Monday May 13th, 2019

Trying to post at least once a month to be part of this amazing reading community and to share all the wonderful titles I have been reading.

A few #kidsarereading photos for inspiration. Our visit to the Vancouver Public Library. Everyone left with a book and a library card if they didn’t have one. Our arms full of books, our heads full of stories, we skipped all the way back to school. Summer reading – we are getting ready for you!

Love how my students want to read EVERYTHING. The size of the book box is never big enough.

Nothing is quite as lovely as buddy reading moments.

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.

Books I read:

Tomorrow Most Likely by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Lane Smith

What will tomorrow bring? A delightful and beautifully illustrated collection of possibilities.

Growing Season by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

A sweet little book about friendship, flowers and all kinds of growing.

Dog Vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson with art by Clayton Hanmer

So much in this book – having faith, wanting to matter – an emotional book wrapped up in super hero style and cute humour.

Our World is Relative written by Julia Sooy with illustrations by Molly Walsh

You know when you play 20 questions with a group of kids and they ask questions like, “Is it big?” or “Is it little?” and you keep trying to prompt, “Bigger than a . . . ” Well, this book would be perfect in times like this! My only complaint – that measurements are not in our Canadian metric system. Otherwise, so ideal! I will be sharing this one in the classroom often. Releases August 13th 2019

Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold

This character! Bat is beyond endearing. I absolutely adore him.

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Such an interesting subject for a novel. A former mill town needs to attract residents to keep its schools and town from completely shutting down. A number of homes are offered to families for just $1.00 if they meet criteria and comply with specific conditions over the next year. This is the perfect chance for Lowen and his family to have a new beginning and more opportunities. It’s also a way for Lowen to try to leave behind the memories of a young friend who was shot. Would be a fantastic middle grade read aloud.

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

There is always something remarkable about Ursu’s titles. Part magic, part harsh reality, unbelievable and completely relatable. Devastating and full of hope. Wow.

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

A rare adult read highly recommended by my sister. Rosie and Penn have 4 boys and then they have Claude. Another boy who actually wants to be a girl. And then everything becomes about how to best let this little human be who they are supposed to be. A truly must read novel.

Up next? I am reading The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

#MustReadin2019 Spring Update

It’s time for our first #MustReadin2019 update!

Are you making progress with your list? Distracted by other titles? Please share!

This year, my list is again 30 titles strong. I always have the goal of trying to read at least 20 of the books on the list. I feel like I am well on my way! More importantly, can’t wait to get to more of the titles on this list!

Like last year at this time, I have read 9/30 titles which is close to one third of my list.

Here are the titles I have read so far and some brief reactions/summaries.

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Six students spend Friday afternoons together – their assignment to talk. When a place is made for stories and listening, a lot can happen. A powerful middle grade read.

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan 

This is an interesting book. It’s either going to be super appealing or super upsetting. There’s a lot packed in here. Mental health issues. A father who has made a serious suicide attempt. A mom who is kind of checked out while still holding on.A bunch of escaped exotic animals who are attacking people. Writing about this book it seems really out there. But while reading it, i was pretty engaged.

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart

A title inspired by a story of a real life prison break. I love Kephart’s style. She makes art out of words. I seriously walk around the world in a different way when I read her books. This story of Lizzie, her Uncle Davy and her best friend Matias is dramatic, emotional and uplifting all at once. I love them all.

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

A dramatic YA read set in Saudi Arabia. Part love story, part teen angst, part family drama and then there is everything else this book tackles – women’t rights, sexual violence, mental health, drug addiction. What a read.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Cried through lots of this one. Three siblings who find each other as teens – two were adopted as infants, one has spend his life in foster care. Wow. One of those absolute page turners because the characters get under your skin.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Upper MG/YA graphic novel. A historical french setting. A prince who loves fancy dresses. A dressmaker trying to make it. Completely engaging.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

An emotional read – the complexity or families and the complications of friends. I love how Delsie figures things out in a highly relatable way. Hunt delivers, again. a title that needs to be in the hands of young readers.

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

One of my favourites from this list so far. Historical fiction and important magic. Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep who keeps beating the odds – surviving a daily dangerous job. How her story unfolds is quite incredible. An emotional beautiful read.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden 

Zoey Albro lives in rural Vermont. Her mother and three younger siblings count on her abusive and manipulative step father Lenny for a roof over their heads because mom’s waitressing job does not guarantee that they won’t be homeless. This title deals with poverty, the huge responsibilities of a young girl and deep commitment to family. While we witness Zoey’s middle grade stressors and dreams, we also view the struggles of poverty and abuse through her eyes. A powerful novel.

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2019 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2019 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2019 bloggers/readers and get inspired! And of course, everyone loves comments to know that you have visited!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2019? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists. This is a community of inspiring readers!

Next update will be on September 5th 2019!

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!

 

Monday April 1st, 2019

This time weeks have passed instead of months – still feels like too too long since I have posted but here is a post full of a huge variety of titles I am celebrating!

Lots of nonfiction reading aloud happening in the classroom!

Because we are readers, we are writers #kidsarereading So proud of the engagement I witness in my students.

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.

Books I read:

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan with illustrations by Lorraine Rocha

You might be able to guess what you should do with said lemon tree – yet the answer is all wrapped up in a charming little title about family, making a plan, taking good care and patiently working towards a goal. Love the emphasis away from the overly material and onto amazing nature.

Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

Oh community! Generosity. And some incredibly smelling stew. Loved this one.

We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Because, really could you imagine? This little dino really could. And did. Hilarious.

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

We are begiining a unit about water and will be talking everything from where we find it to where we don’t and why. This book will help us dive right in. Can’t wait.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

Wow. Described as a love letter to black live in the United States, this gorgeously illustrated book is magnificent.

The Monster Detector (Big and Little Foot #2) by Ellen Potter

A must have series in the upper primary classroom library. One young boy. One young Sasquatch. One mysterious mystery involving monsters.

The Storm Dragon (The Secret Rescuers #1) by Paula Harrison

A delightful little title about a storm dragon in need of rescuing. Sophy, a young maid at the castle is the perfect one to help.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Upper MG/YA graphic novel. A historical french setting. A prince who loves fancy dresses. A dressmaker trying to make it. Completely engaging.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

An emotional read – the complexity or families and the complications of friends. I love how Delsie figures things out in a highly relatable way. Hunt delivers, again. a title that needs to be in the hands of young readers.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus byAnn Braden 

Zoey Albro lives in rural Vermont. Her mother and three younger siblings count on her abusive and manipulative step father Lenny for a roof over their heads because mom’s waitressing job does not guarantee that they won’t be homeless. This title deals with poverty, the huge responsibilities of a young girl and deep commitment to family. While we witness Zoey’s middle grade stressors and dreams, we also view the struggles of poverty and abuse through her eyes. A powerful novel.

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

This title was a surprising favourite for me. Historical fiction and important magic. Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep who keeps beating the odds – surviving a daily dangerous job. How her story unfolds is quite incredible. An emotional beautiful read.

Up next? I am reading Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Monday February 18th, 2019

Oh my – I haven’t written a Monday post in months! Busy, busy but doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. There is no way to catch up on everything so I am going to choose just 10 of some amazing tiles I have read in last while and share them here.

Some reading photos #kidsarereading. The second one is adorable – one of my students reading to the little sister of a classmate while he has his student led conference with his mom.

IMG_2716IMG_2780

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.

Books I read:

If Polar Bears Disappeared by Lily Williams

I read my class Lily’s book If Sharks Disappeared and they couldn’t stop talking about it so I knew this was a must have, must read title. I am such a fan of this series and it is such a rich jumping off point for so many discussions about our world, all of the living creatures, interconnectedness and environment. Highly recommended.

polar bears

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

This was part of our Mock Caldecott collection this year and ended up being an Honor book in our classroom. Stunning with pages to get lost in. My students loved Yuyi’s author’s note in the back of the book and then of course we had to read this book multiple times again.

Dreamers

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I couldn’t see how this could be as equally wonderful but still different from Green. But oh, it is!

BlueCover

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi with illustrations by Hatem Aly

This is a collection of four of the Yasmin titles – the perfect transitional chapter title. I have now ordered more of the Yasmin! stories as this book continues to make its rounds around my room. Yasmin is an energetic, creative Pakistani American girl that you must meet!

Meet Yasmin

One Big Happy Family (Ivy and Bean #11) by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Number 11! Oh how I love this series! This one is hilarious as usual! Worth reading purely to find out how Ivy and Bean plan to become twins!

Ivy and Bean #11

Breakout by Kate Messner

This book has so much going on beyond a prison break in a small town. It tackles a myriad of themes: friendship, systemic racism, small town dynamics, growing up. It is told through a collection of pieces meant for a time capsule: news articles, journal entries, text messages, transcribed recordings and some pretty incredible poetry (with hat tips to some sensational writers like Jacqueline Woodson, Nikki Grimes and Lin Manuel-Miranda), One main character has a brother in the prison, one has a family member soon to be named as a suspect and one has a father who is the superintendent  of the town’s maximum security prison. Highly recommended.

Breakout Kate Messner

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart

Another title inspired by a story of a real life prison break. Again, a book with so much more going on. I love Kephart’s style. She makes art out of words. I seriously walk around the world in a different way when I read her books. This story of Lizzie, her Uncle Davy and her best friend Matias is dramatic, emotional and uplifting all at once. I love them all.

Wild Blues

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Such a read. Walk through Vincent and Theo Van Gogh’s lives as though walking through a museum. Stop and enjoy a scene from their childhood. Marvel at their supportive connections. Shake your head at their many intense quarrels. Peek at their relationships – often unrequited, hidden or secretive and never ending in happiness. watch as Vincent settles into the life as artist. It is far from easy. But each step is fascinating. An emotional, beautifully written, well-researched story of the lives of Vincent and his brother, Theo Van Gogh.

Vincent and Theo- The Van Gogh Brothers

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

Set in Vancouver. Such a story of friendship and family dynamics is told while exploring aspects of poverty, mental health & homelessness.

No Fixed Address

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

YA. Cried through lots of this one. Three siblings who find each other as teens – two were adopted as infants, one has spend his life in foster care. Wow.

Far from the Tree

Up next? I am reading The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

 

Favourites of 2018

While January 1st is all about looking ahead to a new year, it is also a day to gaze back. I am celebrating a year of reading that was not as vast as usual but full of quality and meaningful reads.

Which books stand out?  Which titles still enter my thoughts? Which books would I consider rereading? Which books have I read to multiple audiences? What are the books that spoke to me the loudest? Books full of wonder. Inspiration. Humanity. Sorrow and hope. Books I recommend highly. Books I am pleased to celebrate here.

The 18 books that made the final cut? I chose across multiple genres.

18 books and no more than 18 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2017. Each year it has been the same: Favourites of 2016 (16 books, 16 words)  Favourites of 2015 (15 books, 15 words), Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words), Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

“Where did your name come from?” A wonderful way to learn so much.

A House That Once Was written by Julie Fogliano with illustrations by Lane Smith

No longer a home but definitely a house full of secrets, stories and imagined memories.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët 

Witness what it is to be an upstander. There are all kinds of ways to respond.

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love 

Be who you are. Find your community. Feel loved. All the feels.

Julian is a mermaid

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Sometimes it is all about being heard.

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad

A fantastic biography of a wonderfully creative individual and how she perceived the world.

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World written by Susan Hood and illustrated by 13 extraordinary female illustrators

Nonfiction perfection – inspired poetry, additional information and incredible illustrations. Introducing readers to inspiring female role models.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Root for Mason Buttle as every kind of grief soaked kind of bad luck gets thrown at him.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Just a beautiful, heart wrenching title. Written as a diary to a mother that died in childbirth.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

Find hope, courage and an important reminder of what it is to be a citizen of the world. Outstanding.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang 

Immigration. The sacrifices of immigrant parents. Poverty. Discrimination. And the will and spirit of a one young girl.

Lousiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Take an emotional walk alongside Louisiana Elefante as she tells her story. Served with chocolate marble cake please.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Ivy’s family survives a hurricane but that’s just the beginning. Family. Loss. New love. Amazing!

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

A testament to a racist & troubled history. Family ties. Beginning friendships. Modern day mystery is woven through history.

Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Chaya is a courier in the Jewish ghettos. Everything is about danger, life and death and unthinkable choices.

Resistance

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

Such a story of friendship and family dynamics is told while exploring aspects of poverty, mental health & homelessness.

No Fixed Address

In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Beautiful writing takes us through the hard and heartbreak of the grieving process – sometimes overwhelmingly muddled.

In Sight of Stars

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

When first love is complicated by the rest of the world and their racist and stereoptypical perspectives.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2019 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

 

#MustReadin2019

For anyone out there with a To Be Read list that seems like it will never end, this challenge is for you! This is all about making your own personal list of books that you want to commit to reading in 2019.

10? 20? 30? more? It’s up to you

Books can be published in any year, be from any genre, and from any category: adult, YA, MG, Graphics, NF, etc. .  All that matters is that they are books you want to be sure not to forget as that TBR list continues to grow! These aren’t the only titles you will read over the year, but a list to help guide your reading. A list to lure you back to a reading path you have set for yourself. Many, many new books will tempt you! Go ahead and read them but having a list like this ensures you will not forget some titles you were determined to read. That’s the intention and spirit of this challenge.

It would be wonderful to have you join the community!

#MustReadin2019

If you would like to create and share a list on your blog, contact me on twitter (@CarrieGelson) or leave a link in the comments and I will add your list to the #MustReadin2019 lists below. Everyone is welcome! I will update regularly so if you are just seeing this now – go make a list! We’ll be waiting for you.

Three updates seemed to work best so we will continue this again. If you also leave me your twitter handle (if you are on twitter) I will send you a reminder. For those not on twitter, please mark these dates in your calendar. Update posts can be shared on or around these dates – just leave your link in the comment section of my post and share it on twitter using #MustReadin2019

Spring update: Thursday April 4th, 2019

Fall update: Thursday September 5th, 2019

Year end update: Thursday December 26th, 2019

Update posts are purely optional!

They can take whatever format you wish: highlighting your favourites, reasons for not reading, simply a list of what you have read, etc. You can search for #mustread2018 on this blog for update examples.

Ready for some inspiration?

Check out the lists.

Mine (Carrie Gelson) is here: My Must Read Titles for 2019

Kathleen Sokolowski joins us with a list of 24 titles: #MustReadin2019

Linda Baie (who has been making must read lists with me since 2014) shares her list: MustReadIn2019

Leigh Anne Eck has 15 amazing titles on her #MustReadin2019 list

Lisa Maucione has made a list full of middle grade titles and professional reads: Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2019

Christina Carter (CeCe Librarian) joins us for a second year with these 16 titles: #MustReadin2019/My Reading Challenge

Kendra Limback is back with a large list and a new plan: Must Read in 2019

Kathie MacIsaac joins us via twitter with her list of 15 titles 

Jill Merkle has a great list made up of new release picture books and chapter books shared here: #mustreadin2019

Michelle Simpson is back with an impressive list of 36 titles: Must Read in 2019

Aaron Cleaveley has 64 titles on his list! 64 on his list of intentions (realistically to try and read most but not all): Must Read in 2019

Crystal Brunelle always has wonderfully diverse lists to share: #MustReadin2019

Nancy Castaldo joins us via twitter with this list of 10 titles: #MustReadin2019

Cheriee Weichel has a huge and interesting list broken into fiction and nonfiction titles: Reading Goals for 2019

Michele Knot is back with one book a month (great system!). Here is her list: #mustreadin2019

Carrie Pearson joins us via twitter with this inspired list: #MustReadin2019  Can you guess her theme?

Jennifer Green is back for year two! Her list is here: #MustReadin2019

Elisabeth Ellington made her list again by  a brilliant method – crowdsourced from the other #MustRead lists: #MustReadin2019: The List

Shaye Miller joins us for the first time with this list: #MustReadin2019

Shelly Moody joins us again with these 12 titles: Must Read Titles for 2019

Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers are back with both of their lists shared here: Kellee and Ricki’s #MustReadin2019 lists

Ramona Behnke is back with 12 wonderful titles: #MustReadin2019

Akilah who blogs at The Englishist is back this year with 15 titles: #MustReadin2019

Trina Haase joins us for the first time with this list: #Mustreadin2019: My List

 Michelle Olson joins us this year with this list: My Must Read List 2019

 

 

 

My Must Read Titles for 2019

For those readers and list makers, nothing is more exciting than January! The time to make an amazing list of books to read for the year!

Where will our reading lives take us? What adventures and emotions will we experience through the books we read? Always, there are endless possibilities.

So many books. Limited time.

New books to distract us from other books.

A must read list ensures not all are forgotten!

#MustReadin2019

Join the #MustReadin2019 community!

To read more about the challenge and add your list, read here.

MustReadnovels

Here are the 30 titles I am going to try and read over this year. As always these titles will represent only a portion of my reading. My goal? To read most of these. I use this list like a road map of where to turn next when I come to a pause in my reading choices. It is always waiting to guide me. But it also waits patiently when I am distracted by new books. Often, I am.

Making a list like this – a To Read list – also allows us to reflect on the reading that we want to do. I know I want to emphasize middle grade novels. I didn’t read as much as I usually do in 2018 so my list has more titles that are published in 2018 or earlier (19 titles) and fewer 2019 releases (11 titles).

Here is my list:

Published in 2018 or earlier

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

After Zero by Christina Collins

After Zero

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Read April 7th 2019 5 stars

Hey, Kiddo

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Read April 19th 2019 5 stars

The Dollar Kids

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson Read January 6th 2019 5 stars

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena  Read February 11th 2019 4 stars

A Girl Like That

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway Read February 17th 2019 5 stars

Far from the Tree

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden  Read March 19th 2019 5 stars

The Benefits of Being an Octopus

Lu by Jason Reynolds

Lu

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan Read January 22nd 2019 4 stars

All that I can fix, chan

From You to Me by K.A. Holt

Girl sitting on pier and lookingat the river

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier  Read March 24th 2019 5 stars

Sweep

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Tight

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart Read January 29th 2019 5 stars

Wild Blues

(Time Castaways #1) The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

The Mona lisa key

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang  Read March 2nd 2019 5 stars

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Published in 2019 

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Padma Venkatraman The Bridge Home

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu Read May 12th 2019 5 stars

The Lost Girl

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Dig by A.S. King

Dig, King

Song for A Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for A Whale

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Read March 7th 2019 4 stars

Shouting at the Rain

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

OtherWordsHome

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Where the Heart is by Jo Knowles

Where the Heart is

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James by Ashley Herring Blake

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James

What novels are at the top of your TBR list? Please share!