Monday August 12th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?



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 reads!

I did lots of picture book reading this week – often lugging stacks of books to the pool to read while my children had swimming lessons. I did my best to narrow the books I want to feature this week to ten:

Journey by Aaron Becker

Gorgeous. Inspired. I shared this with my family and we had so many connections to other stories and experiences. My children thought of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Howl’s Moving Castle, Airborn . . . A book that lures you right back to the beginning to start it again. A book you won’t be able to resist. It’s a must own.

Journey  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Andrew Drew and Drew by Barney Saltzberg

Very creative – such an experience seeing what unfolds with each lifting of the flaps. Celebrates imagination and doodles that might become  . . .

Andrew Drew and Drew #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wag by Patrick McDonnell

Why is it exactly that Earl’s tail wags so enthusiastically? It takes a while to get to the answer but it is absolutely worth it. Adorable.

Wag #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Someday a Tree by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler

A very special story about an important tree that a family visits everyday. When it turns out this tree is dying, it is heartbreaking. Touches on the life cycle of trees, environmental hazards, community, hope. So many possibilities for the primary classroom.

Someday a Tree #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

No Roses for Harry! written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

How did I not know there were other stories about Harry (of Dirty Dog fame)? And wow, am I glad I found out!

no roses for harry #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Long Way Away by Frank Viva

I am still not sure of this title. I appreciate the concept of two stories in one – told either front to back or back to front – very creative. But . . . I kind of felt like the images could have stood on their own. I think this could easily have been a fantastic wordless title. I will see what my students think in the fall. With this book I really need “test readers” to try it out and see . . .

a long way away #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Matchbox Diary  by Paul Fleischman illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline 

I wasn’t quite prepared for just how beautiful these illustrations would be. The cover hints at the story’s concept and not the beauty of what is inside. Still – the concept – sigh. Just amazing. History, stories and memories told through unveiling of various contents of a number of matchboxes. Also love the intergenerational connection! A favourite of the year absolutely.

MatchboxDiary #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Goodbye Mousie written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Jan Ormerod

A well done title that deals with the death of a pet – how will it be handled by a preschooler? Illustrations of the family interactions are warm and natural.

goodbye mousie #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bluebird by Bob Staake So I will confess that I have been avoiding this book since it was published. I think every staff member at Vancouver Kidsbooks (my local bookstore) has tried to share it with me or inquired whether I’ve read it yet. And, I’ve made multiple excuses. “Not in the mood.” “The cover just doesn’t grab me.” “I’ll look at it next time I’m in.” The truth? The cover has been whispering to me – “I’m going to get to you in a big way.” I knew I would love this book. I knew I would find it powerful. I knew I would find multiple ways to share it with my students and that our conversations would be huge and raw and honest as conversations with kids about great books often tend to be. I’m not going to share details about this book. I’m sure everyone but me has already experienced it. I will just say that this time at the book store, I read it and then, it came home with me.

 Bluebird #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frog: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

A fantastic nonfiction read. What was happening to the golden frogs in the Panama? Could they be saved? This book explores the thinking and research of the scientists who tried to answer these questions. A longer read but could be shared even in upper primary over multiple read aloud sessions. So much to discuss – purposes of zoos we might not have known, ecology, environment, endangered species . . .

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I continue to try and read early chapter books and graphic novels that are already in my classroom This week I read:

Ivy + Bean (Book 1) by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall 

Somehow I have never sat down and read an entire Ivy + Bean. What was I thinking? They are more delightful than my skimming through titles had conveyed. Spunky characters in all the best ways. A friend of ours loves reading them with his daughter. He says it best:

“I like that these books have a bit of a wicked edge to them, a lovely appreciation of 7-year old anarchists. Nothing saccharine about Ivy&Bean.”

Ivy&Bean #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

Also realized that I had never read the first Lunch Lady title. I didn’t really read this so much as read it along to a running commentary from my children asking me which part I was at or what had just happened or did I think that . . . Wow, do kids love Lunch Lady! A series I always love recommending.

Lunch Lady #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also read Sold by Patricia McCormick

A difficult but important read. A book that I hope is in all high school libraries.

Sold #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I am currently reading Eleanor and Park (almost finished!)  Loving it so far 🙂

I also finished

Igniting a Passion for Reading: Successful Strategies for Building Lifetime Readers by Steven L. Layne

Appreciated Layne’s voice and passion for making reading something that is adored by students everywhere. He makes it very clear however, that this passion begins with the environment we create in our classrooms. There are many people who need this book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I have a few novels I want to read that are due back at the library at around the same time so it will be a due date competition that determines what I read!

25 thoughts on “Monday August 12th, 2013

  1. So much to love on this list! I haven’t yet read Journey, so it’s nice to know that this would be a good pick for teaching text-to-text connections. Also, you’re not the only one who hasn’t (hadn’t) read Bluebird. *sigh* Must get that book!
    I haven’t read A Long Way Away, either, but am wondering if structure-wise it’s set up like Avi’s Painted Words/Spoken Memories.

    Thanks for the recommendations!

    • Yes, with Journey, my children instantly started talking about books this title reminded them of – both picture books and novels. Bluebird is a book to explore. And it needs multiple “reads” I’m really curious to see how my students respond

  2. So many great professional books on reading – I have just spoken to my first class this semester – a group of teachers-in-training whom I feel would benefit greatly from this book and Penny Kittle’s Book Love (which by the way we still don’t have here in Singapore). Journey. Sounds like something I’d love. I will borrow The Matchbox Diary from our library (I checked our online portal right away after seeing your review) this weekend – I have a feeling it might fit our theme quite nicely with legacy and passing on of memories, and spirits lingering on through these little things. We don’t have Bluebird by Staake sadly. Will have to check Kinokuniya if we already have it in the bookstore. Sounds like a must-read and must-buy. Any collaboration by Bunting and Himler is sure to be beautiful – I’ve drafted a post about Rudi’s Pond – another one of their titles, so raw and moving. I’d have to check out Lunch Lady soon. 🙂

    • I think you will just love Matchbox Diary! What a story and yes, absolutely it will fit with that theme. I really want to read Penny Kittle’s book too – going to try and get my Teacher Librarian to buy it. And Journey – wow!

  3. Hi Carrie, You read some great books this week. I would love to read Journey, Andrew Drew and Drew (cute title) and Wag. I hear you about the library due dates. It is hard to keep up sometimes.

    • Yes. I keep track of my library cards and the cards for the kids (often b/c I sign out books on their cards!) Gets very crazy sometimes. Journey is just gorgeous! I bought it as back to school gift for myself!

  4. One of these days I’m going to come to your It’s Monday post and not need to put any picture books on my to-read shelf because I’ve read or heard of them all. Today is not that day. 😉 Off to put Someday a Tree and Goodbye Mousie on my to-read list.

  5. Ordered Journey & Andrew Drew & Drew from the library, but may have to purchase too. They do sound good! I love the Ivy & Bean books, not so much the Lunch Lady ones, but I know students like them. Thanks always for your ideas about books, Carrie!

  6. It took me ages to finally get around to eleanor & park, which is a shame because it is so lovely. I often play the due date game! I have a ton of ARCs right now that are tempting me. Have a great week!

  7. Argh! I was trying to resist purchasing Journey, but I can see it’s a lost cause. Might as well buy! Isn’t The Matchbox Diary amazing? My son went nuts over Iboutilline’s art, so we’ve been looking at the other books he illustrated. I have never actually read any books by Eve Bunting. She’s right up there at the top of my Children’s Lit Shelf of Shame (especially shameful given that I TEACH a college-level children’s lit course!). But after seeing book after book of hers appear on #pb10for10 lists this weekend, I will be remedying this situation soon. My kids love the Lunch Lady books. I haven’t read them yet but have promised my older son that I will. I often include Steven Layne’s book as an option on my Adolescent Lit course syllabus for the PD book. My personal favorites are Kittle’s Book Love, Gallagher’s Readicide, and Atwell’s Reading Zone, but I find that my students often relate more to the Layne title. Not sure why.

    • I think it is a lost cause! 🙂 Oh . . . Eve Bunting. I could go on and on. So many titles of hers I love – Fly Away Home is phenomenal. If I had to make a top 5 I would add these to that title: Gleam and Glow, The Memory String, Wednesday Surprise, and Rudi’s Pond. I have read Gallagher and Atwell but need to read Kittle. I think Layne is just so out there and his voice so genuine that his text feels so accessible.

      • Thank you! Bunting is so prolific–it’s difficult to know where to start. I’ll be picking up some of these titles at the library today! Let me know how you like Book Love if you read it. It’s been one of my favorite books on teaching to press into the hands of my pre-service teachers, and they have all loved it too.

  8. I have been trying to bulk up on my nonfiction reading, and The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frog looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing. I am definitely going to get that one.

    I also loved SOLD and found it to be quite important. I teach sections of it during my books in verse unit, and the students love it.

    Happy reading this week!

  9. Carrie – another great list of books. I was excited to see many books from your IMWAYR list today that I included in my 10 for 10 collection – Bluebird, Journey and the Matchbox Diary. All AMAZING books! The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs is most appealing to me and one that would promote a lot of great connections to science and research. I also love Patrick McDonnell books! I’m now home and thankfully “connected” again! Happy Monday!

    • Yes, funny that these were books I read this week – again we have picture book connections happening! The Case of the Vanishing Frog is definitely a longer text but so interesting. And you will really love the structure. Check it out!

  10. You read some awesome picture books this week! The only one I’ve read so far is Andrew Drew and Drew. I thought it was cute. I must fine a copy of Wag, that looks awesome.

  11. I’m waiting patiently for Journey to come to the library, but from what I’m hearing, I should probably go out and buy it! I may not have a classroom, but I do have plenty of room for beautiful picture books. 🙂 Ivy + Bean books are fun, aren’t they? Well loved by both my girls. And I totally agree about the kids’ adoration for the Lunch Lady books. Of all the books I shared with students last year as The Book Fairy, those titles were among the most circulated.

    • I think you will happily give Journey a special spot on a shelf! Oh the joy of the imagination celebrated! Lunch Lady is a favourite in my classroom too! Lots of action and superheroish vibe.

  12. You were busy last week! Journey arrived in my mailbox today and I absolutely LOVED it. As you said, so many connections to be made. Andrew Drew and Drew looks like a lot of fun. I have A Long Way Away on my desk. I’ll try to read it tomorrow and let you know what I think. Thanks for so many great suggestions!

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