The Pigeon Project: Our Journey to Authoring Pigeon Books

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I am excited to start a new school year, especially since I know I have a great group of students and parents to work with! For the first time, I am looping up to Grade 2 with my Grade 1 class from last year. I think it is going to be great and I can't wait to see what incredible things we will do together this year!

In the whirlwind that occurs during the end of the school year, our class started an incredible writing project. We were so busy that we didn't really even have the chance to share, so here's the scoop!

Our new favorite author: During our Grade 1 year, our whole class fell in love with the Mo Willems Pigeon books. They are hilarious stories featuring Pigeon, Duckling and a few other great characters. We own all of the books released to date and we've read them over and over again!

The Pigeon Pops up in Writing Journals:Many students started drawing and writing about the Pigeon during their writing time. We had the great idea to write and publish our own Pigeon stories.

We learn about Copyright: Students eagerly started writing stories and then I realized that we couldn't be publishing (and "stealing") Mo Willems' character due to copyright rules. I explained this to my students and we discussed some options for moving forward.

We asked permission: Mo Willems' website directed us to ask his publishing company about copyright, so we decided to ask the publisher if we could use Mo's pigeon character. In late May, we wrote a letter and emailed it off to Wernick & Pratt, Mo Willems' publisher.

permission letter

We wait... We didn't hear back from Wernick & Pratt right away (and we know that publishers are busy people), so we decided to write another book with our own ideas and own characters while we waited. The students came up with an amazing story called "The Counting Zoo", which we published online and in print! We even printed copies for our classroom and took turns taking them home to our families.

Permission Granted: We returned from a fabulous, fun field trip on June 16th and I noticed an email from Wernick & Pratt. I read the email to students and we were thrilled to find out that we had permission to create our own Pigeon books!

June Flurries: Our classroom was a flurry of activity for the last two weeks of school as students passionately wrote, revised, edited, typed and illustrated. We ended the year with a few finished books and many partially finished books. We are excited to be back in the classroom so that we can continue with our project and share our completed Pigeon stories!

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