Octopus Stew By: Eric Velasquez

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Once again Eric Velasquez continues to help improve my teaching. In his latest book, Octopus Stew, Mr. Velasquez shares his family’s love of storytelling and Afro-Latino heritage. Third-grade students notice the thread of family and culture throughout his books.  He continues to inspire the writers in the classrooms in which I work.

Kids said:

Oh, I love this author!

Wow! It’s two stories in one! That’s so cool!

Mr. Velasquez wrote a fantasy story about memory he had with his family.

The illustrations are so real. It’s like I’m right there in the story.

I really liked how the Spanish words were incorporated into the story and then the English. It helped me because I didn’t know some of the Spanish words.

 

Mentor Texts uses:

Teachers can share Eric Velasquez’s author’s notes to show students how to mine their notebooks to generate ideas and create a different genre.  Similar to Eric Velasquez, students can take a family memory and turn it into a fantasy.

By looking closely at the text, students will notice how Mr. Velasquez uses the English translation of Spanish words and phrases immediately following their usage.   This immerses the reader into culture and sense of pride Mr. Velasquez has of his heritage.  Students can try their hand at incorporating their native languages into their stories.

Another fun feature of this book is the foldout pages.   Mr. Velasquez create two narrative stories in one book- open the foldout pages and read one version, keep them closed and read another. Students could use this feature to incorporate another narrative storyline, a nonfiction information piece or even a poem.

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