It’s Monday! What are you reading?
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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!
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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.”
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.
I also read Sold by Patricia McCormick
A difficult but important read. A book that I hope is in all high school libraries.
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.
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!