Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kristin's Mentor Text: Where is Grandpa? by T.A.Barron

I frequently look for and perk up when I hear conversations around mentor texts. In my own classroom, I have witnessed students taking chances and improving the sophistication of their writing by having text examples to draw from based on what they are reading and from what I share with them as part of a mini-lesson within the writing workshop. It never occurred to me to consider mentor text for my own writing.
Several weeks ago, Jen Vincent, as part of the Teachers Write Sunday Check-In, reminded us that "we learn from the text all around us". At the end of the blog post, two questions that Jen asked us to reflect on and respond to were: "What are your mentor texts?" and "What do you look for in a mentor text for yourself?"

Boom! It hit me. I have not been looking for my own mentor texts.

Since I want to write a book for Madeline about Papa, my dad, Jen's Teachers Write post inspired me to begin the quest for Kristin's Mentor Texts. Each week, the Newport Public Library is my haven where I search for my mentor texts in the kids' department. My criteria for Kristin's Mentor Text are simple right now:
  1. Needs to be a picture book
  2. Tells the story of a family member 
  3. What format does the author use? Whose voice is telling the story?
Here's my mentor text for the week:
Title: Where is Grandpa?
Author: T. A. Barron
Illustrator: Chris K. Soentpiet
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: January 2000
Genre: Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: Where is Grandpa? This question haunts a young boy on the day his grandpa dies. Grandpa has been so richly present in so many places--at the tree house, at the waterfall, at the door ready to carve pumpkins. But where is he now? As the boy searches for an answer, he makes a surprising discovery: perhaps Grandpa is closer to home than anyone ever realized.
Kristin's Mentor Text: In the book, each family member shares a Grandpa story and a Grandpa "catch phrase". It reminded me of how my family and I did this with each other shortly after my dad died. Since the intent of my writing is for Maddie to know the Papa she is growing up without, I realized that each of us (my mom, my sister, my brother, my husband, my "faux" sister & her daughter) had something to contribute-each with a unique, special memory that can only enhance the story of Papa for Madeline. 

I now have an idea of a potential way to write about Papa. Takano family, be ready to share. 

What are YOUR mentor texts?

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