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.

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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.

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.

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Recommended Grades: 4-6

George loved words.  But, he was unable to read or attend school because George was enslaved.  Through sheer determination, he learned the alphabet, then he taught himself to read.   George created poems in his head and recited them at a nearby college campus while selling fruits and vegetables for his master.  Soon, the students on campus were buying his poems!  George Moses Horton was the first southern African-American man to be published. 

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:  Pair Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton with Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, Light in the Darkness: A Story About How Slaves Learned in Secret by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass and discuss the resilience of African-American people during a time when African-American literacy was discouraged.

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.

Fur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo by Cassandre Maxwell

Fur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo

Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 10, 2015

Recommended Grades: K-4

From the time he was a little boy, Abraham Dee Bartlett loved animals. He spent every night reading about animals and dreamed of working with them when he grew up. In 1859, Bartlett was asked to become the Superintendent of the London Zoo. His love and respect for animals led him to become a pioneer in veterinary medicine and to create an environment for animals in zoos as we know them today.
Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography: Driven by his lifelong interest in animals, Bartlett worked tirelessly to ensure that the animals in the London Zoo were happy and healthy. Read loud Fur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo to your class prior to a field trip to the zoo, or as part of a study on animals. Readers learn about Bartlett’s meticulous attention to the science of animal care, why there are explanations at exhibits, the reason behind enclosures as we view them today, and especially his appreciation for wild animals.

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.