Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat.

If you are a teacher in B.C. right now, you can’t think. Coherence is next to impossible. Logic? Out the window. Just breathing and moving at the same time? Quite remarkable. As I type, both parties involved in the BC Education dispute are holed up with experienced (thank goodness times a thousand) mediator Vince Ready trying to get a negotiated settlement. Which would mean we might actually make it back to school in the month of September. After months of striking, it is more than time. I am not so good at sitting by while huge discussions are happening that impact my life, my children’s lives and the lives of each my students and their families. But sit by, I must.

And the best I can do, is make a list. List making is like one foot in front of the next. One, two, three, four . . . So here we go . . . While everything hangs in the balance and I can barely breathe, I am going to make a list that allows me to slow down and celebrate. Inhale, exhale, here we go.

Right now, I celebrate how very much I love my job. How being a teacher brings me joy. How lucky I am to be part of a classroom community. Let me be back here soon!

I celebrate . . .

 Energy

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Balance

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Pride

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Mentorship

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Expression

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Focus

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Engagement

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Current obsessions

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Play

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Embracing our Inner Goofy

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

All of it? The magic I desperately miss.

Do your thing Mr. Ready.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community. Despite our busy days, time is always found to share what we celebrate. It’s like passing a virtual gratitude stone!

celebrate link up

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2)

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

This is Week 2 of 3 where I will be sharing thirty titles (ten at a time) of my favourite nonfiction books for older readers. The first ten are here.

My post last week goes into more detail of why I wanted to put together these three lists. Basically, I had just written a number of blog posts featuring titles for younger readers (like this one) and had received a comment about older students losing their passion for nonfiction titles. I wanted to share some of my favourite titles that I have read with my own children or on my own that I think will appeal to these intermediate/middle school readers. I hope something catches your eye!

The second ten:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins (published 1999)

The Top of the World Climbing Mount Everst Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Poop – A Natural History of the Unmentionable written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Neal Layton (published 2004)

Poop Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Predator Showdown (30 Unbelievably Awesome Predator vs. Predator Face-offs!) by Lee Martin (published 2011)

Predator-Showdown Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Let’s Talk About Race written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Karen Barbour (published 2005)

Let's Talk about Race Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Helen’s Big World The Life of Helen Keller written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares (published 2012)

 Helen's Big World Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Meadowlands – A Wetlands Survival Story by Thomas F Yezerski (published 2011)

Meadowlands Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Bugged: How Insects Changed History written by Sarah Albee and illustrated by Robert Leighton (published 2014)

Bugged Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Every Human has Rights – A Photographic Declaration for Kids A National Geographic book with a forward by Mary Robinson. (published 2008)

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate (published 2013)

Look up! Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth written by Rochelle Strauss and illustrated by Rosemary Woods (published 2007)

One Well Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 102/65 complete!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

Monday August 25th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I thought I would have finished many more books this week. Problem is I can’t sit still. If I am still, I think. I think about how we are still on strike. How September is going to begin with us in limbo here in B.C. No teaching, no learning. Just sad. So I spent time I would usually be reading, doing other things. Sorting. Organizing. Puttering about to keep moving. And less reading was the result. Ridiculous really because reading is one of my favourite things but it’s been a hard week knowing that there is no resolution in sight. Taking a deep breath and trying to dive back into books.

Still, I read some great titles!

The picture books I loved:

 A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

Oh wow. This book. It’s gorgeous. It’s special. It’s a must own and must share. A story of a boy who finds his voice and shares it in the best of ways.

 A Boy and a Jaguar #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won

This book was sent to me by the wonderful Alyson Beecher and it marched into my hands and begged to be read. Delightful. Charming. It whispers, “Hey, there is an art project just begging to happen here don’t you think?” Yep!

Hooray for Hat  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

The Long,  Long Journey The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

I am always fascinated by migration stories. This title highlights the journey of the godwit’s migration. Almost unbelievable. Beautifully illustrated.

 The Long, Long Journey  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class by Ethan Long

Perfect read aloud for little ones – addresses feelings of jealousy, wanting attention, accepting the new kid. Always relevant.

  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

In New York by Marc Brown

A great introduction to an incredible city.

In New York  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

I also finished

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Reading this book was kind of like stumbling into an eclectic antique store and picking up interesting items to examine. Stacks of sentimental. Little bowls of charm. Artifacts full of whimsy. Sorrow. Longing. Joy. Magic. What a book.

a snicker of magic  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Up next? I am now reading Okay for Now by Gary D. Shmidt with my children and plan to start Revolution by Deborah Wiles later today.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 394/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 100/65 complete

Celebration: Island moments

A week ago we returned from a vacation with family on Protection Island here in B.C. A week away was full of many small moments to appreciate. Time with family. Slowing everything down.

Books. Berry Picking. Ocean Gazing. Perspective taking.

I share some moments here – each full of so much to celebrate.

Community gardens and the beauty and complexity of nature.

 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for That

Island walks. I love the light here – highlighting the muted blues, the dry grass and the dark silhouettes of the trees.

 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for ThatTugboats remind us that sometimes the little guy is stronger than you think.
 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for That

Stumbling on signs of fall approaching.

 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for That

 One Dad. One Grandpa. One grandson. Zero fish. 

 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for That

Where water and sky mix and blend, cut in two by horizon.

 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for That

Sand that wasn’t there before and won’t be there later but is there all along.

 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for That

Frozen time to stare at each other.

 Celebration: Island Moments There's a Book for That

Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and the Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community. Despite our busy days, time is always found to share what we celebrate. It’s like passing a virtual gratitude stone!

celebrate link up

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1)

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

In July, I published a series of posts about using more nonfiction titles in the classroom. I included numerous recommendations of book titles geared to the primary/early intermediate classroom.  In case you missed them, here are the links:

Part 1: Everywhere you look . . . let there be nonfiction!

Part 2: The importance of the nonfiction read aloud

3A: Generating excitement, making choices and having time to read

3 B: Reading and working with the texts 

Through twitter and from a few comments, I heard from some teachers that their middle school students (Grades 5-8) have lost their passion for nonfiction reading. Linda Baie from Teacher Dance addressed this here with some great book suggestions. At first, I thought that this was not something that I could talk about since my students are younger and I don’t have first hand experience working with these older readers. But the more I thought about it, I realized that my own children (boy/girl twins) are eleven and we share a lot of nonfiction together. And I started another list . . .

For the next few weeks, I will share thirty of my favourite nonfiction books for older readers – ten at a time. If you are an intermediate teacher, I hope you have students eager to read nonfiction! If not, maybe some of these titles can persuade them to spend some time with this genre.

The first ten:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest – and Most Surprising – Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins (published 2013)

 The Animal Book Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by  Brian Selznick (published 2001)

 The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sis (published 2003)

 The Tree of Life Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2014)

 Chasing Cheetahs Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2009)

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong (first published in 2002, second edition 2011)

 If the World were a Village Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909 written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (published 2013)

 Brave Girl Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (published 2014)

Shackleton's Journey Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Zombie Makers True Stories of Nature’s Undead by Rebecca L. Johnson (published 2012)

Zombie Makers  Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle (published 2011)

 The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 99/65 complete!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

Monday August 18th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I just had a wonderful week long holiday with family on Protection Island – just across from Nanaimo B.C. I had big plans for big reading. I ended up making my way partway through my book stack. While I got lots of reading done, I also did a few other things like . . .

Beach Walking 

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Crumble baking (there was an abundance of blackberries everywhere we walked)

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Garden Wandering (and some bee spotting)

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wildlife visiting (my daughter’s close proximity didn’t phase this guy at all)

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I did start my trip reading – opening my first novel while the ferry was just pulling out of Horseshoe Bay.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

It was all novels this week. We were walk on passengers so no room for extra books.

I finished:

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

I will start by saying that I cried through the last third of this book. Tears because of the beautiful writing and imagery. Tears because of being right in the middle of the grief. But also tears because healing arrives. The characters are fantastic. The setting unique. Just a beautifully done story.

 The Secret Hum of a Daisy  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

What a fun read! I read this to my children – a signed copy to our family that my husband and I picked up when we went to hear Kenneth Oppel talk about this novel at Vancouver Kidsbooks this spring. This would be an ideal classroom read aloud for upper intermediate classes. There is so much in this book: Canadian history of the railway, magic and mystery, huge amounts of adventure, an onboard circus, definite bad guys and teenage heroes! What more could kids ask for? How about some sasquatches? Avalanches? Tight rope walking? This book has all that too!

The Boundless  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

A really great middle grade novel. Not only does this book touch on important themes of friendship, family and grieving but the reader has the opportunity to be invited into the world of synesthesia via the character of Mia. Mia has the most common form of synesthesia – coloured letters and numbers but it impacts her in many ways. As Mia learns about her “diagnosis” she is able to embrace the things she loves about how she interprets the world.

 A Mango Shaped SPace  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

This young adult novel was dark and complex – holding secrets just out of reach until its final pages. I had read Charm and Strange earlier in the year and knew Kuehn would be an author I would read again. What can I tell you here that won’t give away the plot? Not a lot. This is a thriller – lots of mystery, psychological drama, flashbacks and sorrow. I couldn’t put it down.

 Complicit  #IMWAYR There's a Book for ThatNext up? I am almost through A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd and then plan to read Revolution by Deborah Wiles. I think my children and I are going to start The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. And after a week without, I plan on diving into a large pile of picture books so stay tuned . . .

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 59/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 387/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 97/65 complete

 

Monday August 11th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

The picture books I loved this week include some nonfiction titles. I won’t be posting for Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday (away on holiday) so sharing some wonderful nonfiction here today.

Jacob’s New Dress written by Sarah and Ian Hoffman and illustrated by Chris Case

Really a must have title for those of us trying to build a library that represents all of the diversity in our classrooms. This picture book touches on gender non-conforming children and sends a beautiful message: “There are lots of different ways to be a boy.” Little Jacob’s interactions with his parents are emotional as he waits to see their reactions to his requests to wear a dress to school. A brave little character. A must have book.

Jacob's New Dress #IMWAYR Monday August 11th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Mr. Flux written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Matte Stephens 

I have said it before – I embrace the odd and quirky in picture books and this title is all about just that. Eccentric, yes. Embracing change, it’s here. A book you will either like or not but worth checking out!

Mr. Flux #IMWAYR Monday August 11th, 2014 There's a Book for That

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee

I am really not sure how I haven’t read this book. I knew about this book. I have held it in my hand at the library. But, I only finally read it now. Huh? Marla Frazee, my favourite! A book about connections between generations, which I love. So asking again, how did I miss this? Maybe because I needed the perfect summer day to read and savour it. Loved everything about this title – the humour, the boy energy and whims, the awesome grandparents and the big and small adventures.

A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever  #IMWAYR Monday August 11th, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Eye of the Whale: A Rescue Story by Jennifer O’Connell

This book made me cry. Just a gorgeous picture book based on a real life rescue. There is magic and hope here.

The Eye of the Whale  #IMWAYR Monday August 11th, 2014 There's a Book for That

A Baby Elephant in the Wild written by Caitlin O’Connell with photographs by Timothy Rodwell and Caitlin O’Connell

My students aren’t to read Scientist in the Field titles yet so books like this (written by the author of The Elephant Scientist, a Scientist in the Field title are perfect. Lots of learning about elephants in a book younger students can manage.

 A Baby Elephant in the Wild  #IMWAYR Monday August 11th, 2014 There's a Book for That

In the Trees, Honey Bees written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Cris Arbo

The illustrations in this book are just incredible. They look almost like photographs. This book reads like a poem with more information on each page so it can be read in many different ways. Lots of learning about bees and how they interact in this title.

 In the Trees, Honey Bees  #IMWAYR Monday August 11th, 2014 There's a Book for That

I also finished Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner

This is a very special title. Themes of grief, friendship and family are interwoven through a story that makes us believe in magic or at least “meant to be”.  This would be the perfect middle grade book club selection. There is so much to talk about.

 Circa Now  #IMWAYR Monday August 11th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Next up? I have a large pile of titles to take on my holiday. I am hoping for a book a day! Reading, the ocean and family time! Hurrah!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 55/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 383/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 97/65 complete