Don't you just love doing author studies with your class? To me, it is such a cool moment when a 6-year-old says, "That reminds me of his other book..." or "She always does that in the books she writes" or even recognizes an illustrator by his or her style. Author studies make writers real and accessible to our students, and quite often also become the basis for imitation (sincerest form of flattery :) ! ) in their own writing. I also LOVE the look on our librarian's face when my little ones ask for a book by Lois Ehlert, or Mo Willems, or...!
Keeping an Authors Notebook is an easy way to make the writers more real for your class. It's as simple as print-outs alphabetized in a looseleaf binder, or you could add variety and interest by including student book reviews, comparison charts, feature lists, etc. Keep it handy near your easel and pull it out once in a while before a read-aloud.
Most of the print-outs I've used have come directly from the authors' websites. Here are a few you might find helpful ... authors also seem to be having more and more fun making their websites... well, FUN!
http://pigeonpresents.com/ Leave it to Mo Willems to give the Pigeon his own website!
http://alyssacapucilli.com/ When this author of the Biscuit and Katy Duck made a presentation at our school, we wrote her an email together on the SMARTboard (I was SO tech proud of
myself...) and she sent us a lovely response. Writing for a real purpose!! Making the author real!! Those books about Biscuit became an even hotter commodity than before. Extremely cool.
Watch an interview with Lois Ehlert at http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/ehlert/ .
http://www.stevejenkinsbooks.com/ Look at the slide show called "Making Books" for great insights on getting ideas for writing, as well as the book making process. Hint: mini-lesson ideas!
Have fun exploring!