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HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

June 18

Today is Chris Van Allsburg's birthday.

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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.



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Activities & Projects

Grades   5 – 8  |  Activity & Project

Explore Point of View in Fairy Tales

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.


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Games & Tools

Grades   3 – 8  |  Game & Tool

Fractured Fairy Tales

The Fractured Fairy Tales tool lets children play with three familiar fairy tales, changing many things including setting, characters, point of view, and plot.


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Podcast Episodes

Grades   K – 5  |  Podcast Episode

Fractured Fairy Tales

Tired of the same old books? Try on these “fractured” tales for a fun twist on familiar stories.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Podcast Episode

New Takes on Old Tales

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.


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