← Return to search results

Franklin Goes to the Hospital

by Paulette Bourgeois


When Franklin needs surgery to fix his cracked shell, he learns it’s okay to be scared and still be brave.

Franklin has a small crack in his shell and he has to have an operation at the hospital. When he has to have an X-ray, he is afraid that people will find out that even though he looks brave on the outside he is scared on the inside. Franklin learns that even though he is scared, he is still brave.

Read aloud video by Mrs. Gram

Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion

There are three main philosophical issues in this story, fear, bravery, and support. This book shows the reader that it is okay to be scared, and that you can still be brave, saying, “Being brave means doing what you have to do, no matter how scared you feel.” The discussion challenge individuals to think through many differing opinions. These questions will encourage deeper consideration of fear, bravery, and the support of friends and family. The use of thought-provoking questions will allow for children to explore their opinions and have a deep philosophical discussion.

Franklin had a lot of support from those around him, which helps him to overcome his fears. This poses the question of if it is easier to be brave when there is someone to help you through it, as well as many questions regarding the children’s personal lives, such as, “What are some items or people that help you overcome your fears?”, and “Are you less afraid when you have a friend with you?” These questions are all easily answerable and the children will be able to reflect on their own feelings and experiences before answering questions that are slightly less personal and broader. In Franklin Goes to the Hospital, Franklin is told exactly what is going to happen to him throughout the entire story. There is never a time when Franklin is left guessing what is going to happen. This lets us consider whether it is easier to be brave when you know exactly what is going to happen to you. Generally, people have greater anxiety when they are unsure of the future, but if one always knows, step-by-step, what is going to happen at, say, the doctor’s office, then it is easier to be less afraid of the outcome.

Fear, bravery, and support are all things that play a large part in the lives of the students. In a single day, students might face multiple opportunities to demonstrate their bravery, such as standing up to a bully or conquering the fear of talking in front of the class. The questions and ideas presented in the story are quite relatable to the children. Not only do they have the chance to think about relevant questions in a deeper way, but they also are able to determine what bravery is, what fear is, and the importance of friendship. All of these personal ideas that they will develop will help them in real life. These deep questions about everyday issues are easy conversation-starters, making for a good discussion. It is important to understand that there are many differing definitions of fear and bravery and to accept that there is no correct answer. By learning and accepting varying views of society, we are able to gain a stronger and deeper outlook of the world.

Questions for Philosophical Discussion


  1. How does a person act when they are scared?
  2. Could you tell that Franklin was afraid before he told Dr. Bear?
  3. Have you ever hidden your fear from a friend? Why or why not?
  4. Why do you think someone would hide their fear from another person?
  5. If people think you are not scared, are you still scared?
  6. Are there different levels of fear?
  7. If all people have the same fear, how does their fear differ?
  8. What does it mean to be scared?


  1. Can you think of a time that you acted bravely?
  2. How does someone act when they feel brave?
  3. Dr. Bear says, “Just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean you aren’t brave”. Do you agree?
  4. Is it possible to be both brave and afraid at the same time?
  5. Dr. Bear told Franklin he was brave. If someone tells you that you are brave, does that make you brave?
  6. Are people’s perceptions of one another’s bravery always correct?
  7. Is it possible to be brave all the time?

Friendship and Support

  1. Are you less afraid if you have a friend with you?
  2. What are some items or people that help you overcome your fears?
  3. Franklin had a lot of support from his friends and family. Is it easier to be brave when you have others to help you?
  4. Is it better to deal with your fears alone or with a friend?
  5. Is it easier to be brave when someone walks you through your fear, the way that Dr. Bear did?
  6. Is someone braver if they can deal with situations alone?

Original questions and guidelines for philosophical discussion by Ally Lightfoot. Edited June 2020 by The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics.

Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our Resources page.

Download & Print Email Book Module Back to All Books
Back to All Books Illustrated book cover for Franklin Goes to the Hospital featuring Franklin the turtle in a hospital bed. He has bandages on his body, and so does his stuffed dog. There is a drink and a book on the overbed table. Download & Print Email Book Module

About the Prindle Institute

As one of the largest collegiate ethics institutes in the country, the Prindle Institute for Ethics’ uniquely robust national outreach mission serves DePauw students, faculty and staff; academics and scholars throughout the United States and in the international community; life-long learners; and the Greencastle community in a variety of ways. In 2019, the Prindle Institute partrnered with Thomas Wartenberg and became the digital home of his Teaching Children Philosophy discussion guides.

Further Resources

Some of the books on this site may contain characterizations or illustrations that are culturally insensitive or inaccurate. We encourage educators to visit the Association for Library Service to Children’s resource guide for talking to children about issues of race and culture in literature. They also have a guide for navigating tough conversations.  PBS Kids’ set of resources for talking to young children about race and racism might also be useful for educators.

Philosophy often deals with big questions like the existence of a higher power or death. Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our resources page.

Visit Us.


2961 W County Road 225 S
Greencastle, IN 46135



Monday-Friday: 8AM-5PM
Saturday-Sunday: Closed