by Kathryn Otoshi (2010) Ages 4-8
Zero is more than a great resource for educators to use as a counting book for young children; it is a brilliant story about self-worth and self-acceptance.
Using math and colour concepts that are accessible to younger age groups, Otoshi tells the story of Zero, who struggles to find value in herself as she compares herself unfavourably to the other numbers. In her desire to count (metaphorically speaking), Zero attempts to change her design to look like the other numbers – until she finally realizes, “Everyone counts!” The message of feeling included and valued, and of valuing oneself, even amid everyone’s differences, is an essential one for children.
There are numerous activities that educators can develop as extensions from the story, such as having students take on the role of the character numbers and act out the story. Through role play, students will learn about accepting each other and finding worth in themselves and others.
Zero is one of several books in Otoshi’s character-building number/colour series, which also includes One, a story about bullying.