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Exploring Paradoxes in the Gifted Classroom

Written by: Christina Barber

Paradoxes are so much fun! When you have a group of gifted kids together, it is surprising how often they pull out paradoxes for discussion. It is fun to see them engage in conversation, trying to pull apart and reason their way through. If your child or students like paradoxes, my book suggestion for this post is sure to be a winner! The second philosophy book I would like to share is a graphic novel that takes readers on a journey through Eastern philosophy, Who Are You Times Two, written by Ingrid Klass and illustrated by Christopher Tice. This book is published by Royal Fireworks Press, who specializes in books and resources for gifted kids.


The Story:

Who Are You Times Two is a delightful romp through time and space as its main characters, a monkey named Phil and a tiger named Soph, question reality and essence of being while bouncing around visiting eastern philosophers. Phil and Soph become time-travelling companions when they break the rules and end up doubling themselves in one point of time and space. Incurring the bureaucratic wrath of the universe and a slew of notices, some with the possibility of stiff fines. A series of wormhole doors forces the duo to find answers and question their thinking with the help of philosophers such as Buddha, Confucius, Kanada, and Al Kandi, among others, as they try to make up for the rift in the space-time continuum that they caused and to find their way home to their correct time and space.

What I love:

Though this graphic novel presents many complex philosophical ideas from a wide variety of philosophers, it is playful and well-devised, making this a fun and accessible read. Classical Western philosophers are often more easy to come by in works accessible to children; this book bridges the gap, providing ideological and biographical information about Classical Eastern philosophers.

Adorable sidekicks: a bluebird and a fly, provide humorous and helpful side banter and commentary. This interactive read is Choose Your Own Adventure style and is packed with great questions and accessible philosophy that will have you and your child or students going back through the book, discovering all of the pathways and different ways to think about the nature of being.

In the classroom:

* This would make a great class read along with possibilities for splitting up in different ways as you make your way through the book together. At each point, kids could choose in which direction they want to go and you could end up with two or more reading-prompted discussions. * Analysis: compare the ideas presented by the philosophers in the book - how are they similar? how are they different?

* Research: after reading this book, take it further by researching one philosopher, their country, and the time period in which they lived.

* Reflection: What lessons do you pull from the story that are relevant to your life?


Ingrid Klass holds a master’s degree in the history of religions from the University of Chicago. She has written a number of titles for Royal Fireworks Press. Christopher Tice is an artist and illustrator and the principal illustrator at Royal Fireworks Press.

Publisher: Royal Fireworks Press Publishing date: March 2023

Language: English

Softcover: 114 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0-88092-956-1


Christina Barber is a writer and educator who lives in Vancouver, Canada. She teaches a full-time gifted program for students in Grades 5-7. An avid reader, she shares her passion for Canadian literature and history through her reviews at The Miramichi Reader and on Instagram @cb_reads_reviews. She has most recently been committed to writing and staging formally innovative single and multi-act plays for her students.


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