Why Breakfast on Mars:
“One of the challenges in this unit of study is that I don’t have published examples of essays that resemble those I’ll ask children to write. The essays by authors like E.B. White and John McPhee are far more complex than those that children can write, and children’s bookshelves don’t contain anthologies of essays written specifically for youngsters.”--Lucy Calkins, famed teaching guru, in her nationally used teaching manual, “Breathing Life into Essays” (Heineman, 2006):
Until now, students have read many examples of great fiction and poetry, but shockingly, there are few--if any--books of entertaining, well-written essays for kids by real authors. Breakfast on Mars addresses this problem and more by providing:
New Breakfast on Mars
Featured Essay Prompts
- Describe a time you had to do something you really didn’t want to do.
- Pick a myth or an urban legend and argue why it must be true.
- Pick a belief that is widely accepted and then debunk it.
- Put yourself in the shoes of “the villain” and write an essay from his or her perspective.
- If time travel were possible, what moments from your past would you revisit and change? Where would you go in the future and what would you do?
- If you could pick any name for yourself, what would it be and why?
- Make an argument in favor of something you care about. Then make a convincing counterargument addressing that same topic.
- Write about a strong memory and what it means to you.
- Write about a before and after. What was life like before? What was life like after?
- Write about a time when you had to experience pain in order to get a huge reward.
- Write about a memorable encounter you had with someone you didn’t really know.
- What makes your family unique?
- Pick a superpower and explain its pros and cons.
- Analyze a character from a fairy tale.
- Write (and/or draw) about a time when you felt like an outsider and how you dealt with it.
- What makes/made your upbringing unique?
- If you could steal one trait from an animal, what would it be and why?
- Write about a loss and how it has affected you.
- Is the grass always greener? Write about a time when someone else’s circumstances or belongings seemed more appealing than your own.
- What is your favorite story? Explain what makes this story so compelling.
- Write about a time you had to make a hard decision. Were you happy with the outcome?
- Write about a crazy experience or adventure you’ve had.
- Write a research report on an unusual animal.
- What are you afraid of? What strategies do you have to cope with this fear?
- What is your favorite place and why?
- Write about a time a friend helped you, or you helped a friend.
- Think of something you enjoy doing. Then, in essay form, write the directions for how to do this activity.
- Write about an object or family relic that is especially meaningful to you.
- Should schools and libraries be allowed to ban books?
- If you could change an event in history, which one would you choose and why?
- Look back at one of your written or artistic creations and then describe the inspiration behind it.
- What makes someone or something “cool”?
- Write about a time you helped make the world a better place.
- Write a plan to fix an area of your life that you have been neglecting.
- Compare and contrast two characters from the same story.
- What is the strangest/worst job or chore you’ve ever had?
- When is it okay to break the rules?