Letters from Space by Clayton Anderson
Illustrated by Susan Batori Picture Book and Mentor Text 32 pages © 2020
Looking for a picture book for your space unit? Look no further! Clayton Anderson spent 152 days in space aboard the International Space Station and that experience is shared in this child friendly picture book. Students are exposed to concepts like velocity, weightless, gravity and its effects on the body, and why the pictures from space help the scientists.
As a mentor text, teachers can use this text for point of view and why the author chose to make the main character a child astronaut. Doing an informational unit? The author tells the story through letters. Exposing students to this style may encourage students to write their informational piece in this style rather than the traditional informational report.
Point out to students that while there is factual information, the author includes typical kid comments such as the space launch (very cool), underwear (who knew that underwear can be worn for multiple days?) , and pets (who knew?). Exposing students to the balance between facts and story telling keeps reader engrossed in the story.
Lastly, point out the illustrations and ask students to comment how the pictures compliment the text and why the author chose to add so many funny comments in the letters.