Mirandy and Brother Wind

By Patricia C. McKissack Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Mirandy and Brother Wind

Mirandy and Brother Wind is the story of Mirandy and her search for the perfect partner for the junior cakewalk. Mirandy has heard that if you can manage to catch Brother Wind, he has to do whatever you ask him. Mirandy is determined to catch Brother Wind and tries several different strategies. Eventually Mirandy does catch Brother Wind but her request of him is a surprise!


Mirandy and Brother Wind is both a 1989 Caledcott Honor Book and a 1989 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner.


The story is an intriguing look at a bygone era. It illustrates the cakewalk, a dance rooted in Afro-American culture that was first introduced in America by slaves. The story is told in African American dialect and the colorful watercolor illustrations will captivate readers.

About Patricia C. McKissack

Patricia C. McKissack was born on August 9, 1944 in Smyrna, Tennessee. She was inspired to be a writer by her mother who read her poetry and her father and grandparents who told her many stories. These stories included characters who were smart and brave, characteristics present in the characters of McKissack's stories. McKissack attended Tennessee State University where she reconnected with childhood friend, Fredrick McKissack who eventually became her husband. She graduated with an English degree and she and Fredrick were married in 1965. McKissack became a high school English teacher but in 1971 realized she wanted to become an author. Her first book was a biography of Paul Lawrence Dunbar, her mother's favorite poet. In 1980, McKissack became a full time writer. She and her husband worked together to write books that would introduce children to African American history and African American historical figures. Together she and her husband published over 100 books together many of which won awards.


Mirandy and Brother Wind was inspired by a photo of McKissack's grandparents dated 1906. The photograph shows her grandparents as teenagers at a cakewalk they had just won. They were awarded an elaborately decorated cake.

2010 Shaw - Pt_ 3-Patricia Speech-MPEG-4 - Webcasting.mp4

Jerry Pinkey

About Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney was born on December 22, 1939 in Philadelphia. He began drawing at the age of 4. As a child he struggled with dyslexia but because of his artistic abilities he gained the attention of his teachers and schoolmates. In junior high, his work was noticed by John Liney, a cartoonist, who encouraged him to become an artist. As a teenager he attended Dobbins Vocational School where he focused on commercial art. He was granted a full scholarship to the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. After graduation he worked a variety of jobs but eventually founded Kaleidoscope Studies with two other artists. He later opened his own Jerry Pinkney Studio and focused on illustrating children's books. He has illustrated many children's books including two books by Patricia C. McKissack. His work often includes African American motifs. He has won several awards including 5 Coretta Scott King Awards and 5 Caldecott Honor Awards.

First Grade Read Aloud

Vocabulary Words to Emphasize

Clumsy- awkward, uncoordinated, not graceful

"to do their bidding"- a phrase that means to make someone follow your directions


Vocabulary Strategy

Vocabulary Cards


Instructional Sequence

1. Tell the students that today we are reading a book called Mirandy and Brother Wind but before we read the book we need to learn a few vocabulary words that will help us understand the story.

2. Ask the students to sit at their table and take out a pencil.

3. Give the students an 8.5x11 sheet of paper that has been folded to form 4 boxes with the vocabulary word already written in the first box.

4. Using the document camera, write the definition of the word in the second box. Ask the students to copy the definition into the second box.

5. After the students have written the definition in the second box, ask them to turn to their shoulder partner and talk about a word that could mean the opposite of the vocabulary word. Remind students that when they share with their shoulder partner they need to take turns (my turn, your turn, my turn, your turn) and when their partner is talking they should be listening like expert first graders.

6. After giving the students time to talk to their shoulder partner, ask students to raise their hands to share one word that they came up with with their partner. After calling on students who have their hands raised and listening to the words the students have come up with, record an antonym of the vocabulary word in the third box and ask students to copy that word into their box.

7. Ask students to draw a picture of the vocabulary word in the fourth box.

8. After the students have finished the vocabulary cards, dismiss them by tables to come sit on the carpet.

9. After all the students have come to the carpet, remind them that when a teacher is reading a book to them, they should be sitting criss-cross applesauce on their bottoms and listening like expert first graders.

10. Show the students the cover of the book. Ask them to predict what the book is about. After giving them think time, ask them to share with their shoulder partner. After they have shared with their shoulder partner, ask students to raise their hand to share what they talked about with their partner. Call on a few students who have their hands raised and are sitting quietly waiting to be called on.

11. Read pages 1 and 2 of Mirandy and Brother Wind

12. Stop on page two and ask students "Why would Mirandy want to dance with Brother Wind?" After giving think time, ask students to share with their shoulder partner. After they have shared with their shoulder partner, ask students to raise their hand to share what they talked about with their partner. Call on a few students who have their hands raised and are sitting quietly waiting to be called on.

13. Read pages 3 and 4 of Mirandy and Brother Wind.

14. Stop on page 4 and ask students "What do you think Orlinda will say when Ezel asks her to be his partner for the cakewalk? Why do you think that?" After giving think time, ask students to share with their shoulder partner. After they have shared with their shoulder partner, ask students to raise their hand to share what they talked about with their partner. Call on a few students who have their hands raised and are sitting quietly waiting to be called on.

15. Read pages 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Mirandy and Brother Wind.

16. Stop on page 8 and ask students "Why do you think Miss Poinsettia gave Mirandy two scarves?" After giving think time, ask students to share with their shoulder partner. After they have shared with their shoulder partner, ask students to raise their hand to share what they talked about with their partner. Call on a few students who have their hands raised and are sitting quietly waiting to be called on.

16. Read pages 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of Mirandy and Brother Wind.

17. Stop on page 13 and ask the students "What do you think Mirandy asked Brother Wind to do?" After giving think time, ask students to share with their shoulder partner. After they have shared with their shoulder partner, ask students to raise their hand to share what they talked about with their partner. Call on a few students who have their hands raised and are sitting quietly waiting to be called on.

18. Read pages 19 and 20 of Mirandy and Brother Wind.

19. After finishing the book, ask the students "Which part of the story was your favorite?" After giving think time, ask students to share with their shoulder partner. After they have shared with their shoulder partner, ask students to raise their hand to share what they talked about with their partner. Call on a few students who have their hands raised and are sitting quietly waiting to be called on.

Reflection

I think the read aloud went very well. I was most nervous about the vocabulary portion but it went much better than I thought it would. I used a PowerPoint to show the definition of the word and a picture of the word to the class. I think this really helped because it made it easier for the students to copy the definition. I also think it was helpful to have the word already printed on the page. The vocabulary portion took longer than I thought it would but I was still able to teach the students the two words in a reasonable about of time. The actual reading of the book was interrupted by an assembly. However, this actually turned out to be a good thing. It gave the students time to "get the wiggles out" and when we returned from the assembly they were very focused and curious about what would happen at the end of the book. The students did a good job of answering the questions I asked them during the reading and at the end of the story every student gave me a thumbs up signaling that they liked the story. I did feel like I was reading too quickly while was reading the story and next time I would try to slow down while reading.