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Don't judge a book by its cover

To encourage students not to judge people at first glance.

by Kimberley Jones

Suitable for Special Schools (any age)


To encourage students not to judge people at first glance.

Preparation and materials

  • Samples of crisp packets – Walkers, Doritos and Pringles.
  • Crisps for the taste challenge (see section 4 below). You need to exchange the contents of each packet so that the flavour is not as it says on the packet:
    –  Cheese and Onion exchange for Ready Salted
    –  Ready Salted exchange for Salt and Vinegar
    –  Salt and Vinegar exchange for Cheese and Onion.
  • Blindfold.
  • Download pictures of young people belonging to groups such as Goths, or any other groups who wear a distinctive type of clothing (see section 5).
  • You could rehearse students to read the facts about crisps.
  • A copy of the poem 'Green Eggs and Ham' by Dr Seuss.


  1. How many people here like crisps?

  2. Some Interesting and unusual facts about crisps.

    –  The story goes that in 1853, George Crum, who worked as a cook, became agitated one day when a customer sent his French-fried potatoes back to the kitchen complaining that they were cut too thickly. Crum, being a sarcastic man, reacted by slicing the potatoes as thinly as he possibly could, frying them in grease, and sending the crunchy brown chips back out on the guest’s plate. They were a huge success!

    –  Walkers make over 11 million bags of crisps a day and each day over 10 million people eat them.

    –  Walkers are worth around £436 million. In February 2012, Pringles was bought by Kellogg’s for $2.7 billion.

    –  Walkers crisps are made from 100 per cent British potatoes. Which is good because it rains 154 days a year in Britain (on average) – perfect potato growing weather!

    –  The largest crisp ever produced was 25 inches by 14 inches and weighed 5.4 ounces. This is equivalent to taking a whole packet of Pringles and gluing them all together.

    –  The world’s largest collection of crisp packets went on display in 2008 at the Hamaland Museum in north-west Germany. It contained 2,000 crisp packets.

    –  The name ‘Pringles’ comes from America. When the manufacturers were working out what to call the company, they went through an American telephone book, found the name Pringle Avenue, and decided it sounded good.

  3. Walkers currently have 15 flavours in their standard crisps. In the past they have tried out a further 45 different flavours, including Irish Stew, Scotch Haggis, Stephen Fry Up (full English breakfast).

    What in your opinion is the best flavour of crisps?

  4. Taste challenge

    Ask for a volunteer who is an expert on the taste of crisps. Blindfold your volunteer and ask him or her to try three varieties of crisps (see ‘Preparation and materials’). Everyone in the assembly will see the packets and believe you are giving the crisps described on the packets. The student tasting the crisps will (hopefully) give different answers.

    Discuss the results of the taste challenge. Who do you trust: the student or the packets?

    We have to try the crisps for ourselves to know for certain what is in the packets. The outside can be misleading.

  5. Similarly, with people, outward appearances can be misleading. There are tall people, short people, fat people, thin people, Black people and white people. People dress differently, eat different foods and speak in different languages.

    Sometimes we judge people by what they wear. Take this picture, for example. What do we think when we see it? (Show pictures of three or four sub-culture groups, for example, Goth, Rocker.)

    When we meet people who are different from us, it’s good to get to know them and find out what they are really like, rather than jumping to conclusions.

    This is expressed in an old American proverb: Never judge a book by its cover.

  6. Green Eggs and Ham

    There is a famous poem written by Dr Seuss called 'Green Eggs and Ham'. In the poem, the writer looks at the idea of eating green eggs and ham.

    Read the poem 'Green Eggs and Ham'.

    Now, if I were given a plate with green eggs on it, I don't think I would want to eat it. Would any of you?

    It would look terrible. But, near the end of the poem, the green eggs and ham are tasted and are loved. Just because something looks wrong or horrible, doesn't mean it is.

    If the green eggs and ham weren't tried, then something that tasted really great would have been missed. There are many things in life we could miss out on just because we don't like the look of them. Don't miss out on life because of judging a book by its cover.

Time for reflection

Think about the times when you’ve looked at people and decided they weren’t your sort.

Was that wise?

Would you like people to do that to you?

Lord God,
help me not to judge people by what they look like
but to accept them for who they are,
and because I know that you love them.


‘Would you walk by on the other side’ (Come and Praise, 70)

Publication date: February 2013   (Vol.15 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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