I love to observe. I came into myself as a writer through observing through line drawings. Over the years, I’ve really honed in on trees, plants and nature when I need to calm my mind and find ideas for writing.
Nature All Around: Trees by Pamela Hickman, illustrated by Carolyn Gavin is a treasure of information in text and pictures. The book offers the reader a journey of trees in spring, summer fall, and winter. Embedded in each seasonal section are soft, yet brilliant illustrations that hold the reader’s attention and spark wonder.
Over the past few years, the Sycamore has joined the White Birch on my list of favorite trees. Naturally, when this book was delivered, I flipped and scanned looking for any pictures or writing on the Sycamore. I love the description I found on page 27.
After reading and wondering through the pages myself, I began to think and see the power of this book in a classroom.
In Reader’s Workshop, it would be a valuable addition for study in an Informational Text Unit. The Layout alone supports questioning, information collection, and author’s message discussion.
In Writer’s Workshop, it could serve as a mentor text for an All About book. Using this book as a mentor text, you might consider using a two page spread as mentor pages. Sometimes a book can be overwhelming for young writers, this offers pages as inspiration. Also, I see the possibility of developing the observation habits that young writers need with this book as a companion. One might have children study trees (part of a science unit), list their wonderings and then refer to the text to answer questions created through the observations.
The habit of observing to harness ideas is one that we can and should develop in our classrooms. Nature All Around, Trees is a perfect starting point for teachers, readers and writers of all ages.