Welcome to Molly’s Educational World! 

We are delighted to start this journey with you as we explore together the middle-grade novel The Girl with 35 Names, by author DJ Colbert. The novel is a heartwarming coming-of-age adventure about the importance of community and the challenges of immigration. It is a real-life tale filled with wonderful messages, color, music, mystery, tiny miracles and a little bit of magic for everyone. 


Our innovative curriculum has been developed for the 4th-7th grade levels by educational experts to provide students and their teachers, parents, and caregivers an engaging and dynamic pathway for learning as they journey alongside Molly in The Girl with 35 Names–whether in the classroom or at home. Informed by academic standards (including Common Core State Standards [CCSS], Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS], the C3 Framework, and NYU’s Culturally Responsive Education, as well as ideals of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning [CASEL]), our lesson plans are multidisciplinary, affirm cultural identity, and empower ideals of social justice. They inspire students to think across subject areas and make learning connections as they explore crucial skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and creativity. We are currently offering the 6th grade level as a model curriculum, with options to access other grade levels as we expand into these reading age groups. 


In content. 

Each student lesson plan follows individual chapters of the novel and presents an integrated and fully interdisciplinary learning approach that guides the student through subjects of language arts and literacy, research and the historical archive, science, mathematics, engineering, arts and crafts and dramatic expression, social studies, history, civics, economics…and more! The curriculum features recurring sections such as “Molly’s Superpowers,” “Molly-in-the-World,” and “Insights on the Journey…” that seek to apply learning to the real-world experience of students, while special attention is given throughout the curriculum to critical thinking through issues of gender, race, class, and the plight of refugee communities in Molly’s world, and in ours.  

SEL: a crucial and unique feature for our challenging times

Additionally, the entire curriculum is informed by cutting-edge studies in social and emotional learning (SEL), utilizing the novel’s themes to expand into lessons on decision-making, stress management, emotional regulation, meditation and mindfulness, and positive psychology.

While our curriculum is deeply rooted in an interdisciplinary learning experience where students are encouraged to make connections across subjects and to generate their own intellectual curiosity and joy, our curriculum’s most prominent and unique feature is its profound commitment to social emotional learning, informed by such distinguished SEL bodies as Transforming Education and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Throughout the twelve units, students learn the biology and neuroscience behind emotions, hormones, and physiological reactions to stress responses like fight-or-flight and trauma. They learn to understand how the body works in relation to emotional and psychological experience and are able to contextualize their own feelings within a supportive framework that offers clear explanations of what they are feeling and experiencing, and why. Recurring sections within the lesson plans–including Molly’s Superpowers, Molly-in-the-World, and Insights on the Journey…–offer students a way to apply knowledge to their bodies, their emotions, and their lives, and to cultivate self-awareness in these processes. The curriculum proposes mindfulness and breathing techniques, meditation and gratitude practice, and reflection exercises that support a child’s own social emotional learning, the development of their resilience, positive relationship-building, well-being, and self-care habits. Our Teacher’s and Parent’s/Caregiver’s Guides support this through clear directions on how to foreground this curriculum feature and orient students towards empathy and optimism.

In three-part structure.

The lesson plans offer accompanying Teacher’s and Parent-Caregiver’s guides, which support the teacher’s presentation of material and suggest special ways that parents or caregivers can extend a student’s learning into the home. The Teacher’s Guide includes a broad perspective on the goals of each lesson and a detailed enumeration of aligned standards. The Parent-Caregiver’s guide offers the child’s grownup the opportunity to participate in learning through creative activities and conversations, and to create meaningful connections with their child/student. Checklists at the end of each Student’s Guide help students organize their learning around alignments and academic benchmarks. 

Through our website, we are also thrilled to offer learners the dynamic option of listening to the audio recording of the novel in real-time as they read the eBook via our Epub reader, a successful strategy for increasing literacy and word familiarity among young readers. 


As a student. 

While the model curriculum is directed for the 6th grade level, we recommend that students above and below this academic level should modify the curriculum according to what their optimal level may be. Thus, a student finding the material especially challenging should be supported and encouraged with more adult guidance and supervision and focus on fewer prompts from teacher/parent/caregiver. A student who finds they need more of a challenge should be encouraged to work through the material with more independence and be responsible for more or all of each lesson’s prompts. 

As a teacher. 

We encourage teachers to use the curriculum as best it suits the needs of the classroom and school. Teachers should assess their time constraints and subsequently plan how they would like to work through the material over the course of days and weeks. They can choose to work through all the material for a given lesson or pick and choose which sections they would like their students to prioritize. We recommend that teachers who will not be working through all the material make sure to do the language arts and literacy sections (reading, analysis, close reading and interpretation, diction and figurative speech) as well as the math lessons. From there, they can add on with the science lessons and others, and incorporate at least one section that covers SEL for each learning session. 

As a parent or caretaker. 

Similarly, parents and caretakers may choose to cover all the material offered in their guides. Or they may not, and rather choose one or two of the three activities. Either approach will be fine, as the goal is simply to support ways to connect with the student and delight in children’s learning experiences and curiosity. If a parent or caretaker anticipates doing only one or two of the three activities, then we recommend that for each lesson, they choose a different section on their guides, to maintain the interest of their students across lessons and days. 


We hope that you and your student will find wonder and joy in these lessons. We hope that the student’s curiosity is engaged and that they experience a sense of satisfaction and excitement moving through the curriculum. The lesson plans will ideally support and encourage expression, communication, resilience, compassion, and wellness, while bridging the child’s education between the classroom and home setting. And finally, with its dynamic and thought-provoking prompts on real-world application, the curriculum advocates for changing the world in small ways, and offers a vision of the great potential each person carries for this promise. 

Get in touch!

Contact us at customerservice@girlwith35names.com with any comments, questions, or ideas. We love to hear from you! Please click HERE to access the full novel, eBook, audio book, and the curriculum’s 12-unit interactive lessons, prepared for you by our education development team. 

We are looking so forward to working with you and your students as we voyage together to Molly’s Educational World! 

DJ Colbert

Maureen Shay, PhD 

and the Educational Team of 35 Names

Close Menu