new books

Mentor Author, Mentor Texts
Ralph Fletcher


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Ralph Fletcher 
has long mentored writing teachers—now he presents the ultimate mentor-text resource for teaching students to write. In Mentor Author, Mentor TextsRalph shares 24 short, high-interest texts and accompanying Writer’s Notes with your students. Arranged from least difficult to most challenging, they are ready for writers at every level. Online, Ralph also provides whiteboard-ready versions of the texts as well as recordings where he reads of 17 of his pieces.

Mentor Author, Mentor Texts Includes:

  • 24 mentor texts written by Ralph, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more

  • Writer’s Notes that give students a peek into Ralph’s thinking and craft

  • Online access to whiteboard-ready versions of Ralph’s mentor texts

  • Online access to recordings of Ralph reading 17 of his pieces

  • Suggestions from colleagues nationwide for using Ralph’s texts in the classroom.

Let your teaching mentor become your students’ writing mentor…

…with engaging mentor texts written and read by Ralph Fletcher…
“I wrote all 24 pieces in this book. You’ll find an assortment of genres: stories, memoir, poems, essays, and excerpts from novels. The various texts are ordered from easiest (least challenging) to hardest (most challenging). I tried to select short, high-interest pieces. Each one stands on its own with a beginning, middle, and ending. I tried to choose pieces that would bring a sense of closure by the end.”

…writer’s notes that give students an inside peek into craft…
“My Writer’s Notes introduce the text, explain my thinking behind various decisions, and point out a few things I want kids to notice. With certain pieces, especially the last three, I highlight revisions I made along the way. I tried hard not to take the mystery out of good writing. Instead these notes are my way of opening the door and leading the student into the text.”

…and practical, classroom-tested suggestions like this from your colleagues
“One of my students, Suzy, knows that she struggles to provide enough detail in her non-fiction pieces. For her piece about soccer, she told me that she knew she needed to include more details because she didn’t want the reader to be confused. We had already read Ralph’s “Squirming Wizards of Recycling,” so we looked at the Writer’s Notes. Ralph said he had brainstormed questions that readers may have had as they read about worm composting, and he then tried to include the answers to those questions in the piece. Suzy decided that she would write down questions that she thought her reader might still have about soccer and then make sure those questions were answered in her writing. Since both Suzy and I have already developed a relationship with Ralph through his texts, it felt like we were inviting an old friend to join our conference.”
—Kate Norem Morris, Teacher, The Bush School, Seattle, Washington

Pyrotechnics on the Page

Playful Craft That Sparks Writing
Ralph Fletcher

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With Pyrotechnics on the Page, Ralph is poised to teach so many of us once again in a whole new way, and we're going to have a grand 'ole time learning what it is he wants to teach us about playing with language.
Katie Wood Ray, from Foreword

Writers in every field play with words each time they sit down at their desks.
In his newest book, Ralph Fletcher demonstrates how playful craft can energize student writing and breathe new energy into the writing workshop.

Children have a natural affinity for language play Pyrotechnics on the Page demonstrates how writing teachers can tap into it. This book provides a wealth of resources for teachers:
* Information on the roots and developmental importance of language
* A how-to on using the writer's notebook as a playground for
students to explore and experiment with verbal pyrotechnics;
* An in-depth look at the kind of language play commonly used by
writers, including chapters on Puns and Double Meanings, Idioms
and Expressions, Inventing Words, and Harnessing the Supple Power
of Sentences (these chapters end with a “Bringing It to the
Writing Workshop” section that includes explicit classroom
* Twenty-four brand new craft lessons to bring pyrotechnics into the
* An extensive bibliography of relevant mentor texts that make it
easy to model language play for students

Pyrotechnics on the Page is vintage Fletcher: personal, anecdotal, and practical. It represents the latest chapter in Ralph's efforts to widen the circle in the writing classroom, make it a more engaging place for student writers and, in the process, lift the quality of their writing.

Sandman The Sandman
Ralph Fletcher; illustrations by Richard Cowdrey
$16.95 Hardcover

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A tiny man named Tor grinds down a dragon's scale and sprinkles magic dust in the eyes of children to help them sleep. But how does he get the scale to make his special sand? He must venture into the lair of a dragon! Ralph Fletcher and Richard Cowdrey team up to tell this fantastical tale of the legendary Sandman.

Read the review in School Library Journal:
"This fabulous story explains the origins of the Sandman. Tor is a tiny fellow who finds a dragon's scale. Taking it home to his workshop, he studies it and then starts to sharpen it. The dust that gathers makes him fall asleep. Once awake, it's a small leap for him to imagine how helpful this dust will be to all who suffer from sleeplessness, especially children. Fletcher's smoothly written story flows in a thoroughly plausible way and is beautifully served by Cowdrey's vibrant acrylic paintings. Especially intriguing are the wonderful details, like Tor's mouse-drawn carriage made out of buttons. The old-fashioned look is refreshingly straightforward, and free of adult-oriented nostalgia. All in all, this is a compelling story with pictures that add drama, charm, and atmosphere."--Lauralynn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL.

how toHow to Write Your Life Story:
by Ralph Fletcher
$15.99 Hardcover
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$5.99 Paperback
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Lies About Writing Your Life Story

*You have to be a famous celebrity.
*You must have an amazing life.
*You can't write your life story until you're old and gray.
*Nobody will read it, so what's the point?

Like my other books for young writers, this one will give tons of practical advice on how you can write your autobiography, memoir, or personal narrative. I include interviews with other well-known authors (Jerry Spinelli, Jack Gantos, Kathi Appelt) who have written this kind of writing.

It's an odd thing with autobiographical writing. You may be the world's best expert on your life, but through this process you'll learn a great deal bout yourself. When you write your life story, you're always an explorer, forever arriving on the shore of yourself. Bon voyage!

chopThe One O'Clock Chop
By Ralph Fletcher
$16.95 Hardcover
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It's the summer of 1973 and fourteen-year-old Matt spends his days on a boat working as a clam digger. His nights are another story--he hangs out with his free-spirited cousin Jazzy who's visiting from Hawaii (and just happens to be beautiful). Matt can't deny that his affection for Jazzy moves beyond a crush, and everyone knows you can't fall in love with your cousin. Just when Matt decides to act on his feelings, Jazzy does something that changes everything between them.
Like the One O'Clock Chop--the strong breeze that blows across the Long Island Sound--Matt's summer proves to be as inevitable as a force of nature. Cost: 16.95

refectionsReflections: Author at Work
by Ralph Fletcher
64 page paperback
Richard C. Owens Publishers, Inc.
$8. 00

In this book Ralph Fletcher reveals the inside workings and crafting processes that allowed him to write well-known books like Fig Pudding, Flying Solo, and Twilight Comes Twice. The Table of Contents: 1) My Missing Manuscript 2) Deep Roots 3) Early Writing 4) My Writer's Notebook 5) Drafting 6) Revising 7) Fig Pudding 8) Conversation with Ralph Fletcher 8) The Best Award. Get to know Ralph up close and personal. Includes lots of photographs of the author and artifacts from his notebook. This is an essential resource for kids or teachers conducting an author study.

boy writersBoy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices
by Ralph Fletcher
Stenhouse $20.00 paperback
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Writing test scores indicate that boys have fallen far behind girls across the grades. In general, boys don't enjoy writing as much as girls. What's wrong? How can we do a better of job of creating boy-friendly classrooms so their voices can be heard?

In Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices Ralph Fletcher draws upon his years of experience as staff developer, children's book author, and father of four boys. He also taps the insights from dozens of writing teachers around the US and abroad. Boy Writers asks teachers to imagine the writing classroom from a boy's perspective, and consider specific steps we might take to create stimulating classrooms for boys.

Topic choice emerges as a crucial issue. The subjects many boys like to write about (war, weapons, outlandish fiction, zany or bathroom humor) often do not get a warm reception from teachers. Ralph argues that we must widen the circle and give boys more choice if we want to engage them as writers. How? We must begin by recognizing boys and the world in which they live. Boy Writers explores important questions such as:

a. What subjects are boy writers passionate about, and what motivates them as writers?
b. Why do boys like to incorporate violence into their stories, and how much should be allowed?
c. Why do we so often misread and misunderstand the humor boys include in their stories?
In addition, the book looks at: how handwriting can hamstring boy writers, and how drawing may help; welcoming boy-friendly writing genres in our classrooms; ways to improve our conferring with boys; and more.

Each chapter begins with a thorough discussion of a topic and ends with a highly practical section titled: What can I do in my classroom? Boy Writers does not advocate promoting the interests of boys at the expense of girls. Rather, it argues that developing sensitivity to the unique facets of boy writers will help teachers better address the needs of all their students.

moving dayMoving Day
by Ralph Fletcher
Illustrated by Jennifer Emery
Boyds Mills Press $17.95
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We're going to move to Ohio. Those six poisonous words suddenly turn the world of twelve-year-old Fletch upside down. In two weeks he will say goodbye to his friends and leave behind that pretty girl with the dark dark eyes. Longing fills the time before moving day as Fletch yearns to keep life just the way it is. Even defrosting the freezer is hard; a thick white layer of sadness covers everything. Fletch wonders that when he moves he won't be from anywhere. He'll be just a tumbleed blowing across a dusty road. These heartfelt, autobiographical poems are beautifully illustrated by Jennifer Emery and speak to anyone who has experienced a move from a beloved home.

  © 2012 Ralph Fletcher All Rights Reserved.
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