Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fly Away Home: Lesson Ideas { A Must Read Mentor Text }

Today I am linking up with the Collaboration Cuties for their Must Have Mentor Text linky. 

I absolutely LOVE Eve Bunting. I especially love Fly Away Home. Just looking at the title and cover you could possibly think this book is about a father and son taking a plane back home, maybe coming from a vacation or a relative's house. It is not that at all! This book is actually about a homeless boy who lives in an airport with his father, moving from terminal to terminal trying not to be noticed. 

There are so many amazing teachable moments in this book. Why are they homeless? Where is the mother? Why don't they go to a shelter? Why can't Dad work?

We plan on using it this year for our first unit (that Robyn and I rewrote this summer). We are focusing on homelessness. This is a great mentor text because students get to know this completely normal boy, who happens to be homeless. They understand it can happen to almost anyone and it leads us to the big question what makes a home? It really triggers empathy in my students and I love that it empowers the students to want to help others. Homelessness is a difficult subject to teach and talk about to young kids because you don't know everyone's past and history. In fact, in my eight years as a teacher, I have had some students who lived in local homeless shelters while coming to class everyday. 

I also love this book because it is something the students really have to think about to understand. The students take the story very seriously. 

Besides teaching about the subject matter, I'm sure you all agree that all Eve Bunting books are filled with descriptive language, amazing illustrations, and a touching story plot. I think all Even Bunting books bring out emotions when I read them. Some of my favorites that I read every year are A Wednesday Surprise, In a Day's Work, A Train to Somewhere, The Wall, The Other Side, and A Memory String.  

Anyone know of any other books that discuss homelessness? I'd love some ideas to implement into our first unit! :)


  1. I love Fly Away Home, I use it to introduce the idea of symbolism in books to my kiddos.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. I LOVE ALL EVE BUNTING BOOKS TOO! This is definitely a favorite! I use it to teach symbolism too!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. This is such a great book - but actually I love ALL Eve Bunting books! They always have such a great message.
    Grade 4 Buzz

  4. You chose one of my favorite authors this week. :) Love her.
    Creating Lifelong Learners
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  5. I have this book (I think) but haven't read it yet because I heard it was sad. But, I think it sounds like a great book!! I will have to brave it and read it. Eve Bunting is one of my favorite authors!! She is so good!!

    Thanks for linking up ladies!!!
    Collaboration Cuties

  6. I too, have heard it is sad...have not been able to bring myself to read it.
    Maybe, I'll get a student to read it to the class.
    Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

  7. There is a short story by Cynthia Rylant (no pictures) called Spaghetti that is also about a homeless boy. It's really short and we use it as part of our literacy essay unit because there are some great themes in the piece. We read the novel Maniac Magee in fifth grade so we spend a lot of time talking about homelessness and what is a "home" ? There is also a website that lists picture books that teach kids about homeless through fiction. You can find it at Understanding Homelessness Through Children's Books.

    Such a great story!
    My Shoe String Life
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  8. Eve Bunting is one of my all-time favorite authors! She does an excellent job with picture books for upper elementary students.

    This is a great book. I agree that it raises great questions.

    Your blog design is really cute! I am now a follower:)



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