Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart

Feathers: Not Just for Flying is a Maryland Black Eyed Susan Award nominee for 2016.

Recommended Grades:   3-5

Feathers aren’t just for flying. . . In this scrapbook-like nonfiction picture book, Stewart introduces sixteen types of birds and compares their feathers to everyday objects teaching readers just how practical their feathers can be. 

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Writer’s Craft: Before sharing Feathers: Not Just for Flying as a mentor text, read aloud the author’s note.  In it, Stewart shares how she researches for her books and develops the concepts that make her books more engaging.  Encourage students to use Feathers: Not Just for Flying as a model text when they are researching and writing their own informational texts.  Consider both the scrap-book and the comparison models as possible mentors for students.

©2016 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.

Frankencrayon by Michael Hall

Publisher: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Recommended Grades: 3-5

From the author of Red: A Crayon’s Story, comes Frankencrayon, his newest book. In this story, a set of crayons are supposed to “write the story,” but someone or something draws a scribble in the middle of the page. As a result, the picture book has to be canceled.

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Writer’s Craft, Developing Ideas: Read aloud Frankencrayon with a group of upper elementary writers. Discuss how the author uses “a story within a story” structure. Encourage students to try this technique in their own writing.

Additionally, you could pair Frankencrayon with Red: A Crayon’s Story, The Day the Crayons Quit  and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both by Drew Daywalt, as a set of texts in which the main characters are crayons. Encourage students to use an inanimate object as a main character in their own writing.
©2016 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.

W is for Webster: Noah Webster and His American Dictionary by Tracey Fern

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publication Date: November 10, 2015

Recommended Grades: 3-5

From an early age, Noah Webster liked to use big words.  He loved learning and even became a school teacher.  It was during his time in the classroom that he realized that the newly formed America needed its own language, because American children came from many different countries and didn’t speak like British children.     

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:  Pair W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary with Noah Webster and His Words to build background knowledge of a man who was known as “America’s own Dr. Webster.” W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary goes into specific detail for the reasons behind the creation of the American Dictionary as well as what people thought of Noah at that time in American history.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

©2015 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.

My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 20, 2015

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Born in 1797 to slave parents, Isabella Baumfree was sold several times before being bought by the Dumont family, where she stayed for sixteen years.  After escaping from slavery and living and working in New York City, Isabella chose her own name, Sojourner Truth – for she would always travel and she would always tell the truth.  

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:Personal Narrative: Read aloud My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth as a mentor text for a writing unit on personal narratives.  Note how the author wrote a biography of Sojourner Truth, but wrote it from Truth’s point of view.  Discuss how the author had to conduct research in order to understand Truth’s voice and be able to portray it in this text, including using Truth’s own quotes.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher to review.

©2015 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.

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M.

Recommended Grades:   3-5

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at a Canadian train station, he knew he could care for it.  Harry was a veterinarian.  But he was also a soldier in training for World War I.  Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s hometown, and he took her along to training camp in England.  Winnie became the regiment’s much-loved mascot, but who could care for the bear when Harry had to go to battle in France? Harry found just the right place for Winnie: the London Zoo.  There a boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie. 

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography: Building Background Knowledge: Read aloud Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh and pair it with Fur, Fins, and Feathers by Cassandre Maxwell for students to get a background look at the London Zoo as a care-taking spot for Winnie.  Additionally, you could read aloud Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh to give students a look at the background of Winnie while pairing it with Winnie the Pooh stories.  Share the end papers with students which provides primary sources of Harry, Winnie, and Christopher Robin.

©2015 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.