Mini Author Study: Jon Scieszka

Students are working on narrative writing this month, so it has been useful to take a look at examples of good writing.

Students got to fall in love with the work Jon Scieszka and have loved discovering his MANY other books. One of the things I love about Jon Scieszka is that his work is accessible on many levels. He has published easy readers, picture books, short novels and long novels. Kids who love his work can find something explore independently and find something that they can read on their own.

How does the author’s voice change the story?

What happens after a story “ends”?

How can perspective change the story?

Students worked on connecting these stories to stories they already knew. There can be many versions of stories we already know.

What strategies do you use when you don’t understand? How do writers use other languages in their writing?

Henry Baloney is full of words from other languages that readers have to sound out. This lead to an important conversation about context. We can not know what a word means and still make sense of what we read.

How do authors create a unique voice for each character?

Laugh-out-loud funny, Cowboy and Octopus helped students to see “voice” as both Cowboy and Octopus have a unique and consistent voice. In addition, students saw that grammar matters. There is lots of interesting punctuation for those that are ready for it: quotation marks, question marks, ellipses…

What is the difference between editing and revising?

As students are working on their own narrative fiction, this was an interesting read. Students got to see that a few small revisions can make a big difference in the stories we tell.


How can your knowledge about the real world be used in writing fiction?

We read Me Oh Maya as an audio book and as students listened they created a graphic novel version. We talked about the conventions of graphic novels and how stories are told visually. We drew up a short rubric for our work. This was a relaxed way to listen to the story and to create personalized representations. This year, my students are over the moon about Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi (if you are not already familiar with the series you seriously need to go check it out) and are practically climbing over one another to read the series. They are already familiar examples graphic novels and it was easy to draw out a list of guidelines that we use to build a rubric.

I’ll post some rubrics when I get a chance!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s