What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.
Today is Chris Van Allsburg's birthday.
|Grades||3 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
Chris Van Allsburg always wanted to be an artist. Though not encouraged as a youth, he developed his talents as both an illustrator and an author. His picture books offer stories of adventure, often with unexpected points of view, and illustrations that captivate both child and adult readers.
Point of view is a common theme in Van Allsburg's writing. Invite your students to explore varying points of view by rewriting a traditional story.
- First, brainstorm with students a list of well-known stories or fairy tales, such as The Gingerbread Man, Cinderella, or The Three Little Pigs.
- Share some books that are written from an alternate point of view, such as Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.
- Next, invite students to select and rewrite a story. For example, they could write a Cinderella story from the stepsisters' point of view, or use the interactive Fractured Fairy Tales tool to rewrite one of three given fairy tales.
- Finally, have students illustrate and share their stories. Alternatively, students can share their stories as a puppet show or a reader's theater performance.
See the Fractured Fairy Tales page for more information about this tool along with additional activity ideas.
- Chris Van Allsburg
Van Allsburg's official site provides links to the author's biography, information about his books, interactive activities, and more.
- A Video Interview With Chris Van Allsburg
Watch an online interview with Van Allsburg to hear about his big breakthrough, his books, and their transformation into movies.
- Scholastic: Chris Van Allsburg
This Scholastic resource on Van Allsburg includes links to a transcript of the moderated chat, a biography, and an annotated booklist.
Activities & Projects
Grades 5 – 8 | Activity & Project
Explore fairy tales told in both old and new ways and use an online tool to help children create their own “fractured” version of a fairy tale.
Games & Tools
Grades 3 – 8 | Game & Tool
The Fractured Fairy Tales tool lets children play with three familiar fairy tales, changing many things including setting, characters, point of view, and plot.
Grades K – 5 | Podcast Episode
Tired of the same old books? Try on these “fractured” tales for a fun twist on familiar stories.
Grades 6 – 12 | Podcast Episode
In this episode, you’ll hear about creative retellings in a variety of genres and forms, including biographies, short story anthologies, verse novels, and picture books.