Mentor Texts Your Students Will LOVE in August

It's back to school time, and we all need a few books to kick the year off on the right foot! With these books, I think you can teach a lesson or two, introduce a few reading skills, and get your students discussing and growing. 

If you don't have any of the books listed below, you can click each picture to find them on Amazon!

Math Curse

This book may not appear to be something that you would use for literature, but you could definitely use it for making connections. In this book, the main character goes to math class on the first day of school and soon realizes that math is all around him! I love reading this on the first day of school because I work really hard to "curse" my students. I want them to see real life math all around them! 


This book is just adorable all the way around! It is perfect for teaching students about story elements, dialogue, theme, and growth mindset! 

There's No Such Thing as Little

This unique book is simple to read, yet has such a deep meaning. I found this at a used book store and fell in LOVE. This book reminds me of board books we read as kids that have holes in them to peak through to the next page. In this book, the small holes show a glimpse of the next page. In each picture, the "little thing" you could see through the hole is part of something so much greater. It is perfect for teaching a great theme. 

The Book of Mistakes

Ahhh! I read this a couple of summers ago, took a picture of it so I would remember the title....then couldn't find the picture I took! When I stumbled across it on Amazon, I had to buy it! In this book, the narrator messes up when drawing the eyes on a face. That mistake inspires her to add glasses to her character. Then, she messes up again. She fixes it with something new to her picture. It's a domino effect of mistakes and corrections that allows you to see her picture grow and change. It's a book with multiple themes about making mistakes, never giving up, and learning that things don't always go according to plan. 

The Giving Tree & The Taking Tree

Many of us have read the classic book "The Giving Tree". We know it. We love it. But have you ever heard of "The Taking Tree"? I've always used The Giving Tree to teach a very introductory level of making inferences and finding themes.

One year, after reading it aloud, a student asked if I'd read "The Taking Tree". I quickly did a Google search and was able to read the book online. It was HILARIOUS! It is such a great parody that our upper elementary students enjoy so much! It also offers multiple themes and a great opportunity to compare and contrast. 

Disclaimer: I don't allow my students to flip through this book on their own. There is one part where the boy pees on the tree. I didn't want parents messaging me or emailing my principal about that part! I read it aloud and skip it. 

If you are interested in the graphic organizers that I used in the pictures for this post, you can find them in my TpT store. Included in the file, you find both digital and printable versions of each graphic organizer.

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