University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: The Araboolies of Liberty Street by Sam Swope

Field of Philosophy: Social and political philosophy

Plot Summary: General Pinch and his wife live on Liberty street, where all the houses are white and look the same. The Pinches spent their day spying on all of their neighbors. They hate fun of any kind and whenever the kids play outside, the general immediately threatens to call the army. Then the Araboolies, a large family, move in next door to the Pinches. The General yells at the Araboolies, but they don’t speak English so don’t understand the general’s words. The Araboolies painted their house differently and behave in unconventional ways. In response, the general orders the army to attack the house on Liberty Street that looks different from all the others. But the neighborhood children paint all of the houses except the general’s to look like the Araboolies's house, so that the army only attacks the general’s home.

Some discussion questions:

Why was Liberty Street a strange name for this street?
Do you think the residents of Liberty Street liked living there?
Why did the general enforce the rules he had? Were they reasonable rules?
How do you tell the difference between a rule that’s fair and one that isn’t?
Why did the residents of Liberty Street follow the general’s rules?
What makes a neighborhood a community? Was Liberty Street a community?
Why did the children paint all the houses in the neighborhood except the general’s? Was this the right thing to do?
Is breaking rules always wrong? If yes, why? If no, in what cases is it acceptable to break rules?