June 18


Ten Picture Books to Enhance Writing Instruction by Shannon Eichele

There is something special about a read-aloud that captures the attention of our young learners. Taking a picture book and transforming it into an engaging lesson can make learning even more meaningful. We can introduce a new topic in science or maybe help our learners solve the mystery of dividing fractions. Picture books can also help students better understand important events in history such as the Chicago Fire. Quality picture books create opportunities for students to experience places around the world and cultures outside of their own without ever having to leave the classroom. Even better, incorporating picture books during writing lessons gives students the chance to see how the traits of writing can be used to create positive experiences for readers. Check out these ten masterfully written and illustrated picture books you can use to teach the traits of writing in your next lesson.

A Walk in the Words by Hudson Talbott

Finding the perfect words to express our thoughts is sometimes a struggle for young writers. A Walk in the Words by Hudson Talbott discusses the journey we take as readers and writers; describing how we begin with books full of colorful pictures, gradually moving into pictureless books. His connection to the difficulties readers and writers face as they work towards their own goals makes this book relatable for students at every level. The author uses vivid verbs and demonstrates a range of creative conventions, making this a great picture book for writing instruction. 

Bearnard Writes a Book written by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Lisa Saburi

Bearnard Writes a Book is a sweet book about two friends, Bearnard and Gertie. Bearnard gets the idea to write a book about Gertie and wants it to be perfect. As he begins writing, he takes his readers through his writing process as he enters Storybook Land. Once in Storybook Land, Bearnard chooses his characters, setting, and problem. This book is an entertaining picture book to illustrate and teach the process of writing before the start of any writing unit. 

Invasion of the Unicorns by David Biedrzycki 

Invasion of the Unicorns by David Biedrzycki is told from the perspective of a secret agent from another planet disguised as a unicorn. This agent has come to Earth to determine if the unicorn army should invade and make Earthlings their servants. This picture book is perfect to teach organization and voice. It also offers creative conventions such as colorful fonts, ellipsis, and movement of text. 

Ten Beautiful Things written by Molly Beth Griffin, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga

In Ten Beautiful Things, Lily and Gram are driving to Iowa. It’s a long road trip and Lily finds herself bored. Gram suggests finding ten beautiful things along the way.  The beautiful illustrations are just as captivating as the wonderfully vivid verbs and incredible adjectives found throughout the story. The author incorporates the use of creative inventions throughout the story, making this a mentor text that can be revisited over again for inspiration.

Maybe written by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Gabriella Barouch 

Maybe is a story about the potential each of us has within us; the questions we may ask ourselves and the doubts we face daily. This mentor text provides an example of how an author can use the power of repetition to bring meaning to their message. 

No Bunnies Here! written by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Ross Burach

No Bunnies Here! is a playful picture book of bunnies trying to disguise themselves to fool the visiting wolf. This picture book incorporates thought bubbles, full-page spreads, and hilarious facial expressions. You can find colorful fonts, big and bold words, and playful texts on the beautiful full-spread pages of this picture book.

Mommy’s Hometown written by Hope Lim, illustrated by Jaime Kim

In Mommy’s Hometown a mother describes to her son the magical town she grew up in as a child. When he finally gets to visit his mom’s hometown, it’s not quite what he imagined it to be. During their trip, the two visit the single place that hasn’t changed along with the city, the river. They spend time splashing and playing together before it’s time to go home. This heartwarming story would be a perfect addition to writing instruction to help students make connections and develop ideas. 

Pretty Perfect Kitty Corn written by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

In Pretty Perfect Kitty Corn Unicorn and Kitty are the best of friends. When Unicorn gets paint all over his heinie he worries that Kitty will see him as less than perfect and no longer want to be his friend. This cute, playful mentor text is a wonderful story of friendship and accepting the idea that we may not always be perfect. Shannon Hale uses a variety of writing conventions that writers of all ages can imitate. 

Anansi and the Golden Pot written by Taiye Selasi, illustrated by Tinuke Fagborun

Anansi and the Golden Pot is a picture book based on a tale originating from Ghana.  A young boy, Anansi, is named after a mischievous spider. While Anansi and his family are visiting Ghana, he encounters this spider and the golden pot from the tale. He learns what the difference is between greed and generosity. This picture book demonstrates a strong voice and eloquent word choice. 

Ten Ways to Hear Snow written by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Kenard Pak

One wintery morning, Lina takes a walk to her grandmother’s home. On the way, Lina experiences ten different ways to hear snow. Ten Ways to Hear Snow has beautiful illustrations that help the reader feel they are part of the story. This text incorporates sensory language and the use of onomatopoeia. 

Shannon Eichele (@EicheleShannon) is an elementary teacher in the Chicago suburbs where she enjoys bringing her creativity to literacy learning. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and a Master of Education in Literacy from Judson University. She loves books, especially when they make her laugh out loud with her students.