I am thrilled to be part of the 2 year blogiversary celebration of one of my favorite blogs--TEACH MENTOR TEXTS. I have learned so much from Jen and Kellee over the last two years (and have spent lots of money on great new books!) As part of the celebration, they are asking bloggers to share their favorite mentor texts.
HEY WORLD, HERE I AM by Jean Little. I think I learned about this book in 1991 when I attended the Teachers' College Summer Writing Project at Columbia. (I know that this was long ago because I remember recording every keynote on a very high-tech portable cassette recorder!) And when Jen and Kellee asked me to share a favorite mentor text, this one came to mind. It came to mind because it is one that impacts kids' writing every single year.
HEY WORLD, HERE I AM is a poetry book, a journal and more. It was published in 1989 and had many great reviews and awards that year. And even though it is a 1989 publication, so much of it still rings true for children today. This book is a collection of entries by Kate Bloomfield. She writes about siblings, friends, loss and school. She writes with passion and joy and with the insights of of a tween girl.
Each and every entry in this "notebook" is one that children can learn from. I have used this book when launching writers' notebooks as students begin to see all the ways they can make sense of their lives on paper. I've use pieces separately for specific minilessons. "Not Enough Emilys" is one of my favorite pieces in this book. In this piece, the author talks about her friend Emily--but instead of telling us about her by describing her, we learn about her through her actions. It is a powerful piece for both readers and writers learning about character.
I've used this book as a mentor for readers learning to think deeply around text. A poem in the book called "Five Dollars" is about a time when Kate stole $5 from her mother's wallet. The poem is about guilt and is an honest reflection that gets readers thinking in a way that helps them understand the character more deeply.
Another poem I like is poems in this collection is Louisa, Louisa. This is a great poem about a new baby. Welcoming her into the world and celebrating her new life.
I don't think there is a piece in this book I haven't used with students. It is a book I really couldn't live without in my teaching of reading and writing. Kate is a character I love and I love coming to know her through her writing.