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Q&A with Robert Burleigh + a Book Giveaway

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of this new book.
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of this new book.

I’ve been a fan of Robert Burleigh‘s writing for the past few years. I was delighted to receive an advance review copy of Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue, his newest picture book that’s out later this month.  As soon as I finished reading it, I began researching the story on my own and was fascinated.

Trapped! tells of a humpback whale who gets tangled in a fisher’s ropes and nets and then explains how divers worked to get her free.  It teaches children about the importance of human responsibility for animals and the planet. The book is illustrated by talented Wendell Minor. You can use Trapped! to teach a variety of craft moves to young writers (e.g., varied sentence lengths, strong verbs, changing font treatment, onomatopoeia, creating a sense of place, back matter), which make it a text worth having in informational mentor text basket.

Knowing I’d want to use this book in writing workshop with students, I wanted to ask Bob a few questions about this book and his writing process. I hope you’ll be able to use this interview with your students if you decide to use Trapped! as a mentor text in your classroom.

Q&A 

SAS: When and how did you first learn about the whale rescue off the coast of San Francisco?

RB:  By looking over animal rescue stories on the Net. Wasn’t looking “for a story,” just general interest, but this one seemed very dramatic. I got hooked.

SAS: How did you do your research for Trapped?

RB:  By reading about whales, especially threats to whales. Also spoke to some people who have participated in whale rescues, etc.

 

SAS:  You and Wendell Minor have published books in the past.

RB:  Wendell and I seem to click well together.  We were assigned to do a book for Atheneum, then got to know/like one another.  Wendell is a wonderful artist, but is also exceedingly knowledgeable about the world of children’s literature. He’s been very helpful to me in my writing, research, and my increased interest in that field.

 

SAS:  What’s one thing you hope children say or do after they finish reading Trapped?

RB:  I, of course, hope they would reread the book a few times!  But seriously, I hope they would understand a bit more about the danger to whales in the wild, and by extension, to all wildlife.

 

SAS:  Have you ever used the news to inspire picture books before?

RB:  No, this was the first time I came to a story from this angle, although there are many contemporary news articles that could lead one to a good story.

 

SAS:  Any advice for aspiring young writers who want to be published authors when they grow up?

RB:  To put it simply, read more and write more.  And when they feel they find an area of deep interest, they should follow their instincts.

 

SAS:  What are you reading right now?

RB:  I’m working on a book about Walt Whitman, so I’m doing a good deal of reading about him, his poetry, his times, and the Civil War.

TAKE A PEEK INSIDE THE BOOK:

Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image to enlarge.
http://amzn.com/1580895581
Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image to enlarge.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

  • This giveaway is for a copy of Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue by Robert Burleigh and Wendell Minor. Many thanks to Charlesbridge for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue, please leave a comment about this post by Friday, April 17th 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 Sunday, April 19th.
  • 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 contact at Charlesbridge 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.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – TRAPPED. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Comments are now closed.

Thank you to everyone who left a comment.  Katie’s commenter number was selected so she’ll receive a copy of Trapped!  Here’s what she wrote:

I just heard this story and an interview with the divers on a radio program last weekend. I’ve retold the story to anyone that would listen. I’d love to share the story and the book with my students! They’d think it was so cool that someone wrote a book about a story I’ve mentioned.

Stacey Shubitz View All

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

55 thoughts on “Q&A with Robert Burleigh + a Book Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. I have heard this story before and I am always heartened at an opportunity to develop the empathy muscles in my fifth graders hearts. Thank you for sharing and it will too go on my wish list.

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  2. This book reminds me of the story of “Humphrey the Lost Whale,” a whale who swam up the Sacramento River in the 1980s and needed to be rescued. These two books would be fun to connect theme and ideas. Great Mentor Texts.

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  3. This looks like a beautiful book to help students understand the responsibility humans have to the animals we share our planet with. I especially love how the whale takes us the entire page of the book to show how large it is in comparison to the boat and diver.

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  4. The story sounds very interesting, with multiple uses as a mentor text. The art is gorgeous. My 4th graders would LOVE it, as would I. Hoping to win.

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  5. I love nonfiction mentor texts and this engaging book looks like a great addition to my library. This is a great connection for students to learn about responsibility and could easily tie in with additional texts on the Great Garbage Reef too.

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  6. I love how the author says that children will be inspired from this story and may want to learn about dangers for ALL animals in the wild. Such a huge message to share with students. Can We save The Tiger was another inspirational text for kids.

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  7. Burleigh and Minor are such a winning team. I love how Minor’s paintings extend the text. Can’t wait for this one to be released. I’ve been a fan for a long time. Thanks for posting this:)

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  8. Including the interview with the author as well as ideas for us to use the book I. Workshop to teach craft moves makes it impossible not to use as a mentor text for students and teachers! as a bay area native, can’t wait to read more about this.

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  9. This sounds like a wonderful book that could be used in so many ways with a class. I would use it in character education as well as reading and a mentor text. I love the illustrations, too.

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  10. Trapped! sounds like a wonderful book to teach the inter-connectedness (is that a word) of all species. It’s important to learn how fragile the environment is and the creatures who live within it, including ourselves. Plus, it seems to have a good outcome which our young student need to hear about since there are not many examples today of good outcomes where the survivial of species is concerned!

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  11. My goal over the last few years has been to fill my classroom library with nonfiction. This one needs to be added to the library. This year’s students are animal lovers, so the animal books (fiction and non) have been FLYING off the shelves. Thank you for sharing!

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  12. I’m always looking for texts that utilize research information in their composition. I teach grade 1/2 and it is important they understand that factual information can be used to write non fiction and realistic fiction texts….and who doesn’t love a great animal rescue story!!!

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  13. Trapped sounds like a great story- one I know my students will love. I especially love the illustrations, as I love just about anything Wendell Minor does.

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  14. As teachers, we are always looking for engaging, high interest books to foster our students love of reading and writing. This book would be a welcome addition to a classroom library. Kids love animals, but especially whales. There is something amazing about these larger than life creatures and when one is in peril, kids get excited and motivated thinking about ways they can help. Connecting them to the world in which we live. Thanks for sharing!

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  15. I would love to add this wonderful book to my classroom library. We are currently working with nonfiction texts, so this would be a wonderful addition! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  16. This book looks like the perfect mentor text for my informational reading and writing unit! Thank you for always giving such great resources!

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  17. My students are fascinated by whales. Well, who isn’t? Would love to use this book as a mentor text to show how an interest in something in the news can become a story that you share with others. I am on the look out for interesting and motivating nonfiction. Thanks for the ideas and the interview.

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  18. This would make a great complement to any study of/ reading about whales. The illustrations are wonderful. How great for an author to work with an illustrator who is so knowledgeable about children’s literature.

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  19. Another amazing nonfiction mentor text! The classrooms that I coach into are starting a nonfiction writing unit, and this would be an amazing addition to the nonfiction texts we have already selected. That illustrations look fabulous, and I love the life lesson, one that is not talked about enough! Thank you for sharing!

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  20. I just heard this story and an interview with the divers on a radio program last weekend. I’ve retold the story to anyone that would listen. I’d love to share the story and the book with my students! They’d think it was so cool that someone wrote a book about a story I’ve mentioned.

    Like

  21. Definitely want to add this book to my class library. We are working on a nonfiction unit right now and thsi sounds like a great mentor add. Thanks for sharing the book, ideas, and interview!

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  22. Thank you very much for this interview. I enjoy using picture books,even for secondary school students. There is a lot of good literary techniques that can be learned without taking an extraordinary amount of time.

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  23. How wonderful to be introduced to another author of beautifully written nonfiction! I will definitely be adding his name to my list of mentor authors for my kiddos! We are ending our year with research and writing non-fiction books suitable for early elementary readers. I am so appreciative of your blog today!

    Fifth grade/RLA/Gifted Cluster

    Dianne Hall
    dianne.hall@comcast.net
    dianne.hall@cityschools.net

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  24. This sounds like a great nonfiction mentor text and a wonderful addition to my classroom library. It was so interesting to hear about the story’s origin and I can’t wait to read it. I am adding it to my never-ending Amazon queue. Thanks for sharing!

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