I’ve been thinking more about projects I want to do for fall. Despite limitations with the boxed set that is rolling out, I want to roll out more opportunities to incorporate author’s as mentors. We studied works by Cynthia Rylant, Kevin Henkes, Angela Johnson and Chris van Dusen last year. Soaking in the goodness Katie Wood Ray at the 2013 All Write Conference, I created posters for each author. The posters had a photo of the author and images of the books we read on one side. The author’s craft moves we found notable and examples from the text were on the other side. I need to incorporate non-fiction in mentor text posters this year– maybe Davies and Bishop. I love Barbara Kerley and Melissa Sweet as well, but I think the complexity of their craft would suit older kids better. Maybe Nicola Davies is too. I still use a lot of Gail Gibbons. I probably should incorporate her. Nic Bishop could be another nonfiction author to mentor. I really need to work to bring in more diversity. I should absolutely do Eloise Greenfield. Why didn’t I think to do a mentor poster of her? I bring her into the classroom every year. And what about Lenore Look? Jacqueline Woodson is a must. I just need to figure out how to bring her to their level. I wonder what Wonders authors to consider. I can’t access that information online, and I sent my teachers manuals packing for the summer, so I’m not sure what the possibilities are there.
I’m left feeling that I don’t want to use the posters of mentor authors until they represent the diversity in my classroom. I’m not feeling good about the idea I fell in love with. I need some suggestions of current African American male picture book authors that I could incorporate. There is certainly an unequal racial balance, but there is also a visible gender imbalance in my list.
What would happen if I turn this problem over to the kids this year? Ask them what they notice. Ask them what we should do.