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  • Writer's pictureManju Howard

Uncovering Treasured Mentor Texts

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Our children’s literature community amazes me with a constant flow of ways for creatives to interact. During the month of March, I’m participating in several organized events. Today, I'll focus on the Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) Challenge.

For ReFoReMo, Carrie Charley Brown, Kirsti Call and all the contributors encourage picture book writers to sharpen their skills by reading and researching mentor texts.

Only by reading hundreds of picture books has the structure and rhythm of this art form become second nature to me. Now I can break the rules with the knowledge that I broke them for a reason. Breaking rules because I don't know them does not make me a creative writer.

Picture Books Breakdown


Main Character - Who is leading this story?

Want - What does the MC want?

Stakes - What if the MC doesn't get the want?

Obstacle - What’s standing in the way ?

Tries - How does the MC try?

Ta Da! - How does the MC succeed?

Ending - Satisfying and/or twist?


Great first line - Tone meets the unexpected

Last line - Does this line echo the beginning?


Does the character have an emotional arc?

Does the character change?


Does the MC connect with someone or something within the story?

Does the MC connect with me the reader?

And The Most Important Question

Will this picture book be a great mentor text for me?

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