Student Task

Picture Books

Do Something
Grade Level


Students work in small groups to write and illustrate an original children's picture book to teach others about a social justice or diversity topic present in the central text.

Estimated time

Two to three weeks


Creating children’s picture books that others can enjoy and learn from is exciting for students. By writing their own story, students can process topics from the central text in a novel context. Doing original writing and illustrating encourages students to see how literacy and art can be connected to inform others.


Get Ready

  1. Review major themes and topics in central text.
  2. Prepare and provide students with planning tools, such as:
    • Storyboard graphic organizer
    • Story mountain graphic organizer
    • Story map graphic organizer
  3. Assess resources for producing illustrations and binding completed picture books. (Three-ring binders with transparent sleeves work well if available.)

Get Set

  1. Introduce students to the Do Something Student Planning Guide. Instruct them in mapping the steps necessary to complete their picture book.
  2. Share the sample rubric or adapt it into a checklist for students. Refer to the rubric to define expectations.
  3. As a class, review important elements of a story, such as:
    • Characters
    • Descriptive language
    • Dialogue
    • Internal thoughts and feelings
    • Plot events
    • Sequencing
    • Setting
  4. Put students in small groups. Give them time to brainstorm ideas for their social justice picture book. Remind them not to replicate the central text.
  5. Have students map out the details of their stories using graphic organizers.
    • Discuss planning across the pages to ensure the storyline is logical and connects to the central text.
    • Discuss audience and how to make the story clear for very young children.
    • Each student in the group should play an active, equitable role in the planning, writing and illustrating.
  6. Instruct students to produce the first draft of the written story. Have the groups peer edit the drafts and revise.
  7. Have students discuss and produce illustrations to accompany text.
  8. Publish final drafts of books.


  1. Arrange for students to read their published books to an audience. Possible audiences include:
    • Other classes
    • Families
    • Younger students from lower grades
  2. Add published books to classroom or school library for further sharing.


Students can journal about their picture book. Some suggested reflection questions include:
  • How does your picture book connect to a theme from the central text?
  • What is the message of your group’s book?
  • How is this message communicated to the reader?

English language learners

While this task is heavily language-based, its collaborative nature allows students learning English to contribute and demonstrate their learning in a supportive, cooperative setting. Provide graphic organizers to scaffold the task. Encourage students to take on various roles within each group and contribute in ways beyond writing, such as illustrating, organizing and design, etc. This task engages linguistic, interpersonal and spatial/artistic learning modalities.

Connection to anti-bias education

The children’s book task allows students to demonstrate their learning with an audience other than the teacher in mind. Students contribute their perspectives and ideas to a collective project, which enriches the assessment process and encourages students to compromise and learn from one another. Creating picture books teaches students how to combine art and literacy in a creative, entertaining and educational way.