mentor texts · narrative · picture book

My WordFest Mentor Text Stack Is Growing!

I’ve been tinkering around with the picture books I’m going to bring when I speak at WordFest later this month.  My presentation focuses on using recently published picture books as mentor texts to teach students a variety of craft moves, which will lift the level of their narrative writing.   When I say recently, I mean from 2000 – present.  There are a few recently released picture books that have crossed my desk which I’m adding to that ever growing rolling bag of mentor texts I’m bringing with me.  They are:

Brave Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby (Viking, 2012)

  • Use this book for: characterization, movement of time and place, power of three, proper nouns, satisfying ending, and setting details.
  • Best for primary grades.

Charley’s First Night by Amy Hest and Helen Oxenbury (Candlewick, 2012)

  • Use this book for: dialogue (spoken and paraphrased), parenthetical references, powerful lead, repetition, sensory details, strong verbs, and surprise ending.
  • Best for primary grades.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis (Penguin, 2012)

  • Use this book for: breaking the rules (specifically with dialogue, which is written in italics), commas in lists, emotional ending, passage of time, powerful lead, repetition, rich description, setting details, and the strength to write about bullying and injustice.
  • Best for upper elementary grades.

My Brave Year of Firsts: Tries, Sighs, and High Fives by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell (HarperCollins, 2012)

  • Use this book for: small moment story idea generation, first time stories, rhyming, punctuating dialogue, and ending punctuation.
  • Best for primary grades.
  • For more information on this book, check out another blog post I wrote about it.

Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket by Tatyana Feeney (Knopf, 2012)

  • Use this book for: movement of time and place, show don’t tell, stretching out the heart of the story, and universal theme.
  • Best for primary grades.
  • For more on this book, check back here next week!  I’ll be posting an interview with Tatyana Feeney.

Zephyr Takes Flight by Steve Light (Candlewick, 2012)

  • Use this book for: commas in lists, conjunctions in lists, dialogue, onomatopoeia, points of ellipses, power of three, repetition, strong girl character, variations in print, and varied sentence lengths.
  • Best for upper elementary grades.
Review copies for all of the above-mentioned titles were provided by the publishing companies listed in parentheses.

4 thoughts on “My WordFest Mentor Text Stack Is Growing!

  1. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve been on the lookout recently for mentor texts. Two of my colleagues and I are responsible for sharing writing information with our staff in about a week on our Staff Development Day. Our first grade teachers are asking for mentor texts, so I will share this info with them..Your post was very timely. Thanks again!


  2. Stacey,
    Decided I would comment tonight. Be assured I read, reread and reread all your posts. I would be lost without your work. Thank you. Tonight’s post is a costly one; watch out Amazon account.

    I am starting a personal narrative unit with sixth graders in a few weeks. Is there a mentor text you would recommend? I was planning on looking at the two you mentioned above for upper elementary grades.

    Enjoy your weekend.


    1. @Kelly: Hi there. Good to hear from you. Thanks for your kind words!

      I’d go with Each Kindness. I think the theme of bullying is one sixth graders can connect with even though I believe the characters in the story are a couple of years younger.

      LMK how it goes.


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