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.

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.

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.

Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Recommended Grades: 5-8

When Sylvia Mendez and her family moved to a new town in California, she was excited to attend her neighborhood school.  But, she was told she had to go to the Mexican school instead.  Sylvia didn’t understand why – she was an American citizen who spoke perfect English.  This is the story of segregated schools in California and one family’s  fight to end it. 

Separate is Never EqualLesson Idea: Mentor Text: Civil Rights: Read aloud Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation as part of a unit on civil rights.  Segregation based on race was common throughout the United States in the 1940s and much of what we know about segregation comes from our knowledge of segregation in the southern states.  In actuality, The Mendez v. Westminster School District case paved the way for the desegregation of schools in America.  The landmark case Brown v. Board of Education desegregated schools in the entire country, seven years after the Mendez victory.

©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.