Tag Archives: Author’s Purpose

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Schema: Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Text-to-text:  Freedom on the Menu: the Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford

Metaphor: The story uses an extended metaphor to compare the Civil Rights movement to a recipe throughout the story.  Author’sPurpose: to share a story about the civil rights movement and to teach us about African American history

Author’s POV: 3rd person

Cause and Effect: Because the demonstrators were nonviolent, the effect was that the national news only captured the violence of the angry white people which made Dr. King’s message even stronger.

Mental Images: Imagine having salt, ketchup, and coffee poured on your head and pepper thrown in your eyes and still sitting calmly

Organizational Strategies: the story is organized like a poem

This is the story of the four college men who began the Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, February 1, 1960. The author shares a story in language and illustrations that tell what happened with a positive point of view and a message of hope for the future. The metaphor of a recipe is used to mix the ingredients needed to end segregation.







The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale About the Rockefeller Center Tree by David Rubel

Schema: Christmas trees, Great Depression

Author’s Purpose: to share about the Rockefeller Christmas tree and Habitat for Humanity.

Cause and Effect: Because the father in the story gave from his heart to the men at the construction site, the effect is that the men wanted to help his family with their home.

Because the young boy was helped as a child with getting a home built, the effect is that he is willing to let his tree be used to help Habitat for Humanity to build a home with the wood from it.

Set in 1931, the out of work father of a family living in a shack has the idea of cutting some Christmas trees to sell in New York City. He and his son drive in one day and ask some construction workers who are building Rockefeller Center if he could park there and sell his trees. At the end of the day, the father leaves with money in his pocket and gives the extra trees to the construction workers that he visited with during the day who put the tree up there at the building site and decorate it with what they had. The next day, the construction workers surprise the family at their shack with extra wood and scrap wood to help them fix up their shack. They men end up building them a new home. The young boy in the story is given a claw hammer by one of the men to extract nails from boards they want to use on the windows. Years pass by, the young boy grows up, returns to live in the little house, and a man comes by from Rockefeller Center to buy a tree on his property that grew from a pine cone he had planted the day after his visit to the city to sell the trees. The tree meant a lot to him, but when he heard that the wood would be donated to the Habitat for Humanity to help build a house for a family in need, he knew it was time to give the tree to the Center. The story also includes historical information about how the men at the site in real life put a tree up in 1931 as a tribute to thank the Rockefeller’s for hiring them to work there. Since then, each year a tree was placed there for all to enjoy. An afterward about Habitat for Humanity is also included.


Strega Nona’s Gift by Tomie dePaola

Schema: Saints days, Christmas

Text-to-Self Connections: Each Saint holiday from December 6th through January 6th is included. 

Text-to-Text Connections: Strega Nona’s Christmas

Big Anthony is once again the star of the show as he gobbles up the goats’ special turnips. 

Author’s Purpose: to share the culture of Italy and the special Saint’s days.

Drawing Conclusions: What do you conclude is the reason that Big Anthony gave his special meal to the goat?

The story is set in Calabria at Christmas time. The community celebrates the Feast of Sn Nicola, Feast of Santa Lucia, and several other special days. The food and customs of each day are detailed with the characters actions. The Eve of Epifania was extra special because they believed that animals may be able to speak that night. They wanted to feed them well. Big Anthony ate the goat’s special food so the goat eats Big Anthony’s blanket. Strega Nona gives a special blessing to the people of a dream of food which Big Anthony can not enjoy because he is cold and not sleeping well. On The Feast of Epifania Big Anthony finds the bean in the King’s Cake and gets to be king. Strega Nona will make him anything he desires. He requests the turnips that were for the goat that he had eaten so he can give them to the goat. Children whose culture celebrates the saint days will especially enjoy the story.


Bullies Never Win by Margery Cuyler

Schema: bullies

Text-to-Self Connections: Discussions about bullies and how to deal with them, telling someone

Cause and Effect: Because Brenda made fun of Jessica, the effect is that Jessica felt bad inside.

Synthesis: Do you synthesize that Brenda felt good or bad inside when she bullied Jessica? How could you deal with a bully?

Author’s Purpose: The author tells a fictional story with the purpose of teaching students a way to deal with a bully.

Jam & Honey by Melita Morales

Schema: honey bees

Text-to-Self Connection: standing still when a bee is near, being afraid of bees

Point of View:  Rhyming text tells two tales from a bee’s point of view and a girl’s point of view as the two go to gather pollen and berries.  Both are afraid of each other, but their mothers tell them to leave one another alone and all will be well.  The blueberry patch in the park, the walk to the park and home, and the little girl with her mother will capture the attention of young readers and especially those who fear bees. After you read the book, read it again going from the page where the illustrations show the differing points of view on the same incident to show students how the author’s purpose is to illustrate point of view and perspective.

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Susan L. Roth

Schema: oceans, mangrove trees, fish

Text-toText: The Sea, the Storm and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire Nivola

So Far From the Sea by Eve Bunting

The author uses the pattern of “This is the house that Jack built” to build the story page by page. In smaller print, more detailed information is provided and supported by a double page collage illustration. The subject of the book, planting mangrove trees near oceans that border dry, foliage free soil, is a project that Dr. Gordon H. Sato conceived after his studies as a biologist.  This book shows how the mangrove tree can help people as well as fish.   The Manzanar Project

Author’s purpose: Are you informed or persuaded after reading this one? I feel like I was both, but definitely persuaded to share this Manzanar Project.

The Goose Man: The Story of Konrad Lorenz

Schema: geese, pets

The goose man is Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian born doctor who devoted his life to the study of ethology, an animal behavior involving instinct. This focus of this book is on the his work about geese and how they communicate with different types of honks and how they imprint on the first living creature they see.  Konrad learned how to imitate the goose honks to communicate with them. He had several pets throughout his life, and he won the Nobel Peace Price in 1973. The lively illustrations and amount of text on the page makes this book a very interesting read aloud that students will enjoy.

Author’s purpose: to share information about a famous scientist

Cause and Effect: Because Konrad was the first creature the baby goose saw, the effect is that the goose imprinted on him.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusions does Konrad draw from observing the geese?

Mental Image: Several remarks are made in the book about the mess the animals made in the house.  Can you make a mental image of what a mess a monkey or a goose inside the house would make?

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan

Schema: Dust bowl, Great Depression, bullies, superheroes, sisters and brothers

Author’s purpose: to entertain and inform about the depression

Inference: The family was leaving Kansas, but then when the mysterious figure runs in front of the car, it seems that the family didn’t end up leaving Kansas. We may infer that the sudden stop caused the car to break down as we see the father working on the car after that.

Cause and Effect: Because of the drought, the effect is that the economy is depressed and people are out of work.

POV: The story is told from Jack’s POV.

Text-to-text connection: The Wizard of Oz

Text-to-self connection: wanting a parent’s attention

Characterization of Jack: Describe all of Jack’s traits such as his caring for his sisters, his desire to be loved by his father, his longing to help with the farm, his courage to confront the Storm Man and capture the thunder, his manner in dealing with the bullies, and the relationship he has with the Ernie.

Historical Fiction: Times were truly hard for the lack of rain during the 1930’s in Kansas, an area called the “Dust Bowl” because of the dry dusty soil that blew away because of the drought.  In order to survive and grow what feed they could for their cattle, the farmers would have jackrabbit drives, where they would round up the jack rabbits and club them to death.  Most of the rabbits would then be fed to other animals.  The people were afraid to eat them because of jackrabbit fever. The books provides a candid view of what life was like for people during this time period.

Drawing Conclusions: What do you conclude is the reason that Ernie tells Jack the stories he shares with him?

Synthesis: Can you think of another hard time in history where some type of superhero could have changed the harshness to happiness?  What would be the hero’s super powers?

This book is on the Texas Bluebonnet 2011 nominee list, written on a 2.3 AR level, and begins with the curse word “damn.”  Following on into the story the author injected two more “hell’s” andin my personal opinion the curse words were unnecessary.

The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry

Schema: islands, conservation, ecosystems, biomes

Text-to-text connection: The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

Author’s Purpose: persuade readers not to cut down the Mangrove tangles

Cause and Effect: Because the propagule falls off the mangrove tree, the effect is that a new mangrove tangle begins. 

Drawing Conclusions: The fisherman drew the conclusion that he should not cut down the mangrove tangle to make a shrimp farm because of what the other fisherman told him.  He was persuaded to leave the tangle alone.

Point of View: The story is told from the point of view of the animals that inhabit the tangle.

Synthesis: The reader will synthesize that there are certain things that keep the balance of nature.

The Witch’s Guide to Cooking With Children by Keith McGowan

Schema: Hansel and Gretel , step-mothers, fairy tales, science fairs

Big Idea: Good vs. evil

The publisher offers a detailed reading guide for teachers that includes vocabulary,  poetry,  and writing responses.

Text-to-Self Connections: sibling rivalry, bullying, moving to a new apartment, visiting the library

Author’s purpose: to entertain

Cause and Effect: Because an inheritance was at stake, the effect is that the children’s lives were in peril.

Because the dog, Swift, followed commands, the effect is he brought the children a knife to free themselves.

Because the children’s so called “parents” wanted to have them killed and eaten by the witch, the effect is that the children had to find a way to escape.

Because the children had access to the library and the Internet, the effect is that they were able to do some research to help themselves.

Because the pet shop owner rushed them out the back door of her shop, the effect was that they stayed one step ahead of the witch.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusion did the children come to after seeing Swift with the bone and then reading the witch’s journal?

Inference: What do you infer happened to the children’s real father?

Point of View: The story is told mainly from Sol’s POV.

Predicting: At the end of the book as the children walk away all alone, where to you think they will go first when they get to their new town?  Based on what they did in the story, they might visit their public library.  I predict they just might be very quiet in the library and stay away from the librarians too!

Synthesis: The readers will synthesize that the author has created a modern day version of Hansel and Gretel.  Ask them to further synthesize by creating a modern day version of a different fairy tale.

Satire, making fun of certain causes or situations is also seen in the book when the author says the children’s real mother was drowned while investigating global warming when the ice she was standing on melted.

Although the topic of this book is controversial, the author uses no foul language, and good does win over evil.  Although many children that have been eaten previously, they are mentioned in the witch’s journal to set the premise.  Even in the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, the reader infers that other children have been enticed to enter the witch’s candy house and have been eaten.

Book Talk: Bring a copy of a cookbook with the similar red and white plaid cover to compare with this one and ask,

What would you do if you thought your parents were planning to give you to a witch who wanted to eat you?  Would you be suspicious if you saw a neighborhood dog holding a very large bone in its mouth?  Have you ever wondered what you would do if you were kidnapped? Do you want to read a book that will give you nightmares?  Well, here’s that scary book you been asking for!

You know the old fairy tale Hansel and Gretel…that mean old step-mother that sends her step-children off into the woods, hungry, just looking for something to eat.  What if instead of sending you off to find fire wood, they just dropped you off at the mall and disappeared leaving you in a new neighborhood lost and confused?  The kids in this book are too smart to fall for that.  They know how to use their public library and the Internet.