Monday, January 16, 2017

All Dogs Must Go!

All the dogs at the shelter must be adopted before closing day. Will that include Spanky the pup with three legs?

This short story will pull at your heartstrings and provide many opportunities to get young children or teens talking, thinking and writing.

Spanky the Pup was written by Abreona Curtis, Darrin Gladman, Rochelle Jones and Temil Whipple, illustrated by Evey Cahall. That’s right – a team of writers. All teenagers themselves, all working with Shout Mouse Press, a nonprofit writing program and publishing house. As it says in each published book, “Shout Mouse Press empowers writers from marginalized communities to tell their own stories in their own voices and act as agents of change.”

Photo credit: Reach Incorporated

Shout Mouse Press partnered with another nonprofit, Reach Incorporated,  to help teens in Washington, D.C., write their own stories for young children. The teens were challenged to write original, inclusive stories that would reflect the realities of their own communities. 

Four new titles were published in November 2016: 

The books may be shared with older students as a project they could replicate. Students of any age can use the books to spark discussion and writing.  

Let’s take Spanky, the pup with three legs who fears he will be left out on the final day of adoptions.  Spanky’s story may help children talk or write about a sensitive topic.

·       What did the dog named Dorothy do to help Spanky (defended him, built up his confidence)?

·       Write about an experience when you felt left out. What do you wish someone had done to help? How could you help make sure someone else doesn’t feel left out?

·       What can you say when you see someone being unkind or hurting someone else with their words?

·       What are ways to act with kindness at home or at school?

As a writing style, it is also possible to talk about the ending of this story which is shown entirely in pictures without a single word.  No spoiler alert here…

Shout Mouse Press would like to know how you use the books written by these teen authors with students. Please share your projects with

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