Back to School Series: How to Write a Story by Kate Messner

Teachers around the country are gearing up to begin a new school year, many in a way that has never been experienced before. But, no matter the environment that teachers find themselves in this year,  whether it is virtual or in person with masks, I know this to be true: TEACHERS WILL STILL TEACH!  So, I’ve put together a Back to School series to help teachers choose books that will build their classroom communities, no matter if that community is in person or online.  

Recommended Grades: K-5

Kate Messner and Mark Siegel playfully chronicle the process of becoming a writer in this fun follow-up to How to Read a Story.

Lesson Idea: 

Mentor Text: Build Community and Writer’s Workshop: How to Write a Story (July 7, 2020, Chronicle Books) guides young storytellers through the joys and challenges of the writing process. From choosing an idea, to deciding on a setting, and creating a heroine – or hero, this empowering picture book breaks down the writing process in a dynamic and accessible way, encouraging kids to explore their own creativity—and share their stories with others!  Read aloud How to Write a Story during the first few weeks of school and build your community while incorporating writer’s workshop. Encourage students to write what they know – empowering them to share their own stories in your classroom community.

©2020 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.

Back to School Series: Speak Up by Miranda Paul

Teachers around the country are gearing up to begin a new school year, many in a way that has never been experienced before. But, no matter the environment that teachers find themselves in this year,  whether it is virtual or in person with masks, I know this to be true: TEACHERS WILL STILL TEACH!  So, I’ve put together a Back to School series to help teachers choose books that will build their classroom communities, no matter if that community is in person or online.  

Recommended Grades: K-5

Join a diverse group of kids on a busy school day as they discover so many different ways to speak up and make their voice heard! 

Lesson Idea: 

Mentor Text: Build Community and Taking Action: Speak Up! (July 7, 2020, Clarion Books) is a spirited, vibrant picture book that celebrates diversity and encourages kids to speak up, unite with others, and take action when they see something that needs to be fixed.  From speaking up when people mispronounce a name  to challenging a rule that isn’t fair, these young students show that simple, everyday actions can help people and make the world a better place.  Read aloud Speak Up! during the first few weeks of school and build your community by discussing ways that students can take action. Consider encouraging students to develop real-world action projects of their own.  The back matter provides brief bios on real kids who spoke up, as well as when we should speak up and ways to speak up —  without saying a word.

©2020 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.

Back to School Series: The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah with Kelly DiPucchio

Teachers around the country are gearing up to begin a new school year, many in a way that has never been experienced before. But, no matter the environment that teachers find themselves in this year,  whether it is virtual or in person with masks, I know this to be true: TEACHERS WILL STILL TEACH!  So, I’ve put together a Back to School series to help teachers choose books that will build their classroom communities, no matter if that community is in person or online.  

Recommended Grades: Pre-K-5

Lily and Salma are best friends.  They like doing the same things —- jumping rope, drawing pictures, playing on the swings.  And they always eat lunch together, even if what they eat is different.  Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus — but what’s that between friends? Turns out it’s enough to cause a food fight! Will a sandwich really come between these best friends?

Lesson Idea: 

Mentor Text: Build Community:  The Sandwich Swap (April 20, 2010, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is a story inspired by Her Majesty’s Queen Rania al Abdullah’s own childhood.  Read aloud this book during the first weeks of school to help build your community.  Discuss the true spirit of tolerance and acceptance, because even the smallest things can pull us apart, until we learn that friendship is far more powerful than difference.  Though this book is ten years old, the message is still timely and important as we begin a new school year.

©2020 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.

Back to School Series: You Matter by Christian Robinson

Teachers around the country are gearing up to begin a new school year, many in a way that has never been experienced before. But, no matter the environment that teachers find themselves in this year,  whether it is virtual or in person with masks, I know this to be true: TEACHERS WILL STILL TEACH!  So, I’ve put together a Back to School series to help teachers choose books that will build their classroom communities, no matter if that community is in person or online.  

Recommended Grades: Pre-K-5

Near or far. Big or small. First or last. You matter. 

Lesson Idea: 

Mentor Text: Build Community:  You Matter (June 20, 2020, Atheneum Books for Young Readers) is a beautiful, bright, and impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view. Read aloud this book during the first weeks of school to help build your community, inviting students to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and everyone matters.

©2020 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.

One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole

Recommended Grades: 2-5

From a tall tree growing in the forest to the checkout counter at the grocery store, one little bag finds its way into the hands of a young boy on the eve of his first day of school.  And so begins an incredible journey. 

Lesson Idea: 

Mentor Text: Using Pictures to tell a Story:  One Little Bag (April 7, 2020, Scholastic) is a beautiful, wordless picture book.  Share the story with students and discuss the sequence of events as shown through pictures.  This incredible story transports the reader through three generations of one family and the much-loved bag they reused again and again. Ask students to put words to the pictures and write a story based on the pictures.

Just in time for Earth Day, One Little Bag includes a full page author’s note about Henry Cole’s own experience celebrating his first Earth Day and reusing a brown paper bag over 700 times.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Scholastic in exchange for a review.  

©2020 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.