We have read all of Kevin Henkes' "mouse" books. We used the books to study his characters. First, with Wemberly, we worked with a partner to think of a single word that described worried Wemberly. Then for Wendell and Sheila Rae and Louise we worked with partners and came up with a word to describe each character and then wrote our evidence - where in the text the character had demonstrated that quality.
Finally we decided which character was our favorite. On one side of an index card we drew a picture of our favorite character and on the other side we wrote the reason that the character was our favorite. As you can see Owen was our favorite, but Lilly came in a close second!
We also learned about Kevin Henkes' life so we could figure out how his life had affected his writing. Students shared the most interesting thing they had learned about Henkes from their homework.
All of this background helped us talk across the books - our favorite book, favorite character, which book we thought was Kevin Henkes' most important to first graders... To have a book talk, we had to learn about Accountable Talk - how to wait for the silence to speak, how to make sure that everyone got a turn, how to disagree politely, how to listen and build on what others said. We made the chart below of phrases to help us continue the conversation.