The Churkendoose Project

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This Story of the Churkendoose by Ben Ross Berenber was originally printed as a Wonder book in 1946.

This project was created because the recording Ray Bolger released in 1947 was cherished by Judith Bluestone, our founder, who thought of herself as a churkendoose. It inspired her to believe, as she overcame her own irregularities and challenging behaviors that being herself was enough. 

The Churkendoose tells the story of a strange little creature, hatched in the barnyard,  born with the head of a chicken, legs like a duck, the body of turkey, the mouth of a goose and one ear on the back of his head. According to the other animals he was " awfully small and mighty ugly". The Churkendoose was sent away while they tried to figure out "what is he good for". Dejected and confused, the Churkendoose wonders aloud why he is being judged so harshly. Suddenly there is a commotion in the barnyard. A fox is running this way and that "trying to catch a snack". But when the fox turns and sees the Churkendoose he is so frightened he runs away. Now everyone cheers for the Churkendoose. But the Churkendoose responds, "No, no wait. Before you caused me tears, now you are giving me three cheers. 'cause I chased the fox and set you free. Well, I don't want the tears and I don't want the cheers. Can't you like me just because I am me?" In the end, all the animals become good friends.

The Story of the Churkendoose allows children of all ages to appreciate the puzzlement of being born with differences, being teased and shunned by others, and ultimately becoming a valued member of a community where everyone’s gifts are recognized and appreciated. 

The book is not longer available in print but we were granted permission from Albert, Ben's brother and only living relative, to create a coloring book of the story. 

Download a copy of the coloring book here. (9mb)

We have created materials to use the story to teach tolerance and an appreciation for individual differences. The activities in this packet emphasizes that everyone has gifts and challenges and we all  have the power to create a safe and caring environment . This lays the foundation for building a community that goes beyond anti bullying rules to developing relationships based on mindfulness, mutual acceptance, respect and compassionate communication. The material is meant to serve as a springboard for you to customize your own ideas for sharing The Story of the Churkendoose.

Inside you will find the story, character masks for acting out the story, inclusion games and more. 

Download a copy of the guide her (25 mb)