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10 Topic Choice Mentor Texts + 10 Book Giveaways

Please leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of one of these picture books.  (Be sure to read the giveaway information at the bottom of the post for instructions about how to enter.)
Please leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of one of these picture books. (Be sure to read the giveaway information at the bottom of the post for instructions about how to enter.)

Most likely you’ve spent the first six weeks of the school year showing your students how to live like a writer. You’ve read them books that will inspire them to write.  You’ve created heart maps, identity charts, visual writer introductions, and/or writing territories.  You’ve taught minilessons that have provided students with strategies for generating narrative writing.   You’ve called them writers.  You’ve done all this and probably more.  YET, you still have a few students who claim:

I don’t know what to write about.

or

I have nothing to write about.

Or a parent calls or e-mails you to tell you their child feels as though they’re being tortured by being asked to write every night since they have nothing to write about every single night.

You have two choices when you have students like this.

  • Option A: Throw up your hands and say, “I’ve done enough! There’s nothing else I can do. I have other kids to worry about.”
  • Option B:  You keep looking for ways to inspire the student to write in his/her writer’s notebook because you know s/he has something to say.

I’m assuming you’ve chosen the second option (since you’re still with me).

First, remind students “You don’t have to write, you get to write.”  Next, examine the students(s) heart map or writing territories to figure out what makes him/her tick.  Then, grab a picture book you think will be the spark to help the child want to write in his/her writer’s notebook.  It doesn’t have to be a touchstone text… it can be a special book you share with the reluctant writer in your midst.

I’ve been reading even more picture books than usual since I’m searching for texts to use in small group lessons for my forthcoming book from Stenhouse.  As I was reviewing books last month, I started a pile of topic mentors.  They were books that I thought might inspire kids to write about a particular experience, interest, or person.  Before I knew it, my stack of new picture books grew. Once I reached ten I realized it was time to share my list of titles with you.

[NOTE: Unlike most of my mentor text posts, this one does not provide you with specific ways to use each book.  Please know each can be used to teach young writers a variety of craft moves.]

9780763676216Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui

Publisher’s Summary: Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever, visually enchanting volume, it’s also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow, and an ape in a jungle may become an urban King Kong. Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. With simple, graphic illustrations sure to appeal to even the youngest of children, this beautiful rumination on the passage of time will please the most discerning adult readers, too.

What’s next for writers:

  • Design a series of before and after illustrations in the writer’s notebook.
  • Do some before/after writing inspired by one of the before/after image sets in the book.
  • Craft topical writing based off of one of the pictures (e.g., the before/after image of the cocoa bean and the chocolate bar might lead to an entry about the time a child baked something from scratch).

HanaHashimotoSixthViolin_2276_HC.inddHana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki and Qin Leng 

Publisher’s Summary: In this beautifully written picture book, Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s only a beginner, and she’s had only three lessons. Her brothers insist she isn’t good enough. “It’s a talentshow, Hana,” they tell her. “You’ll be a disaster!” Hana remembers how wonderfully her talented grandfather, or Ojiichan, played his violin when she was visiting him in Japan. So, just like Ojiichan, Hana practices every day. She is determined to play her best. When Hana’s confidence wavers on the night of the show, however, she begins to wonder if her brothers were right. But then Hana surprises everyone once it’s her turn to perform — even herself!

What’s next for writers:

  • Write about a time you surprised yourself and/or others with something you could do.
  • Compose an entry about a time all eyes were on you.
  • Craft some writing about something you’re passionate about (e.g., music!) and show why it matters to you.

Little Elliot Big City coverLittle Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

Publisher’s Summary: Amid the hustle and bustle of the big city, the big crowds and bigger buildings, Little Elliot leads a quiet life. In spite of the challenges he faces, Elliot finds many wonderful things to enjoy—like cupcakes! And when his problems seem insurmountable, Elliot discovers something even sweeter—a friend.

What’s next for writers:

  • Write about a problem or a challenge you faced and how you overcame it.
  • Describe something small that brings you joy.
  • Compose some writing about a time you helped a friend or vice versa.

LouiseArt_cvrLouise Loves Art by Kelly Light

Publisher’s Summary: Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece—her pièce de résistance! Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story. Louise Loves Art is a celebration of the brilliant artist who resides in all of us.

What’s next for writers:

  • Describe your hobby or passion and why it matters to you.
  • Tell about a time you thought a younger sibling or cousin ruined something.
  • Write about your sibling and why s/he matters to you.

978-0-385-37908-3Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean by Jane Lynch, Lara Embry, Ph.D., A.E. Mikesell, and Tricia Tusa

Publisher’s Summary: Marlene is the self-appointed queen of the playground, the sidewalk, and the school. She is small but mighty . . . intimidating! Known for her cruel ways, the little Queen of Mean has kids cowering in fear—until big Freddy stands up to her and says what everyone has been too fearful to say. In Seussian rhyme, actress Jane Lynch, clinical psychologist Lara Embry, and former children’s book editor A. E. Mikesell gently and comically depict the undoing of a bully and her efforts to reform. Tricia Tusa’s charming illustrations make the story an even more accessible conversation starter for all ages.

What’s next for writers:

  • Write about a time you were bullied and how it made you feel.
  • Describe a time you were unkind to someone.  Consider rewriting that scene and changing your actions in your writing.
  • Formulate some ideas for how you and your peers can stop bullying so all kids feel safe.

Miles BOB cover-pageMiles is the Boss of His Body by Abby Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter

Publisher’s Summary: Miles Is The Boss Of His Body is a fun, engaging way to explore the potentially difficult topic of kids’ personal safety.  On his 6th birthday, Miles’ excitement is dimmed when he finds himself being pinched, noogied, hugged too tight, picked up and tickled by his well-intentioned family and decides he’s had enough!  When Miles decrees that he is the “Boss of his body,” his whole family expresses support and respect for his personal boundaries.  In a colorful, comic-book style, young kids will laugh while learning this potentially life-saving concept that can benefit them for years to come.

What’s next for writers:

  • Describe a family gathering (or other event) where you were hugged or had your cheeks pinched one too many times.
  • Write about the way you say hello and good-bye at family gatherings.  How does it make you feel?
  • Create an entry about how you handle awkward situations.

Note: You can enter to win a copy of this book by leaving a comment below.  (Please see the “giveaway information” section of this post for details.) Also, all ‘Two Writing Writing’ friends receive a 10% discount off the book.  Buy the book on themotherco.com and enter ‘TwoWritingTeachers’ as the discount code.

MixItUp_FC_3D_HiResMix It Up! by Hervé Tullet

Publisher’s Summary: Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision in a work that is a glorious and richly satisfying companion to Press Here.Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision in a work that is a glorious and richly satisfying companion to Press Here.

What’s next for writers:

  • Make colors come alive by create a series of illustrations that tell a story.
  • Write an entry that engages your audience, speaking directly to them, like Tullet did in Mix It Up!
  • Craft some writing about creating with your hands. Talk about why being an artist matters to you.

9780399160950_Mr._Wayne's_MasterpieceMr. Wayne’s Masterpiece by Patricia Polacco

Publisher’s Summary: Speaking in front of an audience terrifies Trisha. Ending up in Mr. Wayne’s drama class is the last thing she wants! But Mr. Wayne gives her a backstage role painting scenery for the winter play. As she paints, she listens to the cast rehearse, memorizing their lines without even realizing it. Then, days before opening night, the lead actress suddenly moves away, and Trisha is the only other person who knows her part. Will the play have to be canceled? It won’t be an easy road—when Trisha tries to recite the lines in front of the cast, nothing comes out! But Mr. Wayne won’t let her give up, and with his coaching, Trisha is able to become one of his true masterpieces.

What’s next for writers:

  • Write about trying something new for the first time.
  • Craft an entry about a special person who inspired you to be a better version of yourself.
  • Compose some writing about a fear and how you might overcome it.

9780544104433_hresNana in the City by Lauren Castillo

Publisher’s Summary: In this magical picture book, a young boy spends an overnight visit with his nana and is frightened to find that the city where she lives is filled with noise and crowds and scary things. But then Nana makes him a special cape to help him be brave, and soon the everyday sights, sounds, and smells of the city are not scary—but wonderful. The succinct text is paired with watercolor illustrations that capture all the vitality, energy, and beauty of the city.

What’s next for writers:

  • Tell about a special time with a loved one away from home.
  • Explain how you overcame a fear.
  • Write about a place that feels like anything but home.

image001You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant

Publisher’s Summary: Two fuzzy creatures can’t agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all! The simple text of Anna Kang and bold illustrations of New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant tell an original and very funny story about size—it all depends on who’s standing next to you.

What’s next for writers:

  • Record a back and forth conversation or argument with a friend that holds meaning or value.
  • Describe the way labels can hurt feelings.
  • Write about a disagreement with a friend/family member and how it worked out.

May I suggest reading one or more of these books on your own and allowing them to inspire your own writing?  If you do this, then you can show your students how you allowed your reading to inspire your writing, which may, in turn, inspire them to write off of one of these books too.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • Ten publishing houses are giving away one copy of each book listed above.  Many thanks to Candlewick Press, Chronicle Books, Clarion Books, Harper, Henry Holt and Co., Kids Can Press, Penguin, Random House, The Mother Company, and Two Lions for donating a copy for TWT readers.
  • For a chance to win this copy of one of the titles above, please leave a comment about this post by Monday, October 21st at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Wednesday, October 23rd.
    • NOTES:
      • I will draw the winners’ names and assign the books at random unless you state, in your comment, which books you’re most interested in using in your classroom and why.  Preference will be given to those (whose names are chosen) who mention specific titles in their comments.
      • Listing the name of the book doesn’t guarantee you’ll win a copy of it if your name is one of the ten chosen since multiple people might request the same book(s).
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contacts at each publishing house will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

Comments are now closed.

What a tremendous response to this post!  Wow!  I’m delighted so many people were enthusiastic about these titles.

I used a random number generator to select the ten winners, then I did my best to match people up to the books they mentioned in their comments.  If you didn’t win one of the books, then I hope you’ll support these authors and your local bookstore by purchasing one or more of them.

Here’s who’ll be getting the books:

 

 

 

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

307 thoughts on “10 Topic Choice Mentor Texts + 10 Book Giveaways Leave a comment

  1. I love teaching about art and writing. The processes are so similar, and it’s magical to see my students learn how composing art–choosing shapes, subjects, and colors and textures is much like writing — choosing words, rhythm, imagery. I could use Before After, Mix It Up or Louise Loves Art as mentor texts in my middle school English classroom.

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  2. A colleague just shared your blog with me! Thanks so much for this resource! I appreciate the Mentor text suggestions. Looking forward to using the Patricia Polacco book!

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  3. What great books! I would love to use Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece both in writing and for encouraging students to try out for UIL. Many of our fourth graders are nervous about stepping out of their comfort zone to try things I just know they could do well!

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  4. thank you for this great list. I am so hoping to win! I already have ideas on how to use them in professional developments this year! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. These lists are invaluable! I don’t have the books mentioned (hope to!), but my mind is going about how to use the ones I have to inspire in similar ways. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Before and After please! I’m thinking it could lead into some exploration during content time and rich discussion about different kinds of nonfiction texts. Perhaps a good lead off to a genre study? What a cool contest! The list of mentor texts alone is a gift 🙂

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  7. Wow! What a great list of books! Also, I love the teaching ideas you shared. I would love to win “Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin” because some of my second graders don’t see themselves as writers (yet!) Thanks for an inspiring post!!

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  8. What a great list of books! Love the writing ideas for each – although my preschoolers wouldn’t necessarily be able to write in response, these are great ideas for conversations, extending the learning.

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  9. What a great collection of books! Fortunately, I just got “The Writing Thief” by Ruth Culham, so I would be able to use these to the fullest extent!

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  10. Every title offers great possibility! Excited to share with colleagues and add new titles to my “wish list” of mentor texts. Thank you for another informative and inspiring post!

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  11. Every single one of these texts is a new title to me! I love that you gave a synopsis as well as the writing connection. I’ll be sure to check out the books next time I’m shopping. I want to say thanks for sharing your creativity with us!

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  12. What an amazing collection of mentor texts. These books would be such a tremendous asset to the writing teachers in my school.. As the librarian and former writing teacher my goal is to provide resources to my teachers for use in their classrooms.

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  13. I am excited to share these mentor texts with other teachers. Writing often fall by the wayside in our ELA blocks. These stories will give teachers and students concrete ways to “write like an author.” Thank you!

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  14. I teach 3rd grade. I could see myself using “Little Elliot, Big City.” I’m thinking I could even tie it into the work we do around growth mindset. At our school we also talk about learning behaviors and I’m always looking for books that talk about making friends!

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  15. These all look like amazing books to use as mentor texts! Any one of them would be useful in my role as a literacy coach. However, I would really love to have Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin. I love the idea of not giving up on yourself!

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  16. Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece and Marlene, Marlene Queen of Mean are perfect choices for my class. The follow up activites will engage them and are ideas the class will relate to!

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  17. I would Love to win these books! Love all your ideas. And if I don’t win, I know I’ll be buying them to support writing time in my kinder classroom.

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  18. Hana Hashimoto …what a great mentor text to use for reluctant writers and to teach perseverance! Thanks for sharing your pile of mentor texts..always look forward to reading your posts!

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  19. Thank you for the great ideas and book suggestions. I just bought Louise Loves Art and will use your suggestions for writing. Marlene Marlene Queen of Mean looks like a great book to use.

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  20. I enjoyed getting new ideas for mentor texts. I’ve never used any of these before and will try any of these, especially “You are (not) small.” We are learning about being kind to others in my class and not using labels to describe anyone. We also are discussing sizes in math. It will tie in with multiple areas in my class.

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  21. There is always that student that doesn’t have anything to write about….I haven’t done anything exciting to write about!!! These books along with your suggestions would help that darling!

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  22. I have learned the power of using mentor texts with my writing units! I’m looking forward to trying some of these suggestions out, thanks for your post!

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  23. I had the privilege of attending a workshop with Ralph Fletcher a couple of weeks ago. He devoted half his talk to the importance of Mentor Texts, and I won his book on that subject! (I had the closest birthday to Ralph. 🙂 ) Thanks to this post, I have several more to add to my bag of tricks! Thanks!

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  24. I would love to use these in my classroom! We are just starting writer’s workshop this year. These would provide all of us another opportunity to learn from the best out there!

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  25. I adore your blog especially since we have started Lucy’s UOS last year! I love the idea of using mentor texts during small group instruction- this is something new I’m trying this year! Thanks!

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  26. I have used mentor text to teach writing with my first and second graders for many years and had excited writers as a result. Now I am an instructional coach supporting TK-8 teachers. I am looking for picture books that can be used with a span of students and I believe these books can mentor student writers of all ages. Pick me! Pick me!
    Bev

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  27. Great books! I have some students that need to be inspire to write in my 4th grade classroom. Excellent literature! I love Paticia Polacco’s. She is an amazing writer.

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  28. I would love to win a copy of Miles is the Boss of his Body. This would be very effective for my students with special needs who are often so vulnerable. They need to learn ways to have their voice be heard when so often they are dismissed. Using this text as a prompt to share their own stories would be valuable.

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  29. Always inspiring and helpful for some weekend planning. Thank you.
    Favorites…
    You are not too small
    Miles is the boss of his body…
    Or any wonderful book!

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  30. Wow, not only do I LOVE these books but I appreciate how you explained how they can be used! I teach special education for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders using the Lucy Caulkins program. I appreciate any new titles to use for our mentor texts – since reading them time after time can even bore the most gifted writer! Thank you 🙂

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  31. I coach the fourth and fifth graders for a state literary meet. I am a fifth grade classroom teacher and we usually enter a few speaking and performing competitions through the year. I would use Masterpiece or Hana Hashimoto to teach my kiddos to take a risk, reach down deep and pull out their hidden talents. I believe that while not for all, communicating ideas orally through storytelling or performing, is an essential skill.

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  32. I would love to win Mix it Up! Press Here is one of my favorite books! I direct an after school program and I can see many activity invitations coming out of this book.

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  33. These are some great suggestions! I am a literacy coach and could use these in so many classes. But I think my favorites are Nana in the City and Louse Loves Art.

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  34. This is such a great list! I wish I would have seen it before placing a book order last night… now I have more to add to my wish list! Thank you for continuing to inspire teachers!

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  35. As always, I look forward to the list of books you post. There are so many wonderful ideas here and I’m sure I will use them all in some way. I particularly like Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin. We have been looking for great books for interactive read aloud as well as identifying strong characters and theme. This book is perfect – as we all surprise ourselves doing things we never thought we could do. Really looking forward to your book, Stacey!

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  36. Well, I just added big time to my books-to-get list. Top on my list is You Are (Not) Small because it is such a big topic among my small kinder kiddos 🙂 And right after it comes Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean– I actually had a student last year write a “How To Be Mean” how-to book. Would have been handy to have this. And then of course there is Nana in the City… sigh. I love the list. I love your posts!

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  37. I’m a school librarian (middle school). I’d love to have any of these books to share with my writing teachers! Thank you for the excellent post and the giveaway!

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  38. I would love to win a copy of Hana, Little Elliot, or Louise to use in my HS classroom. I’m starting to transition from so many whole class novels and to an independent reading classroom and am in the process of building a picture book library of mentor texts for mini lesions. These three titles seem like texts my students would be able to respond to and the themes (surprising yourself, new experiences, and passion) are ones they would enjoy.

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  39. Most Of my kids like to write. The others struggle but are getting better. I hope they appreciate that they get to write daily. Books like these will help them even more!

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  40. I love all of them!! I especially like the louise loves art book. I think it would be a great tool to talk about our passions…isnt that what lifes about? I love the before and after book too. Id be thrilled to win any of those.
    Danielle

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  41. I used Ralph Writes a Story in my focus lesson for kicking off writing workshop this past week with my Kindergarten class. I have been using many ideas from this site. My students are off to a great start – it’s not easy work, but it is worth it! Thank you for your support!

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  42. A list of some great reads. I am interested in either “You are (Not) Small” by Kang/Weyant, or “Before After” by Ramstein/Aregui. Thanks ~ either text would work well with kinders!

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  43. What a great set of mentor texts! I have a couple of reluctant writers in my class who could use some great examples of narratives for inspiration. They all look wonderful, but I am particularly looking forward to reading Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece. Patricia Polacco writes beautiful narratives that touch children of all ages and adults as well.

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  44. A great list of mentor texts! I look forward to reading them with students and sharing them with colleagues. I always learn something new from your posts.

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  45. I would love a copy of ‘Mix it Up’… Sounds similar to the ideas in ‘Luke’s Way of Looking’… Another of my favorite books for inspiring creativity.

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  46. Thanks for the great posts! I love using mentor texts in my classroom! My favorite author is Patricia Palocco, so if I had to choose one of the books it would be Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece. Thank you for the opportunity!

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  47. I was just speaking with my co-teacher about what’s next for our writers. I’m going to use these resources for inspiration. Thank you!

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  48. Wow! These are all great!!! Any of them would be a win!!! Thank you for your inspiration to work hard to become a better writing teacher.

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  49. I love your blog! I’ve been using many of your ideas to inspire my writers. Tomorrow I’m putting up a sign that says, “you don’t have to write, you get to write!” Patricia Polacco is my favorite author and Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece would make a lively addition to my mentor text collection!!

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  50. You just never know what it takes to inspire young writers. We can’t give up! Great post…perfect timing too! Thank you for the opportunity to possibly win a mentor text! You Are (Not) Small looks interesting!

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    • What a great collection of titles! I am always looking for materials to enhance my current repertoire and these look like a great place to start.

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  51. This is a great resource. Thank you for sharing these great titles. I think Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean would be a great addition to our library.

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  52. My kindergarten students would love all these books! I would be happy to add all these beautiful mentor texts to our classroom and school library!

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  53. I LOVE talking to my students about why an author may have been inspired to write a book and how just reading their stories can help us think of ideas and experiences to write from as well. Analyzing the writing and thinking of others helps us to be better writers ourselves. Thank you for this wonderful list to generate even more discussion on topics that generate writing from the heart. 🙂

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  54. We will be starting our realistic fiction unit soon.
    Miles is the Boss of his Body or Louise Love s Art sound like perfect mentor texts for this unit. Thanks for this awesome opportunity!

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  55. Louise Loves Art sounds like such a cute book that my students would be able to relate to, especially since quite a few of them have younger siblings. I think they’d love to share about how something was ruined my a sibling.

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  56. What an amazing group of mentor texts! I was an Early Literacy consultant for 4 years and I encouraged many other teachers to use mentor texts to guide their writing conferences and lessons. These would be an awesome edition to my collection of picture books.

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  57. Thank you for this list of books. I am always looking for more mentor picture books. I don’t have any of these. As a school we are looking to improve our Language Arts curriculum. This list will be most helpful! I look forward to your list for non-fiction !!!

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  58. It took me years to truly understand the value of using mentor text. Thanks for highlighting some new ones. I can’t wait to read them.

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  59. I am a children’s book junkie and I don’t have any of these titles!! Thanks for sharing! It is great to see a list of books to inspire ideas for our young writers!

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  60. What a great list! Immediatly after reading Before After, I pictured my students writing an informational piece. using their own background knowledge as well as research I can imagine their enthusiasm making their own Before After book.

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  61. We just had a whole professional day devoted to mentor texts and these will be wonderful titles to add to the mix. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  62. I’m very excited to share these books with my daughters. I’ve been homeschooling them for 2.5 years and inspiring writing can be a challenge…lol! Thanks for such a great list!

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  63. I love using mentor texts with my students, as well as in writing workshops with teachers. I am particularly excited about the possibilities of exploring nonfiction writing with Before and After. I can see using it as a mentor text with science, social studies, math, and even metacognitive lessons with students. Thanks for all of the inspiring ideas!

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  64. Wow these are amazing! I love using mentor texts to inspire writers. We just read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and are inspired to write about a time when we learned to believe in ourselves. I would use any and all of these amazing books that you have suggested but, I especially love Patricia Polacco. Thanks,
    Trish
    Trichardson@sjsd.net

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  65. I always appreciate when you share your ideas for mentor texts! As a teacher who spend most of my day with struggling learners, I especially appreciate this list! Thanks, Robin

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  66. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve been selecting non-fiction mentors for first grade recently, but hadn’t focused on mentors for those struggling with ideas.

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    • Hi Jill,

      This isn’t something I did when I was in the classroom. It only occurred to me that books might help kids who struggle with what to write about more than just providing generating strategies. LMK how it goes for you.

      My best,
      Stacey

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  67. I would love a copy of “Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece” by Patricia Polacco! I teach pre-service teachers and I model a read aloud and mini-lesson in each of our sessions and this book would be marvelous for teaching a number of comprehension strategies as well as add to a collection of Patricia Polacco books to use as an author study if they so choose. Thank you!

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  68. These all look interesting. I’ve been selecting non-fiction mentor texts recently, but haven’t identified any for those struggling with topics. Looks like a category I should have.

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  69. I am excited to start using some of these titles! You Are Not Small is particularly interesting as we are having some drama in our classroom and this would be a great way to use writing as an outlet.

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  70. You just inspire me to do something that is much needed for the high school we work at. We always talk about mini lessons, but we have never sat down and actually compiled a list of mentor texts/sentences. I’m now working on this! Thanks. Also, if I am lucky enough to win, I would love Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece.

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  71. What an awesome list of books! Nana in the City looks like a book I would love to have for my classroom. Writing about “first times” are sometimes difficult for students to remember the clear details. This story would be a great mentor text. Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece would be another book I would love to own. I absolutely love Patricia Polacco’s books. Her inspiring stories of her childhood make great anchor texts for the students to connect to. The kids love her illustrations, too!

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  72. What a great list of mentor texts! I have been hearing/reading the buzz about Little Elliot, Big City and haven’t gotten to read it yet. Would love to read it to my second graders! I haven’t read Mix It Up but love Press Here by the same author.

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  73. Thank you for always sharing out innovative techniques applicable for every grade level. I’m eager to bring some of this books into my classroom library to be used as mentor texts.

    I posted a comment a second ago and realized after I hit post that I entered an incorrect email address. So here’s my second post. 🙂

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  74. These books fantastic! I’ve never heard of any so I know my teaching will be improved using them as mentor texts.thanks to the companies who donated them!

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  75. Thanks for this list of new titles! I don’t think I know any of them and would love to own any! I also love the “What’s Next for Writers?” I think that in itself could be a great mini-lesson for kids, reminding them that writers are always thinking about possible topics and about how other writers have addressed topics. Can’t wait to share this post.

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  76. It’s all in the words we choose to use with students. I love “You don’t have to write, you get to write.” What a difference this can make!

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  77. I would love the chance to share any of the 10 books with my class. I’m always looking for new and exciting mentor texts to share with them. Thank you for the great ideas.

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  78. These books are great for ideas and can apply to students at different stages in their lives. Nana in the city is great for our children since we are a military family and don’t get to see our grandparents as often as we can. Every visit is very special. Moving often can be difficult be we learn from it. I also like Louise loves Art. My girls each have something they are passionate about and when you are passionate about something, let it continue to grow.

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  79. I’m especially excited to order these all from the public library to try them out right away with my third graders. I’ve been trying to steer clear of prompting writers but your post today is helping me see the value in pushing student’s thinking in a guided way, sort of like when
    I ask them to stop and jot…
    I would be most grateful for any of the books, but especially Nana in the City, Marlene the Queen of Mean, and Sixth Violin. All of these really help spread some messages I promote in our class meetings. They have social lessons embedded. Thanks!

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  80. What awesome ideas on how to use these mentor texts! Very helpful for a new teacher like me still finding my way through the art of teaching writing. I would love Before & After, Nana in the City, or You Are (Not) Small in my classroom! Thanks again for the great ideas!

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  81. What great books! I’d love a copy of Hana Hashimoto. It sounds like the perfect book to begin a discussion about perseverance, which could also be a theme for writing.

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  82. Mr Wayne’s Masterpiece is exactly the title I need to share with my 6th grade Communications class. (Quite a few students who are having difficulty with public speaking.) This is a great list of titles. Thanks!

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  83. What wonderful ideas! What a great way to teach not only what to do when students feel they have “run out” of ideas, but how to use mentor texts in general. Usually I use mentor texts more for their writing strategies and techniques, but I love the idea of using them for generating ideas for entries. I especially would love to have Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin or Before After. I can’t wait to go through my set of mentor texts and come up with similar lists!

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  84. Your book selections and ideas on how to engage students to write after hearing the story is so helpful. Thanks for bringing fun and refreshing titles to my attention.

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  85. Wow! What a great list. I’m totally bookmarking this page and I am going to try to look for some of these titles in our school library. I would love to have any one of these books, since I don’t own any of them. Thanks for the amazing post!

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  86. Wow! SO hard to pick from so many great titles! So a copy of Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui, Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo or You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant would all be very welcome. They are my top three picks. I will have to get the Patricia Polacco too and many of the others. Thanks so much. The torture of writing is real right now in our house, so fortunately we have an afterschool program at Writopia that is a real writers space for my son.

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  87. Oh, I would love to win any of these books! What a wonderful post. Thanks for the opportunity to share these books with my young writers.

    My preferences: Little Elliott, Big City; Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece; and You Are (Not) Small.

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  88. I always appreciate your writing suggestions. Once again you have inspired me to do better for my kids! And now I have to purchase 10 new books for mentor texts. :). Marlene, Marlene, the Queen of Mean will speak to my kids. Our school has implemented an anti bullying program this year and I think my kids will love it! Thanks again for all you do to make me a better writing teacher.

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  89. I love this idea of “topic mentor texts”. You are right that even now I have kids who still say, “I don’t know what to write about.” I suspect many of them are like me- they think their stories are not worth telling. Or they think they have to have some big event to write about. I”m trying to help them see that often the most moving stories are those about small, everyday moments.
    Thanks for the idea, and the mentor text suggestions.
    If I am lucky enough to win, would love to have a copy of Nana in the City, Louise Loves Art, or Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean.
    Thanks again, Stacey!

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  90. I love the chance to be exposed to new books along with thoughts/ideas to inspire young writers! Thank you for taking the te to share!

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  91. The book titles are great, and I will not rest till I have many of them, but the power of your post is in its introduction. We can’t give up on the kids who are struggling to find THEIR writing power. They are the ones who need us the most! Thanks!

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  92. Thanks for a great slew of new reads! As a first grade teacher I love, love, love to read picture books. Our class would like to have Before and After because of all the changes that take place over time. I could imagine using this for reflections and more!

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  93. Thank you for this post! I felt like you’ve been eavesdropping in my classroom recently. It’s amazing that after 18 years if teaching writing, I still struggle with those students that can’t come up with anything to write. This post will surely help me. I would be happy to win any if the books. They all look fantastic.

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  94. Oooh! We’re smack in the middle of an illustration study right now and “Before After” would be an excellent addition. That simple graphic approach is so clear for kindergarten kids.

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  95. This post is perfectly timed ad I just co-led professional development in my school district on mentor texts & craft lessons last Friday. Sharing this post with my colleagues!

    Would love any of these 10 titles!

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  96. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. As I was sitting here this evening thinking about my writer’s workshop for tomorrow, I checked my email to see this wonderful post about mentor texts that can inspire writing ideas for our students. I would love to have a copy of either Marlene,Marlene, Queen of Mean or Before/After. I read all of your posts and find them very useful in helping the teachers in my charge become better writing teachers. Thank you. peggy_gillis@hotmail.com

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    • I love giving kids inspiration through mentor texts! I would love any of the texts you featured,! I’m always adding to my collection of mentor texts, and these titles are ones I will look at.mthanks! Samantha Baker

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  97. What a great list! I love using mentor texts with students. My students have many obstacles but can achieve anything if they put their minds to it! Little Elliot, Big City would be something they could relate to.

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  98. What a helpful stack of books! I recently began teaching writing to all of our 4th graders and I am loving it. I am always looking for ways to better my instruction, so I read your posts regularly. I am excited about adding these suggestions to my “must buy” list.

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    • I have been reading Two WRiting Teachers religiously since the beginning of the year often sharing with my colleagues who are finding the posts so helpful. As a fifth grade teacher, using picture books is a wonderful way to bring out students’ creativity and thinking. I’m going to see if our school library has any of these books.

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  99. WOW! This is a great list to share with my teachers! Love, love, love anything by Patricia Polacco but all your selections look amazing! Thanks!

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  100. Thanks for inspiration for our young writers Stacey. Sometimes just the collection of mentor texts like this is a powerful motivator to identify new ways to gather ideas for stories. With tiny classroom budgets any of these books would be a gift. Elliot in the Big City offers big ideas that many students could relate to and write about. Sixth Violin works beautifully with the idea of not “yet” being accomplished at something but working towards it with passion and effort. Lovely way to tap into passions of individual students and all that evokes for writers.

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  101. I am so excited about these books! I can feel the difference in writing workshop when I use a mentor text in a mini lesson or conference. I would love to add Patricia Polacco’s book, Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece, to my mentor texts’ basket.

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  102. This looks like a great list of mentor texts for writing workshop that I can share with my teachers. I think I would connect with Before After, Marlene Marlene Queen of Mean, Louise Loves Art, and You Are (Not) Small. I was (and still am) the small one so I am going to add that to my wish list.

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  103. I always look forward to the amazing Mentor Text ideas shared on this blog 🙂 Thank you! Several of the previous titles mentioned on here have helped me in planning our writing mini-lessons. Hana Hashimoto would be a great addition to my writing library to share with my 4th graders. Thank you 🙂

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  104. Thank you for sharing. I would LOVE the book “You Are (Not) Small”. I remember being called “shrimp” all the time as a child. My daughter has also been teased because of her size. I would to read this book to my class about how labelling someone hurts. Then I would have them write about a time it has happened to them or perhaps a time they labelled someone.

    Another great Mentor Text is “Hey, Little Ant” by Phillip Hoose. I’ve had my students write about how they think the story should end. Most of them side with the ant and write from his perspective.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  105. I am a librarian at an elementary school. Just recently my kindergarten teachers were asking about books that would help inspire their students to write about their feelings. Many of the books you mentioned in this post would fit the bill! I especially would love a copy of You are (Not) Small and Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean. But, I would be happy with a copy of any of the ten you discussed!

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  106. Thank you for sharing all of those wonderful titles! It helped me think about my picture book collection, and how to use texts to inspire notebook entries.

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  107. Hmmmm! Any and all of these books will inspire kids to write! Your comments on each of the titles help me to know which to share with my teachers who love to have mentor text suggestions. Patricia Polacco chooses subjects that evoke memories in all of us, Also, your book blurbs include new titles (for me) that I must read and include, You Are (Not) Small, Nana in the City, Louise Loves Are, Mix it Up, and Before After. Thank you!

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  108. I love that you gave us a summary and then “What’s Next” for writers. I used the Cynthia Rylant mentor text that was written about in an earlier post and it was wildly successful getting my students to read like writers. I can’t wait to check these out and maybe win one!

    email- corkdorkva@yahoo.com

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  109. Love this post! As a high school English teacher with many students who are not comfortable writing, I appreciate the “door” so-to-speak that picture books open to my tenth graders. I have found that they need to be encouraged to think figuratively about topics that they believe they have zero opinions about. I will definitely be utilizing titles from this list for the rest of the school year.

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  110. Thank you for sharing all of those wonderful titles! It helped me think about my picture book collection, and how to use texts to inspire notebook entries.

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  111. Wow. Just, wow. Thank you for this treasure of a post, and introducing me to more books I need to know (and know I’ll love). I’m intrigued by Nana in the City and Louise Loves Art and can already feel the cogs grinding as I think about how they could relate to the foundation I’ve tried to establish. Before and After has me really curious! Thanks for posting!

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  112. These are all new texts for me, Stacey. Thank you so much for sharing them. I especially am interested in Little Elliott Big City. I am interested in reading about his challenges and can see how it will promote writing for a child with whom I am working. Great list. And I especially appreciate your bullets about how the book might be used in terms of ideas and theme. Thank you!

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  113. What a great list! I love mentor text, and haven’t made the most of them YET. This is inspirational, AND a good reminder. Greatly appreciated 🙂

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  114. Thank You so much I am known in our school for loving LOVING children’s lit. Here are some more that I can share with my colleagues. Many of these are new to me and now I can suggest them to o
    our librarian. Anything to encourage writing and reading works for me! Thanks, M

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  115. This list will be a marvelous addition for my Mentor Texts literacy workshop syllabus. I (surprisingly) am not familiar with ANY of these books – not even Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece my all-time favorite author, Patricia Polacco.

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  116. All of these titles are new to me! What a nice variety that will appeal to all of our learners. The book Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean would support so many writers! They have all been treated badly at one point in their lives and I think they would connect with the story.

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  117. Thanks for ten new titles for mentor texts…they all look great. Marlene the Queen of Mean sounds like a great discussion starter, but Louise Loves Art, Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece and the Sixth Violin all speak to students about developing and trying new things. I will look forward to finding these on our library shelves soon.

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  118. HMMMM – I think you’ve just created a great big list of books that I will need to order! I see not only writing mini-lessons but wonderful curricular ties to SS. Not to mention that many would be great for creating a climate of kindness.

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  119. What a helpful list of books and ideas! There are always a few students who have such trouble of thinking of an idea.
    Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece, Hana Hashimoto, and Louise Loves Art all resonated with me – the idea of using that to help students to think of things they’re passionate about and doing something that may seem impossible at first.

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  120. I love using mentor texts and the kids love it when I do too. It really serves a double purpose: the kids see how professional writers do what we are trying to tech them to do, and they get exposed to a new book ( or get to revisit an old friend). Whenever I use mentor texts I leave them in the tray in front of my whiteboard. I am amazed how little time they spend there. they are always in a student’s hands.

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  121. Thanks for sharing this great mentor list. I think each of these books would speak to children and inspire some great ideas for writing. I love the Before and After book. I was thinking that we could talk about mindset and how anyone of us can become whatever we choose to. Yes to doing a non fiction list. I’ll look for it!

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  122. What a great selection! Question: Does Marlene become “Undone”by the new kid being mean to her? Hooway for Wodney Wat is such a good book about standing up for oneself, but in the end the kids are kind of mean to Camilla. I need a book where the bullying is solved with kindness.

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  123. The books are all wonderful. In particular Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean by Jane Lynch, Lara Embry, Ph.D., A.E. Mikesell, and Tricia Tusa interests me as a teaching point for learners who may be unaware of their actions and the results of their actions. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  124. These books would be a great addition to my mini lessons for my students’ life books. I would love to have them all, but if I have to choose one it would be Little Elloiot Big City or Marlene Marlene Queen of Mean.

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  125. Great suggestions, Stacey! Many of these titles are new to me and I would be thrilled to look through any for additional teaching possibilities. Thanks for your wonderful list.

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  126. Such a useful post! These books all sound wonderful to inspire young writers to continue to write small moment stories. I especially like Nana in the City, Marlene the Mean Queen, and Little Elliott, Big City. Thanks for including the “what’s next for writers” section!

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  127. I love the endless possibilities, inspiration and accessibility these picture books provide. I think tapping into strong emotions such as fear in Nana in the City, can be an avenue for reluctant writers, especially one little girl I am working with, to find an entry point into the intimidating world of writing, where your words are out in the world for others to see…exposed. Sue.umpleby.6@gmail.com

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  128. Thanks for this great opportunity. I am always looking for ways to reinforce and encourage writing with my students. I am a Patricia Polacco fan as I am sure many others are. Her illustrations are so well done. Her storytelling magical. I have not used picture books as much as I should. I need to pull out a few and do some craft lessons this week. Thanks for the reminder.

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  129. I love your posts suggesting books. I already own You Are (Not) Small, and the rest sound just as delightful. I’m regretting this weekend’s resolution to spend less on my classroom!

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  130. Hoping to win a copy of You Are (Not) Small. I have seen a number of blog entries about this book in recent weeks and would love to share this book with my Kindergarteners.

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  131. Thank you for the fabulous suggestions. I have fully embraced the use if picture books in my 5th grade classroom. Many of those you suggested are on my to be read list. Now I have a few more to add!

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    • All of these books would be great but Nana in the City would be a great addition. I encourage my kids to take risks and be brave, and this book would be a nice addition.

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  132. Thank you so much for this list of mentor texts! I don’t have any of these picture books so I can’t wait to add some to my collection. I am wondering if you might generate a list of mentor texts for nonfiction writing as well!

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  133. The book Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean would be a great one to have in my 4th grade class! I’m always preaching “Always be kinder than is necessary!” I would love to have this in my classroom library.

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