The One Great Tribe Pen-pal Project


The One Great Tribe Pen-pal Project connects teachers and students worldwide through a pen-pal program that starts with a discussion about the children’s book written by, Shelley Muniz called One Great Tribe, illustrated by, Bear Dyken. The story is set in the Grand Canyon and has a Native American theme. The main characters are two families of squirrels that do, in fact, live in Grand Canyon region. Through their interaction, the book demonstrates that no matter where we live and what our differences, we are members of the same great tribe.


The project is to read One Great Tribe to your class, have students draw pictures about their impression of the book and write either a group letter or individual letters about the book’s message and how it might relate to the new friends they will meet through this project. Additional ideas might be to share differences and similarities about themselves, their school, the place they live, their families–favorite foods, family traditions, cultural aspects, style of dress, music, sports, pets, native plants and wildlife.


If you are a teacher or know of teachers in the United States or abroad who might be interested in participating in the One Great Tribe Penpal Project, please contact Shelley Muniz at or phone: (209) 352-7763

It’s up to us to create positive growth and intention for our children and the future of our planet.

One Great Tribe, written by Shelley Muniz and illustrated by, Bear Dyken is available on Amazon.

More information can be found at


“One of things that I am most proud of this school year is what a role this book has played in our classroom community. It has lead to many lessons on friendship, community, diversity and so much more. I have been able to integrate into just about every subject in some way.

My class was so excited about when we first read it, I invited Shelley and Bear to our school to talk about it, and they offered an entire assembly! That was in the Fall, and now here we are in Spring, and we are now pen-pals with students in Ghana, who also have read the book! More lessons, more leaning and more appreciation for how we are all connected. The lessons/gifts just keep coming!

In writing about it, my kids came up with words like “special and important”. It really is! It’s a must-read for all, about embracing our differences and celebrating our similarities, because we are all One Great Tribe.

Teachers, it’s a must for your classroom…also parents and really anyone who loves children’s books!”

I feel so grateful for the opportunity to share its beautiful message this year.

Tamara Hansen