Posted by: nancyisanders | April 13, 2016

NF PB Journey: Mentor Text

Dirty Rats

Well, I’ve come to a screeching halt.

You see, there are many more wonderful nonfiction picture books at Charlesbridge that I could continue evaluating and posting rubrics for.

But I’ve decided not to.

Why? Because I found the mentor text I want to use. Yep. It’s DIRTY RATS?

Here’s what so great about this picture book as a mentor text:

  1. It’s a great “breakthrough” format. Meaning it’s a good example of a text that I feel could be a great nonfiction picture book manuscript to experience breakthrough for a first time contract with a publisher I’ve not yet worked with.
  2. It’s got a solid plot structure and (without actually having plotted its structure yet) it looks like it follows the 3-Act structure really well.
  3. It’s a simple and straight-forward approach to a nonfiction topic, so I feel I can experience success using this as a guide to write my own nonfiction picture book.

So if you want to follow along with me in the next few weeks as I use this book as my mentor text and share the journey I’m taking, head on over to your local library and get a copy. Or purchase it at your favorite indie bookstore. Or buy it used or new on Amazon.

And since I’m sharing in real time what I’m doing to try to experience breakthrough with a nonfiction picture book at Charlesbridge publishers, I wanted to explain that right now I have 4 goals for the manuscript I’m planning on writing based on this mentor text.

GOAL #1. Write the first draft of a brand new nonfiction picture book manuscript from beginning to end.

GOAL #2. Take this manuscript to my critique group.

GOAL #3. Submit a polished manuscript to Charlesbridge.

GOAL #4. Simultaneously submit it to 5-10 other nonfiction picture book publishers who are currently taking unsolicited manuscripts. CLICK HERE to see a list of these potential publishers.

If you want to share in these goals, I’d be thrilled to have you join along!

But I can already hear some of you saying, “Wait! I don’t belong to a critique group!”

So just hold on tight…we’ll talk about that in my next post!



  1. I’m in! Thank you!

  2. Oooh! I can’t wait. I’ve had a nonfiction idea floating around in my head, but haven’t written nf before I’ve been stalling.

    • I’m so glad this is helping you take the first step!!!!

  3. Thank you for the opportunity to join in and grow as a writer! I am new to your blog but already find it to be encouraging and uplifting. Hope is a great gift to share. With a community of writers there is a benefit of motivating one another to press on to the goal! So happy to be part of this mentoring group!!

    • Welcome to my blog, Shirley! I’m so glad you’re finding encouragement AND a place to grow as a writer. I’ve found that the journey of writing and getting published is so much more meaningful (and fun!) when we can do it together.

      • Yes, thank you! Sounds like a really good word…fun! Sharing is a joy 🙂

  4. Love your idea, Nancy! Will be following right beside you.

  5. Just saw this wonderful post. Can I still join?

    • Oh of course! This is a self-paced journey, so just click along on all the posts to see the steps to take. Have fun!

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