Teachers for Teachers | It’s Monday! A Mentor Text You Will Turn To Again and Again #IMWAYR #Booklove
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It’s Monday! A Mentor Text You Will Turn To Again and Again #IMWAYR #Booklove

Carmella Full of Wishes, Matt De La Pena and Christian Robinson

Sometimes, it is difficult to write about a book, because you have so much to say.  This is how we feel about Matt and Christian’s newest book, Carmella Full of Wishes.  Like their last book, Last Stop on Market Street, you can read this book again and again, and still find details you missed during prior reads. Carmella Full of Wishes is a story of two siblings who go out in town to run a few errands together. More importantly, Carmella Full of Wishes is a story about family and hope. 

There are so many subtleties for students to notice and ponder in this text. The repetition of Carmela’s jingling bracelets and the lone dandelion are accessible symbols for elementary readers and writers.  These objects weave throughout the story and add deeper meanings to the plot. Another subtlety some students may miss, is the role of the father in this story.  He is mentioned twice in the text and is depicted once in a cutout shape in an illustration.  It may take time for students to realize that her father was taken away by deportation.

Carmella Full of Wishes is in our pile of mentor texts for narrative writing. The amount of text on the page is manageable, making it easy for students to closely study the author’s craft.  We want students to see how Matt De La Pena embeds the setting throughout the text and notice how his well-chosen words help readers envision the characters’ journey.  Matt and Christian, please keep writing and illustrating – your books spark conversations, teach young writers, and warm children’s hearts.


If you are a teacher in need of books, Book Love Foundation grants are due on March 15, 2019.  Here is a link to the application and a list of application requirements.

If you want to increase classroom libraries in schools, please consider donating to the Book Love Foundation. 100% of all donations received go to purchasing books for in-classroom libraries.  You can give online or send a check to The Book Love Foundation, PO Box 2575, North Conway, NH 03860-2575.  If you want your donation to go towards an elementary classroom library, please indicate that in the memo line of your check or donate online and send an email to booklovefoundation@gmail.com indicating that your gift is for elementary teachers.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

  • Avatar
    Elisabeth Ellington
    Posted at 14:54h, 21 January Reply

    I have this one on hold at the library and hope it comes in sometime this week. I have read Last Stop on Market Street aloud so many times, and it’s such a strong text to work with, with both writing and illustrations. I am looking forward to reading this one!

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    Lisa Maucione
    Posted at 14:59h, 21 January Reply

    I second your thought – I would love to see more by Matt and Christian!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 16:33h, 21 January Reply

    I enjoyed Carmela Full of Wishes and am encouraged to pull it back out again as we begin talking more about deportation. Thank you for sharing the information about the Book Love Foundation. I hope they receive many more donations and that great books reach more classrooms. Have a wonderful reading week!

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    Posted at 18:29h, 21 January Reply

    Matt and Christian are an unstoppable team. I know that authors and illustrators typically do not truly collaborate. The author writes the story and then the artist illustrates but their words and artwork are always in perfect harmony. Have a great week!

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    Linda Baie
    Posted at 20:53h, 21 January Reply

    I have to admit I’d forgotten about this one, so just put it on hold. Thanks for the great review!

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    Mandy Robek
    Posted at 04:56h, 22 January Reply

    Oh, I must reserve this from the library and add it to my narrative list. I want to know more about the jingle of the bracelets and the dandelion.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 23:58h, 23 January Reply

    I need to read books with that critical eye for writing mentor texts. I don’t do that enough. Thanks for making me think about that this week! And yes, I love this book!

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