Feeling a sense of belonging is central to Jeffrey’s journey in How to Be a Giraffe. When we first meet Jeffrey, he has been ridiculed by his herd, who describe Jeffrey’s stripes as absurd. They question whether Jeffrey really is a giraffe, causing him to feel sad and alone. Jeffrey then sets out to find a home for himself with other animals who might be more like him. Whether it’s a herd of elephants or a pride of lions, Jeffrey doesn’t find anyone who looks, behaves, or thinks like he does. Eventually, he realizes that he may be different, but he is perfect just the way he is — tall, gentle, friendly, brave, quiet, and kind. Happily, his herd see their error, apologize, and welcome Jeffrey back.
Jeffrey’s confidence in himself provides a rewarding and inspiring message for young readers: embrace your unique qualities and share them with the world!
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