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Two New Mentor Texts I Adore + Book Giveaways

I’ve always been a diary and letter person.  I have loads of journals from my childhood and post-college years.  To this day, I relish letters I saved from my childhood since they’re a permanent reminder of a time in my life.  In these days of e-mail, texts, and Tweets, correspondence and journals can be savored.

I was drawn to two recently released picture books because they feature writing within the writing.  One is told as part-narrative/part-travel journal  whereas the other is a back-and-forth e-mail correspondence.  Here’s a bit more about them:

Armadillo in ParisAn Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis

Publisher’s Summary: A winsome armadillo from Brazil takes a trip to Paris in this delightful new picture book from Julie Kraulis. Arlo is an armadillo who is always up for adventure. His grandfather, Augustin, loved adventure too. When Arlo was born, Augustin wrote travel journals about his favorite places for Arlo to use when he was hold enough to go exploring on his own. When Arlo reads about Paris and the one the French call La Dame de Fer, or Iron Lady, he decides it’s time to strike out on his first adventure. He travels to France and, guided by Augustin’s journal, discovers the joys of Paris: eating a flakey croissant at a café, visiting the Louvre, walking along the Seine and, of course, meeting the Iron Lady… But who is she? Each spread has a clue about her identity, and kids will see hints of her scattered throughout the book. This book is like a gorgeous stroll through Paris with an adorable new friend–a stroll you’ll want to take again and again.

My thoughts:  At first I thought I loved An Armadillo in Paris because I’m a Francophile.  After a second read, I realized that the illustrations make you feel as though you’re walking along the banks of the Seine and viewing all of the famous Parisian landmarks alongside Arlo.  Upon a third read, which is when I started “reading like a writer,” I discovered the richness of the text: both the journal entries and the narrative.  The journal entries act as a tour guide to the city, while the narrative is told by a narrator who keeps you engaged every step of the way.  This unique structure appealed to me as a reader and had me dipping back into the text for multiple reads.

As a mentor, there is so much we can learn from Kraulis’ writing.  Whether you’re teaching students how to embed a second language into their writing, helping kids write with authentic voice, or showing them how to select precise words, An Armadillo in Paris can become your writing workshop co-teacher in so many ways.

Take a look inside of the text:

Excerpted from An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Kraulis. Excerpted by permission of Tundra Books a division of Penguin Random House Canada. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Kraulis. Excerpted by permission of Tundra Books a division of Penguin Random House Canada. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Kraulis. Excerpted by permission of Tundra Books a division of Penguin Random House Canada. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Kraulis. Excerpted by permission of Tundra Books a division of Penguin Random House Canada. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Kraulis. Excerpted by permission of Tundra Books a division of Penguin Random House Canada. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Kraulis. Excerpted by permission of Tundra Books a division of Penguin Random House Canada. All rights reserved.

9780399254079_I_Wanna_Go_HomeI Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow

Publisher’s Summary: Alex is not happy about being sent to his grandparents’ retirement community while his parents go on a fabulous vacation. What could be worse than tagging along to Grandma’s boring bridge game or enduring the sight of Grandpa’s dentures?

But as the week goes on, Alex’s desperate emails to his parents turn into stories about ice cream before dinner and stickball with Grandpa. Before he knows it, Alex has made a surprising discovery: grandparents are way cooler than he thought!

My Thoughts: If you know and love I Wanna Iguana and I Wanna New Room, then you’re going to love this new installment about Alex.  The e-mail communication between Alex and his parents is amusing. The medium is very 21st century, but the contents of Alex’s messages to his parents stays true to his voice from the first and second books.

Alex from I Wanna Go Home has strong opinions and uses a convincing tone in his e-mails to his parents.  In each correspondence, Alex provides his parents with reasons he should be able to go home, some of them are stronger than others.  I think you can chat with students about the strength of Alex’s arguments if you’re teaching them how to craft compelling arguments. The e-mails Alex sends to his parents reflect an economy of words in that they’re short, but each one packs a punch.  Talking about elaboration with this book in-hand can help students understand that purposeful word choice, not the amount of words, is what really matters.  For these reasons, and many more, I Wanna Go Home can be added to a mentor text basket for persuasive letter writing for early elementary students.  If you’re unfamiliar with Orloff and Catrow’s I Wanna books, your students will find them accessible and humorous.

Here’s a peek inside of the book:

From I Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow. Reprinted by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Young Readers Group, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow, 2014.
From I Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow. Reprinted by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Young Readers Group, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow, 2014.
From I Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow. Reprinted by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Young Readers Group, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow, 2014.
From I Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow. Reprinted by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Young Readers Group, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow, 2014.
From I Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow. Reprinted by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Young Readers Group, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow, 2014.
From I Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow. Reprinted by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Young Readers Group, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow, 2014.

Giveaway Information

  • This giveaway is a copy of An Armadillo in Paris and I Wanna Go Home. Many thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Tundra Books for donating a copy of each book.
  • For a chance to win this copy of An Armadillo in Paris and I Wanna Go Home, please leave a comment about this post by Monday, November 3rd 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, November 5th.
  • 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 Putnam and Tundra 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.

I used a random number generator to select winners of both books.  The people whose numbers were selected were tmckee219 (An Armadillo in Paris) and Leigh-Ann Hildreth (I Wanna Go Home).

Here’s what tmckee219 wrote:

Thank you for sharing new mentor texts! As a third grade teacher, i am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate ‘different but fun’ books into my classroom. My students LOVE being read to (as most students do! :)) and I am always on the lookout for new books. You did a wonderful job of framing the books for their content and personal touches that you liked – thanks for the insight! I appreciate it and would love to get a copy of my own! 🙂

This is what Leigh-Ann Hildreth said:

We are knee deep in an opinion writing unit in second grade.  We are using “I Wanna Iguana” and “I Wanna New Room” as mentor texts.  The students have been crafting their own persuasive letters using these two mentor texts.  We even convinced the custodian to fix the broken drinking fountain in our room.  They have learned first hand the POWER of WORDS!!  I can’t wait to share “I Wanna Go Home” with them!!!  Thank you for the recommendation.

Stacey Shubitz View All

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

115 thoughts on “Two New Mentor Texts I Adore + Book Giveaways Leave a comment

  1. Thank you for these fabulous book suggestions. I LOVE enhancing my students learning through exposure to fun, engaging, and rich literature! You can never have enough books to share!

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  2. I teach at a dual language school, so An Armadillo in Paris will be a great read for my kids and also teach them how to incorporate both languages in their writing! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  3. i am a fellow Francophile, & I’m always looking for a rich, unique mentor text for my fourth grade writers! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  4. Thank you for sharing new mentor texts! As a third grade teacher, i am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate ‘different but fun’ books into my classroom. My students LOVE being read to (as most students do! :)) and I am always on the lookout for new books. You did a wonderful job of framing the books for their content and personal touches that you liked – thanks for the insight! I appreciate it and would love to get a copy of my own! 🙂

    Like

  5. I spen a bit of time in Cambodia, and the owner of my guesthouse has been invited by another regular to bring her kids to her home in Paris. I would love to give give them a preview by sharing An Armadillo in Paris! Crossing my fingers.

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  6. Thanks for sharing these new books. I love pictures books so much that I can never walk into a book store without buying one. My 5th graders love it when I read picture books to them.

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  7. As always, I love the books you share with us. There are so many ways to use them with the main use for just plain enjoyment. I too am a journal writer, so I can’t wait to read Armadillo in Paris. I Wanna Go Home looks like a great gift for my grandchildren. How fun!

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  8. An Armadillo in Paris sounds like a great mentor text for predicting in reading workshop as well. I Wanna Go Home will be a great addition for my I Wanna…collection.

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  9. I just shared I Wanna Iguana with some teachers preparing to teach argumentative writing. This new installment from Karen Kaufman Orloff looks to be just as entertaining. Thanks for sharing the gems.

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  10. Thanks for sharing. It’s tough to implement Writers Workshop with fidelity as the pace of our required curriculum is swift. Having a list of good mentor text readily available is helpful. Can’t wait to add these titles to our always growing list.

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  11. I love discovering new books to share with my students!!! I Wanna Iguana is one of my all time favorites, and I can’t wait to read this new book. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. I love using I Wanna as a persuasive writing mentor text! An Amardillo in Paris looks like a whimsical story with enchanting illustrations! I would love to have either of these to use in both my reading and writing workshops!!

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  13. I love the illustrations in both books – helps brings the words to life! Thanks for highlighting them for me – I will certainly be looking out for them to use with my 7 year olds!

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  14. As a retired educator and literacy coach, I still am always looking for great mentor texts ideas to share with teachers still in the “trenches”. These two book titles could be used at any grade level! Would love to get a copy of each!

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  15. I would love these books to share in reading and writing workshop- I too am a bit of a Francophile ( Gaston is another fave from your rec) . I love the idea of promoting old fashioned letters and well crafted arguments through these lovely mentor texts! Oui oui!

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  16. I love mentor texts and just texts to read and share with my 4th graders! These sound fabulous!
    Thanks for the suggestions and your recommendations!

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  17. I am excited that there is a mentor text which will allow me to model email conversations. So much is lost in today’s dash and mash of words. Looking forward to either Armadillo or I Wanno Go Home

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  18. My wish list keeps getting longer. Excited for both of these books- I want a copy at home for my daughter and one at school for my students! 🙂

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  19. Paris is the hottest place to be right now. Thanks for sharing these two great books. They will be such a great addition to our library.

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  20. I decided to have my students write a letter to a character that isn’t in our read aloud. I wondered about whether I should have shown my students a mentor text. Thanks for calling my attention to these new books!

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  21. these books look very intriguing! I’m currently searching for picture books that have a purpose of writing within the story for my kindergarteners. These books would be great to explore the many facets of writing with them! Thanks for showcasing them!

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  22. We are knee deep in an opinion writing unit in second grade. We are using “I Wanna Iguana” and “I Wanna New Room” as mentor texts. The students have been crafting their own persuasive letters using these two mentor texts. We even convinced the custodian to fix the broken drinking fountain in our room. They have learned first hand the POWER of WORDS!! I can’t wait to share “I Wanna Go Home” with them!!! Thank you for the recommendation.

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  23. I’m always excited to see what recommendations pop up here! Both books look great, but I’m especially excited to check out Armadillo in Paris!

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  24. I have found the author’s previous two texts to be very useful as mentor texts in my classroom. Can’t wait to use the third book!

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  25. I was not familiar with the I Wanna books…and can easily see the appeal and use of “I Wanna Go Home”, and now teaching world language in our classroom can see the value of “An Armadillo in Paris” to complement the French I teach. Thank you again for sharing, and adding to my book list 🙂

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  26. As a reading specialst and former English teacher, I love discovering new books to use with students, but because of my busy schedule, I only have time to read so many. Thank you for taking some of the legwork out of this for me – I will definitely look into these!

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  27. I love using the I Wanna books for persuasive writing and am thrilled there’s a third one now.

    Thanks for sharing An Armadillo in Paris–it’s on my list for my Paris-obsessed daughter!

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  28. I always appreciate the lesson ideas and the mentor text suggestions that this website highlights. My 4th and 5th graders will be working on their Opinion/argument text type writing starting in the next few weeks and I know that either of these mentor texts would be a great asset in class.

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  29. These books sound sooo interesting in very different ways. An Armadillo in Paris sounds like such an adventure, a real jumping off point. I Wanna Go Home sounds like a very real situation for any child and shows how our attitude can change as we get to know or try new things. Can’t wait to read them.

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  30. My request list grows every time I open Two Writing Teachers. I can’t wait to pick up An Armadillo in Paris and I Wanna Go Home (a new series for me) on my hold shelf at the library. I love books that feature letter writing and would love to add these to my shelf of mentor texts!

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  31. My class just discussed how seldom we as adults have an authentic chance to write real letters these days. Love the preview of new mentor texts.

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  32. Another timely post. I spent an hour last night looking for books to support persuasive writing. I would love to win a copy of “I wanna Go Home”. Thank you again for the useful information.

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  33. Either of these books would be a great addition to my classroom library/mentor text collection. I love letters, too! I encourage my students and my children to write actual letters when they can.

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  34. Thank you for the introduction to these two gems. I adore the other installments in the “I Wanna” series, and look forward to this new volume!

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  35. I am also looking for great new books recommendations- especially ones that merge various writing within writing! Thanks for the great suggestions.

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  36. The I Wanna books are such great mentor texts for persuasive writing. I can’t wait to read Armadillo – what a great adventure! Thanks for sharing, and pick me! Pick me!

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  37. You always have the best books! I can’t wait to see Armadillo in Paris. What an interesting story line. Of course the I Wanna Go Home would continue offering great lessons.

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  38. I was just pondering the beauty of hand-written letters. After rereading a treasured note my mom wrote to me, and I luckily found after she passed away, I was thinking about what kind of notes I’ll leave behind and why seeing my mom’s handwriting, as recognizable to me as her smile, means so much. Wonder if these two books could spark a discussion with kids today, so immersed in emails, tweets, and texts, about letters and notes, hand-written vs. texts, emails, etc.

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  39. Thank you for such insightful and idea-filled book reviews. Not only are the reviews helpful, but the ideas on how to use them are always a great springboard into mini-lessons. Just the other day, my students were asking if another “I Wanna” book was coming out. I can’t wait to tell them, “Yes!”

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  40. I just read “I Wanna Go Home” and also thought it would make a great mentor text for writing – thanks for bringing it to the attention of a wider audience!

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  41. I’m intrigued by the Armadillo in Paris bookend love the fact that it’s not a rabbit or a mouse in Paris! Both of these mentor texts would be great examples of purposeful writing. I’ve been to Paris and can’t wait to read Armadillo. Fun.

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  42. What a great way to engage kids in journal and writing as a form of communication! Can’t wait to get my hands on these two. I have to admit. I’d really like to see An Armadillo in Paris, as Paris is one of my favorite places.

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  43. Using picture books as mentor texts is a goal of mine. I haven’t done it very often and wish I were better at it. Maybe these two books are a good place to start. Some of my students are in a French class. I’d love to share with them An Armadillo in Paris.

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  44. What a fantastic idea! I can already think of ways to use the Armadillo in Paris as a close reading activity that could later lead to writing. And I am excited to see that there is a new book in the “I Wanna…” series. Thanks so much for sharing these.

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  45. I am also a fan of pictures books that feature writing within writing. Not only can the read aloud go to a next level, but my students appreciate the book differently than a typical narrative picture book. I’m particularly partial to the first book; how can you not love a book with the main character as an armadillo!? What a fantastic find! If I don’t win, I’m already putting it on my long list of “books to buy” list!

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  46. My argument essay writing unit is starting and my 5th gr would love to read Alex’s new adventure! The other two are already out on the mentor shelf!
    My 22 yr old daughter is spending this year as a teaching assistant in France and I’d love to read the Paris book and share it with her when I visit in Dec. My fingers are crossed that I get picked!! Either way, thanks for telling me about 2 great new books!!

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