'Around the Oak Tree' - Storybook for children about the European Union
'Around the Oak Tree' is the English version of the storybook published by SEM and Europe Direct Valletta in 2020 with the title ‘Mas-Siġra tal-Ballut’.
The storybook is divided into three parts, starting with a story by Trevor Żahra about the daily life of a group of animals. The bear, the spider, the snake, the hedgehog and the linnet know each other well and talk about their daily struggles. They know that the bear is not the spider, and the hedgehog is not the bird, just as they are not the snake! They are very different from each other, how they walk and move from one place to another, what they eat and what different interests they have. But they recognize that the differences between them do not hinder them from living together around the oak tree!
Developed on the motto of the European Union, ‘United in Diversity’, the introductory story shows that different animals can live together, treat each other well, and stick together through thick and thin.
The story leads the children to the second part of the book, which brings out the main elements of the story to explain how what unites the 27 Member States of the European Union is defined in its motto, 'United in Diversity' and how it is based on basic values namely Respect, Democracy, Order, Solidarity, Freedom and Equality.
Children can learn that, on a much larger scale, this is what happens in the European Union. Although different, EU countries can work together, strive towards common aims, and overcome the difficulties they face. Ultimately, big countries and small countries alike can improve and progress together.
The third part consists of 12 practical exercises from which readers will be able to apply what they have learned in the rest of the book.