Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Find Picture Book Mentor Texts ~ by Patricia Toht

I recently reached out to my GROG buddies to help me brainstorm about picture book topics for upcoming posts. I had already covered: 




The GROG hive mind came up with many suggestions, but one buzzed to the top --


How do you find picture book mentor texts?


• The most important thing you can do is to build your own reference guide. Read! Read! Read! When you find elements that are done particularly well in certain books, WRITE THOSE TITLES DOWN! I have a notebook just for this purpose, and it lists a different topic every few pages (e.g. humor, quirky characters, fractured fairy tales, minimal words, lyrical language, etc.) Soon you will have your own amazing reference guide at hand.


A recent stack of rhyming books
that I checked out of my library.

• Enlist the help of your librarian and/or bookseller. These folks are walking, talking versions of the above-mentioned reference guide.
Love your local bookseller!

• Use Google to sleuth for mentor texts. Narrow down the topic you are interested in and type key words into the search box, connecting them with the plus sign (e.g. picture book + cats + humor). You may soon discover that there are several wonderful websites with collected lists of picture books by topic. 


(mine the collective minds kids' book nerds)



Pragmatic Mom 
(great lists from Mia Wenjen)




(check the Classroom Ideas Archives)







(select Children's Books and Authors/Themed Booklists)





(Marcie blogs about mentor texts and how to use them.)







• Poke around Pinterest. Many Pinterest pages have collections of picture books by theme.

• Don't forget Twitter! The recent hashtag #nf10for10 on February 10 focused on nonfiction titles. Here is an example from an elementary school librarian outside of Boston.


• Sign yourself up for a month of mentor texts. ReFoReMo, Reading for Research Month happens every March. Throughout the month, guest posters focus on a particular aspect or theme of picture books and provide a handful of recent titles for further research on these aspects/themes. 
I will be joining the fun on March 7th when I look at "How To" picture books. You can find out more about ReFoReMo here.



I hope this helps you get started on the path to finding picture book mentor texts. 

Do you have questions? Tips you'd like to share? Please include them in the comments below.

28 comments:

  1. Great ideas to make your own. I like to use Pinterest to find mentor texts.

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  2. Great list of blogs, twitter hashtags and more! TY, Patty. Looking for ward to your ReFoReMo post.

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  3. Great resources. ReFoReMo is coming right up, and every year I am introduced to more than 75 new-to-me picture books that could be mentor texts.

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    1. ReFoReMo is a perfect resource for specific mentor texts, Sue. It's great that you can look back on past years' posts, too!

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  4. Wow. Lots of useful tidbits here, Patricia. Thanks for putting them all in one place. I gotta tell you---this could be a sign from above---"picture books+cats+humor" is where I am right now. Thank you, thank you.

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    1. Oooh, Sherri, I'm intrigued! Cats + humor -- I can't wait to see what you have up your writing sleeve.

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  5. Tips, Links, and Resources - this is a grand slam post!

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    1. Thanks, Kim! I'm glad it's helpful to you.

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  6. Great ideas. Pinterest is my favorite. So many great lists to dig through!

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    1. Pinterest is a such popular resource, Rebecca. I use it for lists of mentor book lists when I can keep myself from looking at fabulous recipes!!

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  7. Thank you, Patty! Great ideas for research and organizing - love the spiral notebook log that you have added to over time! I need to start that now :)

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    1. I know that you are great at organization, Eileen! Your notebook will be a great resource for you.

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  8. Great ideas here! I'd also like to add Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book blog, where topics are laid out according to theme. https://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/

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    1. Great suggestion, Jilanne! I'm so glad you've added Susanna's blog as a resource. Click here to reach Susanna's blog.

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  9. Thank you, Patty, for an excellent collection of places to find mentor books with various themes. Pragmatic Mom and Reading Rockets are top on my list.

    Suzy

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    1. I'm glad that you've found those helpful, Suzy. Happy writing!

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  10. Thank you, Patty! Terrific tips and lists :)

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    1. Thanks, Charlotte! I hope you find some great mentor gems for your latest works.

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  11. Great post, Patricia! And thanks for the shout out to ReFoReMo! We are excited to have you on the team this year!

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    1. You're my queen of mentor texts, Marcie!

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  13. What a wealth of ideas here. Thanks, Patty!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. I forgot to add that friends are a great resource, too! ;)

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  14. I love creating lists of, topics, techniques, and ideas. I often find myself digging through the pages when I'm stuck on a story.

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