NF10for10 2016: Nonfiction Books as Mentor Texts for Writing

NF10for10poster

This is the first time I’m doing a 10 for 10 post as a librarian instead of a classroom teacher. There are a few differences in this: 1) I’m in a position now where people are asking for book recommendations on a daily basis, and 2) I am in a position where I’m reading the same book multiple times. If I choose to read a book to third grade, it has to be a book I love enough to read aloud and hook them and absorb ME for seven readings.

NF10for102016

The books that I chose for this year’s list are books are all nonfiction that completely absorbed me. They are delightful as read alouds and they are stellar examples of nonfiction writing.

For each book, I’ve highlighted writing craft that I particularly like.

Most of these books are strong in specific word choice, which I refer to as “specificity.” For me, this means that the author uses domain-specific language. One of the treasures of these books is that none of these books use the words like vocabulary words, but they use words that true to the world they are writing about.

I'm trying to love spiders

I’m Trying to Love Spiders

Written and Illustrated by Bethany Barton

Viking, 2015

* Voice

* Specificity in word choice

* Tone

the spider

The Spider

Written and illustrated by Elise Gravel

Tundra Books, 2015

* Voice

* Specificity

* Tone

I also recommend reading both of these spider books and having a discussion about how two authors chose to write about the same topic.

finding winnie

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

By Lindsay Mattock

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Little, Brown, 2015

* Word choice

* Dual Narrative

* Lyrical language

I also read this book alongside Winnie by Sally M. Walker. Students discussed how two authors took the same topic and wrote about it. They especially noted how they started the stories in different places.

how to swallow a pig

How to Swallow a Pig: Step by Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom

By Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Houghton Mifflin, 2015

* Point of view

* Organization (How-To Text)

* Alliteration

* World Play

* Specificity in word choice

tiny creatures

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes

By Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Emily Sutton

Candlewick, 2014

* Specificity in word choice

* Imagery

* Sentence variety

leaflets three let it be

Leaflets Three, Let it Be! The Story of Poison Ivy

By Anita Sanchez

Illustrated by Robin Brickman

Boyds Mills Press, 2014

* Vivid Verbs

* Specificity in word choice

* Adjectives

swan

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova

By Laurel Snyder

Illustrated by Julie Morstad

Chronicle, 2015

* Lyrical language

* Alliteration

* Vivid Verbs

* Rhythm

water is water

Water is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle

By Miranda Paul

Illustrated by Jason Chin

Neil Porter: Roaring Brook, 2015

* Vivid verbs

* Word Play

* Specificity in word choice

* Rhythm

mesmerized

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France

By Mara Rockliff

Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Candlewick, 2015

* Specificity in word choice

* Vivid Verbs

* Voice

* Tone

trombone shorty

Trombone Shorty

By Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015

* Voice

* Specificity in word choice

* Refrain (repetition)

* Personal narrative

The 10for10 posts are happening all over the web today. Click here to join the Google+ Community where post links are being shared. 

Previous 10for10 Posts

Poetic Nonfiction Picture Books

Fiction Picture Books for Word Choice

Nonfiction Picture Books about Virginia History

Poetry Mentor Texts: Snoozefest by Samantha Berger

snoozefest

Snoozefest

By Samantha Berger

Illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Dial, 2015

Snoozefest is a delight! Berger had me at the title: Snoozefest! I think the thing that delighted me (and would delight younger readers) is the word combinations. Snoozefest, Nuzzledome, naptacular, even the character’s name, Snuggleford Cuddlebun, play with sleepy language. There are also fun words in the illustrations. Snuggleford is a sloth who attends a sleeping contest, or Snoozefest, and it’s quite a celebration of sleep. This book is full of sleepy, snoozy language. The rhythm and rhyme makes it fun to read.

This book would be good a mentor text for:

* Word Play (especially puns)

* Alliteration

* Descriptive language

I’d highly recommend listening to Matthew Winner’s podcast episode with Samantha Berger, where she gives lots of inside scoop on Snoozefest and her process.

Other Poetry Month Posts

Some Bugs

Raindrops Roll

A Rock Can Be…

Mentor Texts for Teachers: Resources for You to Use in the Classroom

Image for posts--mentor texts in the classroom

Check out some of the new resources for writing teachers.

Professional Books

writing thief

The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham

This new book on using mentor texts in the classroom is full of great ideas for using mentor texts in the classroom. In the fall, Ruth,  Kate Messner, Lisa Yee, and Varian Johnson did a free webinar about mentor texts, which you can watch for free here:

I highly recommend it for teachers because it gives a glimpse into writers and their processes.

59-reasons-to-write

59 Reasons to Write by Kate Messner

If you haven’t read REAL REVISION by Kate Messner, you need to get that book. Her new book, which has a free preview on the Stenhouse website, stemmed from Kate’s work with the free Teachers Write program she does in the summer. If you are a teacher of writing, Kate encourages you to try writing for yourself. She believes (and I agree) that it makes you a better writing teacher. This one just came out, and it would be perfect for a summer study with a group of other teachers.

grammar-matters

Grammar Matters by Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty

If you need some help teaching grammar with mentor texts, then this can be your go-to book. Dorfman has already put out two great mentor texts books (here and here). This one focuses on grammar. I have plans to use some of the lesson idea in this book in the coming weeks.

Mentor Texts for Word Play

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post at the Grog about using mentor texts to learn about Word Play. While I wrote the blog post for writers to use in their own writing, you can use the mentor texts and the ideas with students. Hop on over there to find out how to play with words.

Mentor Texts for Word Play Guest Post

punny titles

I’m over at the GROG today talking about mentor texts for word play. Whether you are a writer looking to make your writing more playful, or a teacher looking to help kids play with words, this post has a bunch of fun books to check out! Here is the link.

Mentor Text Spreadsheet: Picture Book Month in Review

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Collage of all books

 

Picture Book Month is officially over. But I have created one last thing to share with you on mentor texts. Each day, I shared a mentor text post with you featuring different ways that each of these books could be used to teach writing skills to young writers.

Picture Book Month Mentor Text Posts

I’m now introducing a spreadsheet that summarizes all of the texts I referenced in November. The spreadsheet includes a list of all of the texts, links to their posts, and the skills for each text. Then I broke the spreadsheet workbook into various pages–one page for EACH skill. So if you are looking for all of the books that teach Onomatopoeia that I mentioned in November, then you can access them all on one page. This is the list of skills that have their own pages:

* Adjectives

* Alliteration

* Description

* Figurative Language

* Imagery

* Onomatopoeia

* Organization

* Personal Narrative

* Persuasive Texts

* Point of View

* Sensory Words

* Sentence Variety

* Specificity

* Tone/Mood

* Voice

* Vivid Verbs

* Word Choice

* Word Play

Because there are so many different skills, you can’t see them all at once. You might see this button on the bottom right hand side of the spreadsheet.

Arrow Screenshot for spreadsheet

Use the arrows to scroll right and left to access all of the pages. They are listed from left to right in alphabetical order.

Mentor Text Spreadsheet 

Picture Book Month Day 29: Picture Books as Writing Mentor Texts featuring MONSTORE

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monstore

MONSTORE

by Tara Lazar

Illustrated by James Burks

Aladdin, 2013

Summary:

Zack needs a monster to keep his sister away from his room, but every monster he buys doesn’t work, and buying more monsters doesn’t work either. He has to find a solution to his monstrosity of a problem.

Mentor Text Writing Skills:

* Tone

* Alliteration

* Word Play

* Vivid Verbs


piboidmo2013-participant-214x131

Interested in writing picture books?? Tara Lazar, author of MONSTORE, is the mother of PiBoIdMo. Check out her website for more details.


 

For more information about mentor texts, check out these links:

Mentor Text Resources

Mentor Text Lesson Plans

Mentor Text Tips

Glossary of Mentor Text Terms

List of all Picture Book Month Posts

Picture Book Month Day 11: Picture Books as Writing Mentor Texts Featuring JAMBERRY

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jamberry

JAMBERRY

by Bruce Degan

HarperCollins, 1983

Summary:

A poem featuring all kinds of berries.

Mentor Text Writing Skills:

* Word play


 

For more information about mentor texts, check out these links:

Mentor Text Resources

Mentor Text Lesson Plans

Mentor Text Tips

Glossary of Mentor Text Terms

List of all Picture Book Month Posts

Picture Book Month Day 6: Picture Books as Mentor Texts for Writing Featuring HOT ROD HAMSTER

PBMBADGE-AMBASSADOR

 


hot rod hamster

HOT ROD HAMSTER

By Cynthia Lord

Illustrated by Derek Anderson

Scholastic Press, 2010

Summary:

Hamster has many choices to make on how to make his hot-rod the best out there. He enlists a little help from the reader, and eventually he wins the race.

Mentor Text Writing Skills:

* Word play

* Specificity

* Word Choice


 

For more information about mentor texts, check out these links:

Mentor Text Resources

Mentor Text Lesson Plans

Mentor Text Tips

Glossary of Mentor Text Terms

List of all Picture Book Month Posts

10 for 10: Top 10 Favorite Picture Books to Use as Mentor Texts for Word Choice

10 for 10 Badge

UPDATE OCTOBER 2014: This post has become so popular that I expanded it and turned it into a downloadable PDF. You can get the downloadable PDF for free when you sign up for my teacher newsletter (sign up is on the right-hand sidebar).

 

This year, I’m participating in August 10th’s #pb10for10 where friends of the Nerdy Book Club talk about 10 picture books they can’t live without in their classrooms.

I usually post about picture books that I use as writing mentor texts. So today, I give you, 10 picture books I’ve been using for several years in my classroom as writing mentor texts for word choice. Below I detail what types of amazing word choices the author uses and links to lesson plans I’ve written, in some cases.

Chicken Chasing Queen

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County

by Janice N. Harrington

Illustrated by Shelley Jackson

Mentor Text Lesson Plan

Word Choice Highlights:

Onomatopoeia, Figurative Language


Come on Rain

Come On, Rain

by Karen Hesse

Illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Word Choice Highlights:

Sensory Words, Vivid Verbs, Astounding Adjectives,

Imagery, Specificity, Figurative Language


great fuzz frenzy

 

The Great Fuzz Frenzy

by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

Word Choice Highlights:

Onomatopoeia, Vivid Verbs, Alliteration, Word Play


Heat Wave

Heat Wave

by Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Betsy Lewin

Word Choice Highlights:

Vivid Verbs, Sensory Words


In the small, small pond

In the Small, Small Pond

by Denise Fleming

Word Choice Highlights:

Vivid Verbs, Word Play


Mostly monsterly

Mostly Monsterly

by Tammi Sauer

Illustrated by Scott Magoon

Word Choice Highlights:

Vivid Verbs, Word Play


Mr Duck Means Business

Mr. Duck Means Business

by Tammi Sauer

Illustrated by Jeff Mack

Word Choice Highlights:

Vivid Verbs, Word Play


Over and Under the Snow

Over and Under the Snow

by Kate Messner

Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Mentor Text Lesson Plan

Word Choice Highlights:

Vivid Verbs, Sensory Words


Owl moon

Owl Moon

by Jane Yolen

Illustrated by John Schoenherr

Word Choice Highlights:

Sensory Words, Specificity


quiet book

The Quiet Book

by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Renata Liwska

Word Choice Highlights:

Specificity, Astounding Adjectives