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.

Islandborn by Junot Díaz

Recommended Grades: 3-5

When Lola is asked to draw a picture of where her family emigrated from, she becomes worried because she can’t remember the Island.  But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories, Lola is able to go on an imaginary journey back to the Island.  

Lesson Idea: 

Mentor Text; Six Traits of Writing – Idea Development:  Islandborn is a fantastic mentor text to help students develop idea seeds in their writer’s notebook.  After reading it aloud to students, have them brainstorm memories that are important to them about family and friends.

This is also a mentor text in The Storyteller’s Project.  Click on the link to find out more!

©2019 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.

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.

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue by Robert Burleigh

Recommended Grades: 3-5

A humpback whale travels along the Pacific coast, but hidden in the water is a forgotten fishing net.  When the whale becomes trapped, the story, based on a true event, reminds us of the important connection between humans and animals. 

Mentor Text: Word Choice

trapped photoBurleigh uses fantastic word choice and description in Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue.  His use of sensory words to describe the whale’s journey are beautifully complemented by Minor’s paintings. When students write informative texts, useTrapped! A Whale’s Rescue
as a mentor text to model great word choice.

Disclaimer: I received 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.