Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read

I decided to focus on books I have read and loved: 5 of my favourite picture books and 5 of my favourite MG/YA novels. I love fairytales and stories with nuances of fairytale elements. But, I am very particular. It is a pleasure to share what I consider to be some of the very best in this list.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Picture Books:

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma written by Diane Fox and illustrated by Christyan Fox

Hilarious. Kind of like having a backseat driver “helping” tell a story. Annoying for the narrator. Amusing for the readers. Little Red Riding Hood like you have never before heard it.

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and GrandmaTop Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Pig written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene

This lovely little read manages to link to many classic fairy tales while telling a great original story and poking fun at just about everything! A pig and a princess switch places and the happy ending is not what you might predict.

Princess and the Pig Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Me and You by Anthony Browne

Browne tells simultaneous stories, letting us into the world of Goldilocks while at the same time we revisit the familiar story about the bears.  On the left, sepia images of the little girl, out on an errand with Mom and then suddenly, lost. Her story is wordless, told just through the images. On the right, we follow little bear and his Mummy and Daddy as they head out for a walk and then return home to find a stranger in their home. A version of the Goldilocks story that we are very familiar with. This story blurs the absolutes of fairy tale right and wrong and introduces a lovely element of empathy.

 Me and You Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat

Certainly not the Three Little Pigs story we thought we knew! A fan of pig power? Girl power? Stories where the bullies don’t win? This book delivers! Kiya!

 The Three Ninja Pigs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be by Mini Grey

This book is told from the perspective of the pea! A pea, who plays quite an active role in the outcome of this tale . . .

 mini Grey Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Novels:

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Such an interesting twist on the fairytale we know. Loved reading this aloud to my class. Why is this book so special? The children loved the whole idea that this was the “back story” of a well known tale. They felt they were in on some secrets! And what characters! We were rooting for Rump. We loved Red and the Trolls and Nothing, the donkey! We all agreed that the King and the Miller were terrible. The pixies fascinated us. Children begged and pleaded for me to read this book at every possible free minute of out day.

 Rump Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli 

The story of the Frog Prince but told from the perspective of the pond and the frogs. The prince is now a frog and must adjust to pond life and to talking like a frog. It is more difficult than it seems. Certain sounds aren’t possible thus, The Frog Prince is De Fawg Pin. Learn a lot about frogs. And their life cycle. Meet Jade, Pin’s mate. Despise the hag. Root for the froglets! Read this aloud to a group of children and prepare for spit out your milk laughter. Chortles. Giggles. Guffawing. The first in a trilogy.

 The Prince and the Pond Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Breadcrumbs written by Anne Ursu

Inspired by the classic story The Snow Queen with all kinds of modern everything. Yet magical fantasy that feels utterly timeless. Read this to my children who loved the mix between fairy tale and real life and all of the references to stories and books they knew. Beautiful as a read aloud – the words just come off the page, swirl around and we are immersed in the book.

Breadcrumbs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

I became quickly hooked on all things Shannon Hale after reading this book and went on to read the complete Books of Bayern series. Fast paced. Lots of magic. Fantastic characters. The perfect book to get lost in.

 The Goose Girl

Cinder written by Marissa Meyer

Honestly, I was surprised by how addictive this story was for me. I thought it would be a light read but I was drawn in to the drama and intrigue despite suspecting some of the secrets unveiled late in the novel quite early on. Futuristic, fantasy/sci-fi with fairy tale elements and high drama.

 Cinder

What are your favourite fairytale retellings? 

Monday July 27th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer, I am not surrounded every day with little readers so . . . I am choosing moments from the year not previously shared. I love this photo of these three girls so engaged writing about their Mock Caldecott choices.

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I also have to share this group of books. My daughter is a reading buddy this summer, working with an eight year old girl. She came into my classroom library and selected some books to read with her buddy. Great taste don’t you think?

Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

On the blog this week:

Top Ten Titles that Celebrate Diversity for Top Ten Tuesday

For Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water Connects us All: titles on a water theme.

Celebration: Talking Classroom Libraries

Sunday Reflections: Ten Things I will do again this school year 

Books I read and loved:

Dory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon

I am completely enamoured with Dory. I kind of want her to come to life so that I can teach her. I love her spunk, her wild imagination and her observations about the world. This title is just as much fun as the first Dory book. Both titles will be in my classroom library this fall.

Dory and the Real True Friend Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Squishy McFluff Meets Mad Nana Dot written by Pip Jones and illustrated by Ella Okstad

I don’t always like rhyming text but Pip Jones makes it work in these Squichy McFluff titles about little Ava and her “invisible” cat. Nana Dot gets a pretty smashing hairstyle in this title!

Squishy McFluff Meets Mad Nana Dot Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

George in the Dark by Madeline Valentine

So many children are so very afraid of the dark. This title captures how this fear plays itself out in the dark, trying to go to sleep time.

George in the Dark Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Banjo and Ruby Red written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

I love this story telling team from Australia. This is a tender story of friendship and compassion between farmyard animals.

 Banjo and Ruby Red Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle. Seriously? That should tell you everything about how wonderfully off the wall this graphic novel happens to be. Clever, witty and many shades of absurd. Love it!

Phoebe and her Unicorn Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Completely engaging, I read this before getting out of bed Sunday morning. Two stories interweave in these pages. Salva’s story of walking from war, from family and from all that he knows and finally coming to America. And Nya’s daily walk for water, a tedious and exhausting walk that she and her family depend on.

ALongWalkToWater Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 40/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 263/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 52/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 28/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading Black Dove  White Raven by Elizabeth Wein as I was reading multiple novels at the same time. It is absolutely an incredible read. I find myself putting it down for a few days and reading something else just to let it all sink in. This is my book stack for my time away. Always, I bring more books than I will have time to read because you just never know . . .

Monday July 27th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Happy Reading everyone! See you in two weeks 

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year

I don’t own boxes of themed units. I barely have any files. I don’t like to repeat things. New students. New year. New place in my learning. New world. All of this new always leads to different things every year. But some things are worth repeating because they will benefit a new group of students as much, albeit differently, as a previous group.

What ten things will I be doing again/continuing this year?

Buddy Reading with the kindergarten class

This is time that is pure joy. My students get to be literacy leaders. I smile through the entire experience each week.

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Games Hour

Every week we have Games Hour (really about 40 minutes) and bring out games that we don’t play with at any other time of the week. We work on perseverance, turn taking, leadership skills, cooperation and patience.

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Hosting another class from a different school

What great learning happened when we invited a K class from another school to spend almost an entire day with us. We did yoga, art, outside play and buddy reading. Thank you Ms. Hales! I hope she will visit with her new class this year!

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Daily play and exploration

Keva blocks frequently come out during this time. As do various other building materials, art supplies and multiple games. We do a lot of building and exploring, tower making and imaginative play.

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Mock Caldecott

This was such an amazing unit and I can’t wait to do it again this year. We read. We wrote. We raved. We talked. A LOT!

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Camp Read

This was a school wide event and I would love to be a part of the organizing committee again. A highlight of our day was having our school secretary come in and read to us.

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Time in the forest

Lucky us that St George’s Outdoor Education students invited us to come and spend the morning with them in the forest near UBC a few times this year. Outside experiences are so important. I am planning for many more next year.

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Yoga: Inside the room

Our lovely Miriam leads us through regular yoga experiences.

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

and yoga outside of the room

Our favourite thing is to get outside to do yoga!

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Let’s Talk Science activities

We have the best Let’s Talk Science volunteers. We are sure hoping that Lisa and Nelly will return and do hands on science with us again next year!

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

Inviting in guests to share their passions

BLG readers who share stories. Ms. Sheppet who shared a geocaching experience. Eric Balke who talked to us about his time in with orangutans in Indonesia.  Poet and artist Calef Brown who shared his writing process with us. I so want my students to be passionate about what they do and meeting adults who are passionate about their interests, hobbies and careers is amazing!

Sunday Reflections: Ten things I will do again this school year There's a Book for That

What will remain part of the learning experiences in your room for 2015/2016?

Celebration: Talking classroom libraries

This week I spent some time in my classroom cleaning up and clearing out. I do this every summer. When the organizing is complete, I get to do what I love best: revamp and revitalize my classroom library. This is a job that is thankfully, never done. I always have books to add, books to weed, and new ideas about how to organize. Every summer, I save this part of my “summer work” for last. It’s like delicious dessert. Sweet, satisfying and something to savour.

Always, the reason my library needs to keep changing is so that it keeps meeting the needs of the readers who use it.

Celebration: Talking classroom libraries Thee's a Book for That

I think about bins, displays, organization, labels, access, etc. I think about the interests, skills and needs of the readers. All this is quite solitary work which is fine. But, it is always so rewarding when we can share our reasoning and talk with other teachers about why we do what we do. I find I learn as much when I share as when I get to be the one asking questions of someone else about something in their practice.

This week I had a friend visit my room for a few hours. She is returning to the regular classroom after years of doing work with gifted students at the district level. We talked about various things. But a large focus of our discussion was about Reading Workshop and classroom libraries.

Celebration: Talking classroom libraries Thee's a Book for That

Later that evening, I was still energized from our discussion. I was looking through some old notes in a notebook I keep and I came across a list that I had made a few years ago. I wrote it after I had hosted a literacy study group in my room. The group leader wanted to have me talk about my classroom library and so she held their regular biweekly meeting in my classroom. This was quite a quiet group and they mostly asked questions about where I purchased various bins. An important question, yes, but a classroom library is about much more than the bins the books are housed in! I had titled the list: Questions I wished I had been asked. Of course, as I talked to the group I did address some of these things but I had been curious why I hadn’t been asked to explain in more detail.

My list:

  • Where do you find your books? How do you keep current with what you might purchase?
  • Why are some books in the regular collection and some are kept in a teaching collection?
  • How do you decide how to organize the books? How do you teach this system to the kids?
  • How do you introduce books?
  • How do you ensure that students are reading widely?
  • How many of these books have you read? Where do you find the time?

When I read this list over, I realized that my friend had asked me each of the things on this list as well as many more questions. The reason for my excitement? Engagement – hers and mine.

This is what I celebrate this week – the ability to share and discuss something I am always changing and always passionate about – my classroom library.

In the next few weeks, I will have the chance to begin making my annual library changes. I hope to blog a little more about what I am doing and that others will join in the discussion with me.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.

celebrate-link-up

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all

I have been exploring the new B.C. curriculum drafts for Social Studies and thinking about what directions we might take in my Grade 2/3 class next year.

A few of the big ideas:

  • Local actions have global consequences, and global actions have local consequences.
  • Communities are interconnected with their natural environment

Some content items:

  • diverse features of the environment in other parts of Canada and the world
  • responsibilities of global citizenship
  • relationships between people and environment in different communities

All of these things (above) started me thinking about . . . water.

Access to water. Shortages of water. Water scarcity. Water as a human right.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

I think there is so much to learn here. So many questions. Such a relevant and necessary topic. And of course, I immediately started making a book list. Here are titles I may share in my room this year. Other suggestions? Please share them in the comment section.

Through these books, I hope we can both learn about and celebrate all that is water.

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Water Is Water- A Book About the Water Cycle Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson 

All-the-Water-in-the-World Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home by Michelle Mulder

 Every Last Drop Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley

 A Cool Drink of Water Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

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

One Well Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

Poetry (with a water theme):

Water Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas with illustrations by Violeta Dabija

Water Can Be Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

Songs of the Water Boatman written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange (pond life)

Songs of the Waterboatman Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs illustrated by Meilo So 

Water Sings Blue Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

Relevant biographies:

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A Nivola

Life in the Ocean Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Éric Puybaret 

manfish Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all There's a Book for That

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jaques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino 

Cousteau Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Water connects us all 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 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

I was thrilled to see this topic this week and decided to celebrate a range of books – right from picture books to young adult novels. As readers we need to see both ourselves and others in the books we read. Reading beyond ourselves? It opens up our world, deepens our understanding, makes us think differently. Reading about ourselves? It confirms. It soothes. It makes us feel connected. As a reader I want both of these experiences. As a teacher and a parent, I want these experiences for the children in my life.

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That We Need Diverse Books logo

The definition of diverse books on the We Need Diverse Books site is one that I always refer to:

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

From the Mission Statement on the We Need Diverse Books site.

Diverse Literature Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Ten of my favourites:

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

A book to savour. To read slowly. It inspires questions about the life of Frida Kahlo – her art, her culture, her passions. I had the pleasure of hearing author Yuyi Morales read this title aloud. Just beautiful.

 Viva Frida Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Shin-Chi’s Canoe written by Nicola Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave

An emotional story of two Aboriginal children (siblings) who are sent to residential school. Accessible for younger readers. The emotional pain endured by the families and children impacted by residential schools is powerful in this book. Beautifully illustrated.

Shin-Chi's Canoe Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

No 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke

Much to love in this title: the unique characters, the entertaining dynamics and the beautiful setting of Africa. So very, very good.

 No 1 Car Spotter Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

El Deafo by Cece Bell

All kinds of honest and vulnerable and powerful and hilarious. I am in awe of how this story is told, how friendship issues are explored and highlighted, how the power and powerlessness of a “disability” was portrayed through a child’s perspective.

El Deafo Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

A powerful story about the pull of home, the strength of family, the importance of culture and the complexities of personal and family histories.

Listen, Slowly Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Verse novels hold so much power to literally wrap us up in evocative images and in this case, personal history. In some senses, it feels like spying to be so close. A beautifully written memoir of a time and a place – oh so personal but yet, with connections and links to many more than young Jacqueline Woodson. A gift to readers.

brown girl dreaming Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 

A story that is fictional but not at all. Because Habo’s story could be, might be and in fact, is, playing itself out STILL in Tanzania for other albino citizens. This book speaks to everything both beautiful and horrific about humanity.  A human rights crisis. One that needs attention. One that needs to stop. “Be that one person,” – the words Sullivan leaves us with in her author’s note. Read this book and remind yourself to be more human than less. A story that will never leave the reader. And never should.

goldenboyTop Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

I find myself strangely without words on this title about two young women – special education students now living on their own for the first time. The pages are seeped in vulnerability for so many reasons. There are some hard and heartbreaking pages. It’s a quick read that follows you around for days. I can see why the Schneider committee selected this book. A YA read.

Girls like us Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds 

What characters. What quietly bold and beautifully human characters. Jason Reynolds, these characters you write . . .

 When I was the Greatest Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

A shooting of a young teenage boy. Is it racially motivated? Who is at fault? What is the truth? All important questions. More important though -the grieving and the moving on of a community and family impacted by the loss of one of their own. Powerful.

how it went down Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

What titles would you add to this list?

Monday July 20th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer, I am not surrounded every day with little readers so . . . I am choosing moments from the year not previously shared. “We love reading together,” these reading buddies announced with an ultimate squishy face hug and a huge book stack.  How we love when the Kindergarten buddies come to read with us.

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

 Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

On the blog this week:

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books that Came into my Possession

For Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited

A little bit of picture book dreaming: Picture Book Wishlist: July 2015

Celebration: Blogging Escapades

Sunday Morning Perspective: Reflections on the power of classroom community

Lots of reading happened too. Sharing my favourite titles here:

Picture books:

Mo and Beau by Vanya Nastanlieva

Adorable. Simple repetitive language leaves lots of room for observation. Perfect for little ones.

Mo and Beau  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

No More Kisses for Bernard! by Niki Daly

A great title to explore talking about personal boundaries. Bernard has four aunties that are much too kissy. How is his “No more kisses!” request respected? Quite creatively.

No More Kisses for Bernard!

Nonfiction picture books:

Sweep up the Sun by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

Beautiful pairing of incredible close up photos and perfectly matched poetry.

Sweep up the Sun  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Whale Trails, Before and Now written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Documents the history of the whaling industry and contrasts it to current whale watching practices.

Whale Trails, Before and Now  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

Lots of humour. Spider facts. Some arachnid squashing. All in a genuine quest for spider love.

Trying to Love Spiders  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Transitional chapter books:

The Adventures of Sophie Mouse: A New Friend written by Poppy Green and illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell

Sweet early chapter title. Themes of friendship and community.

sophie mouse  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Princess in Black is written by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Princess Magnolia leads a double life! She ditches her frilly pink dresses to don her Princess in Black disguise and act as a kind of super hero in the kingdom. What fun!

 Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Novels:

The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

Many things I appreciated about this middle grade novel. It is so wonderfully character driven but still many things happen. Strong friendships. Family loyalty. Persistence. Courage. Forgiveness. Just plain lovely.

 The Great Good Summer  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 38/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 255/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 52/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am reading the very clever Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson and Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Happy Reading everyone!