My Principal Lives Next Door by Sanibel Elementary 3rd Grade Students

Kids Are Authors Award winning book, My Principal Lives Next Door written and illustrated by third grade students at Sanibel Elementary School in Sanibel Florida. This realistic fiction (possibly based on a true story) picture book tells a story of a student who has his principal as his next-door neighbor and lives to tell about it. The illustrations are beautifully done and accompanies this story which takes on a rhyming pattern which makes it a lot of fun to read. I will add, it took me awhile to get past the grammatical errors; however, the editor did not deem it important to correct as it is written by third grade students.

The story takes us through the thoughts of a student, Benjamin James Johnson. His life was perfect, until his Elementary School principal moved into the house next door. He allows you to believe that this is the worst thing that could ever happen to a him; however, with a few turn of events he quickly has a change of heart about her.

All too often, students have an opinion of a principal, teacher, or staff member at their school. Whether it be because they got in trouble or possibly it is a rumor passed down from student to student. Is it because they do not know him or her very well on their own that they will believe a story or a individual encounter to base their judgement on them. I love that this story is relatable to students everywhere, I automatically begun thinking of that administrator in my own childhood, that appeared to be mean and all were frightened by him.

In the classroom, I would use this as a mentor text to inspire my students to write a book to be submitted for the Kids Are Authors Competition. I believe, it is extremely important to give students an opportunity to write for real life publication within the writing process. Giving students authentic opportunities to share their writing gives them extrinsic motivation to do their best work. Whether this be through sharing their writing with other students, their school, their community, through blogging, or through book publication. Information on how to apply for this specific award can be found below. In addition to using this book as a mentor text to inspire young authors, I think it is a great story of how much teachers, principals, administrators, and other staff are there to do what is best for their students. No matter how we feel about them, they love the children that are in their care 180 days of the year.

Kids Are Authors writing competition from Scholastic Book Fairs. Students in grades K-8 are asked to work in groups of three or more to create a fiction or nonfiction, illustrated picture book. Twenty-five schools will receive honorable mentions and win $200 in merchandise from Scholastic as well as a certificate of merit for each student. Two grand prize winning schools will receive $2,000 in merchandise, 100 copies of their published book, and a framed award certificate and medallion for each student. 

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Thank you for reading my thoughts on this picture book! This review is a part of my Summer Reading #BookaDay Challenge. You can read more about this here. Until next time...

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