Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Loves of my Life- aka, my today's top 10!

My top ten list includes samples of student writing that were inspired by the book. These titles are in my bag as old standbys. I can whip one of these out and teach anything and everything a writer might need to know about writing. These titles inspire writers to envision their thinking on paper.

The Table Where Rich People Sit-Byrd Baylor
When I wake up in the morning
I can see
I am rich.
I walk over to my window,
I hear the sweet birds singing
I am rich.
I go downstairs for breakfast,
I see my mom and dad
I am rich.
I go to school,
I have a lot to learn,
I have nice teachers
I am rich.
I have my friends,
I have my family
I am rich.

age 7
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 64
Abby captured the power of the repeating word.

All The Places To Love-Patricia Maclachlan
On the day I was born
the rain fell outside the
window, the thunder boomed
like God’s clap, a rainbow
bowed across the sky. The
rain stopped, a bird chirped
and my father picked me up.
I lived in a small house. I
caught bugs and let them go.
I saw cottonwoods bloom and tried
to catch the white fluff as they
floated by and brushed my face.
I drew small pictures and wrote
crooked words.
I went to school.
I explored and I made friends.
I walked places, did things
and noticed. I sketched and became
part of all my places to love.

Today I drew a picture of the
places I love and I remember all of
the times before and my brother
watches me and does his job of bothering
me. I rode my bike tons of places,
to school and everywhere, but then I went
somewhere I shouldn’t go and my
mom took my front wheel
off my bike and hung it up
high and I would stand in the garage
staring up at it in the rafters longing and soon
it would be back on my bike
and I would be free to fly
again. And I found that I could
say stuff with my painting that there
were no words for, and the colors could flow
how I want them to. Control
is a virtue in life and sometimes
I can’t control, but the pain I can.

age 12
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 48-49
After I closed All My places to Love, I softly said, Whatcha' thinking to my group of 5th and 6th graders.

Tastes Like Chocolate-Randi Allison
Poetry tastes like chocolate.

age 8
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 75
Ryan is a severe needs kid. Ryan's writing inspired me to title my book, Tastes Like Chocolate

Happy Blanket-Tony Ross
So Worn, So Soft
Have you ever had a
toy truck or doll you could
never let go of? Or was
it your blanket? I’ll tell
you a secret if you
promise not to tell. I
still have my blanket.
Even though it’s worn
out, I still love to
lay on it over my pillow
at night and go to sleep.
Even though it’s 11 years
old, I still love to
bring it downstairs
with me on days when
it’s cold and on days
when I’m sick and
can’t go to school.
Even though it’s starting
to rip and the fluff
is coming out, I look
at it through different
eyes and dream of when
it was new. Someday
I know I’ll have to
let go, but not today.
Maybe tomorrow, maybe
even never.

age 11
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 92
Happy blanket by Tony Ross inspires kids of all ages to hold tight to their childhood.

A Writer-M.B. Goffstein
A writer is someone who
waits on her couch for her story to catch.
A writer is someone who
walks on the beach looking for seashells that tell a
A writer is someone who
goes home to sit on her couch to write her story
A writer is someone who
waits again.

age 7
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 109
Who are you as a writer?

Henry and Mudge and the Sparkle Days-Cynthia Rylant
mountains of snow
miles high
a blanket of white
covers the yard.
I yell to my brother,
“Last one out is a rotten egg!”
He yells back,
“First one out has to eat it!”
I scurry up the stairs . . .
I’m the rotten egg!

age 11
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 113
I have bundles of Henry and Mudge's in my book bag-along with Poppleton and Mr. Putter and Tabby. I can always rely upon Cynthia Rylant to inspire kids to think about their own lives.

If There Would Be No Light, poems from my heart-Sahara Sunday Spain
God Is Everywhere
In the dark
are light.
When pain is striking
beat it down.
When I am not there
are everywhere.
I love you God.

age 9
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 121
I shared some poetry from Sahara's book and asked kids to think about their light.

Grandpa Loved-Josephine Nobisso
when will you teach me how to fish?
when can we go pick blackberries?
will you tell me stories about the past?
will you push me on the swing?
will you ever leave me?

you promised.

age 11
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg 129
Nobisso inspires students to write their deepest feelings about death. Her writng is melodic and Jennifer was able to capture melody writing about one of life's most difficult reconciliations...death.

My Stories by Hildy Calpurnia Rose-Dale Gottlieb
I lost my shiny blue rock at recess.
I was sitting down on the wood,
you know the wood by the rocks?
My shiny blue rock was in my pocket.
My friends, Alex and Sidney wanted to see it,
I took my shiny blue rock
put it in my lap.
I stood up to play with Alex and Sidney
walked away.
My rock,
my shiny blue rock fell out of my lap
into all the other rocks.
I didn’t even realize!
This rock,
this shiny blue rock,
the one I chose
to be my special rock for today,
and now
my shiny blue rock is

age 7
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg. 37
Honestly, when I share Hildy I think Hildy really wrote this piece. Gottlieb has given Hildy voice and Morgan has captured voice in her reflection

Playing Sardines-Beverly Major
My sister is so sweet.
She is like a little nut hanging from a tree,
just hanging there
waiting to be picked.

age 7
Tastes Like Chocolate, pg. 79
...my friends are ready to play. We do waiting things like turning somersaults, climbing trees, hanging by our knees from the branches...

So there you have it, the loves of my life, my today's top ten!


  1. Powerful writing ... what an awesome way to demonstrate the connection between reading and writing! Please commend your students for me. I would proud of their writing as their teacher - I'm so glad you shared them. :-)

  2. Wonderful list. Thank you.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  3. What a beautiful way to share your books and a testament to the strength of each book for children. Thanks for joining us today.

  4. So powerful and beautiful. I am ordering your book today!!
    Mary Anne