Monday, April 25, 2016

I'M NOT--Writing About Fears with Peep and Egg

In Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching, Egg is scared of everything—from the too-high roof of the hen house to the too-dark sky at night.  Egg wants to stay inside of her nice, cozy, SAFE shell. 

When I present Peep and Egg to school groups, I ask kids to think about their own fears.  What would make them want to stay inside their eggs? 

When Egg finally hatches, it is because she wants to be with Peep, and because she wants to read a story.  I ask students, “What would make you hatch out of your egg?  What do you love enough that you would come out of your safe, cozy egg for it?” 

In your classroom, you may want to have each student make a chart—one half of the paper for What Would Make Me Stay in My Egg and one half of the paper for What Would Make Me Hatch.  Ask students to write a list, or draw pictures, on each side. 

(So far, I’ve found sharks to be the most popular answer for What Would Make Me Stay in My Egg and ice cream to be the most popular answer for What Would Make Me Hatch.)

Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching is the first in a series of books that will include Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick or Treating, Peep and Egg: I’m Not Taking a Bath, and Peep and Egg: I’m Not Eating That.

Ask your students to think about an I’m Not title that reflects their own fears.  Ask, “What would YOU be scared to do?”  I often tell school groups that my title would be I’m Not Skydiving.

Next, ask students to write or tell an I’m Not story, with the story primarily written in dialogue like Peep and Egg. A student could use the characters Peep and Egg, she could use herself and a parent (“I’m Not Trying Out for the School Play!”) or she might use a scared penguin and a comforting polar bear (“I’m Not Ice Skating!”).  Anything goes! 

Writing I’m Not stories can help students think about their own fears in a humorous way.  I’m Not stories can also help kids remember that we can overcome our fears, although we may need a special someone like Peep to help us break out of our shells!

Laura Gehl is NOT skydiving!  But she IS the author of One Big Pair Of Underwear, a Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title, International Literacy Association Honor Book, and Booklist Books for Youth Editors’ Choice for 2014; Hare And Tortoise Race Across Israel and And Then Another Sheep Turned Up (both PJ library selections for 2015 and 2016); and Peep And Egg: I’m Not Hatching, an Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2016. A former science and reading teacher, Laura also writes about science for children and adults.  She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children.  Visit Laura online at

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