Falling in Love with Authors and Illustrators

Students explore the works of four award-winning authors and illustrators, Grace Lin, Yuyi Morales, Monica Brown and Jerry Pinkney, learning about their lives and inspirations.



Unit 4


Unit Summary

In this unit, students explore and experience the works of four award-winning authors and illustrators; Grace Lin, Yuyi Morales, Monica Brown, and Jerry Pinkney. Students learn about each author or illustrator’s life and his or her inspiration for becoming an author and/or illustrator. Students will think critically and make connections between the author or illustrator’s life and the stories he or she writes or illustrates, and how each author’s unique personality is reflected in the words or pictures. By studying a wide variety of authors and illustrators, we hope that the foundations will be set for a lifelong interest in reading and books. Author studies help students develop a deeper attachment to books while also noticing and identifying the many different ways in which authors write.  It is also our hope that students will use the authors in this unit as writing mentors, mimicking the author’s style while also building confidence in their own writing and unique ideas. In future units and grades, students will read additional award-winning stories written or illustrated by the different authors and illustrators from the unit.

In reading this unit builds on the first three units and assumes that students are inquisitive consumers of text, asking and answering questions while listening to and enjoying a story.  Students will continue to work on retelling a story, including key details about the setting, characters, and major events. Students will also continue to be challenged to "read" the illustrations and think about how the illustrations help a reader better understand what is happening in the story. At the end of this unit, students should also be able to clearly articulate and define the role of the author and illustrator and why they are both important. To build speaking and listening skills, students continue to work on clarifying and sharing their thoughts while engaging with the thinking of others. Students practice continuing the conversation through multiple exchanges, asking and answering questions and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

In writing, students continue to work on building writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question. Students learn strategies for crafting statements and questions orally and in writing, and practice using end punctuation when writing statements or questions. In this unit students return to opinion writing, continuing to work on crafting opinions. After learning about each author or illustrator, students will write a letter to the author/illustrator explaining which book was their favorite. Additionally, students will begin to explore narrative writing. Students will focus on narrating a single event, including clear details about what happens in the beginning, middle, and end. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • Where do authors and illustrators get their ideas for writing?

Reading Focus Areas

  • Authors and illustrators work together to tell a story or share ideas. 
  • Readers “read” the illustrations in a text to notice clues about events, setting, and key events. 
  • Readers notice details about character feelings and actions. 

Writing Focus Areas

Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Ask questions using “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.”
  • Use correct end punctuation.
  • Capitalize the first letter of a sentence.
  • Create simple sentences orally and in writing.

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Narrate a single event. 
  • Tell what happens in the beginning, middle, and end.  

Opinion Writing Focus Areas

  • State an opinion about a book. 
  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to include multiple details that support the opinion. 

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.  
  • Asks and answers questions about key details or to get information. 
  • Requests clarification if something is not understood. 
  • Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly. 



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To see all the vocabulary for Unit 4, view our Kindergarten Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • An author is a person who writes a story.
  • An illustrator is a person who illustrates, or draws the pictures, for a story.
  • A person can be both an author and an illustrator.
  • Authors use things they are passionate about in their own lives to influence what they write about.
  • Authors are often recognized for their outstanding writing or illustrations. Some awards that authors can receive:
    • The Pura Belpre Award is given to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience. 
    • The Coretta Scott King Book Award is given as a way to recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience.
    • The Caldecott Award is given to the illustrators of the most distinguished picture books.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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