Pigeon Picture Books: Made By Kids!

Last Saturday, kids between the ages of five and eight came to Pasadena Library to do do a crafty creative writing activity making our own books–covers included!–inspired by the Pigeon books of Mo Willems!

We read The Pigeon Needs a Bath and a little of Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus, and talked about the three rhetorical devices: Pathos (appeal to emotions), Ethos (appeal to respect for authority or credibility) and Logos (appeal to reason and facts). This was a little challenging for kids but not as challenging as one might think! We went back through these books and identified examples of the three types used by the Pigeon to manipulate–I mean, persuade–the reader into letting him get what he wants.

Then we set to work crafting our books in the shape of the Pigeon and writing our stories:

Here’s the sample I made:

The children wrote wonderful stories! Their pigeons begged and pleaded and cajoled! I captured as many as I could on video. One child didn’t want to share his and I respect that. And one girl did share hers, but unfortunately her name was written in big letters on the front cover, so I can’t share it here, for safety reasons.

This workshop was kind of based on one from the book 36 Workshops to Get Kids Writing: From Aliens to Zebras, which is available for checkout from the Pasadena Public Library. Also–I just found this recently–you can also get a great Pigeon creative writing activity direct from the source, Mo Willems himself, here: http://pigeonpresents.com/content/uploads/2017/08/pigeon-needs-bath-activity-kit.pdf. It includes a writing sheet that looks like this:

It was just such a blast seeing kids create these books and make their own stories! And we had a wonderful turnout. Many thanks to everyone who came!

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian currently working at the Lamanda Park Branch Library while Central Library is closed for seismic repairs. I purchase juvenile fiction for grades 2-8, and some foreign languages. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including 3 regular book clubs (Windows and Mirrors, Read Around the World, and Lucha Libros), as well as writing workshops and STEAM/science programs. I also Infant/Toddler Storytimes and Preschool Storytimes, and outreach to local area preschools. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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