Lesson of the Day: ‘In a Pandemic Fairy Tale, a Garden Leads to a Magical Friendship’

Lesson of the Day: ‘In a Pandemic Fairy Tale, a Garden Leads to a Magical Friendship’

5. What effect did the friendship have on Eliana? What changes did her parents notice?

6. The adventure between the two neighbors has a “plot twist” when Ms. Pauls lets Ms. Kenney know that her family will be moving, leaving the fairy garden behind. To help Eliana cope, Ms. Kenney tells her in a letter:

“Sometimes, we outgrow homes because we have too much love and need a place we can hold it all. But it is so fun to find new trees and imagine what new adventures are in store for us!”

What do you think of Ms. Kenney’s advice? Has anyone ever given you meaningful advice on a big life change, like a move or a new school? Have you ever had a person in your life who mentored or nurtured your confidence and imagination, the way Ms. Kenney has for Eliana?

7. What is your reaction to the article? What moments, passages, images or tweets stand out? What does the story reveal about our need for connection at any age, our need to give to others and the importance of magical thinking — especially now?

Option 1: Share Your Opinions and Experiences

  • What does friendship mean to you? How important are friends to you? How have friends helped you to cope during the coronavirus pandemic? Has the pandemic brought you closer to your friends, or separated you from them?

  • Who are your best friends? Are they mostly similar to you in terms of age and background, or do you have friends who are significantly different from you?

  • Have you ever had an unlikely friendship? If so, how did you meet and become friends? What difference has this relationship made in your life? How have you kept up your friendship over time? In what ways is this friendship similar to or different from the one between Eliana and Ms. Kenney? What do you think you can learn from being friends with someone who is different from you?

  • Did the article make you appreciate the value of friendship? If yes, explain why.

Option 2: Contribute to Eliana’s Fairy Garden

Imagine you were a neighbor of Eliana: What would you add to the garden, and why? How could you further the adventures of Sapphire, Nova and Koodie (or perhaps introduce new characters) and continue to inspire a 4-year-old, her imagination and well-being? How might you grow and benefit from the interaction?

Choose from one of the following three options, or come up with your own original idea:

  • Write a letter to Eliana from Sapphire.

  • Create something to put in Eliana’s fairy garden.

  • Write and illustrate a new book in the “Sapphire the Explorer” series.

Need help coming up with inventive stories and memorable characters, settings or adventures? Use our lesson “Use These 18 Images to Inspire Your Own Short Story.”

Option 3: Do Something Magical!

The original note pinned to the tree above Eliana’s fairy garden read:

“Our 4-year-old girl made this to brighten your day / Please add to the magic, but don’t take away / These days can be hard, but we’re in this together.”

Now, it’s your turn to add a little magic to this world to brighten someone else’s day: Create a fairy garden. Write a short story. Send a letter of thanks.

Be creative. Be imaginative. Be inspired. It’s up to you — who are we to limit your magic?

You might begin by thinking of someone who has been struggling to cope during the pandemic: Who is this person, and what are his or her interests and passions? What has been particularly challenging for him or her? How might you cheer up, support or inspire this person? Like Ms. Kenney, draw upon your own experiences as well as what you think this person could really use.

If you’re having trouble coming up with something inspired and magical, then consider doing one or more of the three tasks from Sapphire’s first note for Eliana:

  • Say five nice things to people you love.

  • Do three helpful things for someone in need.

  • Promise to always be kind and brave, and to show love to those in need.

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