Animals in Literature

Home » Books about Animals » The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimpanzees

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimpanzees

This book features an important role model, Dr. Jane Goodall who has elevated awareness about the plight of chimpanzees and environmental conservation. She spent years living with, and observing, chimpanzees in their natural habitat in the forests of Tanzania. Here she discovered just how intelligent chimpanzees were and how similar they are to humans. Reading about Jane Goodall may inspire students to use their curiosity and create a positive impact on their community.

Why use this book?

  • Demonstrates the importance of being curious and observing and exploring one’s own environment. Curiosity can help students be open to others, build understanding and foster empathy.
  • Introduces a positive role model who has shaped the way we view and study animals.

Animal Welfare Considerations:

  • While Dr. Jane Goodall is illustrated in the book interacting with chimpanzees it is important to remind students that wild animals need to be left alone and observed from a distance. Dr. Jane Goodall’s situation was unique as she spent many months living with and studying the chimpanzees to gain knowledge.

Ask your Students:

  • How did Dr. Jane Goodall learn about chimpanzees?
  • How can you learn more about your interests?
  • How do you think Dr. Jane Goodall felt her first night alone in Tanzania? Do you think you would have felt the same way? Explain.
  • When the chimpanzees were in danger, the book states that “They needed Jane to speak for them.” What does this mean? Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not.
  • Do other animals need people to speak for them?
  • What are ways people can speak for animals? Encouraging people to be kind to animals, being a voice for your own pets (i.e: taking pets to the vet)learning more about animals and how they prefer to be treated and sharing that knowledge with others, etc.


  • Like Jane – Dr. Jane Goodall loved observing animals! Have students chose an animal (insects, local wildlife, or pets) and observe the animal’s physical appearance and behaviours and have them complete the Observing Animals activity sheet. Encourage students to share any questions they have about their observations. ADVISE STUDENTS: While observing wildlife, it is critical to not disturb the animal. Remind students to be respectful by giving the animal space, being quiet and observing from a distance. Never touch or feed wildlife as this can result in injury to the animal and person.
  • Curious People – Dr. Jane Goodall’s natural curiosity for animals, specifically chimpanzees, has changed the way the world sees them. Curiosity and innovation are required for scientists, artists, musicians, , etc. Individually or in groups, have students pick a curious person such as a musician, artist or scientist to learn more about (this could be someone famous or a member of the community).  Have students create a poster, blog, or PowerPoint that includes a short biography and the contribution the individual has made to the world.
  • Use Your Voice – When the chimpanzees were in danger, Dr. Jane Goodall knew she needed to help. Have students write a reflection on a time when they stood up for someone or something that needed help. What did they do and how did it make them feel?

Additional Resources Related to Book:

  • For additional information on Dr. Jane Goodall visit the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada website.
  • For classroom activities and discussion questions related to fostering curiosity click here.
  • Watch a CBC interview with Dr. Jane Goodall here.



Jeanette Winter, 2011


Featured Reading

E-news Sign Up

Subscribe to our monthly e-news for activities, ideas and information on integrating humane education into your classroom!