1, 2, 3, Count on Me

A storybook about the power of community.

Before Reading:

  • Explain that you’re going to meet a new Sesame Street friend, Zozo, who is a classmate of Elmo’s. You’ll meet his mom, Mrs. Z, too. They live in a neighborhood near Sesame Street.
  • Look at the title screen together. Ask, “What do you think the story will be about?”
  • Say, “Let’s hold hands, just like Zozo and Elmo’s daddy will in this story.” Talk about how holding a grown-up’s hand is one way to stay safe outside.

During Reading:

  • Pause on each page and talk about what in each picture might help Zozo feel safe and what might remind him that people care (his mom’s reassurance, holding hands with a trusted adult, caring friends, clean playgrounds, Abuela thinking of what Zozo’s mom might need, Granny baking for neighbors, Grover’s mom bringing flowers to the event, people working together to create the mural).
  • You might also point to and count together the number of characters on each screen, inviting children to hold up fingers to show how many.

After Reading:

  • Ask children, “Have you ever felt like Zozo?” Describe a time when you felt scared yourself, and explain what you did to feel safer.
  • Take turns naming things you love about your neighborhood or community.
  • You might also make your own booklet of ten friends, family, and other trusted people (simple staple blank sheets of paper together).
  • Create your own mural with chalk on a sidewalk or concrete surface. What will be important about your picture? What do you want to tell your own community?
  • Create your own handprint art, like the mural in the story.