Cootie Shots

Cootie Shots is an imaginative assortment of plays, songs, and poems designed for young audiences from kindergarten through sixth grade. 


Hannah Rose Tellez Michels

Cootie Shots: Theatrical Inoculations Against Bigotry for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

Edited by Norma Bowles with Mark E. Rosenthal – A Fringe Benefits theatre project and book.

Created by Fringe Benefits in collaboration with over five hundred educators, therapists, theatre artists, youth and parents, Cootie Shots provides a fun and constructive way to promote tolerance and celebrate diversity by presenting role models of many different races, nationalities, cultures, classes, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, religions, ages, and appearances. Cootie Shots provides children with an opportunity to see beyond “isms” and conveys the message that every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  

Cootie Shots is about people not being afraid of what they don’t understand.”                                       Christian Watkins, Fourth Grade

Cootie Shots is a truly life-affirming collection.”

Olympia Dukakis

Having witnessed first hand the power of Cootie Shots with parents, teachers, and children, I applaud this wonderfully entertaining and educational work.”

Judith Iguina, Resource Teacher, Sharp Avenue Elementary School

Cootie Shots is an American art trophy.”

Linda Frye Burnham, Art in the Public Interest

In Cootie Shots, the works of well-known artists such as Alice Tuan, John Fleck, Nancy de los Santos, Billy Aronson, Kate Bornstein, John Belluso, Paula Weston Solano, Paul Selig and Mark Waldrop, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner, Academy Award recipient Debra Chasnoff, MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Luis Alfaro,  are interwoven with those of children, educators, theatre artists and families. Cootie Shots is richly illustrated in full color with artwork contributed by children and professional artists, including such luminaries as Keith Haring, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator, James E. Ransome. All contributing writers and artists generously donated their work.

“The beauty and power of Cootie Shots is that it encourages young people and adults to consider a different kind of world in which each of us can be a hero or heroine who stands up to injustice in the way Rosa Parks did.”

Rosa Furumoto, Assistant Professor Chicana/o Studies Department, California State University Northridge

Cootie Shots asks children to acknowledge the bigotry and discrimination in their lives, while helping them to imagine and take responsibility for creating a world shaped by love and understanding. By using familiar circumstances, often generated by real-life experiences, these plays assist children in understanding the feelings of everyone affected by cruel words: those who speak them, their targets, and their bystanders. By engaging directly with these performance pieces, children learn to express their feelings honestly and effectively. They learn to choose words that heal the hurt and bring people together.

The 56 Cootie Shots plays, songs and poems may be enjoyed and performed in homes, classrooms, and theatres and/or community and religious centers…in celebration of graduation, Martin Luther King, Junior Day, Dias de Los Muertos, Passover, Ramadan, Women’s History, Disability Awareness, and Day of Silence, among oterh.


Get Cootie Shots for yourself or for your local school, library or community center!


Cootie Shots: Theatrical Inoculations Against Bigotry for Kids, Parents, and Teachers
Edited by Norma Bowles with Mark E. Rosenthal
A Fringe Benefits Book
Theatre Communications Group, Inc.
ISBN 1-55936-184-0

Help support your local bookstore by ordering a copy from them!                                    Cootie Shots is also available on the web at