Posted by: nancyisanders | July 23, 2020

Mentor Text for Nonfiction Picture Book Biography

Girl Running IMG_3084

I’ve been really enjoying diving into all the nonfiction picture book biographies I’ve ordered in from my local library.

I wanted to share this one with you, too, as a potential mentor text to use as you’re working on your biography.

The reason this book really stands out to me as a mentor text is the way it handles the universal theme.

Every book has a universal theme. It’s the tug that reaches every heart in a deep way and keeps us engaged with the story. GIRL RUNNING uses its universal theme as the golden thread that ties the first page of this picture book across the pages of the story and to the very last page.

Here’s an example:
Opening page:
Bobbi Gibb must wear a skirt to school because she is a girl. She is not allowed to run on the school’s track team. Because those are the rules–and rules are rules. But after school…

And the last page includes this text:
[The race officials] insist that rules are rules. But Bobbi has shown that it’s time for some rules to change.

Using this book as another one of my mentor texts, I’m going to go back through my drafts and pick out the thread of my universal theme. And make it the golden thread that ties my book together from the very first page to the very last one.


  1. I’ve read this book and I agree that it is a terrific mentor text.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Yay! And I learned things I didn’t know, too!

  2. I appreciate these insights into mentor texts. This one is especially helpful. Thanks Nancy!

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