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The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers

This month, I asked my second graders to help me write an opinion piece on a book they think teachers should read to other second graders. One of their favorites this year has been The Barnabus Project, by the Fan Brothers. Similar to their previous work, The Night Gardener, this book invites readers into an imaginative world with incredible illustrations. Our class brainstormed reasons why we loved this book, and then broke into groups to find support for our reasons. This was a great way to provide an authentic audience for my writers as they start their Writing about Reading opinion unit. We can now use this piece as a mentor text as we work to improve our opinion writing. Enjoy!

Dear Teachers,

Are you looking for a great book, filled with cute animals to read to your students? Then you should read The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers! 

One reason we love this book is because of the characters. They are mixed-up animals. For example, the main character, Barnabus, is an elephant/mouse. Some are really tiny and all of them are cute! Another cool character is a combination of an owl and a lion! All the characters are brave and determined. 

Another reason we love this book is because of the illustrations. Many pages have lots of little details that it is fun to find. For example, on this page, if you look closely, you’ll a tank with a big eye. And at the end of the book, you’ll see the eye sticking out of the water! Another illustration we think is really cool is the lab. It’s fun to look at all of the secret rooms and trains that are underground. 

Our last reason we love this book is because it teaches good lessons. One of the lessons is “Be yourself, even if you’re not perfect.” We like this lesson because you should always be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else. Another lesson is “If we work together, nothing is impossible.” When we work together in groups on our research projects, it’s always amazing. The last lesson is “Don’t give up.” The animals never give up and keep on trying. 

So we think you should read The Barnabus Project to your students today. It is awesome and we think you will love it too!

Sincerely,

Room 2M


The Barnabus Project sparked lots of opinions in the room of second graders next door as well! I got a stack of letters that shared all kinds of reasons second graders love this book:

I like this book because it is kind and it is about how you are special in your own way.

One reason I liked it is because it reminds you that you are okay the way you are.

I liked the the purple octopus because my favorite animal is an octupus.

My last reason is because they were failed projects. I felt like that was an important part of the story.

– Mr. Reed’s Second Graders

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