Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Predator Face-Off!

If you teach grades 1-3 and are looking for a high-interest mentor text for investigating text features, you may want to check out Predator Face-Off! Today is the book's official release date. Hooray!

Predator Face-Off! also has a strong compare-and-contrast text structure, so it's perfect for introducing the idea that writers can organize information in different ways, depending on their purpose.

I wish I could take credit for this book’s fun title, but it was the brain child of my editor—Shelby Alinsky. In early 2016, she shared the title, asked me to develop the idea, and make a pitch.

At the time, I was doing a week of school visits in upstate New York, so I asked the kids for their ideas. And boy, did they take my request seriously. They started brainstorming with gusto.

Thanks to those thoughtful young pre-writing wizards, the book compares three predators that belong to different animal groups (fish, mammal, reptile), live in different environments (ocean, savanna, forest), and hunt in different ways. I’m delighted to welcome this book to the world.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

SCBWI Handout: Writing STEM Picture Books

3 Tips to Get Started

Starting with a Question

Making a Personal Connection

Hooking Your Readers

6 Key Elements of Nonfiction Writing
Writing Style
Text Structure



Point of View
If you’re writing a Life Story . . .
  • Narrative writing style
  • Probably sequence (chronological) structure
  • Probably running text
  • Voice reflect personality of subject
  • Third-person narration (first-person controversial)

If you’re writing a Concept Book . . .
  • Probably expository writing style
  • Sequence, compare & contrast, Q & A, cause & effect, problem—solution, or invent your own
  • Think carefully about text format
  • Voice reflects topic and approach
  • Third-, second-, or first-person narration