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 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…

View original post 554 more words