Food Writing, Community Building, and a Book Giveaway

One way to get to know students is to determine what their favorite _______ is. Conversations about why someone likes something are an opportunity to learn more about a person.

Eric Carle has several books in the What’s Your Favorite series that can be used for inspiration to encourage kids to write about their favorite animal, bug, or color. His latest book, What’s Your Favorite Food?, is a collection of drawings, poems, and stories about different illustrators’ favorite foods.

Here’s the publisher’s summary:

How would you use this text in your classroom?
Leave a comment at the bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy of this book.

A new title in the Eric Carle and Friends What’s Your Favorite picture book series, in which Eric Carle and thirteen other beloved children’s book artists illustrate their favorite foods and explain why they love them.

Everybody has a favorite food. Some enjoy sweet treats like rich honey or ripe, juicy berries. Others prefer the savory comforts of warming matzo ball soup or creamy chicken Alfredo. With beautiful illustrations and charming personal stories, fourteen children’s book artists share their favorite foods and why they love them. Artists include: Aki, Isabelle Arsenault, Brigette Barrager, Matthew Cordell, Benji Davies, Karen Katz, Laurie Keller, Juliet Menendez, Greg Pizzoli, Misa Saburi, Felicita Sala, Dan Santat, Shannon Wright.

During the first six weeks of school, teachers work diligently to not only build a classroom community, but to build students’ desire to write. Nearly every child has a favorite food, which is why I think having students mentor themselves after the pieces in What’s Your Favorite Food? is an engaging way to get students writing and drawing in their writer’s notebooks. Because of the variety of foods that are written about in the book, the book can serve as a window, mirror, and sliding door (Bishop, 1990). Plus, having students share their favorite food entries can help forge relationships that may not have blossomed if it weren’t for a shared love of ice cream, pizza, or fruit!

If you provide students with an invitation to write about their favorite food, here are some ideas:

  • Model writing about one’s favorite things, such as food, into your writing. If you’re in a narrative unit of study, you might share a story about a time you made or ate your favorite food. If you’re engaged in an information unit, you could model how you might write all about that favorite food. In a procedural unit, you might encourage kids to write about how to write about their favorite food. After all, writers return to topics or things they love in their writing again and again.
  • Encourage upper elementary writers to craft an entry — in the genre of their choice — about their favorite food in their writer’s notebook. Later, students might choose to return to their favorite food piece when looking for an idea to further develop for publication.
  • Teach students how to respond as writers to each other’s writing. Encourage them to praise their peers’ for things they did as a writer (e.g., rich description, sensory detail, authentic voice).
  • Honor cultural traditions by encouraging students to ask questions about each other’s favorite foods. Some students might share about foods that are their favorites that their peers may be unfamiliar with. Encourage students to ask questions, rather than make judgments, if they’re commenting on the topic (i.e., the food the person is writing about), rather than on the writerly moves their peer made.

One of my favorite things about What’s Your Favorite Food? are the varying lengths of each artist’s contribution. Some page spreads are a couple of lines, while others have text that covers a full page. I think the varied text lengths in the book will give a nod to the differing writing styles and abilities each child brings to the school year.

Take a peek inside of the book:

Giveaway Information:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of What’s Your Favorite Food?.  Many thanks to Macmillan for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of What’s Your Favorite Food?, please leave a comment about this post by Tuesday, September 10th 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 Thursday, September 12th. You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter the giveaway.
  • 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 Macmillan 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 – FAVORITE FOOD. 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.