professornana (professornana) wrote,

  • Location:
  • Mood:

Mentor Text

One of my favorite little books this past year is MY SCRPAS BOOK by Lois Ehlert. Ehlert's artwork in her books and in the books she illustrates by other authors is distinctive. Like Eric Carle and Ezra Jack Keats, Ehlert uses collage to illustrate. However, it is simple to differentiate among the three illustrators.


So, one possible use for the Ehlert book with readers of all ages would be to collect a stack of books illustrated in collage and ask kids to sort them (be sure to cover the author and illustrator information first). Ask students to sort by color palette. Or ask to sort books by different illustrators into stacks: one for Keats, Carle, and Ehlert. Follow up by having kids chart similarities and differences.

The book has so much value as a mentor text beyond illustration, however. Here is one of the double page spreads from inside the book (and do teach kids about double page spreads, aka DPS, and gutters and other layout terminology).


Here Ehlert shows a sketch of an illustration along with some of her plans to create the collage. This book outlines many of the steps in the process she uses as illustrator. Why not use this as a model? Yes, it can be a model for art. But it can also be a model for other processes. Kids could create a Snapguide presentation to demonstrate the process (Snapguide is an app; information here:


Ehlert addresses the roots of her desire to make books in this DPS. Kids could create some representations of careers, vocations, etc. they are considering. These can be written or illustrations or anything, really.

Virtually every DPS could inspire an activity, reinforce a concept, develop an idea. I am NOT NOT NOT suggesting any educator take ANY book and drain it dry. However, this book could be revisited from time to time throughout the semester and examined in different ways.

Recently, my friend and fellow Nerdy Book Club colleague, Frank Sibberson talked about how one of her students commented on a book he had recently read a second time. He talked about how he FELT differently about the book the second time around. It was not so much that he had new insights into content, but the deeper connection was apparent even to this young reader. I would imagine that had I encountered more books about art and illustration early on that I might have more confidence in myself and my artistic abilities. Books leave traces and tails and bread crumbs inside us. A text we revisit might start us off down the same road, but then we might see two roads diverge. Will we take the one less travelled?
Tags: mentor texts
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.