1st & 2nd Grade Books > The Empty Pot

The Empty Pot

Text: Eyad Bargouty Illustrations: Omayma Dajani

This modified version of a well-known Chinese tale tells the story of a girl called Leen who loved flowers. Anything she planted burst into bloom. The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, he gave a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time,” he proclaimed, “shall succeed me on the throne!” Leen plants her seed and tends it every day. But month after month passes, and nothing grows. When spring comes, Leen must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. This beautiful tale provides an important lesson about patience, honesty and inner strength.

Family Activities

This tale comes from ancient China, but its message speaks to all people - young and old – regardless of time and place. It is a story about Leen, an honest girl who loves to take care of flowers with her grandmother, and tries her best to make the royal seed grow, but to no avail. Her pot ...


Dear Parents,

We live in an era that is preoccupied with quick profit, and our children are exposed to some of these societal ideas. Sometimes our children are also subjected, through various media platforms, to mottoes such as “the end justifies the means,” even if the “means” is something like agreeing to cheat. Reading this story with our children, and talking about similar situations they experience in school, at home and with their friends, and about other important moral values, such as: effort, work accuracy, patience, and honesty, contribute to instilling these values ​​in them. They can then use these values when interacting with others.


Family Activities

  • We can trace Leen’s feelings from the beginning of the story to the end (enthusiasm, hope, anxiety, frustration ...). Did we go through similar situations? How did we feel?
  • Leen’s grandmother supported her and encouraged her to go to the palace with the empty pot. Who and what helps us when we are feeling down?
  • We can track the movements of the little bird accompanying Leen in all the drawings. What does he tell us in each one?
  • We can think of people in our family or among our acquaintances who used their effort and integrity to pave their way to success, and we can tell our children their story. We can search for well-known people throughout history and read their story together.
  • The painter meticulously embodies the homes, costumes, plants and objects of ancient Chinese culture. It is interesting to look at them, and to search the internet for the cultural symbols that we see in the emperor’s clothes, his throne, and in the decorations of ceramic pots, and learn about Chinese culture with our children.
  • Do we have empty pots waiting to be filled with plants? We can have a fun family farming activity together.
  • Enjoy your reading!

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