I go to the library regularly and check out mentor texts. A mentor text is a recently published picture book that I analyze. I try to learn from the techniques that the author used, and apply my knowledge to my own writing.
My latest treasure is a book called EL CHUPACABRAS by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Crash McCreery. The book grabbed my attention because of the Spanish--I am a Spanish teacher, so of course I had to take a look at this book! The Chupacabra is a terrifying creature of Puerto Rico legends, and the word Chupacabra literally means "goat sucker."
One strength of the story is in the CHARACTER. Instead of a terrifying monster, Rubin describes the Chupacabras a tiny gentleman who wore a bow tie and drank chocolate and ate churros. In the end of the story, he is the one to save the day. This is a huge flip to the usual terrifying chupacabras. I feel that this teaches children that they should get to know someone for who he is, not judge him based on a "rumor."
The standout strength of the book in my opinion is the unique STRUCTURE.
Rubin first writes a sentence half in English and half in Spanish, then flips and writes half in Spanish and half in English. I adore the flow and the blending of the two languages!
"Hector liked goats, pero Carla prefería las bicicletas.
A Héctor le gustaban las cabras, but Carla preferred bicicletas."
I can definitely see myself using this in the classroom, especially as an example for preterite vs. imperfect, and of course introducing one of the famous legendary creatures of the Spanish speaking world.
Buy CHUPACABRAS on Amazon
More on layers:
Julie Hedlund Facebook
Here is the list of layers that Julie Hedlund described in a tutorial video that I watched back in the fall. It has been very helpful to me as I think about the elements that I want each of my manuscripts to contain:
4. Rule of Three