Margin Notes

Inspiration for Writer’s Notebooks Part Three


This is the third in a three-part series of posts that highlight some of our favorite titles for inviting students (and ourselves) to explore their world and their lives for writing ideas to capture in their notebooks. You can read the first posts here and here. This post features a selection of our favorite picture books to use as writing invitations:

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wentzel invites us to explore different perspectives and reflect on the ways/reasons we may view things differently.


The main character in The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires has a wonderful idea but struggles with its execution. This book encourages us to think about times we have overcome frustration.


Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander, Chris Corderley and Marjory Wentworth, with illustrations by Ekua Holmes, is a collection of poems celebrating poets. They are excellent mentor texts for poetic celebrations of the people we love and admire.


Chris Hadfield shares his childhood fear in The Darkest Dark. Writers can describe their own childhood fears or think about what made them afraid of the dark.

Philip C. Stead has to write a story, but he doesn’t have any ideas. Ideas Are All Around documents a walk with his dog, Wednesday, as they discover there are lots of ideas when you go looking for them.


Sara Fanelli’s My Map Book is filled with lots of models for document, describing, and telling stories through visuals.


In I Wonder written by K.A. Holt and illustrated by Kenard Pak, a group of children share all their curiosities. This picture books invites us to think about all our wonderings—the ones we had when we were young, and the ones we have now.


After reading You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith and Danielle Daniel, writers can record their thoughts about what it means to hold one another up and who in their life holds them up.


My Heart by Corinna Luyken is a beautiful invitation to consider the many ways our hearts can feel.


Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James celebrate the good things in each of us in I Am Every Good Thing. What are the good things about you?


Dictionary for a Better World, written by Irene Latham and Charles Waters and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, is a poetic celebration of 26 words for a better world. Writers can respond to the poems or use them as models for their own versions.

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