Monday, May 10, 2021

Resources for Educators: Adding Photos to a Nonfiction Report

More and more, teachers are requesting educational resources that go beyond traditional teachers guides and activity sheets. So while I do still have those kinds of materials on my website, I’m also offering resources that delve deeply into the nonfiction reading and writing process from an author’s point of view. 

Some of these resources focus on books I’ve written and describe various stages of my creative process in detail, while others provide more general information  and highlight books written by a wide variety of nonfiction authors.  


On Mondays this year, I’m sharing some of these resources and providing ideas for how they might be used in the classroom. Today, I’m focusing on an interview with New York Times bestselling author Sarah Albee in which she discusses using photos in nonfiction writing. It’s available by clicking on the Nonfiction Writing Resources icon shown above.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Crafting We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

I don't usually review books on this blog, but once in a while, I see a book that does something so clever and exciting that I just have to highlight it. We Are Still Here!, which entered the world on April 20, is one of those books. It deserves all the attention we can give it.

Author Traci Sorell’s expository prose is clear and accessible throughout. I love how she includes the lyrical refrain “We are still here!” at the end of each spread.

It takes a great idea of skill to pack so much complex information into a picture book-length book, but Sorell does a masterfully job. Because she takes so much care with her language and word choice, this is a book that teachers and students can come back to again and again. An attractive timeline at the back of the book helps to put the information into historical context.

I love how illustrator Frané Lessac’s colorful, kid-friendly art creates a familiar framework for the content by showing a classroom of students doing reports. The final spread brings everything together by showing the students with poster displays at a family presentation night to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. This is a book you won’t want to miss.

According to Sorell, “we decided on framing it through student presentations at a Native school where students would actually learn this [information]. I'm grateful there are a growing network of them including http://www.nacainspiredschoolsnetwork.org/.”

I hope that one day soon, students will learn this information at every school. This book is one way to start moving in that direction.

Also be sure to check out this video presentation the author did with editor Karen Boss for NCTE.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Resource for Educators: Rockin’ Research


If you’d like your students to get a glimpse of a professional nonfiction author’s research process in action, check out the new Rockin’ Research video on my website. It breaks down the kinds of sources I used and describes how people I know and places I’ve gone inspired me along the way.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Resources for Educators: Radical Revision

More and more, teachers are requesting educational resources that go beyond traditional teachers guides and activity sheets. So while I do still have those kinds of materials on my website, I’m also offering resources that delve deeply into the nonfiction reading and writing process from an author’s point of view. 

Some of these resources focus on books I’ve written and describe various stages of my creative process in detail, while others provide more general information  and highlight books written by a wide variety of nonfiction authors.  

On Mondays this year, I’m sharing some of these resources and providing ideas for how they might be used in the classroom. Today, I’m going to focus on the Radical Revision activity idea, which you can access by clicking on the Nonfiction Writing Resources icon.

When I visit schools, I talk about the importance of taking a break after writing a first draft, so I can go back to it with fresh eyes and an open mind. That led teachers at Kennedy Elementary School in Billerica, MA to develop a revision activity that I love. Check it out!