Monday, April 11, 2016

 by Peter H. Reynolds
Published 2004

Thank you Peter Reynolds for continuing  to influence and encourage creativity and individuality through your wonderfully poignant books!

Ish, by way of it’s simple but compelling message, inspires readers and writers, children and adults alike to be themselves, explore and find their creativity and be proud of what they can share with the world.  

As a mentor text in writing workshop, Ish is an excellent text to use with older students to focus on character development. Even though the book is not complicated—it is powerful and the emotions that the main character go through are worth noticing, discussing, and emulating into one’s writing. For younger students, Ish would be a good example of taking a ‘small moment’ and developing a story from that.

For reading strategies-the strategy of “Making a Connection” will be strong with some children in your class as they—or you—read Ish. 

Book Talk
Ramon loves to draw and draw he does! He draws anything, any time and anywhere…..until his brother, Leon, comes in and laughs, mocks and criticizes Ramon’s latest creation.

Ramon is horrified and humiliated. Leon’s criticism rings in his ears. As he continues to draw, he attempts to change his artistic style to make it ‘perfect’.  But Ramon never does live up to what he thinks Leon would approve of, so Ramon-while crumbling and throwing his latest picture—declares that he is ‘done” with drawing. 

Then along comes his sister, Marisol.

Marisol runs to retrieve Ramon’s latest crumbled up picture, then runs to her room with Ramon chasing her. When Ramon enter’s her room, he gets the surprise of his life!  Her walls were lined with his pictures that he had crumbled up over the past few months.

Some favorite lines:
“This is one of my favorites,” Marisol said, pointing.
“That was supposed to be a vase of flowers,” Ramon said. “but it doesn’t look like one.”
“Well, it looks vase-ISH!” she exclaimed.
Ramon looked closer. 
Then he studied all the drawings on Marisol’s wall and began to see them in a new way.
“They do look…..ish,” he said.

Marisol helped Ramon to see his drawings in a new way—the ‘ish’ way—opening the door for more creativity and a much lighter heart for Ramon.  He begins to joyfully continue to let his artistic style develop…which even reaches over into ‘ish’ poetry!  

In the end, Ramon happily accepts himself, his drawings, his poetry and joyfully lives in his ‘ish’ world.

Suggested Uses As a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Workshop Strategies: Making a Connection, Inferring, Synthesizing, Summarizing, Realistic Fiction
Writing Workshop Strategies: Character Development, Inspiring Writers, Narrative Writing, Small Moment, Strong/Clever Endings
Curricular Themes:  Self-confidence,Respecting individuals

Peter H. Reynolds' website:

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