When I taught kindergarten, Lois Ehlert's books were among my favorites to share. Bright, colorful, simple text to teach many concepts such as healthy eating, how flowers grow, and seasons. Her illustrations in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! make that story come to life and it has always been a favorite among my students. I recently purchased The Scrap Book: Notes From a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert and it is a joyful book that will make a perfect mentor text for launching Writer's Workshop in my third grade classroom.
The book reads like a scrapbook with old photographs mixed in with the colorful collages from her books and notes. I love that she promotes creating things with your hands and finding treasures in nature. It is also lovely to read how her parents both created and made things, fostering her love and talent for art by giving her a wooden folding table to do her work. The notions of persistence, your life's work choosing you, having mentors, and creating a space to do your work are all part of this book and would make for great discussions as students embark on leading a writerly life. Lois talks about noticing things and finding stories in all different places in her life, such as getting an idea for a book about fish while visiting the aquarium. She lists words that are related to fish, which is a great strategy to share for our writers to try in their writer's notebooks.
Art is featured as Lois Ehlert's passion and there are some beautiful quotes about art at the end of the book. I love the one by Matisse: "The moment I had this box of colors in my hand, I had the feeling my life was there." Some of my students are gifted artists who aren't as comfortable yet with words. A book like this could hold their interest while planting seeds about growing as a writer. There is something in this book for everyone as we all want to lead a more colorful life.