Posting on Two Writing Teachers: Student Mentors!

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Thank you, Lisa Eickholdt, for Learning from Classmates: Using Students’ Writing as Mentor Texts!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? January 13th., 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
is hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts
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The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan  
The cover of this book drew my attention right away – George E. Ohr just looked like an interesting man, and I was not disappointed in his story.
George Ohr was born in 1857, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Not much was expected of him, but he knew he was a genius at the craft of pottery: “When I found the potter’s wheel I felt it all over like a duck in water.”  After a period of apprenticeship everywhere he could find the chance to, Ohr set up shop in Biloxi as The Blacksmith Potter.  His fearlessly creative work won him a faithful following, but not quite the huge audience and recognition he craved.
So, he invented a persona: “The Mad Potter”, enticing tourists to his demonstrations with the following invitation:
“This is what I will do on my wheel – blindfolded-turn a jug, put a corncob stopper on it, change the corncob into a funnel – have the funnel disappear and have a jar – change the jar into an urn and half a dozen other shapes and turn anything that anyone in the USA can mention that is  cylindrical on that potter’s wheel.”
In the decades that followed, he continued to experiment, often exuberantly, and produced an amazing cache of beautiful and arresting pottery:
Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan  bring  Ohr’s story  alive with a lively narrative and many beautiful photographs .   The authors do a wonderful job of weaving details about Ohr’s artistic process through the entertaining narrative of his life – readers learn so much about both.  I love having books about the visual arts in my classroom’s nonfiction library, and this would be an excellent addition.
Here is a short documentary about Ohr’s life:
I dreamt…A book about hope by Gabriela Olmos is a stunning ode to a child’s vision of peace.
The jacket copy best describes the mission and the message of this book:
“Violence, guns, crime, bullying and war affect the daily lives of children all over the world.  This book was created in Mexico, where the war against drugs has brought tragedy, fear and insecurity into the lives of many young children. Some of Mexico’s  best illustrators have donated their art for this book, which encourages children to talk about their experiences and to find the hope they need so they can take an active role in helping to build a more peaceful world.”
Each page spread expresses a child’s vision for a better world:
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Royalties from this very special book are donated to Children in Crisis, and you can learn more about this remarkable organization here.