Be Your Own Author!

by Rachel Stepp

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The story Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk is about a small mouse who dwells in the library and decides to become an author. He stays up during the night writing undersized books for his local library. The patrons of the library discover the books and fall in love with them! They become so curious about the author that they leave him a note. They want to meet him, but they don’t know he’s a mouse. Instead of revealing himself, the library mouse puts a mirror in a tissue box to encourage the children to see themselves as their own authors.

Write Your Own Books!

After you have read this book to the class, tell your students that they are going to be creating their own library books…just like the library mouse. Here’s how:

1. Prewriting

First, brainstorm ideas as a class. What would you like to write about? In the story, the mouse wrote about things he knew, such as himself and cheese. Help your students make a list of things that they know and could write about (pets, friends, activities they enjoy, toys they play with, etc.).

2. Drafting

Encourage your students to write rough drafts of their story with a beginning, middle and end.

3. Revising and Editing

Tell your students to read back over their drafts. Make this checklist on the board, for students to follow as they reread their stories:

Does the story make sense?
Does anything need to be added or changed?
Do the sentences all have capital letters and punctuation?
Do I need to check the spelling of any words?

4. Final Copy

Help your students make their own books by folding paper in half and stapling it. On the day that students will write their final drafts, create a tissue box with a mirror in it (like the one in the story). Have each student “meet the author” by looking into the box and seeing themselves. This will help students envision themselves as authors and illustrators!

5. Publishing!

After your students have written their own books, put them on display in your classroom library. Students will enjoy sharing their books with their peers and getting new ideas from others. You can even allow the children to read their books to the class, just like the teacher.

6. A Fun Text-to-Life Connection

A fun way to conclude this unit is to tell your students that the school’s library mouse will probably be visiting the classroom when he hears that there are new books to read! After one night, leave a small (mouse-sized) note from the mouse. Tell your students that the mouse has come during the night and read through some of the books. You can make it personal by including small comments about titles of books, illustrations, student names and even fun suggestions. Students will be enthused by the idea of the school’s mouse reading their books!

Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia who often shares her creative ideas on A Learning Experience.

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4 Comments

Filed under comprehension, creative writing, grammar, Language Arts, Reading, reading aloud, Writing

4 responses to “Be Your Own Author!

  1. peggy

    So cute! I love this book. I read it with my class. I will make the tissue box mirror. I love the idea about having the mouse visit. How cute would that be to leave little mouse notes for each of them, maybe on a piece of cheese! :)

  2. Kay Wallin

    The elementary school where I work sometimes makes published books every year for each student. It is done in the English class, and they use a company that does the binding for free. Each student writes and illustrates his/her own book. Because it is going to be published, the editing process is very important. Each student gets one free copy of their book, but other copies are available for extra purchase. The school has a special night for each class so that the authors can be presented with their books. Some of the kids have done this every year they have been in school–just think of the keepsakes they will have!

  3. Connie

    My students and I love this book. I use it to introduce Writer’s workshop at the beginning of each school year. We continue to refer back to it throughout the school year. Thanks for the idea about the mouse sized note! I plan to include that next year.

  4. Denise

    We have published a book before using a company called Student Treasures. It was simple and easy to do. The price for the parents to buy the book was $20, and teachers get a free book.
    I love the book too!