Sunday, September 29, 2013

Halloween Must Read Mentor Text: The Widow's Broom

I was so excited to see that the topic for today's must read was Halloween/Fall because there are SO many fantastic books! I saw that Amanda and Stacia already wrote about Stellaluna, one of my favorites, but fortunately I had already planned on a different one for this week.

I have become a big fan of Chris Van Allsburg in the past few years because his books are great for older kids, and they usually haven't already heard them when they come to me.

This particular story is about a witch's broom that loses its magic and falls from the sky. A widow finds the broom and begins to use it, but one day she wakes up to learn it is no ordinary broom. They begin to keep each other company, and she trains the broom to help her with everyday chores. When the neighbors learn of the broom's unusual powers, they get scared and demand that it be burned.

I think this book is a neat way to remind students that "different" doesn't necessarily mean bad. Allsburg did a fantastic job of portraying a difficult subject that has been repeated multiple times in history. This could lead into a comparison lesson for older students with other "misunderstood" groups who were persecuted in various ways. However, it's also a great story for the younger ones to lead discussions in how to treat others fairly.

I also used this book to work on predicting last year. We would change our predictions as we read and learned more information. It has been almost a year since I did this, but I also believe that we practiced questioning with this book. There are SO many questions that they students will have as they read, so I will be doing that this year for sure!

One quick word of caution: please read the book ahead of time, especially if you teach early elementary. The story is a little scary, and you need to make sure it's one that you and your students will be comfortable reading. As an upper grades teacher, my students and I love it. However, I've seen mixed reviews on whether it should be read to K and 1.

Now I can't wait for Keagan to wake up. We're headed to the state fair! It will be his first trip, and I can't wait to see how much he enjoys it!


  1. I have never heard of this book! I'm putting it in my cart! I love Chris Van Allsburg (even though he's weird)!

    Thanks so much for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

  2. This book looks great and very meaningful. I'm a reading specialist for Kdg-1st so I'm not sure if I'd actually use it with my little friends, but it definitely looks like a good story regardless! Um...and let me just say, I LOVE your blog design- it's SO cute!
    Aylin :)
    Learning to the Core

  3. Can't wait to check this one out. Chris Van Allsburg have some fantastic books for older kids! Thanks for the suggestion!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  4. Oooooh, I need to get this book, too! It sounds like a good one! My kids love anything scary. LOL They've been begging for more "horror" in the library, so maybe this will settle them for a while. :-P

  5. This is one of my favorite books! I love using it with my older kids around Halloween time! I have used it for questioning and summarizing. It is always a big hit!

    Eclectic Educating

  6. That sounds like a really good book. I love how children's authors can take really complicated subjects and explain them with an example kids can relate to.

    Teacher at the Wheel

  7. I love this book, you and I were both on a Chris Van Allsburg kick this week.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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