Meet My Family Inspires Writing

Meet My Family Blog Tour Graphic 2018

My second grade students were honored to receive an autographed copy of Laura Purdie Salas’ newest book – Meet My Family – Animal Babies and Their Families. The book is illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman.

In the book, twenty baby animals introduce their families through rhyming text. Students learned new information about animal families. They also recognized some facts from our animal information writing and our studies of vertebrates/insects in science. This book lends itself to discussion that incorporates many curriculum areas – writing, science, engineering, social studies and social emotional skills.  The back matter includes a map and the glossary has further explanation of the animal “parent names”. My students were particularly empathetic toward the animals who survive on their own from the beginning!

Laura has written over 125 books for children. We checked out many of them from the library. My students loved her books about various habitats and poured over the maps and text features. I heard, “Hey, come look at this. . .” many times while students were reading – information that needed to be shared! They also enjoyed books in her “Colors of… ” series and her “… Can Be ” series.

We used our shared reading discussion about families from the book to try different ways of writing. As we worked, I quickly realized that Meet My Family helped us to further build our classroom community as we shared new stories about our own families. For example, Ayla taught us about Azerbaijani pakhlava and Liliana taught us about her mother’s enchiladas.

Student sharing led us to appreciate the diversity represented in our own class. Students grew to have new understandings about their classmates and further develop interpersonal connections that are so important for success in school and in life outside of school.

Students wrote acrostic poetry with their own names and family member’s names and “Meet My Family” narratives and poetry.

Here is some of their writing:

Ayla’s rough draft plan of her poem. She first wrote the words on sticky notes so she could move them around to plan her poem. She decided to arrange her family words from “super simple” ideas then “simple” ideas, then “kinda simple”, then “unique” and lastly, “Super Unique!”


Here is the final poem – she wanted periods after the words.

Meet My Family by Ayla

Me and my 5 year old brother are helpers. Brave.

Books.  Can’t take off the smile.

Math.  Writing.   Funny stuff.

People can’t tell I’m Asian. Cooking. Silly faces.

Azerbaijani pakhlava.  Unique. Music. 


Liliana’s Acrostic Name Poem


Collin’s poem about his Dad


Zion wrote about “My Bigs” – These are two people who work with Zion from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program. He feels that they are like “family” to him.

Meet My Bigs by Zion

Sean and Sarah are like family to me. 

We go places, like their parent’s house.

They stay next to me when we go places.

At their parent’s house, we played ping pong.

Sarah even messed up sometimes and hit the ball into the air!

We made brownies.

They are the nicest people I ever met. 


Meet My Family by Iona

My mom, my dad, my brother and my dog.

We play, eat and give each other comfort.

We were all born in different places.

The best thing about my family is being all together.

I’m so glad I’m not an orphan!

I might cry if I grow up and I’m not with any of them!

Meet My Family by Lux

Little brother Smith, Mom and Dad.

AND my mom is having a baby – I hope it’s a sister.

We play games like Sorry. We do art and drawing. 

I like my family – they are funny and we help each other. 

One time, my family met all together in North Carolina. Even the family from Oregon came to North Carolina.  That was really fun to be with so much family. 


Meet My Family by Brooklyn

My family has me, Marcus, London, DonnAi, Daisha and baby Paris -that is 5 girls and 1 boy. We like going to Chuckie Cheese and watching movies. When I get hurt, my mom takes care of me and gets a band-aid. We tickle each other and laugh at each other. Mom lets us buy Jolly Ranchers at the gas station. My mom and me, we cook together – macaroni and cheese, corn, chicken with hot sauce and green beans. When I think of my family, I think of happy.

For Teachers, Laura has resources at this link:

The views on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, vision or strategies of the Madison Metropolitan School District.

About Susan Apps-Bodilly

I am a full-time elementary teacher in an urban school and a writer. My book about One Room Schools describes teaching and learning in one room, with one teacher and eight grades. My book, Old Farm County Cookbook, is a collaboration with my father, Jerry Apps. It's a collection of stories and recipes from my Grandma's white, wooden recipe box from the days when she cooked on a wood stove in the 1930s and 1940s. I enjoy blogging about writing and books, teaching and learning from the past and today.
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2 Responses to Meet My Family Inspires Writing

  1. Second graders, I just read your wonderful writing, and I am feeling very emotional here. Thank you for sharing your families with me!

    Ayla, you shared so many great details! I got to see how your family is special. And I learned something. I looked up “Azerbaijani pakhlava.” Yummm, that’ looks delicious!

    Liliana, acrostics are one of my favorite kinds of poetry. I really enjoyed that you didn’t just say “Nice,” for “N.” Instead, you used two words and said, “Never hurting.” That’s not only more specific, but it told me that being thoughtful of other people’s feelings is important to you. I admire that, because it’s important to me, too!

    Collin, isn’t it funny how something as simple as grocery shopping can make us happy if we’re with someone we love? Also, your poem made me decide to fix rice with dinner tonight :>)

    Zion, I’m so glad you have Sean and Sarah in your life. Sometimes, we make our family bigger with friends and other people who are super important to us, even if we aren’t family by blood. You deserve to have people who are nice to you and who you have fun with. When I was a kid, because my own home was not a very happy place, I spent as much time at friends’ houses as I could. I sort of made their families into my family, too.

    Iona, I love that everyone in your family was born in a different place! It also makes me happy that you know how much your family means to you. Sometimes, people don’t really think about it. They take their family for granted. But when we think about it and we appreciate it each other, we make our family even stronger. Yay!

    Lux, thanks for sharing details about your family! I liked hearing about your family reunion. I don’t know any of my cousins or aunts or uncles, and I think a family reunion sounds like SO much fun! (P.S. I hope you get a little sister:>)

    Brooklyn, thank you for painting this word picture of your family! I love all the details (Jolly Ranchers–watermelon are my favorite! Chuck E. Cheese–ooh, I was just talking about their pizza the other day. Macaroni and cheese is my very favorite food!). And it sounds like you guys have fun and take care of each other. I hate to leave Marcus out, but…GIRL POWER!

    To the entire class: I wish every single one of you had the perfect family. But I didn’t have that growing up, and some of you might not, too. Do you know what makes me happy even though some of us don’t have perfect families at home? We are ALL family. Our family is not ONLY the people who we live with when we are kids. As humans, we are all connected to one another. I feel very glad to be connected to all of you.

    And I love to see you writing, because writing is powerful! You can change the world with what you say and what you write. Thank you for reading my book and writing about your own families. And thank you to your amazing teacher! I am 51 years old, and I STILL remember some of my elementary school teachers. They encouraged me and made me feel good about myself. I’m glad you have such a great teacher!

    Laura, your family member in Minnesota

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