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Lesson Plan

Postmodern Picture Books in Middle School

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time 45 minutes
Lesson Author

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Lexington, Kentucky


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Picture books are typically thought of as texts for young readers. This lesson uses the postmodern picture book Black and White, by David Macaulay, to engage students in a deep analysis of writer's craft. Macaulay's book presents four separate story lines that playfully interact with one another throughout the text. Students explore ways in which authors use words and illustrations to create unexpected plots and connections within a text. Students also study relationships between words and illustrations represented in the text.

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Story Map: Your students will use this handout to record setting, characters, and events, and to explore plot connections and author craft.

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Anstey, M. (2002). "It's not all black and white": Postmodern picture books and new literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(6), 444457.

  • Multiliteracies focus on the many modes of representation and forms of text that have been made available through multimedia and technological change. Therefore, being multiliterate requires not only the mastery of communication, but also an ability to critically analyze, deconstruct, and reconstruct a range of texts and other representational forms.

  • Literacy education must focus on critical engagement and understanding of text and its inherent ideologies, in all forms, as well as competency in creating such texts.

  • The postmodern picture book appeals to a much wider age span, level of sophistication, and range of reading abilities.

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