Teachers for Teachers | It’s Monday! We Are Reading Some Small Books With Big Messages #IMWAYR #BuildYourStack #itsallaboutthebooks
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It’s Monday! We Are Reading Some Small Books With Big Messages #IMWAYR #BuildYourStack #itsallaboutthebooks

Our standards ask young writers to draft narratives that have meaning and significance.  This expectation seemed lofty at first.  Then we began to read like writers with our students.  When we think about authors’ intentions as we read it is a lot easier to write with intention.  Students discover that small often matters when it comes to writing. Small things, small moments, or small events may just have the most meaning.  They learn to shift away from the “Disney World” topics and toward times when they had a connection with an important person in their life.  They consider the person, the feeling and the moment.  Why this person? Why this moment? What about it has stayed with me?  What do I want my reader to feel? What is my intention?  We are always on the lookout for books our young writers can use as mentor texts to study how one writes with intention.  Here are two books we discovered this summer that are working really well for students this fall:

Night Job

A beautiful book.  The simplicity of the plot brings the significance of the story to life.  The boy’s father and their relationship is what makes the story meaningful – being together, working together, and sharing the love of reading.  This story touched our hearts and reminded us to celebrate slowing down and seeing the significance in small moments with those we love.  Young writers will study the paneled illustrations to show the passing of time, the word choice to evoke strong images, and the powerful close-in ending.

Drawn Together

This story packs a big message with a few words.  The way the illustrations and the words work together to add layers of meaning is truly magical.  It has a graphic novel feel in a short text.  Kids will love the structure, the speech bubbles and how action is depicted through the illustrations.  The use of color and drawing will help young writers think about how they can make intentional moves in their drawings.  It celebrates point of view, acceptance, and perseverance.  We love how the theme of perseverance is angled in a new way – not giving up on a relationship.  Thinking about perseverance in this way may be new for some students.

We had the privilege of talking with Minh at Nerd Camp this summer.  He has come each summer we have attended and talks with students at Nerd Camp Junior.  His passion for writing is contagious!  Don’t miss the dedication and author’s note in this book– each gives insight into the author’s intention.

If you want to read more ideas on how to use books to engage and instruct readers, check out our latest book, It’s All About the Books.  We are donating all of our royalties to the Book Love Foundation.  The Book Love Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving classroom libraries and putting books in the hands of students.


  • Avatar
    Lisa Maucione
    Posted at 12:05h, 05 November Reply

    Drawn Together is absolutely stunning. I have not read Night Job yet, but it sounds like a great mentor text.

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    Katie Logonauts
    Posted at 12:21h, 05 November Reply

    Great theme for book collection. I agree that these are both powerful titles for young readers! Now you’ve got me thinking … !

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    Elisabeth Ellington
    Posted at 13:17h, 05 November Reply

    I really liked Drawn Together but read it very quickly and need to go back and give it the time it deserves. I often feel like I don’t have time to reread, but that’s one wonderful thing about picture books: so easy and accessible for a quick reread! I have Night Job checked out of the library right now–will move it up in the stack. Thanks for sharing these titles!

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    Linda Baie
    Posted at 14:41h, 05 November Reply

    I love both books you’ve featured today, would love to see how students feel about them, too.

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    Jane @ Raincity Librarian
    Posted at 18:46h, 05 November Reply

    I haven’t seen Night Job yet, but it sounds wonderful!

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    Posted at 22:20h, 05 November Reply

    I’m looking forward to both Drawn Together and Night Job. It’s exciting to hear such wonderful things, but the wait is oh so hard. Thanks for sharing!

  • Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: The Last Line Matters! #SOL18 #TWTBlog
    Posted at 10:49h, 06 November Reply

    […] If you want more titles for young writers to study, check out yesterday’s post. […]

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    Aaron Cleaveley
    Posted at 08:42h, 07 November Reply

    I haven’t seen Night Job yet, but wow was Drawn Together ever an amazing book!

  • Avatar
    Myra from GatheringBooks
    Posted at 23:13h, 09 November Reply

    Drawn Together looks gorgeous! I have to find that book soonest! 🙂 Thanks for sharing such lovely books every week.

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