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Mentor Texts for Personal Narrative Writing

The following mentor texts are ideas for use with students in your middle or high school classroom. They are also the suggestions I have for texts to use with my Personal Narrative Writing Unit, coming soon to Teachers Pay Teachers.

Fish Cheeks

By: Amy Tan

A story about a girl who is mortified when her family hosts her crush’s family for a Chinese Christmas Eve dinner.


By: Sandra Cisneros

A story about how a raggedy red sweater, an insistent teacher, and an eleven-year-old’s birthday.

The Skin I’m In: Chapter 4

By: Sharon G. Flake

Though actually fiction, this excerpt is a great example of narrative writing. The narrator, a teenaged girl, talks about a moment in her class when they’re asked to write about their faces. *Note: it’s necessary to create a free account on in order to read this excerpt. If you’d like students to read on their own, you may wish to download it and create a new link.

The Jacket

By: Gary Soto

A story about a boy working through emotions about a disappointing gift from his mother.

Why Not Me?

By: Mindy Kaling

Mindy talks about how her need to be liked has changed from middle school through adult life. This piece is an excerpt from her book, Why Not Me?

The Year I Grew Wildly While Men Looked On

By: Ashley C. Ford

A story of a 13-year-old dealing with the disapproving reactions of adults around her to her changing body.

How to Use a Sanisette (and Not Die of Humiliation): A Horror Story

By: Jeanne Wolz

This story is one from my own days adjusting to life in France as a foreigner. It’s about the time I made a grave mistake while using a French public toilet…

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