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February 11

Jane Yolen was born in 1939.

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Jane Yolen was born in 1939.

Grades 1 – 5
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Jane Yolen has written more than 170 books for children and adults. Her books, ranging in topic and theme from animal picture books to books about the Holocaust, have won many awards over the years. Yolen has been called "America's Hans Christian Andersen."




Jane Yolen and her family are avid bird watchers. Yolen's love of birds and nature is conveyed in many of her books. For example, Owl Moon, The Bird of Time, Bird Watch, Off We Go, and The Originals would be good books to read when starting a unit on animals.

After students read one of Yolen's books, have them retell the story in the form of a puppet show. (The Caldecott Award-winner Owl Moon motivated second-grade students to create dioramas that can be used as a model.) Students can then research animals in the book and document their findings with the Animal Study interactive tool. As a follow-up activity, take your students on a nature walk. Upon returning to class, have students create watercolor paintings of the animals they saw.

For older students, consider exploring some of the themes in Yolen's books for young adults, such as The Devil's Arithmetic or Armageddon Summer.



  • Jane Yolen Official Web Site

    This site is an excellent resource for learning more about Yolen. It includes a biography, a comprehensive list of Yolen's books, and separate sections for kids, teachers, and writers.


  • Interview with Jane Yolen

    The University of Rochester Libraries website offers this transcript of a lengthy interview with Yolen, focusing primarily on her work with Arthurian legend.


  • Myths Writing Workshop with Jane Yolen

    In this online workshop from Scholastic, Yolen guides students through the process of writing myths. The author provides information on writing strategies and a few warm-up activities.


  • Telling the True: A Writer's Journal

    Jane Yolan's online journal offers a glimpse into her life and how it informs her work.


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Grades   2 – 4  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

All About Our Town: Using Brochures to Teach Informational Writing

Students explore their towns' landmarks, symbols, and people; look at brochures and other informational tools; practice writing for a specific audience and revising; and work collaboratively to create a brochure.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Teaching Science Through Picture Books: A Rainforest Lesson

Students read Welcome to the Green House, use note-taking strategies, find patterns in text structure, learn vocabulary in context, and write efferent and affective responses to the text.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Fighting Injustice by Studying Lessons of the Past

Social injustice occurs every day all over the world. In this lesson, students research a few historical examples of social injustice, including the Holocaust, the Trail of Tears, and Japanese internment.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Ghosts and Fear in Language Arts: Exploring the Ways Writers Scare Readers

Students analyze scary stories to 'break the code" of horror writing and use what they learn to write scary stories of their own.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Book Report Alternative: Creating a Childhood for a Character

Students explore familiar literary characters, usually first encountered as adults, but whose childhood stories are only told later. Students then create childhoods for adult characters from books of their choice.