6 Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching 7 Elements of Author’s Craft

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6 Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching 7 Elements of Author’s Craft

Picture books have the remarkable ability to capture the imaginations of young readers, drawing them into vibrant worlds accompanied by striking illustrations. Within 6 beautiful winter read alouds for teaching 7 elements of author’s craft, teachers can find hidden treasures showcasing the power of figurative language, imagery, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, analogies, and author’s purpose. Join me as I embark on a journey through the captivating pages of Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, The Coal Thief by Alane Adams, Brave Irene by William Steig, Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli, Lotus and Feather by Ji-li Jiang, and Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, and discover the literary wonders they hold.

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Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching Figurative Language

Finding Figurative Language in Winter Read Alouds

Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa illuminates the extraordinary story of Rosa Parks with poignant figurative language throughout the book. One of my students’ favorite similes in the book is, “The needle and thread flew through her hands like the gold spinning from Rumpelstiltskin’s loom.” In addition, students enjoy the way Giovanni masterfully uses a metaphor as she narrates the story of Jo Ann Robinson and the women who made the posters for the Montgomery Bus Boycott with, “They decided they would stand under the umbrella of courage Rosa Parks had offered, keeping off the rains of fear and self-disgust”.

Brave Irene by William Steig showcases one of the best examples of personification I have ever encountered and I imagine that many teachers will agree with me here. The wind is a powerful antagonist who howls at and bullies Irene to the point that the reader thinks it will defeat her, but her indomitable spirit prevails in the end!

In Each Kindness, Jacqueline Woodson employs figurative language to emphasize the importance and impact of even small acts of kindness when Chloe’s teacher, Ms. Albert says, “Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world,” as her captivated students prepare to share their acts of kindness as they drop their pebbles into the big bowl.

In The Coal Thief, Alane Adams personifies the coal by writing, “but the mountain of coal had swallowed him up” as the train from Virginia begins to move and Georgie is unable to escape! Readers can imagine how frightening being trapped in a moving coal car could be when reading this text.

Ji-li Jiang uses a variety of arresting similes throughout Lotus and Feather such as “like a wisp of sorrow”, “white as fresh snow”, “like a dazzling ruby”, “noise like thunder”, and “like lace on a dress” that keep young readers engaged in the story and make them want to read more.

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Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching Imagery

Uncovering Imagery in Winter Read Alouds

The pages of Brave Irene by William Steig transport readers to a harsh, winter landscape where snowflakes whirl “into Irene’s squinting face” and gusts of wind wrench the dress in the box “from her mittened grasp,” and send it “bumbling along in the snow,” creating a vivid tapestry of images.

Similarly, Alane Adams’ The Coal Thief paints a vivid picture of the harsh realities faced by people experiencing poverty. Even though there is an illustration of Georgie’s toe poking through his boot, children can also visualize it when they read or listen to the words.

In Lotus and Feather, the environmentalist message resonates throughout. When Grandpa describes how vibrant and appealing the nearby lake once was, the reader can easily visualize how the lotus flowers, fish, birds, and foxes looked and sounded as they interacted in the time before the “greedy fisherman and hunters” ruined the habitat.

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Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching Sentence Fluency

Appreciating Sentence Fluency in Winter Read Alouds

Something in picture books that captivates young readers is that successful authors like Steig, Woodson, Jiang, Giovanni, Spinelli, and Adams is that they know how to weave varied sentence lengths and realistic dialogue into their stories in a consistent and nearly flawless way.

In Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch, Eileen Spinelli masterfully weaves a story with rhythmic sentence fluency, with phrases like “Somebody loves you” recurring throughout, creating a comforting and melodic tone.

Like Spinelli, Giovanni uses repetition (e.g. “They walked…” and “tired of”) as a literary device along with believable dialogue, long descriptive sentences, and shorter sentences such as, “Mrs. Park sat.”

In addition, in Brave Irene and Lotus and Feather, readers are treated to beautiful, descriptive language that conjures up images of courageous characters who fight forces (blizzards, earthquakes, floods, and hunters) much larger than themselves and ultimately triumph.

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Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching Word Choice

Precise Word Choice Makes Winter Read Alouds Beautiful

The power of word choice is evident in Rosa, where Nikki Giovanni carefully selects words like “quiet strength,” “nonviolent movement,” and “soul force” to emphasize Rosa Parks’ and the Black citizens of Montgomery’s pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement, imbuing the story with profound meaning.

Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness uses evocative language to depict the impact of kindness and its absence, highlighting the significance of one’s choices and actions.

Alane Adams integrates precise language (e.g. potbellied stove and black gold) in The Coal Thief that have students intrigued as they read and discuss the book with their classmates. Every time I read the book, my students always want to know more about these terms (and, in my head, I think of “black gold, Texas tea” from the Beverly Hillbillies and Benjamin Franklin and his potbelly stove and have a little chuckle to myself).

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Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching Voice

Author’s and Character’s Voices Bring Read Alouds to Life

Eileen Spinelli’s Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch masterfully captures the unique voice of Mr. Hatch with its gentle and introspective narrative, inviting readers to reflect on the power of love and human connection.

Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness presents a collective voice, showcasing the emotions and perspectives of an entire classroom as they learn the value of kindness.

Finally, since the character Lotus is unable to speak following a winter illness, Ji-li Jiang’s voice as the narrator of Lotus and Feather is crucial in helping young readers connect with Lotus and develop empathy for her. Following Lotus as she patiently cares for Feather throughout the book and watching her ultimately set him free is inspiring and relatable.

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Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching Analogies

Analogies in Winter Read Alouds Keep Students Thinking Deeply

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson explores the impact of unkindness through insightful analogies, conveying the notion that acts of kindness are like “tiny waves,” creating ripples that extend far beyond our immediate actions. These analogies offer young readers a deeper understanding of the consequences of their choices.

In Lotus and Feather, both characters are healing simultaneously. Students can compare and connect how Lotus gains confidence expressing herself and how Feather gains confidence as he slowly builds the strength to fly again.

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Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching Author’s Purpose

An Author Always Has at Least One Purpose

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni beautifully captures the author’s purpose of honoring Rosa Parks’ courageous act and her pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. Nikki Giovanni masterfully uses the 3rd person omniscient point of view to entertain, inform, and even persuade readers. Even readers like me who have heard the story of Mrs. Rosa Parks countless times find Giovanni’s version riveting and chock full of historical facts.

The Coal Thief by Alane Adams educates young readers about the importance of integrity and restorative justice while also entertaining the reader with Georgie’s and Harley’s antics.

Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness prompts reflection on the importance of kindness.

In Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, readers are delighted by Mr. Hatch’s exuberance and acts of kindness when he thinks he has a secret admirer and moved by his realization that the candy delivery was a mistake and the sadness and loneliness he feels after that realization.

Each picture book serves a unique purpose, offering valuable lessons and insights.

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6 Beautiful Winter Read Alouds for Teaching 7 Elements of Author’s Craft – Conclusion


The enchanting stories within Rosa, The Coal Thief, Brave Irene, Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch, Lotus and Feather, and Each Kindness reveal the power of picture books as artistic masterpieces, showcasing the writer’s craft and inviting readers to explore literary techniques. Figurative language, imagery, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, analogies, and author’s purpose illuminate these stories, providing young readers with a profound understanding of the art of writing. By embracing the magic of these *picture books, educators can nurture a love for literature in students, empowering them to become thoughtful and skillful storytellers themselves.

* This post includes an affiliate link. If you purchase any of the books using my link, I receive a small commission.

Links to Book Companions on Teachers Pay Teachers:

See my Each Kindness book companion and fiction book companion bundle in action on YouTube.

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