Leo Lionni tells the story of a lone black fish named Swimmy who escaped a horrible fate, leaving him alone in the big sea. At first Swimmy is very lonely and sad, but after venturing through the ocean and seeing many marvelous creatures, he is determined to see the world. He encourages a school of red fish, just like his own, to join him. Through the power of teamwork, Swimmy and the school of red fish all swim close together, creating one giant fish with Swimmy as the eye. Together they are able to chase the big fish away.
This is a beautifully illustrated story about the power of teamwork. I would use this story to discuss the benefits of working together as well as embracing individuality and showing bravery in the midst of fear. It's also important to note that no matter how small you think you may be, you have the ability to make a BIG difference! Students could talk or write about the ways that they can practice teamwork.
Swimmy is also a great book for teaching similes and metaphors. ("as black as a mussel shell", "sea anemones, who looked like pink palm trees swaying in the wind", etc.)
Lexile Level: AD580L