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Katie Manuel | 21 comments Crow Call by Lois Lowry

Crow Call by Lois Lowry

Crow Call is a picture book that is a personal narrative written about a memory from Lowry's childhood. The young girl is spending the day going hunting with her father, who we learn has just returned from the war. The little girl sees her father as a stranger, and Lowry uses wonderful language describing the body language, inner thought, and awkward conversation between the two characters. After getting to know each other a bit at breakfast, the characters go hunting and he teaches her how to use a crow call. She is scared of the idea that her father is a "hunter" and hopes that he will not kill any of the crows because they might have little ones at home waiting for their return. There are several points in the book in which readers might find symbolism, and it led to a great discussion about relationships, fears, and trust in my classroom.

I used this book as a mentor text this year when we were writing personal narratives during writing workshop. Each page offers strong writing craft moves that can be used to reinforce mini-lessons. Depending on the level of depth it is used for, I think this book could be used in classrooms from 2-12.


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Katie Manuel | 21 comments My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life by Kate Feiffer

My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life by Kate Feiffer

This is an adorable book written from the point of view of a littler girl who believes her parents are trying to make her miserable by torturing her with things like kisses in public, talking too loud in front of her friends, and other terrible crimes. Once the police realize that this mom is ruining her daughter's life, they throw her in jail. While mom is gone, dad begins torturing his daughter as well with things like cleaning her room. Naturally, he is sent to jail. At first, the little girl is excited to have free reign over her house, but begins to miss her parents. This is a humorous book that kids and adults would enjoy.

This book can be used as a mentor text in classrooms when working on supporting details in writing. I used during my essay unit in writing this year to show how a thesis (My mom is trying to ruin my life) can be supported with different pieces of evidence (the 5 reasons listed in the book). Even though this book looks like it would be for young kids, my sixth graders loved it! It could also be used in the classroom to show how a character's opinions can change as a result of a significant event.


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