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Judging a Book by Its Cover

Making assumptions

by Philippa Rae

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To consider the importance of thinking carefully before making assumptions.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Judging a Book by its Cover) and the means to display them.
  • If possible, have available the book Mr Stink by David Walliams.


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the children whether they have heard the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. Ask them whether they can explain what it means.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that it means that we shouldn’t look at someone’s outward appearance and make assumptions about what they are like on the inside.

  2. Show Slide 2.

    Explain the meaning of the word ‘assume’.

  3. Ask the children how we might sometimes make assumptions and judge others.

    Show Slide 3.

    Discuss the ideas on the slide and ask the children whether they can think of any other examples.

  4. Show Slide 4.

    Ask the children whether any of them have read the book Mr Stink by David Walliams.

    Explain that Mr Stink is a homeless person who lives on the streets. He looks very scruffy and, because he doesn’t have a home, he can’t wash, so he smells bad. When people see him, they tend to look down their noses at him and avoid him.

    Ask the children, ‘How do you think this book relates to today’s assembly?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that, as the story develops, it turns out that underneath the grime, there is a sad man who is grieving for the family that he tragically lost. He has turned his back on what we might regard as a conventional way of life, and now lives on the streets.

  5. Point out that sometimes, we judge others by their behaviour. Of course, this can be a good thing: we don’t want to place ourselves with people who might harm us or be a bad influence! However, there are times when the way in which people behave outwardly comes from something going on inside them. For example, someone might seem moody, but we don’t know that someone close to them is very ill. Perhaps someone is a bit rude to us, but they have just had some bad news and are feeling worried. This doesn’t mean that we should agree with bad behaviour, but sometimes, we need to make allowances and try to understand. Anyone can have a bad day or go through difficult times.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 5.

Encourage the children to think about what they have learnt in this assembly.

Encourage them to consider why we should take time to get to know people rather than instantly making assumptions.

Encourage them to think of a time when they made an assumption about someone – and then discovered that they were mistaken.

Dear God,
Please help us to take the time to get to know other people.
Please help us to be open to others.
Please help us not to judge by appearances, but to take time to see what others are like on the inside.
Please help us to be patient.
Please help us to be kind.


‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ by Jadyn Rylee, available at: (2.52 minutes long)

‘Getting on with life’ by Philippa Hanna, available at: (4.14 minutes long)

Publication date: November 2022   (Vol.24 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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