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Fungus is Among Us! written by Joy Keller Illustrated by Erica Salcedo

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 3.34.26 PMAt first I thought that fungus was really gross…but now I think they are good for our planet- Julia, Grade 3

They mixed a storybook with poetry and a BUNCH of facts! – Rain, Grade 3

That’s a LOT of fungi!  Barely any fungi in my yard!  Yeast is fungi.  We eat fungi ?!? – a third grader


Fungus is Among Us written by Joy Keller and illustrated by Erica Salcedo is a frolicking, fun, nonfiction, rhyming, hybrid, poetry/deep information book perfect for sharing with all grades during a nonfiction reading/writing unit.

One student’s favorite page depicted a compost pile.  He loved  all the bits and different types of fungus in the drawing.  

Shared with third grades at the beginning of their informational reading/writing units, this mixed genre book provided an totally different mentor text  for young writers.  As a poet, Joy Keller looks with poet’s eyes and helps us see this ordinary thing, fungus, in a new way. The simple speak-to-the audience style of the rhyming narrative brought my young audience along for the ride.  Bolstered by my own iPhone photography of fungi growing in my wooded yard, the students were enraptured by the clever flow of the picture book’s rhyming text and fascinated by the facts accompanying the story on each page.

The back matter of this book includes a mini-biography of a mycologist, a scientists that studies fungi, in question and answer form accompanied by photos of fungi in the wild.

The book ends with a bibliography for other nonfiction books about fungus and mycophilia.

As readers we thought about what we learned and as writers we thought about what we might try.   A powerful introduction, the parallel structure of story and facts, the conclusion that leaves readers thinking, end papers and back matter,  Fungus is Among Us is sure to be a favorite poetry and nonfiction mentor text.

IMG_5596Fungus is Among Us offers opportunities to show new ways to include text features as well as a fresh approach to  balancing ideas and facts.  Perfect for a genius hour jump-in, you could pair this text with an video, Fungus Among Us, about fungus which do live among us.




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