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A New Mentor Text: Developing A Character

It’s hard to develop characters – well.  It’s even harder to develop a character that’s young, irritating, and lovable all at once, isn’t it?  I’ve often noticed this when my students try to personify their younger brothers and sisters in their writing.  They want them to seem annoying, but often end up making them look like brats, or worse, like they’re evil. 

Enter the solution to this character development problem going-forward.  Tony Fucile’s book, which is available in stores next week, Let’s Do Nothing!, depicts two boys who are out of things to do.  Along the way, Frankie, who appears to be the younger of the two boys, demonstrates that this is impossible to nothing since it’s impossible for him not to breath, wince, or blink.  However, the older of the two characters, Sal, never seems to lose his patience with Frankie despite all of the problems Frankie causes by doing something, instead of nothing.  (Can I have Sal in my next class?)  

Reading this book aloud to a small group of kids who are having trouble with character development might be a great way to use this text as a mentor during a narrative or short fiction unit of study.  I can envision having students study the way Fucile has Frankie talk, move, act, and behave in order to help themselves create their own little lovable, albeit somewhat annoying, little kid in their own stories.

Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile is published by Candlewick Press.  A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

One thought on “A New Mentor Text: Developing A Character Leave a comment

  1. Hello Stacey~ thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment about my waterfall video. That’s one of my favorite places to go hiking.

    Children certainly have a character all there own, don’t they? And, training them to share that in a productive way with others is a challenge, I bet. It sounds like the book, Let’s Do Nothing is the perfect solution.

    Thanks again for stopping by.


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