Monday, September 29, 2014

Brothers and Sisters With a Point of View

This month, I published two books that I refer to as “brother-sister” books, Nanny X and How To Behave at a Tea Party. In both of these books, siblings have different ideas of the way things should be. Knowing that many students have siblings with whom they might sometimes disagree, these books can provide the perfect time to talk about point of view. You don’t always need a disagreement to show point of view, of course, but it’s an easy way to show characters with different views of the world.

Writing prompt:

This is a relatively simple point-of-view exercise that will get kids thinking about how different people might tell a story. 

First, pair up students and pair up characters. You can give your students free rein or provide the characters for them. 

Some examples might be:
A brother and a sister (humans, monsters, bears…)
A child and a parent (humans, monsters, bears…)
A student and a teacher (humans, monsters, bears…)
A super hero and a super villain
A human and a dog
A human and an alien

Next, have your students choose a situation where your characters would be in the same place, but might have a different view of their situation. You can give them free rein or provide some examples, where they can mix and match:

It’s time for dinner and one of your characters is serving a mysterious stew to the other.
Your characters are at the ballet and one wants to dance
Your characters are climbing a mountain but one is afraid of heights
One character is taking another character for a walk
A spaceship lands in the middle of the city/woods/playground.
One of your characters wants to take over the world.

Now have each of your students write a paragraph describing the situation as their character would see it. Have your students use persuasive, descriptive language and tell them to tap into their acting skills, too.

When I write different points of view, I try to always ask myself: what does this character want in the moment? What does this character want, ultimately? Tell your students to tap into their character’s feelings, to make things up, and above all, to have fun.

BIO: Madelyn Rosenberg is a journalist and the author of six books for children, including the recent Nanny X and How to Behave at a Tea Party. She writes everything from picture books to young adult. Visit her at

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