Using a Mentor Text to Figure Out Picture Book Plotting

Laura Purdie Salas gives an excellent demonstration on how to use a “mentor text” on her blog. Enjoy!

Mentors for Rent

All of my trade published picture books are either nonfiction, poetry, or a mash-up of the two. I want to write fiction picture books, too, but I struggle with plot/structure. Over the past year or so, I’ve analyzed many fiction picture books and typed out a bunch of my favorites, too, hoping to absorb their secrets to success. I was trying to use them as mentor texts by osmosis, I guess. (“Mentor text” is a term from the education world for a text that you use as an example for some element of writing that you ask your students to study and then incorporate. If you go to my website at http://www.laurasalas.com and type in “mentor text” in the search box, you’ll find some other things I’ve said about using mentor texts in writing.) But osmosis just wasn’t working.

Recently, I tried something new. I literally used a picture book…

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