University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: Amos & Boris by William Steig

Field of Philosophy: Ethics

Plot Summary: Amos the Mouse loved the ocean. He built a boat, packed it full of all the supplies he would need for his voyage, and set sail. One night Amos came across some whales and, overwhelmed by their beauty, fell out of his boat into the sea. Stranded in the middle of the sea, his strength about give out, Amos is saved by Boris, a whale, who takes him home. Boris and Amos become very close friends. Years later, Amos finds a way to help Boris.

Some discussion questions:

What does it mean to be a friend?
What makes someone a friend? Think of someone who is a close friend. Why is he or she your close friend?
Can we be friends with people entirely different from us? Do we have to have something in common?
Can we be friends with someone we think is strange?
Is there a difference between being nice to someone and being their friend?
What does it mean to be a good friend?
What makes a friendship good or bad?