It took me awhile to get to Georgia Heard’s Heart Maps, because I just wasn’t convinced a whole book about creating heart maps was necessary. I use them frequently in my writing courses, and I thought I knew all there was to know about them. But I should have trusted that Georgia Heard wouldn’t let me down. There is plenty new about Heart Maps–so many colorful examples to enjoy and share; so many different types of heart maps to create; so many ideas for mentor texts to support writing from heart maps; and so many ideas for writing. For me, the test of a good writing professional development book is simple: does it make me want to write? And yes, Heart Maps made me want to open my notebook and start creating heart maps and writing from them.
This slender little graphic novel is an early work from Lucy Knisley. It didn’t entirely work for me, but it’s interesting. Lucy has conversations with an Apple, a Snowman, and her Refrigerator about the meaning of life and creativity. Worth a look for hardcore Knisley fans.
Wow. That’s really all I’ve got for Joanne Schwartz’s Town Is by the Sea. Wow. Beautifully written with a powerful use of language and repetition and beautifully illustrated by Sydney Smith. I read it aloud to my Methods class and had my students write from it, and I was stunned by the variety, depth, and quality of the writing they produced in a five-minute quickwrite.
One of my Methods students wanted to share This Is Not My Hat with the class and showed us a terrific video read-aloud that’s going to become my go-to for sharing this story with a group. Again, so nice to have a group of students laughing at all the right moments. I could barely watch the video because I wanted to watch the looks of surprise, disbelief, and delight on my students’ faces!
Of course you can’t read This Is Not My Hat without sharing I Want My Hat Back, so we found a video read-aloud of that one too. It’s not often that you get to read a picture aloud to choruses of “Wait a second! What just happened?” and “That is SO TWISTED!” Thank you, Jon Klassen.
Bethan Woollvin’s adaptation of Rapunzel is stylish, cool, and funny, and puts the responsibility of rescue squarely on Rapunzel’s own more-than-capable shoulders. And what a cover!
The Knowing Book is about nothing less than how to live and offers readers some powerful lessons about staying in the present moment, finding joy, and, especially, seeking wonder. This is one I’m going to have to own.