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Mo Willems Author Study

Taking a look at Mo Willems and his pigeons.
by

Kathleen Tinsley

on 19 September 2012

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Transcript of Mo Willems Author Study

By Kathleen Tinsley Mo Willems As a child growing up in New Orleans, he enjoyed writings and illustrations from Fiep Westendorp and Charles Schulz!
He began his career in stand up comedy,
In the 90s he was a writer and animator for Sesame Street.
He also worked on numerous other cartoon programs like Sheep in the Big City.
In 2003 he published his first book, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
He writes and illustrates his own stories. Who is He? Since publishing Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! there have been many other works ranging in content, theme, and audience.
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay up Late!
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs He has an early reader series: Elephant and Piggie Cat the Cat Caldecott Honor 2004 - Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! He has won many awards! Caldecott Honor 2005 - Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale Caldecott Honor 2008 - Knuffle Bunny: A Case of Mistaken Identity Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal 2008 & 2009 - Elephant and Piggie Series Geisel Honor 2011 - Elephant and Piggie Series 4.A.EC: Listen with understanding and respond to directions and conversations.
14.A.EC: Recognize the reasons for rules.
RI.K.4: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
RF.K.1.a.b.c.d: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
2.B.1.a: Describe the ways that people are similar and different.
2D.1.a: Identify problems and conflicts commonly experienced by peers.
RF.K.3: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
RF.K.4: Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding. A Sample of Educational Implications Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Funny! Simple illustrations! Short, simple sentences and ideas. Pigeon is a character that children can relate to - how often does a book focus on a frustrated child? Cat the Cat Series Themes and plots vary. Simple illustrations with bright colors! Characters are animate through drawings and dialogue. Funny (always a surprise at the end)! Spans a wide audience. Informative. Theme: Being different is okay! Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed Humorous narrative that introduces new vocabulary. Background simple. Colors simple. Drawings simple. Plot: Wilbur is a naked mole rat who loves wearing clothes. The other naked mole rats don't agree. They take their argument to Grandpa Mole. Who will he side with - Wilbur or the others? Is this situation relevant to his audience? Yes! He has a series aimed at the younger crowd: What about his drawing process? What about his drawing process? Timeline of Published Works His timeline of published works is extensive - over 30 children's books have been written. He is a very busy writer. It would take lots of slides to fit them all into this presentation. Here is a link to follow to view his bibliography - http://mowillemsfaq.blogspot.com/2007/10/q-can-you-give-me-your-bibliography.html

(This isn't even a complete bibliography! Since this question was answered he has also published 2 more Elephant and Piggie Books, The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?, and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs all in 2012.) Bibliography Cramer, S. (2005). Mo Willems: Making Failure Funny. Publishers Weekly, 252(8), 153.

Willems, M., & Cooper, C. (2007). Daydreaming and Doodling. Children & Libraries: The Journal Of The Association For Library Service To Children, 5(3), 26-27.

http://mowillemsfaq.blogspot.com/2007/10/q-can-you-give-me-your-biography.html

NPR, A Rival For Pigeon in Willems' New 'Duckling'. April 24, 2012. http://www.npr.org/2012/04/24/151229926/a-rival-for-pigeon-in-willems-new-duckling

A Video Interview With Mo Willems. http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/willems/

Meet Mo WIllems and Cat the Cat.

Mo WIlliams on Writing Books Interview.

Mo Willems. Funny dialogue between the character (a very frustrated pigeon) and you the reader. It could almost be a persuasive piece - can the pigeon talk you into letting him drive the bus? Theme: You can't always get what you want. And that can be FRUSTRATING! Plot: The bus driver has left his bus for a minute and has asked you, the reader, to watch things until he gets back. That means, don't let the pigeon drive the bus. Pigeon really wants to drive, can he talk you into let him drive the bus? To explore differences and similarities amongst the group, and conflict that can arise amongst peers.
To explore the emotions that come with being a little different.
Explore new vocabulary terms and discover new animals!
This book can be used as a way for children to remember what happened in the story, and explore beginning, middle and end
This applies to Pre-K through 3rd Grade! How can I use this in the classroom? I have dreams, you know! To teach basic self help and self care skills. Classroom implications: To explore processes and activities that involve completing steps in an order. As an introduction to animals who sleep during the day, sleep during the night, and where do people fit in? Mo WIllems' books contain humor that appeals to adults and children - making them an enjoyable read for all.
The themes and plots are relevant to children. This helps children process problems that appear amongst friends, how it feels to be told "no", and what it is like to be different.
The majority of his books are written with dialogue as the main style. This helps children understand the nuance of conversation.
The illustrations are purposefully drawn in a simple manner in order to inspire creativity in children.
The characters are enjoyable to encounter and at times mirror childlike characteristics (i.e. a pigeon who uses bargaining to get his way). This makes the characters easy to relate to. In Summary It is important to focus on friendship, particularly with beginning readers in K or 1st Grade, because at that time they are beginning to form new friendships, keep old friendships, and dealing with all the ups and downs that come with being friends with some one. Why is friendship so important? During this time, this could be the child's first experience with lots of children, new children, or first experience in a school setting.
This is a time when having friends is important in order to practice and learn social skills:
Sharing
seeing things from the others point of view
accepting differences amongst friends and how to handle differences correctly
empathizing with another person WIlbur is comfortable in his own skin, the character development seen is in the secondary characters. By the end of the book they too embrace individuality and differences! What does he like to write about? "Consciously, all I want to do is make sure that all my books are funny. Kids can't fake laughter. So the only way I can judge if what I'm doing is real or true or right is if I can get a laugh." - Mo Willems, Making Failure Funny article His writing style: This is one aspect that drew me to Mo WIllems' works. I really enjoyed reading them because they made me laugh! The other aspect that drew me to this author is that when you read it to the children they become engaged in the story, particularly the Pigeon books. By responding to the Pigeon, the children become a part of the story which encourages their participation and excitement of reading the story! His illustration approach is also very inviting to children - the simple drawings that children can easily replicate and insert into their own stories. This encourages children to be creative and to engage with the story and characters in their own personal way!

Just another reason I like Mo Willems - his purpose is to engage his audience and have his readers become active participants! A teacher can use this book in the classroom: To explore feelings like disappointment, frustration, and anger. To explore how to handle these feelings appropriately.
To explore different writing styles. This book contains dialogue written with speech bubbles.
To have young children fully and appropriately embrace the use of the word "no". To also have young children fill in the role as adult to the pigeon's role of the child.
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