Franki’s Weekly Text Set: What Can an Author’s Note Be?

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

This week, we’ll look at a set of books that could be a mini-cycle on Authors’ Notes. I used to be a reader who skipped things like the author’s note in a book. But one day I walked into Lynsey Burkins’ 3rd grade classroom and they were talking about an author’s note and I was intrigued. I realized all that I had been missing and started paying attention to authors’ notes. Lots of readers are like me and miss out on this critical piece of a book. This week, we’ll take a look at various things an author’s note can be in terms of how it often adds to the main text in such important ways. I could see using this set of picture books for a weeklong study to introduce readers to the power of author’s notes and the things we miss when we skip them!

A Walk in the Words is a great book to introduce Authors’ Notes to readers. Author’s notes do different things but USUALLY an author’s note shares an author’s connection to the story they just wrote. This author’s note does just that which is why I think it is a great introduction. This is a story of a child who struggles to learn how to read and the author’s note lets the reader know that this is based on the author’s childhood. I love it as an introduction to author’s notes and also to talk about credibility of an author when they write about difficult topics. As a reader, I want to know that someone writing about difficulty learning to read, actually experienced difficulty. That’s important if I want to trust the author. In this mini-study of Author’s Notes, I’d ask students to name what this author did in this author’s note (share his personal story/connection with readers). Love this book and the author’s note. A much better story when you don’t skip the author’s note!

I love The Year We Learned to Fly and I loved it even more after I read the Author’s Note at the end. Jacqueline Woodson does connect her own life to the book. But she does more than that. She pays tribute to Virginia Hamilton and her book, part of her inspiration. The combination of these two ideas in the Author’s Note gives readers a new way to understand the story and to become curious about Virginia Hamilton’s work. It is a short and powerful Author’s Note that brings new meaning to the main text of the book.

Paletero Man and Delicious are books of pure joy! Both celebrate street food! The Author’s Note in Paletero man (in both Spanish and English) shares the joy of the memories the author has as well as a bit of the history of street food in Los Angeles. The author also shares the cultural connection. I included Delicious even though it doesn’t have an author’s note. Instead, this book of poems, each celebrating street food from a different place in the world, has something else at the end (another mini-unit for another time maybe). The author gives us more information connected to each of the places or types of street food in the poem. Little chunks of information that go along with each poem!

Dad Bakes is a wonderful story of the love between a dad and a child. It is a simple story of the two baking together and also of the dad going off to work at night so bread is ready and warm in the morning. The Author’s Note shares information from the author’s experiences around incarceration and organizations that support individuals and families after incarceration. So this author note gives lots of information but also connects readers with organizations that they may want to support after reading the story. It is an Author’s Note that could also be read as a call to act/help. Rereading the story after reading the Author’s Note is also important as it is a bit of a different experience with the new knowledge.

Authors’ Notes are important in fiction books but they are equally if not more important when reading nonfiction. In The People Remember, the author includes a long Author’s Note that does so many important things for the reader. The author embeds information with personal memories and important moments. She also highlights the 7 principles of Kwanza and adds a historical timeline. This is a very important book and the Author’s Note is a generous addition with so much more to learn and understand for readers.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection.

Franki’s Weekly Text Set: Books to Support Notebook Writing-Volume and Variety

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

There is nothing like kicking off notebook writing with young writers. I remember years ago, learning so much from Shelley Harwayne about the importance of “volume and variety”–how important it was for children to see all that is possible when launching notebook writing. So, the beginning of the school year in writing workshop means lots of invitations to try different kinds of writing-to fill your notebook with lots of different kinds of writing. This week, we’ll explore a set of books that invites writers to “give it a try”. I am adamant that these notebook lessons are always invitations and not have tos because a writer may have something pressing to write about. And by posing these as invitations, our writers can give things a try without a huge risk and see so many possibilities.

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle is definitely one of my favorite picture books of 2022. Wow! What a book! I love this one for writing workshop because it is the story of a little girl who misses her Mommy, who is a way on a business trip. I love to use early in launching writer’s notebooks because there are so many ways young writers can connect, so many ways they can “write off” of the book. This book will spark lots of family memories and feelings and this is a great introduction to the ways stories can do that for writers, how stories can be great ways to get your writing brain to remember something that’s happened in your life that you might want to write about.

No matter the grade I’ve taught, list writing is a favorite for so many young writers. The Me I Choose to Be (this year’s John Steptoe Award winner!) and Daddy Speaks Love (two more favorites of 2022!) are great invitations to list writing. These books seem to me like lists turned into a poetry/picture book. Writers can follow the repeated lines in each book to write their own lists or think of another topic to write a list about. I like these as mentors because for those writers who love lists, they can see that a simple list can become a beautiful picture book too!

Yes! The Most Magnificent Idea was released this week and is a sequel to The Most Magnificent Thing-! I love this new one for launching writers notebooks because it addresses the problem of days that you have NO IDEAS! This happens to all creators and it is something that comes up early in the school year for writers. Even though the main character is not a writer, she uses all the same strategies to get ideas for making as a writer does for writing. So lots to talk about and explore for days when you are stuck as a writer. So many reasons to use this new book!

Arab Arab All Year Long, Berry Song and Tuesday is Daddy’s Day is a set of books that is perfect for helping writers think about traditions that are important to them. These can be traditions that happen annually connected to a holiday or big event, they can be things you do with a family member or friend at certain times during the year or they can be things that you do daily or weekly-those daily traditions that make your days happy. These three books are great for talking about the various kinds of traditions we enjoy, the reasons for the traditions, and the people we enjoy them with. Great invitations for thinking a bit about those important traditions-big and small.

Notebook writing helps us slow down and notice things in greater detail. These two books are great ways to talk about the various ways to write descipritons. Mommy’s Hometown is a description of a place while Wait-and See is more of an observation in-the-moment, a close look at something happening. When we talk about descriptions or descriptive writing, I want my writers to see lots of examples–so I could see a whole text set on different ways or things that authors and illustrators describe. The act of a writer to slow down and notice and find those perfect words is easy to talk about when introduced as description. Young writers often have fun with this type of writing–so many possibilities!

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection.

Franki’s Weekly Text Set: Celebrating Our Names

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

Text Sets is back and excited about a new school year! I know celebrating names is something teachers do early in the school year so this week, we’ll share some books that invite these conversations. I think it’s important that we don’t only share these books at the beginning of the school year. Many books about names are better shared once community is established. And of course, the books can also be revisited as part of a writing unit or for a reading mini lesson.

This week’s Text Set starts with a classic–Chrysanthemum. I’m starting with this one intentionally because I think if we are intentional about book choice, we layer texts and have several books that can explore a concept over time. We choose the books that we share because they naturally invite the conversations we hope have. As we work to expand and diversify the books we use, there will always be favorites that still work. The key is not using ONLY one book but to create a text set around a big idea so children have many stories to explore. When I taught K/1, Kevin Henkes was a favorite author and this book helped new readers pay attention to print and text and numbers of letters in names, etc. This book is still one of the best I know to help kids think about names from a print standpoint–to get them paying close attention to print. It is also great because of the theme and because it is often the first introduction young readers have to Kevin Henkes, an author we want them to know! Even though there are lots of new, wonderful books about names that I would also use, I wouldn’t get rid of this one!

That’s Not My Name is my new favorite book in this Text Set. The book was published this summer and does a great job of inviting conversations about the importance of pronouncing everyone’s name correctly. It is done so well for children (and adults) of all ages and the illustrations add a joyfulness to the idea of names that I love. If you are adding one new book to your collections of name books, I’d add this one for sure!

Alma and How She Got Her Name and How Nivi Got Her Names pair together well because they both tell the traditions of how names are chosen in families. In Alma and How She Got Her Name, Alma learns about all of the people she was named after. (Juana Martinez-Neal is another author/illustrator to highlight as she also has picture books, chapter books and more.)In How Nivi Got Her Names, Nivi also learns about the people she was named after as well as the traditions of Inuit naming traditions and their meanings. (And I had no idea how may books illustrated by Charlene Chua I have in my collection–another great illustrator to highlight!) Both of these books open conversations about the various wonderful ways that children’s names are chosen.

Your Name is a Song is another fabulous story that reminds us the importance of every name. Similar to That is Not My Name, the main character is dealing with the frustration of people at school mispronouncing her name. The response is a bit different but with the same important message and empowers her to go back to school with a new understanding. There is a history and music piece embedded in the theme and the author note and pronunciations of the names are an important piece to discussing the importance of celebrating every name. Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow has 3 picture books published and one on the way! I am pretty sure I’ll preorder everything she writes from here on out!

My Name is a Story is another brand new picture book. This one has so much possibility when I think about conversations that might happen. After having negative experiences around her name on the first day of school, her mother helps her understand the beauty in her name and in all that she is. Ashanti does a bit with acrostic poetry in a way that expands the idea beyond just a simple word–which would be great fun to talk about with young readers.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection.

Franki’s Weekly Text Set: Board Books for All Ages

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 

Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

I worry when people think board books are only appropriate for infants and toddlers. Although they are great for that age, they are also great for older readers. I am a big fan of a laundry basket of board books for K-5 as part of the classroom library. The books I am sharing this week are fun and sturdy and great for all ages!

If you don’t know the Mathical Book Awards, then you must! It is a fabulous award “for fiction and nonfiction books that inspire children of all ages to see math in the world around them”. 1 Smile 10 Toes is one of this year’s winners and I LOVE IT!! It is an interactive board book and you can flip it around and make so many animals with different combinations of features. This can be a fun counting book for younger children, but older children can think about the many combinations and all readers can just have great fun creating new combinations! One of my favorite board books of all time!

I love this series by Sophie Beers and Love Makes a Family is one of my faves. (Change Starts with Us and Kindness Makes Us Strong are two others in the series that I love). I love this book for young children but I also think this series can be used in word study for older children. Anytime a whole book defines a single word or concept, there is lots to think about as word learners. Highly recommend this whole series! s

Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race is part of another board book series that I love–the First Conversations series. The others in the series are Yes! No!: A First Conversation About Consent and Being You! A First Conversation About Gender. These provide great anchors for good conversations around important topics. The books are done in developmentally appropriate ways with lots of access points and several opportunities to extend with conversations. There is great backmatter to support adults with having these conversations with children. Another series that is incredible for all ages.

Circle Under Berry book is fun for children and adults. Really, I don’t even know how to explain it but it is brilliant. There is so much on every page of this book–spatial concepts, colors, shapes, etc. And the whole design and concept behind the book is worth study. So much to love about this one!

I recently discovered this oversized board book-Little Cat Hide-and-Seek Emotions— that is a fun way to talk to children (of all ages) about emotions they may be feeling (and how to read those emotions when others may be feeling them.). The colors and illustrations make this book extra engaging, making it a great anchor for conversations around emotions.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. 

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for daily books/weekly text sets!

Franki’s Weekly Text Set: Nonfiction for Our Youngest Readers

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 

Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

Often, nonfiction is written with older elementary students in mind. This week, we take a look at a set of nonfiction that is perfect for younger readers. These books are actually perfect for all ages and they would be great writing mentors for middle grade writers. When we think about having enough quality nonfiction for our youngest readers, we want books that not only appeal to them, but books that meet their developmental and reading needs. These books do just that!

Love this new nonfiction guide for young readers-How to Say Hello to a Worm. There is so much content packed into this book but the question/answer format that is embedded in a narrative works well to share the information. The illustrations are bright and I love that the questions and answers are in different color font. This is a great feature that young readers will notice and just enough to begin thinking about the visual set up of some nonfiction texts.

I doubt that The Thing About Bees is officially nonfiction but it has enough nonfiction elements that I include it here. The subtitle “A Love Letter” lets readers know that this is a type of tribute to Bees. And the poetic language makes it a perfect read aloud. The way the information is embedded along with bigger themes is brilliant and there are so many access points for all readers.

Animals are often a top of interest for young readers and these two books are perfect. Animals!: Here We Grow! is filled with incredible photographs showing how animals change and grow. The combination of text and visuals make this one perfect for young readers. And in Steve Jenkins’ and Robin Page’s Who Am I? readers can guess the animal described based on the informational clues. (Another great mentor for older writers too!).

Lift, Mix, Fling! Machines Can Do Anything an engaging introduction to simple machines for young learners. There is so much on every page and key vocabulary is embedded into rhyming text. This makes for a great read aloud and there is also lots to explore in the illustrations on each page.

I discovered This Pup Steps Up and This Cat Loves That on Bookelicious and they are great fun. They are both filled with rhyming text and incredible pictures. The dog book focuses on all that dogs can do and the cat book focuses more on the things cats like and don’t like. Readers will learn a lot while they enjoy so many adorable pictures of dogs and cats. What could be better!

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious. If you don’t know Bookelicious, check it out today. It is an online independent children’s bookstore with an incredible selection of children’s books and many supports for young readers. Lots of great free events for teachers coming up that you can check out and register here

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for daily books/weekly text sets!

Franki’s Weekly Text Set-Mentor Texts in Writing: Introductions in Narrative Text

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 

Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

This week, we’ll look at some great introductions in narrative text. When thinking about mentor texts, it is important for our students to be able to notice and name things and then to try new things in their own writing. I am a firm believer that studying introductions in narrative transfers to other genres. I worry that we are so tied to units of study that we don’t realize how much writing craft spans all types of writing. So this week, we’ll focus on narrative introductions but that doesn’t mean the craft moves learned can only be used in narrative writing.

Oge Mora is such an incredible writer and the way she introduces Saturday is definitely worth study and conversation. I’d consider the first four pages of this book the introduction. She uses great repeated language, used short phrases to set up the excitement and also gives us a bit of a clue as to what is to come. So many craft moves in such a short introduction. I like this one because sometimes students think the introduction is the first page by default but this book provides a good mentor on discussing which pages do serve as the introduction and discussing what an introduction to a story is. I’d say this is a 4 page introduction but am open to other thoughts. Understanding what an introduction is, is key for our writers so thinking about how much of the book is used to set up the story would make for a great mini lesson.

If you were at the Dublin Literacy Conference, you heard John Schu read the first page of Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us aloud. I think these transitional chapter book authors are BRILLIANT at writing introductions. Because of the ways these authors support readers, the first page sets up the story. There is so much to discuss and try on this first page that I’d definitely include this book in a study of narrative introductions.

I love this introduction because it says so much in such a short paragraph. Sona Sharma, Very Good Big Sister? is a new series with the 2nd book coming soon. This introduction focuses more on setting but you learn a great deal about the main character by learning about where she lives. Such a visual is created by the words the author chose to begin with.

Mr. Watson’s Chickens is another fabulous picture book is another one that takes about 4 pages to set up. The last line of this introduction, “He started, like any sensible person, with 3.” gives the reader a bit of a clue as to what is coming as the story progresses. It is a great craft move for young writers to try out. This book also has the perfect amount of humor so writers who want to try writing something with a bit of humor can learn a great deal from this author.

Dragons in a Bag is a bit different from the others as Zetta Elliot begins by taking us right into the story–there is already a scene happening complete with some dialogue and as the reader we have to figure that out. This is a more sophisticated introduction for young writers to try and kids will have so much fun giving it a try–thinking about where in the story, they want to begin and how that might look.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. 

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for daily books/weekly text sets!

Franki’s Weekly Text Set-Picture Book Biographies: Black Women Leaders

This week, we’ll look at some fabulous picture book biographies. I LOVE picture book biographies and think they invite deeper understanding and study. I love that I can read several picture book biographies about a person in the time it would take for me to read a short chapter book. With different picture books, you get more information and different perspectives. This week, we’ll look at some great picture books that teach us about Black Women Leaders.

We’ll start with Vice President Kamala Harris. I love biographies about people who are leading now. I think it is so important for young readers to learn about people from history AND people who they see now in the world. I LOVED the biography by Nikki Grimes and just recently discovered the My Little Golden Book biographies thanks to John Schu. They are all written by different fabulous authors and are really good! Loved this one by Rajani LaRocco.

Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! is such an incredible picture book. It really captures so much about Shirley Chisholm. I also loved She Was the First!. I have not read Speak Up, Speak Out! (and it is not a picture book) but when I saw that it is by Today Bolden, I had to add it to my stack and share it here. It looks like a perfect middle grade read.

There is so much to learn about the four women featured in Hidden Figures. I love that we can learn about them together and about each one’s separate contribution (Counting on Katherine). I also love that there is a lot of different media surrounding this story so children have so many sources of information to build understanding.

I learned so much reading Pies from Nowhere–such an important story in understanding the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I am happy to see that there are two newer books (Sweet Justice and Georgia Gilmore about Georgia Gilmore so readers can get to know her and her story.

I just discovered Fearless Heart last week thanks to Lynsey Burkins. What a powerful story–another story I am so glad to know. Surya Bonaly cowrote the book so it is part autobiographical. This is an important story for all of us and there are media clips, interviews, etc. online that build on what we learn in this picture book.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. 

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for daily books/weekly text sets!

#KidsLoveNonfiction

This morning, Mary Ann Cappiello, Professor of Language and Literacy at Lesley University, and Xenia Hadjioannou, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the Harrisburg campus of Penn State University, sent the letter below to The New York Times requesting that the paper add three children’s nonfiction bestseller lists to parallel the existing picture book, middle grade, and young adult lists, which focus on fiction.

This change will align the children’s lists with the adult bestseller lists, which separate nonfiction and fiction. It will also acknowledge the incredible vibrancy of children’s nonfiction available today and support the substantial body of research showing that many children prefer nonfiction and still others enjoy fiction and nonfiction equally.

We support this request and have added our names to the list. We agree that spotlighting bestsellers in children’s and young adult nonfiction will help to showcase some of the best books in children’s literature and acknowledge that not all child readers are fiction readers.

If you support this request, please follow the signature collection form link to add your name and affiliation to the more than 200 educators and librarians who have already endorsed the effort. Your information will be added to the letter but your email address will remain private.

LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES

Nonfiction books for young people are in a golden age of creativity, information-sharing, and reader-appeal. But the genre suffers from an image problem and an awareness problem. The New York Times can play a role in changing that by adding a set of Nonfiction Best Seller lists for young people: one for picture books, one for middle grade literature, and one for young adult literature.  

Today’s nonfiction authors and illustrators are depicting marginalized and minority communities throughout history and in our current moment. They are sharing scientific phenomena and cutting-edge discoveries. They are bearing witness to how art forms shift and transform, and illuminating historical documents and artifacts long ignored. Some of these book creators are themselves scientists or historians, journalists or jurists, athletes or artists, models of active learning and agency for young people passionate about specific topics and subject areas. Today’s nonfiction continues to push boundaries in form and function. These innovative titles engage, inform, and inspire readers from birth to high school.  

Babies delight in board books that offer them photographs of other babies’ faces. Toddlers and preschoolers fascinated by the world around them pore over books about insects, animals, and the seasons. Children, tweens, and teens are hungry for titles about real people that look like them and share their religion, cultural background, or geographical location, and they devour books about people living different lives at different times and in different places. Info-loving kids are captivated by fact books and field guides that fuel their passions. Young tinkerers, inventors, and creators seek out how-to books that guide them in making meals, building models, knitting garments, and more. Numerous studies have described such readers and their passionate interest in nonfiction (Jobe & Dayton-Sakari, 2002; Moss and Hendershot, 2002; Mohr, 2006). Young people are naturally curious about their world. When they are allowed to follow their passions and explore what interests them, it bolsters their overall wellbeing. And the more young people read, the more they grow as readers, writers, and critical thinkers (Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2021; Van Bergen et al., 2021).

Research provides clear evidence that many children prefer nonfiction for their independent reading, and many more select it to pursue information about their particular interests (Doiron, 2003; Repaskey et al., 2017; Robertson & Reese, 2017; Kotaman & Tekin, 2017). Creative and engaging nonfiction titles can also enhance and support science, social studies, and language arts curricula. And yet, all too often, children, parents, and teachers do not know about recently published nonfiction books. Bookstores generally have only a few shelves devoted to the genre. And classroom and school library book collections remain dominated by fiction. If families, caregivers, and educators were aware of the high-quality nonfiction that is published for children every year, the reading lives of children and their educational experiences could be significantly enriched.

How can The New York Times help resolve the gap between readers’ yearning for engaging nonfiction, on the one hand, and their lack of knowledge of its existence, on the other? By maintaining separate fiction and nonfiction best seller lists for young readers just as the Book Review does for adults.

The New York Times Best Sellers lists constitute a vital cultural touchstone, capturing the interests of readers and trends in the publishing world. Since their debut in October of 1931, these lists have evolved to reflect changing trends in publishing and to better inform the public about readers’ habits. We value the addition of the multi-format Children’s Best Seller list in July 2000 and subsequent lists organized by format in October 2004. Though the primary purpose of these lists is to inform, they undeniably play an important role in shaping what publishers publish and what children read.

Adding children’s nonfiction best-seller lists would:

  • Help family members, caregivers, and educators identify worthy nonfiction titles.
  • Provide a resource for bibliophiles—including book-loving children—of materials that satisfy their curiosity.
  • Influence publishers’ decision-making.
  • Inform the public about innovative ways to convey information and ideas through words and images.
  • Inspire schools and public libraries to showcase nonfiction, broadening its appeal and deepening respect for truth.

We, the undersigned, strongly believe that by adding a set of nonfiction best-seller lists for young people, The New York Times can help ensure that more children, tweens, and teens have access to books they love. Thank you for considering our request.

Dr. Mary Ann Cappiello 

Professor, Language and Literacy

Graduate School of Education, Lesley University

Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Former Chair, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Committee 

Dr. Xenia Hadjioannou

Associate Professor, Language and Literacy Education

Penn State University, Harrisburg Campus

Harrisburg, PA

Vice President of the Children’s Literature Assembly (CLA) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). 

References

Allington, R. L., & McGill-Franzen, A. M. (2021). Reading volume and reading achievement: A review of recent research. Reading Research Quarterly56(S1), S231–S238. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.404

Correia, M. (2011). Fiction vs. informational texts: Which will your kindergarteners choose? Young Children, 66(6), 100-104.

Doiron, R. (2003). Boy Books, Girl Books: Should We Re-organize our School Library Collections? Teacher Librarian, 14-16.

Kotaman H. & Tekin A.K. (2017). Informational and fictional books: young children’s book preferences and teachers’ perspectives. Early Child Development and Care, 187(3-4), 600-614, DOI: 10.1080/03004430.2016.1236092

Jobe, R., & Dayton-Sakari, M. (2002). Infokids: How to use nonfiction to turn reluctant readers into enthusiastic learners. Markham, Ontario, Canada: Pembroke.

Mohr, K. A. J. (2006). Children’s choices for recreational reading: A three-part investigation of selection preferences, rationales, and processes. Journal of Literacy Research, 38(1), 81–104. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15548430jlr3801_4

Moss, B. &  Hendershot, J. (2002). Exploring sixth graders’ selection of nonfiction trade books: when students are given the opportunity to select nonfiction books, motivation for reading improves. The Reading Teacher, vol. 56 (1), 6+.

Repaskey, L., Schumm, J. & Johnson, J. (2017). First and fourth grade boys’ and girls’ preferences for and perceptions about narrative and expository text. Reading Psychology, 38, 808-847.

Robertson, Sarah-Jane L. & Reese, Elaine. (Mar 2017). The very hungry caterpillar turned into a butterfly: Children’s and parents’ enjoyment of different book genres. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 17(1), 3-25.

Van Bergen, E., Vasalampi, K., & Torppa, M. (2021). How are practice and performance related? Development of reading from age 5 to 15. Reading Research Quarterly56(3), 415–434. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.309

If you support the request to add three children’s nonfiction bestseller lists to parallel the existing lists, which focus on fiction, please add your name and affiliation to the signature collection form

Franki’s Weekly Text Set-Celebrating Black Picture Book Authors and Illustrators

This week, we’ll celebrate some incredible Black authors who write and/or illustrate picture books (and more). I worry when we use February to share books by Black authors because these books should be read, studied and incorporated into the curriculum all year. However, I do appreciate a time to celebrate the work and one event I have loved for years is NCTE’s African American Read-In. Whether you are participating or not, the authors I highlight this week have so many incredible books that have so much to teach young readers and writers. And these are 5 must-have Author Baskets in your classroom library.

Oge Mora has become a favorite author/illustator for me lately. I love so much about her work and the power of her stories for our youngest readers. Fiction, nonfiction, cumulative stories–no matter what she writes, love is a thread through all of her books. So much for readers and writers across elementary and beyond.

Vaness Brantley Newton’s Just Like Me is my go-to for baby girl gifts. The cover is one of my favorite covers of all time. Vanessa Brantley Newton writes fiction, nonfiction and poetry and her illustrations are colorful and draw the reader into every story.

Derrick Barnes is another author who writes incredible picture books (he also has a great nonfiction baseball book that I had to include because I LOVE it!). Each of these books is a celebration and I was thrilled to see that The Queen of Kindergarten is coming soon! (You may recognize Vanessa Brantley Newton’s illustrations on a few of his books.) The stories that celebrate children and the poetic language make these books must-haves.

If you’ve heard me talk books lately, you know that Daddy Speaks Love is one of my new favorites. I think it took this book and looking up the author to realize how many of Leah Henderson‘s books I love. Her writing, the topics she chooses, and her author’s notes are all gifts to readers.

Carole Boston Weatherford shows up in so many of my Text Sets (as you may have noticed) as her work is brilliant and so good across grades and ages. Her writing teaches us about people and times in history in a way that is accessible and honest. Her expertise combined with her writing means that I need every book she writes. I can always count on Carole Boston Weatherford’s work to be work I want to share with children and that I know will help us understand our world better.

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Franki’s Weekly Text Set–Authors Who Write Across Formats and Genres

Finding authors we love is also so important to any reading community, and when we find an author we love, we want to read everything by that author.I love authors whose work spans formats and genres. I love this for readers and for writers in the classroom. As a middle grade teacher, it was so important to. me that both chapter books and picture books are valued in the classroom. Making sure we had author baskets that spanned both is critical. I also love authors that children can grow up with-who have written books for a variety of stages. This week, we’ll take a look at several authors who have such a huge variety of books. This is important for our readers and for our writers.

This week, we’ll start off with the two authors who inspired this text set-Kyle Lukoff and Donna Barba Higuera. Last week, when the awards were announced, I was THRILLED to see Too Bright to See because I am a huge fan. A must read for everyone. And The Last Cuentista was one I had on order but hadn’t read yet. When I looked dup the author after she won the Newbery, I realized she had written a picture book I love-El Cucuy is Scared Too!–and I mentioned to my friend Stella, how much I LOVE authors who write both picture books and chapter books. For our readers, especially in middle grades and beyond, having baskets of books by authors who write both picture books and chapter books can put renewed value in picture books for older children. And as writers, studying an author’s body of work, across formats is always so powerful. Thinking back, I don’t think I thought hard enough about all of the author baskets I SHOULD have had in my classroom like these.

Since we are talking about awards, let’s move right to Grace Lin, who won the 2022 Children’s Literature Legacy Award!! Grace Lin has written so many incredible books–from middle grade novels to picture books, to early series books to math board books. She writes across so many formats and genres. One of my favorite authors to read and definitely a favorite to study as a writer.

Kate Messner and Jess Keating are two of my favorite middle grade writers. I love that they write fiction and nonfiction that is so engaging for this age. And they both write a great deal of both fiction and nonfiction which I love. And so many interesting topics across nonfiction. I also love how often they weave their nonfiction interests into their novels. Both authors have nonfiction series books which I am a huge fan of!

Andrea Davis PInkney and Kwame Alexander have each created such a beautiful collection of poetry in various formats and genres. These two authors have so much to offer both readers and writers. I love that both authors invite readers into poetry in various ways and also invite readers to expand what they read–once they discover one book, they’ll want to read others by the author and naturally expand the types of things they read. And our writers can learn so much about word choice, etc. Love these two!

I will read anything and everything that Jacqueline Woodson and Kate DiCamillo write. These two are both brilliant writers who understand children so well. Their books are well loved by all ages. As with the other authors, they both write such a variety of books. These are also two authors readers can grow up with, always finding something new as they grow as readers. Lucky us to have these two in the world of children’s literature.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious. If you don’t know Bookelicious, check it out today. It is an online independent children’s bookstore with an incredible selection of children’s books and many supports for young readers. Lots of great free events for teachers coming up that you can check out and register here

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