A Memorable Story about HOPE for Elementary Students

National Center for Youth Issues recently sent me Julia Cook's latest children's book, A Flicker of Hope. First of all I have to say, I looooooove anything Julia Cook! My Mouth is a Volcano and The Technology Tail are two of my absolute favorites. Therefore, when I opened the package containing A Flicker of Hope, I couldn't wait to sit down and enjoy every morsel of her creative goodness.

About the Book

This story is about a purple candle whose flame has turned into a little flicker. Purple candle is feeling very down and talks about the dark clouds looming over her. She really feels hopeless and is ready to give up when another, brighter candle comes along to offer words of encouragement. Together they explore how everyone has unique gifts that can light up the world and no one else in the world has a light that is the same. They also reveal the power of leaning on others to help you find your way during tough times. Ultimately it is a powerful story about how essential hope is to survival and how we need to learn to build hope from within. 

Extension Activity

As an extension activity for this story I thought it would be fun for students to design and decorate a candle to represent their own hopes and desires for the future or to just represent their uniqueness. There are lots of different ways you could do this!

Google Drawing

I have created a template in Google Drawing that you can download by clicking HERE or the image below. Share the template with students so they each make a copy. If you are unsure of how to share Google files with students then check out THIS blog post.

Once students have their own template they can use the fill tool to shade in their candle. This would be a great time to introduce students to the idea of a color gradient and how to achieve this effect when filling in the flame.

Then students can use the other drawing tools to add their special touch. They could even take a selfie and crop to a shape to add to their flame or shaft of the candle. 

The candles could be printed and displayed or shared digitally. Students could even save their Google Drawing as a png image and important it into a collaborative Google Slides presentation and add their candle as well as a typed description to an assigned slide. This would create a class digital book of candles!


You could also have students design a candle in the PicCollage app by sending them THIS png image that they can pull into a freestyle canvas. It can be layered on top of an image they set as a background (Picture 1) or they could set the candle template as the background (Picture 2). Students use the doodle tool to trace over the template and design their candle. They could also use stickers or search for images to add.


If you use Seesaw, click HERE for a candle template activity. Students can use the draw and label tools to decorate their candle. They can even add emojis! Afterwards have them record their hopes and desires for the future and how they plan on helping others' flames shine a bit brighter.


You could always just print and have students use crayons, markers, colored pencils and ✨glitter✨to decorate a candle. Click HERE for a PDF of blank candles.

I highly recommend seeing if you library has a copy of A Flicker of Hope as well as other Julia Cook books!
A Memorable Story about Hope for Elementary Students: A Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook. Come grab some technology extension activities to support this wonderful story. Great for class meetings and character building!

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