Grow a Greater Understanding of Figurative Language with Grandmother Thorn.

Grandmother+ThornPicture Books are a great classroom tool for exploring metaphor, simile, idiom and other figurative devices. The combination of text and pictures helps children decode the meaning of figurative phrases, and to better understand that there is more to words than their literal interpretation.

In Grandmother Thorn, I used many examples of figurative language to build a strong connection between the main character and nature, including simile, personification, onomatopoeia, and metaphor.  For example, at a moment of crisis, Grandmother’s voice “droop[s] like an old tree, withering in drought.” In fact, the book in its entirety subtly equates Grandmother to the stubborn, thorny vine she battles. Given time and space to grow, both burst with unexpected sweetness. Talk about a metaphor!

In my free Educator’s Guide download, you will find a Figurative Language lesson plan and berry printable. Teachers can create a twisting vine of green yarn around a bulletin board or classroom.  Then ask students write or draw examples of figurative language from the book on their berries. Your classroom vine can bloom and grow all year long as you add examples from other books!

The Guide also includes a Text-to-Self connection printable that encourages kids to compare themselves to a plant, with room to draw and write a response. This gives your class another terrific way to explore figurative language with a nature theme.

Grandmother Thorn Giveaway!

Use this Rafflecopter link to be entered for a chance to win a free 15-minute classroom Skype session with Katey, a signed copy of the book, and a classroom set of Grandmother Thorn bookmarks.


Katey Howes is the author of picture books Grandmother Thorn (Ripple Grove Press, 2017) and Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe, coming January 2018 from Sterling Books.  A former physical therapist, life-long book lover, and self-proclaimed “fun mother,” Katey can often be found exploring outdoors, making messes and machines with her three daughters, or consuming large quantities of black coffee and Moose Munch as she revises her latest manuscript. Katey is a team member at All The Wonders, a website that connects readers to children’s books in new and wondrous ways.