Earlier this spring, we read the first two books in the Gooney Bird Greene series by Lois Lowry, and they were a HUGE hit! If you’re looking for a family read-aloud book that is bound to make your children laugh, inspire them to tell and write their own stories, teach them a bit about writing craft, AND is part of a 6-book series (so you’ve got lots of material once your kiddos are hooked, which they will be…), then look no further than Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Middy Thomas!
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Last week, I posted about how much I’ve loved Patricia McKissack since I was a child. Lois Lowry is another one of those long-time favorite authors of mine. I have incredibly fond memories of reading her Anastasia series, The Giver, and Number the Stars.
More recently, as a teacher, I found Gooney Bird Greene. Gooney Bird is all that you’d hope for someone named Gooney Bird to be. Her name is unique, her clothes are unique, her stories are unique, and her approach to just about everything in life is… unique! On her first day at a new school (in the middle of October, so not a typical fresh start), Gooney Bird arrived wearing pajamas and cowboy boots and announced, “I’m your new student. My name is Gooney Bird Greene — that’s Greene with a silent ‘e’ at the end — and I just moved here from China. I want a desk right smack in the middle of the room, because I like to be right smack in the middle of everything.” Yes, that’s Gooney Bird — an instant, likeable, personable, and educational favorite!
The Gooney Bird Greene series takes you through Gooney Bird’s year as a new student in Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class. Throughout the first book, Gooney Bird Greene, both Mrs. Pidgeon and Gooney Bird educate the rest of the class on how a good story is made, with teaching points around word choice, moving action with words like “suddenly,” and adding secondary characters. In both of the first two books, children are inspired to use informational texts such as atlases and dictionaries (looking up new words in the dictionary is a major theme running throughout Gooney Bird and the Room Mother). In fact, we actually bought a dictionary for our girls while reading Gooney Bird and the Room Mother because they were so inspired to learn how to use one! So, not only is Gooney Bird incredibly likable and entertaining, but these books just might inspire some amazing storytelling, writing, and research skills.
While we can’t vouch for the rest of the series, I will tell you we’re really excited to get our hands on them when the libraries open again!
If your children like this series, then they might also enjoy the Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker. And, if you’re looking for more books to inspire writing, check out (all Amazon Affiliate links for purchase):
- Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan
- The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter
- The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
- Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
- wordless picture books like Journey by Aaron Becker and Flotsam by David Wiesner
- my list of letter-writing books
What books have you used to inspire the young writers in your life?