Friday, December 30, 2016


Title: Shy 
Author: Deborah Freedman 
Illustrator: Deborah Freedman 
Publisher: Viking 
Publication Date: September 27th, 2016
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: Shy loves birds. He'd love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he's only ever read about them in books. . .until a real bird comes along. He's dying to meet her, but there's just one problem: Shy is, well, shy--so shy, in fact, that he's afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page? 

This sweetly relatable picture book from the acclaimed Deborah Freedman speaks to every child who's ever felt like hiding instead of facing the daunting world. 
What I Think: I've had the lovely pleasure of meeting Deborah Freedman and it's so obvious after meeting her that her personality comes across in her illustrations. Her work is beautiful and gentle, calm and soothing. Shy especially is quiet and lovely. I love how Deborah so intricately weaves the text and the illustrations together. This book is a perfect mentor text for looking at how the text leaves space for the illustrations to do their work.
     As a mentor text, this book is perfect for looking at how the illustrations support the text. It's also an opportunity to look at how to show and not tell in the sense that it's the author's job to give enough information to the reader that he or she can fill in the blanks. This is super super hard to do. It's easier to give lots of information and outline everything for a reader...but knowing when to pull back and what specific details to show is harder. This would be an interesting mini-lesson in how to pull back on a personal narrative. I know there are times when I struggle to not tell too much. But there's a power in recognizing the need to pull back and going through to cut words. I written before about Lisa Graff and how she writes a manuscript and then she revises by going through and cutting her words in half. It's amazing what message shines through when you take out all the extra unnecessary words!
Snatch of Text: 
"Shy was happiest between the pages of a book."
Writing Prompt: Reread something you've written. Now try to take out 10 words, 15 words, 25 words. Does your writing sound stronger as you tighten up the words? Don't give up the meaning or the core of your message, but see if it makes your message stronger.

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