Author Spotlight Series · nonfiction · picture book · spelling

Can You Spell U-p-l-i-f-t? The Power of Spelling to Level the Playing Field

In 1936, eighth grader MacNolia Cox became the first African American to win the Akron, Ohio spelling bee and to advance to the finals in the national bee. How Do You Spell Unfair is the story of her groundbreaking achievement against a backdrop of racial discrimination.

Amping up Agency Blog Series · picture book · Read Aloud

Five Read Aloud Books for an Agency Study: Amping up Agency Blog Series

I’ve put together a text set of newer picture books to explore the concept of agency with kids. Imagine how it might look across a week to read these books aloud, co-creating an anchor chart with similarities between the actions of the main characters. What might we anticipate writers noticing? What connections might kids make to writing workshop? How might these characters serve as mentors as we collectively build our writing workshop, ensuring it is a place where each writer is encouraged and challenged to make decisions, to initiate the action they need to move their writing work forward?

gender · giveaway · interview · picture book

Talking About Gender Stereotypes with Elise Gravel and Mykaell Blais

If you're looking for an accessible introduction to gender and gender stereotypes, then PINK, BLUE, AND YOU is a book you'll want to own. Take a look inside of the book, hear from the co-authors, and then leave a comment for an opportunity to win a copy of PINK, BLUE, AND YOU!

Author Spotlight Series · immigration · picture book

How My Immigrant Experiences Inspires My Book Ideas

Aya Khalil shares how she got ideas for her award-winning picture book, THE ARABIC QUILT, and experiences that inspired it. She talks about the importance of telling own voices and immigrant stories.

Author Spotlight Series · illustrations · multilingual · picture book

The Smile Shop: A Tribute to Language and London

Award-winning author-illustrator Satoshi Kitamura details the inspiration for his picture book The Smile Shop. He explains how his introduction to the Spanish language planted the idea in his head and how the book is a tribute to the London he knew and loved when he was living there and developing his career as an artist.

Author Spotlight Series · biography · picture book

Embracing “First Words”: Writing FLYING HIGH: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles

Michelle Meadows provides a look at her writing process for her new picture book biography about Simone Biles, gymnastics champion and Olympic superstar.

mentor texts · picture book · slice of life · small moment · SOLSC Classroom Challenge

An Extraordinary Way to Inspire Writing About Ordinary Moments

Whether you're about to embark on the 9th Annual Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge or you're about to begin a unit on poetry where you want to encourage students to capture the beauty of their ordinary lives in verse, consider using Extraordinary! as a mentor text. Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of Extraordinary!

biography · giveaway · interview · picture book

Paint a Portrait with Words

Jen Bryant is a biographer whose recently released picture book, Above the Rim, is a worthy mentor text. Jen stops by TWT to chat with Stacey about some of the most important things kids can keep in mind when they're researching and writing stories about famous people or everyday heroes. Watch the interview, look through some excerpts from her newest picture book biography, and then leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball.

craft · Craft Moves · mentor texts · picture book

10 Books Celebrating Black Joy and Daily Life

While books about oppression, struggle, and suffering are of critical importance to read and discuss with children, so are books about Black joy and about the daily lives of Black children. I've curated a list of ten new (i.e., published in 2019 and 2020) texts that focus on Black people living life. Depending on who your students are, these books could serve as mirrors, windows, and/or sliding glass doors.

Author Spotlight Series · biography · picture book

The Threads of Writing a Picture Book Biography

Kelly Starling Lyons shares about her experience of writing Dream Builder, a picture book biography about Philip G. Freelon, an architect who created he National Museum of African American History & Culture.