“STARABELLA: WELCOME TO A BRIGHT NEW WORLD”
(Starabella at School)
By Sharon, Tara and Dana Fialco – mom and two daughters
For kids 2-8
50 illustrated pages ✮ Total Playing Time – 52.39 min.
Children join Starabella – a courageous little girl with learning differences whose eyes shine like stars when she’s happy—as she eagerly begins her first day of kindergarten. Meet her classmates—a lively group of children of varying cultures, ethnicities, attitudes, challenges, abilities and dreams. They come together to form an inclusive classroom “family.”
Starabella starts her day off happily but soon she becomes the object of bullying. She has trouble following the rules. She is isolated due to her trouble with social communication. During recess she runs to the largest swing set she has ever seen. Swinging higher and higher into the land of her imagination, she sings, “I Can Fly in a Dream Full of Happiness” about a much friendlier world. She is unaware she is being overheard by her classmates. They have discovered Starabella’s amazing musical talent and beautiful imagination.
Starabella returns to the classroom. She is called “BABY(!)” by the classroom bully. She feels she does not belong. She scrambles under a table and retreats into her own world. Her eyes do not shine like stars any longer. From her hiding place she looks out and observes the social dilemmas of her classmates. The story covers a broad spectrum of social conflict situations that children confront at school every day.
Miss Maradise, the classroom teacher, and fellow students look everywhere for Starabella. She is over-heard singing, “Believe in Me” from under the table. A student named Tomiko extends a hand into Starabella’s world. Holding the hand of her new friend, Starabella emerges and re-enters the classroom.
The children gather around Starabella and ask to hear more about her beautiful dreamland. She tells them to close their eyes and imagine as they sing together, “Welcome to a Bright New World.” They can now envision Starabella’s dreamland up in the clouds where children play and get along and are accepted for exactly who they are.
Miss Maradise asks the students in Starabella’s class and children listening to and viewing the story, all over the world, if they want to make this dream a reality. They all chant: “Bright New World! Bright New World!” Miss Maradise tells them it will be easy. All they have to do is give her the friendliest answers to multiple-choice questions to solve some of the problems she saw and heard that day.
Children listening and viewing the story are asked to help the children in Starabella’s class by making friendly social choices with the help of a “Magical Mirror” in the book. If they make a friendly choice they will see a smile on their faces and that their eyes are shining like stars! They send their thoughts to help the children in Starabella’s class.
Starabella’s special connection to the stars is revealed. They share in wonder as Starabella magically transforms into a Kindergarten Rock Star. Rising up on a star-shaped stage, dressed all glittery, encircled by stars, holding a microphone, she sings, “Follow Me,” and leads her classmates and listeners to the BRIGHT NEW WORLD.
Starabella and her classmates with the help of readers and listeners, learn to embrace diversity in their friendships and make empathetic social choices. They all work cooperatively to achieve their mutual goal of getting to a “Bright New World” of friendliness and acceptance.
Both the bullying in our schools and violence around the globe compel us to share this story in which children learn to accept and celebrate each other’s differences at their earliest ages, rather than exclude, fear, and bully those who seem different. They learn to listen to the good voice inside themselves rather than follow the loudest, most threatening voice in the crowd.
The story of Starabella speaks directly to the place in all children that yearns for acceptance and understanding. Together, children can create the world of their dreams. So, “GET READY TO ROCK!” Starabella is leading the way. Follow her there!
GUIDE FOR LISTENING TO AND READING BOOK THREE OF THE STARABELLA SERIES
This book contains illustrated pages and a fully narrated audio CD complete with music, sound effects and page-turn instructions. An audio CD is enclosed inside the front cover of each book. The illustrations include excerpts taken from the narration to help listeners follow along with the story. The combined audio and visual presentation enhances comprehension.
When children listen to this story with a caring adult, the CD can be paused at various points to provide opportunities for discussion of feelings and ideas prompted by the story.
Since the story is narrated, children also have the option to listen to the story on their own.
Children can use the illustrations as a guide to retell the story in their own words when not listening to the audio CD.
There is an interactive segment in this story. Miss Maradise, the classroom teacher, asks her class multiple-choice questions to help resolve the social conflict situations encountered by the various students. Kids who are listening to and viewing the story are asked to send their friendliest thoughts to the kids in the class to help them get to the BRIGHT NEW WORLD of friendliness and acceptance.
The “Magical Mirror” at the end of the book helps guide the kids who are listening to and viewing the story. Children see their faces in the mirror. If they make FRIENDLY choices, they will see smiles and that their eyes are shining like stars!
PLEASE ENJOY THE STORY AND SING, MOVE, DREAM, AND IMAGINE ALONG· WITH THE MUSIC.