Excited to be publishing my second post for IMWAYR!
As I continue to write the draft of my new book, Nonfiction Writing Power, I’m on a continuous search for anchor books to support the lessons. I’m astounded by how many titles I’ve discovered which lend themselves so well to the various nonfiction text structures. While some titles I was already familiar with, my list keeps growing as I discover more and more treasures (that some people refer to as books!) that model different text structures.
Today I thought I’d share some of picture books I have discovered that model the structure and language of persuasion. Here is a sneak peak at some of my favorites…
Karen Kaufman Oroff has given us two excellent examples of persuasive letter writing. In I Wanna Iguana, a young boy writes letters to his mom, trying to convince her to let him have a pet iguana. His mom responds to each letter, with reasons of her own why she doesn’t want him to have one. Similar back and forth letter writing between this boy and his mother, this time in his plea for his own room, are found in her recent book I Wanna New Room. I love the idea of using these books to inspire students to write persuasive letters to their parents asking them for something they really want.
The power of persuasion is in full force in this witty book written and illustrated by the great Mark Teague. Many of us are familiar with Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters From Obedience School, but I have a new-found appreciation for this book as I am now reading it from a persuasive perspective. This naughty dog has been sent to Obedience School by his owner, Mrs. LaRue. The book is a series of letters from the dog persuading his owner that he should be brought home IMMEDIATELY because he DOES NOT belong there. Hilarious voice as the dog describes (and embellishes) the conditions at the school.
For a more serious look at the power of persuasion, Free as the Wind by Jamie Bastedo tells the fascinating and true story of the plight in the early 1960’s to save the wild horses of Sable Island, a remote island in the Atlantic just off the coast of Nova Scotia. At that time, it was decided that the horses would be removed from the island and auctioned off, many would be slaughtered and used for dog food. This book focuses on the dozens of school children who wrote persuasive letters to the Prime Minister, pleading with him to save the horses. This is an inspiring true example of how the persuasive voice of a small group of children made a huge difference through writing and carved out a little piece of Canadian history.
In Hey, Little Ant, by Philip M. Hoose, an ant and a boy have a back and forth conversation. The ant is trying to persuade the boy not to step on him; the boy is giving the ant his own reasons why he should. Thought provoking and an excellent example of how to back up your argument! I have used this book many times over the years as it is a perfect segue into a “Whose side are you on?”/ “What would you do?” discussion.
In Click, Clack, Moo – Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, a group of literate Cows and Chickens type letters to the farmer with a list of demands and reasons why they feel they should have better living conditions. Hilarious and a great example of persuasive letter writing.
I focused on this book a few blogs ago, but will highlight it again here as it is another excellent example of persuasive letter writing. The Day the Crayons Quit is about a boy named Duncan who discovers a stack of persuasive letters written by each of his crayons, expressing their reasons for quitting and presenting their argument for better working conditions.
My Brother Dan’s Delicious, by Steven L. Layne, is about a boy who is home alone and becomes very worried that a monster is going to eat him. He comes up with some excellent and hilarious reasons why the monster should eat his brother, Dan, instead of him, including the fact that his brother is much more tasty than he is! Very persuasive!
Scaredy Squirrel author Melanie Watt, once again, provides us with a character that makes you laugh out loud. In Have I Got A Book For You, a very cheesy salesman (mouse) is trying to sell the reader a book – this book! Excellent example of persuasive voice and a great anchor book for teaching how to give engaging “Book Talks”
A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea – Michael Ian Black. Ever had the idea to host a pig parade? Think it might be a great idea and a whole lot of fun? Well…. think again! This hilarious book gives all the reasons why having a pig parade is a BAD idea!
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin would make an excellent book for teaching students about government, elections or prior to student council nominations. Duck is tired of the chores he is made to do on the farm, so he decides to hold an election and take over the farm. He wins, but discovers that the job is much harder than he anticipated!
So if you are thinking of teaching “persuasive writing” to your students in the months ahead, I’m hoping you discovered a few new titles that you’re excited to use for your lessons! I’d also love to hear about any other anchor books you have used for persuasive writing.