Franki’s Weekly Text Set-Writing Mentors: How Do Different Writers Approach Similar Topics?

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

This week’s Text Set focuses on writing mentors. Often for writers, it is helpful to see the various ways different writers approach similar topics. Studying the possibilities is important in all genres and formats of writing. This week, we’ll focus mostly on narrative texts that would work well in a narrative unit of study.

(You’ll notice a few sets of these books were shared last spring with a reading focus. I am a big believer in using anchor mentor texts across the year for a variety of reasons. So even though some sets are the same or similar, the focus of this set is study as a writer, especially as part of a narrative unit of study.)

Family Get-Togethers

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant is a classic text used in many writing workshops in the study of narrative. To deepen the study, comparing different ways writers write about a family reunion–the word choice, the focus, the imagery, etc. can be done using this classic along with Family Reunion and Going Down Home with Daddy. Each of these has a very different writing style and young writers can learn a great deal from comparing these.

A Trip

Writing about a trip is something young writers like to do, especially within a narrative unit of study. Fatima’s Great Outdoors and The Camping Trip each focus on a camping trip and the experiences of that one trip. Writers can study the format and also the focus that each story has within the topic of a camping trip.

Learning Something New

Learning a new skill takes patience and practice and each of these characters’ stories shows that. The Electric Slide and Kai, The Most Magnificent Thing, Jabari Tries and Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao show the messiness of the learning process! Learning something new is a great topic for narratives and there are so many ways to approach the topic. This set shows writers the variety of things learned as well as a variety of ways to approach the topic as a writer.

Someone We Love

Writing about someone we love to spend time with or someone we miss is a common topic in narrative writing. When Lola Visits, Saturdays are for Stella, and I Dream of Popo explore the relationships as well as coping with missing a loved one in different ways.

The Current Pandemic

The current pandemic something on many children’s minds and these three books (Outside, Inside, And the People Stayed Home, and Keeping the City Going take that current issue and open conversations for children. These books can also be used as mentors because even though each is about the pandemic, the focus and the writer’s purpose of each is very different.

This week’s books were linked at Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous children’s bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!

#PB10for10: Important Stories from History

It’s August 10 so you know what that means–time for Mandy Robek’s and Cathy Mere’s incredible #PB10for10. A day to find lots of great new books from so many people! This year’s posts are being curated at the blog Reflect and Refine so make sure to visit several times today so that you don’t miss a post. Also follow the hashtag #PB10for10 on social media.

This year, my 10 picture books are books that helped me learn about some story or piece of history that I didn’t know about. Thanks to Dr. Laura Jiménez, I have realized how much history I have not learned and how important it is for us to learn the history we missed. So much of this history was not taught when I went to school and with these great picture books, we can learn important history ourselves and we have great books to share with our students so they don’t miss this history. I’ve learned so much from each of these books and they are all perfect for elementary classrooms. This is certainly not a comprehensive list but it’s a good place to start.

Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone

We Are Still Here: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell

Equal Shot: How the Law Title IX Changed America by Helaine Becker

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford

A Day for Rememberin’: The First Memorial Day by Leah Henderson

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito

The Teachers March: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America by Deborah Diesen

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story by Joseph Bruchac