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Narrative Mentors to Stretch our Writers

Always on the hunt for elementary writing mentors, this fall I was introduced to two texts, The Hike by Alison Farrell and The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann. I’ve been thinking about small moments and narrative writing mentors even more since a colleagues said, we should move on from narrative, it’s not like the kids have anything to write about now. Considering that I wondered what are the kids doing? On this beautiful sunny fall day, I hope they are having adventures like the three girlfriends, Wren, El, and Hattie in the The Hike. Setting a goal for themselves, the three friends and their trusty companion set off to climb a peak. Along the way, we are treated to nature facts in the simple labeled drawing.

I can see myself pulling up next to a kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grade writer and saying see how Alison Farrell took her adventure and added nonfiction to it. See how she added this pop out of Wren’s sketchbook. See how she got her characters into a little trouble. This simple story has so much including a healthy dose of why don’t you get outside, there’s so much to see. Alison Farrell’s use of dialogue in the pictures will appeal to all of our writers. The cut aways of the house and underground will inspire our youngest storytellers. The use of sound words and punctuation will make this book a treasure in your conferring bag.

Similarly, The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann, tells the story of Ernestine’s first camping trip. Told in simple graphic novel form, the author of Sam and Jump, blows up the details of Ernestine’s preparation, her detailed packing, labeling each item as she discusses packing with her father. Comparing what she knew of swimming in a pool to being in a lake frame by frame will help with our least experienced writers and our stronger writers as well. So much in this gem to inspire many young writers.

While I would primarily use both of these text as mentors for writing, their strong representation of diversity and strong female characters makes them both excellent additions to your classroom and conferring bag collections.

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