Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ReFoReMo's Best Mentor Texts of 2017

I'm not sure where it went, but 2017 has flown by faster than a fence post in a tornado. Here's where the post lands. We have a tradition of ending our year with what we know best: mentor texts. And best is subjective, of course.

Without further ado, may I present our...

OVERALL TEAM BEST

After the Fall: How Humpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat

It's unanimous! We all chose After the Fall as our top pick due to the fresh, unexpected, masterful content. With most fractured tales being humorous, we were not expecting to crack open a layered, emotional, theme-packed tale. A huge dose of perspective and scale increases the interplay impact. On almost every page, there are bird images foreshadowing what is to come. To top it all off, this mentor text infuses an amazing surprise ending!








INDIVIDUAL PICKS

Carrie's Best

Life by Cynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel

Concept Book + Bibliotherapy = Fresh. Life packs a punch using sparse texts and layers. This one had me thinking about it long after I walked away; mainly about gratitude and getting through life’s struggles and chalking them up to something that will change (something our world desperately NEEDS right now!) And yet, the theme still has an underlying quality because of stellar interplay between the text and soft nature illustrations. Wenzel's animal characters are tender-hearted and relatable.




Kirsti's Best

Not Quite Narwal by Jessie Sima
 
This story is beautifully illustrated with clever text.  It's the perfect story to evoke discussion on what it means to be different and how to find your place in the world.  This is a great mentor text for making a point without being didactic. The story makes it clear that differences are wonderful without making us feel like it's a teaching moment.




Janie's Best


 Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome

The story of Harriet Tubman starts at the end of her life and moves to her childhood using the phrase “Before she was…" The author also uses a list format to sum up the circular story and return the reader to where the story started. I enjoyed the free verse style.







Keila's Best


Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai and Kerascoët

This book is an excellent example of how to tell a difficult story to a young audience. Malala uses her memory of a magic pencil to introduce children to hope in a story that includes despair and violence. And the illustrations are magical.






Furthering our tradition, we take leave for a holiday break with our families. We'll resume our regular posting schedule on January 2 and it won't be long until the 4th annual ReFoReMo challenge. We have an excellent team of presenters lined up, so stay tuned for announcements in the new year. 

Which 2017 mentor texts did you learn most from this year?


May all of your 2018 writing goals come to fruition!

Carrie, Kirsti, Janie, & Keila

Your Reading for Research Blog Team

16 comments:

  1. Thank you all for another great year. You spur on my learning and I was honored to post for ReFo this year. Thank you for all you do for the kidlit community! Have a wonderful holiday!

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    1. So sweet, Kathy! Happy to be of service and to have you as part of our community!

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  2. What a wonderful post, and what a wonderful group. My school libraian thanks you too since I keep telling her about books I've encountered in this group. Thank you, and Happy Everything!

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    1. Hooray for librarians! Thanks for being an active part of our group, Ellen!

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  3. I learned the most from Cloth Lullaby and The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles because I was working on lyricism. They are both brilliantly written.

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    1. Thanks, Megan, and congrats on finding helpful mentor texts!

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  4. The best mentor text for me.this year is Dazzle Ships. It was very helpful with ideas for my NF PB.

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  5. Love your list! I've read so many great books this year. And I've learned something from each one...Uni the Unicorn (#1) stuck out to me because the author wrote the fairy tale story from the other side of the fence (Uni's point of view, instead of a human wondering if unicorns are real). I need to remember to look at the opposite side of my ideas, to see if that is where the interesting tale is to be found.

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    1. Cool perspective, Angie! Thanks for sharing your most helpful mentor text!

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  6. Great list of favorites- thank you for sharing.

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  7. Always appreciate the books you recommend. Thank you!

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  8. I actually won the book Not Quite Norwal which was awsome. I love that book. Thank you for all the time you take to run ReFoReMo. It helps immensely.

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  9. Thank you ladies for a great year of research and learning experience. Best wishes for 2018.

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  10. Thank you ladies for a great year of research and learning experience. Best wishes for 2018.

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