions – watering flowers, being kind to animals, apologizing to his sister. When Paulie discovered how easy and rewarding spreading Peace could be, he enlisted his parents to help him bring Peace to the whole world, one cupcake at a time.

Why We Love This Book: This is one of our favorite books for introducing the concept of Peace to students of all ages. Paulie is sweet and earnest in his mission to spread Peace throughout the world, from the way he reads to trees to how he recruits his father to take him on a “World Tour” to spread peace and cupcakes around town. Younger students love making the peaceful “Ahhhhhhh” sound along with the people who receive a cupcake from Paulie. Older students enjoy the word-play and humorous illustrations that accompany Paulie’s journey. The story’s focus on Peace as a feeling and an action makes this a great complement to our lessons about Peace and S.T.A.R. Power for all ages.

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Learning Goal/Objective:

Students will be able to:

  • Define “peace” as a feeling and an action
  • Brainstorm examples of peaceful actions
  • Discuss how they, like Paulie Pastrami, can achieve peace in their classroom and community

Estimated Time: 10 minutes (7 min. to read, 3 min. to debrief)

Before Reading:

  • Review listening procedures. (Listening Lesson)
  • Review Voice Levels: Voice Level 0 during reading; Voice Level 2 during discussion. (Voice Level Posters)
  • Tell students you will be reading a book about a boy with a funny name. Read the title, then ask students what they think “achieves” means. Explain that to achieve something is to get something done with hard work.
  • Review the definition of “Peace.” (What is Peace? Lesson)
  • For older students: Tell students that while this book looks like a little-kid book, it tells a big-person message. Challenge students to pay attention for the “hidden” big-person meaning of the book.

During Reading/Active Engagement:

  • Be sure to read the captions to each illustration. Consider using silly voices for each character or picture.
  • After reading about Paulie’s apology to his sister, point out that Paulie’s initial apology didn’t work. Ask students how Paulie won his sister’s forgiveness. (He made her a doll.) Tell students that, like Peace, saying “sorry” is an action, not just a word.
  • After reading about Paulie comforting Principal Millsap, point out that even grown-ups need a little Peace every now and then.
  • When the whole school says “Ahhhhhhh,” ask students to say “Ahhhhhhh” together, in a calm, peaceful voice. Explain that feeling peaceful often feels like that “Ahhhhhhh.”
  • When Paulie and his father decide to go on a world tour, ask students if they think Paulie can really achieve his goal of world peace by tonight.
  • Ask students to say “Ahhhhhhh” at each stop on Paulie’s “World Tour.”
  • Ask students if Paulie and his father are really touring the world. (No) Ask if they are really going on a “World Tour.” (Yes – the stores are all called “Worlds” so they are on a “World Tour.”)

After Reading:

            Discussion questions to reach Learning Goals:

  • Did Paulie Pastrami really achieve World Peace? (Not really)
  • Did Paulie help spread Peace around his community? (Yes) How? (Doing nice things for animals and the earth, apologizing to his sister, bringing cupcakes to people)
  • What do you think “Peace” means to Paulie Pastrami? (Good feelings, being nice, helping others, etc.)
    • Remind students that “Peace” is both a feeling and an action. Peace feels like the “Ahhhhhhh” that everyone said after getting cupcakes; Peace is also the act of spreading goodness to the people and places around you, like Paulie did.
  • Even though Paulie didn’t bring peace to the whole world, he did bring a little happiness and good feelings to the people in his school, family, and town. Each of us has the power to do small things to spread those good feelings – those “Ahhh”s – to the people around us through peaceful actions.
    • What are some things you can do here at school to achieve peace? (Brainstorm a list of kind and helpful actions for the classroom/school/community)
  • For older students: What do you think is the hidden big-person message of this book? Is it really about giving people cupcakes? (Even small acts of kindness can help spread peace and make people feel better; anyone can achieve big things if they are determined and seek out help; conflict can often be avoided or resolved with a little show of respect or kindness.)
  • For pre-K – Gr. 1: Add the peaceful “Ahhh” to your definition of peace (see What is Peace? Lesson), so that the definition of peace, with accompanying hand motions, is “feeling and acting safe, caring about yourself and the world around you, and learning and having fun, so that everyone can feel ‘Ahhhh.’”

Follow-up Activities:

  • Operation Cupcakes
    • As a class, bake cupcakes and deliver to staff and students around school. Ask students to observe and record people’s responses. Tally responses to see if “peace” was spread throughout the school.
    • Alternately, have students make cards, pictures, or other special treats, and deliver them to staff and students around school. Observe and record people’s responses.
  • Writing Prompts:
    • Something that makes me feel peaceful is…
    • If I was going to achieve World Peace by tonight, I would…   
  • Peace Senses (Activity File)
  • Ripple Effect Demo (Activity File)
  • "You Are Special" Circle (Activity File)


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