Curious Critters by David FitzSimmons

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Portraits of a range of remarkable, bizarre, and often amusing creatures commonly found throughout North America with information related to the reader told from their point of view!


Lesson Idea:

Nonfiction Poetry Writing

Writer’s Workshop Mentor Text/Point of View: Read aloud Curious Critters and discuss how the author took true information and told it through poems.  Each critter shares his story from his point of view using onomatopoeia and other poetic elements.  Actual photographs of the animals complete the text.  Provide time for students to write nonfiction poems about a topic.  Encourage them to take/use photographs to go along with their poetry.     

©2013 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Recommended Grades: 6-8

In this beautiful interpretation of Langston Hughe’s poem, I, Too, Am America, Collier depicts the job of the Pullman porter. 

Lesson Idea:  


Poetry/Primary Sources/Building Background Knowledge:  Prior to reading aloud I, Too, Am America, locate primary sources on the Library of Congress website as an activator.  Ask students what they notice in the sources (either specific Pullman porter sources or sources from that same time period).  Read aloud and discuss the role of the Pullman porter during the 1920′s.  Discuss what life was like for African Americans during that time and what life is like now.

©2013 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Me I Am! by Jack Prelutsky

Recommended Grades: K-5

A Jack Prelutsky poem displayed in picture book form.          

Lesson Idea:  


Building Community: Read aloud Me I Am! at the beginning of the year to help build community.  Have students write their own poems to describe the “me” they are at the beginning of the year.  At the end of the year, revisit the poem, and have students write another poem to describe the “me” they are then.  Compare the poems.

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

A Poem as Big as New York City: Little Kids Write about the Big Apple Edited by Teachers & Writers Collaborative

Recommended Grades: K -12

A fantastic celebration of the wonder that is New York, as told in the words of its children.  The foreword by Walter Dean Myers and edited by Teachers and Writers Collaborative, this collaboration is part of an unprecedented series of workshops in which New York city public school students were challenged to write about what it is like to live, learn, and play in New York City.  The result is nothing short of magical.   

Lesson Idea:  


Poetry/Word Choice: Read aloud A Poem as Big as New York City: Little Kids Write About the Big Apple and use it as a model text for writing poetry.  This mythical poem takes shape in the form of a “person” who takes us through the five boroughs of New York City.  Readers can feel, smell, taste, hear, and see what New York is all about through the eyes of children.  Images and words dance, jump and stroll down crowded sidewalks—through the “bongo beats,” “pitter-patter,” and “Zoom! Whoosh!” – and take the reader far and wide across the city, to such places as the South Street Seaport, The Statue of Liberty, The Apollo Theater, and both ways across the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is a fantastic book to read aloud simply to hear various techniques of poetry.  Or use it as a model text for word choice in poetry, discussing the onomatopoeia that the reader hears and how the choice of words really makes the poem come alive.

I am absolutely in awe of this book and so proud of the accomplishments of the students of public schools in New York City.  This book should be on the shelves of teachers of every age and should be read aloud often in classrooms across our country.

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

The Year comes Round: Haiku through the Seasons by Sid Farrar

Recommended Grades: K-5

Simply written, this book of haiku takes readers through the seasons from January to December. 

Lesson Idea:  


Poetry: Read aloud The Year Comes Round: Haiku through the Seasons and use it as a model text for writing poetry, specifically haiku.  Use the organization as a model for students.  Choose a topic and after a study of haiku, have students write their own haiku related to the topic for a class anthology book.

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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