HOW TO BE A LION is the perfect addition to your visual literacy program.

How to Be a Lion

How to Be a Lion By Ed Vere

In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a . . . duck. Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it’s right for a lion and a duck to be pals. Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world . . .

This sweet, funny, thoughtful, and much-needed story will open up readers’ eyes to the importance of being who they are and not backing down to hurtful criticism. It’s an empowering tale about connecting with others and choosing kindness over bullying, and shows children how angry and provocative words can be overcome by empathy and courage.

HOW TO BE A LION & Visual Literacy

Emphasis on visual literacy is becoming more and more important in the classroom as we move further into this digital age where we are flooded with imagery throughout the day.  Young people’s ability to interpret visual representation and communication of thoughts and feelings, as well as their ability to craft visual responses, is critical in today’s image-based society.

How to Be a Lion is a great first text to teach your youngest learners how to interpret emotions visually.  When you focus on the illustrations, How to Be a Lion is a helpful tool to teach children how to recognize other’s feelings based on their facial expressions and body language.


Questions to pose while reading or looking on with young children:

  • What do the contrasting colors of the lions’ coats tell you?  How is color used to tell us about the characters’ feelings?
  • Watch Marianne’s body language throughout the book.  Is she friendly with everyone or just some of the lions?  How can you tell?
  • Look at the dark orange lions’ furrowed brows.  Does Leonard have a furrowed brow?  How do these lions feel about Leonard?
  • What happens when the pages goes from white to black to white?  How are our characters feeling?
  • What does the illustrator draw to let you know Leonard is happy?
Random House Teachers and Librarians