Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge

Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Non-fiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. This week I am focusing on the work of Laura Purdie Salas.

Last Friday I mentioned Picture Yourself Writing Poetry for a Poetry Friday post. I had to get it through Inter-library loan, but will be ordering it for my school library.

Picture Yourself Writing Poetry is a great book that encourages readers to create poems of their own using pictures as inspiration. It begins with a brief overview of the writing process. Salas also provides plenty of poetry specific tips and advice including using ideas, images, and metaphors, word choice, character work, and arranging words on the page. Along the way, Salas offers a few sample poems that she has composed to go with the photos. The photo prompts and her verbal prompts are interesting and engaging. I think any reader will be inspired to create poetry after reading this text and teachers will find the prompts very helpful with students. If the reader needs more, Salas also has a great page on her website that is called 15 Words or Less. This is a page where she posts a photograph on Thursdays with the idea that readers will do a quick write poem to go along with it. It's meant to be a low stress activity that encourages creative thinking. I look forward to sharing it with teachers at my school.

Another book by Laura Purdie Salas that I ran across this week was Water Can Be... Here are two trailers that do a wonderful job of explaining the book.

Along with being a great non-fiction book about water, Water Can Be... could also be used as a mentor text for students to write poetry about a topic of their choice. If you haven't yet read Water Can Be... or its companion text A Leaf Can Be... I would definitely recommend you get them soon. The texts are fun and lyrical and the illustrations by Violeta Dabija are gorgeous.

By the way, Laura Purdie Salas has provided teaching guides and resources for both books that share plenty of ideas for activities. I will have to try a few of them this coming year.

Teaching Resources: A Leaf Can Be...   Water Can Be...


  1. Thanks so much, Crystal! I love writing poems in response to pictures, so the PICTURE YOURSELF book was really fun to write. And LEAF and WATER--isn't the art stunning? I'm working with a school district right now on their summer school program, where the students are all writing their own (individually or as a class) CAN BE... books. Thanks for sharing my work:>)

    1. I was excited to find your book because I like using pictures as prompts too. :)

  2. The writing poetry book looks really neat! I will definitely look for that one. I adored Water Can Be. Beautiful wiring and illustrations. I shared it with kg this year and the kids loved it!

  3. Oh I need to get the first book - PICTURE YOURSELF. I can already think about how to use it.

  4. The Picture Yourself Writing Poetry book reminds me of two exceptional ebooks found here and here Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong are the minds behind these books plus the original one, Poetry Tag Time

  5. Okay, you've sold me! I want this book! Book shopping is not in my budget this summer so placing it on the wishlist. Maybe I can get our teacher librarian to order it. Thanks for sharing here!

  6. Love Laura's books! Will definitely try to find this soonest. Plus, my husband is quite the photographer, I'm sure there are a lot there that can definitely inspire me.