It’s Monday! What are you Reading?
Join Jen and Kellee’s meme on Teach Mentor Texts to share your weekly reads from picture books to young adult novels. Especially with the holidays approaching, reading all of these blogs and book lists will help to build your lists of fantastic must read titles!
I did a LOT of reading this week and had a hard time narrowing it down to which books I would share. So many fantastic titles – some brand new and others that have been around for some time. Finally, I picked my ten favourite picture book titles of the week and here they are . . .
Picture books I loved:
hello! hello! by Matthew Cordell A fantastic little book that highlights the wonder of nature and all that it has to offer if we can drag ourselves away from our devices . . . I think this is an ideal companion book to Blackout by John Rocco – another title that reminds us to be in the moment with our families. I loved that book as well and wrote a Picture Book Love post about it here.
I saw A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva on a best of 2012 list somewhere. Having a kind of thing for Antartica, I was intrigued. I ordered it on a whim thinking my class would enjoy it as we are learning about continents and they are fascinated by the thought of exploring that frozen land down at the bottom of the globe. This is a Toon Book and so comes in a lovely tiny size. Great colours, graphics and relevant images (my favourite is the spread of four types of penguins). Perfect for younger readers to read independently and for more accomplished readers just to savour.
I realized I hadn’t explored Frank Viva’s other title Along a Long Road and picked it up at my public library. Again, wow! I love the colours with large amounts of solid black on a page. I kind of wish I was at school and could grab one of our little K buddies to share this with. I would love to watch a young child follow this tempting yellow road as it winds through the pages. Only problem with this book? Now I want to own it too.
Millie Fierce by Jane Manning This book explores finding an inner strength in a very honest way. It is not a simple thing to go from quiet to confident and the transformation is not always smooth. I have had students who when they finally shed their shy personas need some guidance about being polite and not hurtful with their words. Sometimes the words come before the social filters kick in. I thought of those children as I read this book about Millie. Millie doesn’t want to be ignored, she is tired of being “barely there” and unnoticed. So she becomes fierce. As she tries on this new found ferocity, she certainly gets noticed. But nobody wants to be with a Millie that puts getting noticed above being considerate or properly behaved. She even realizes that being fierce can be cruel. Finally Millie understands that she can be noticed for her kindness and consideration. This kind of attention is what feels right to her. I think this book could be quite powerful shared with a class and I look forward to the discussions that it might prompt.
A Balloon for Isabel written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Laura Rankin I have seen this on many Monday reads posts in the last few weeks and so was delighted when I found it in my school library. How can little Isabel the porcupine get a balloon for graduation? Obviously giving a balloon to a prickly porcupine is just asking for trouble. And so the rule at her school is no balloons for porcupines. But Isabel demonstrates some extremely creative problem solving and we all celebrate her perseverance and optimistic spirit. A sweet little book.
Z is for Moose written by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky I have seen this book on so many latest and greatest lists and have just not sat down and read it. This week I did and also shared it with my class. Sometimes a book’s gift is just that it can’t help but make you laugh. This is one of those books. I now see the reason for all of the hype. A book to share with children (and adults) of all ages when you need a smile and a tiny dose of kind.
Black Dog by Levi Pinfold Wow! What an amazing title to help explore fear and courage. A black dog is spotted outside the window of the Hope family residence. As it is described and worried about, it “becomes” larger than life – the size of a tiger. . . no, an elephant . . . maybe a T-rex? These illustrations are beautifully odd. But in the best of ways. From the full page spreads with the huge menacing dog to the little sepia coloured boxes surrounding the text that reveal close ups and clues from the story. I am nowhere near finished exploring these images and I have read this book countless times. But back to the storyline . . . Small (the littlest Hope) finally braves the outdoors to confront this creature. What ensues is absolutely delightful – a visual treat to tickle our imaginations. Small becomes large and large, small. Fear and courage intermix into teasing and challenge and joy. This is a book to gift to adults who may have forgotten the magic of the picture book. The wonder of this book seems impossible to resist.
Atlantic written by G. Brian Karas I found this book at my children’s school library while I was waiting for my daughter to finish her library monitor shift. Lyrical text, and narrated by the ocean itself, it gives the reader an interesting perspective on the ocean’s vastness. A book to use in a lesson about oceans. Not sure if children would pick up everything independently but as a read aloud with discussion, this is a wonderful way to add wonder to a geography lesson.
A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead What a wonderful story about friendship, persistance and devotion. Vernon, the toad never gives up trying to find his new strange friend, Bird, a home. Yet, all along the way, there is no guidance or help from Bird himself. When he finally discovers where Bird belongs it is . . . just as it should be This would be great to share along with Mem Fox‘s Hunwick’s Egg (one of my favourites that I rave about in this post) – another story of faith and commitment to a silent friend.
Bear has a Story to Tell written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead. Text and illustrations that match perfectly to create a quiet and calm book about the change of seasons and a small group of friends. There is so much space in this book to question and reflect. It begs to have its pages turned slowly and to just revel in each scene. On some pages it was the phrasing, others the muted colours of a forest sky that asked to be enjoyed before moving on. It isn’t possible to move quickly through this book just as we have no power over the pace the seasons come at us. Beautiful.
An exciting accomplishment this week – I met my personal reading goal of 75 new to me novels (not including adult reads which I do occasionally fit in) for 2012. My list, with covers and ratings, is here. Last week I met my Goodreads goal of 500 books so I am on a bit of a roll!
Novel #75 was Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor
An emotional read. I always love books with friendships that span generations and this books delivers relationships in a big way. Raine and her mother, her grandfather, the new people she meets at Sparrow Road, someone she was meant to meet . . . Love and sorrow and art and long summer days all tangle up into a story that had me in tears through the last few chapters. But peaceful tears.
My next read? Ask the Passengers by A. S. King. And of course a towering pile of picture books that I plan to dive into!