Monday February 24th, 2014

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

This week in my blogging world, I . . .

  • shared my ten favourite nonfiction picture book biographies featuring inspiring women for the #nf10for10 event. My post was called The Wonder of Women.  Check out all of the lists featured here.
  • celebrated my rich reading life for The Celebration Link Up hosted by Ruth Ayres

It is report card writing season so . . . I always feel like I don’t get the reading in that I want to 😦 But this week, I managed to read some wonderful picture books. Here are my favourites:

My Name is Blessing written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

This was quite the story – based on the author’s actual visit to Kenya in 2007 where he met the little boy this book is based upon. This little boy is raised by a Grandmother raising many of her grandchildren who are now orphans. They have little food and lack adequate shelter and sleeping space. Muthini (Grandmother) must make the best decision for her grandchild. This is the story of what this means for a special little boy eventually called Blessing.

My Name is Blessing #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What’s Your Favourite Animal? by Eric Carle and Friends

I was on the lookout for this title and when my Teacher Librarian and I went book shopping on Friday, it didn’t take much (she was as enchanted as I was!) to convince her we needed this title for our collection. In fact, I think every library must have this title! It celebrates art and illustration, story telling and the unique tastes and favourites of beloved picture book illustrators. Automatically, one is tempted to answer two questions. What’s my favourite animal? and Which favourite do I like best from this book? I am sure that my answers will change often but in this moment I am going with: The owl as my favourite (wise, secretive and majestic) and my favourite here? I’m with Jon Klassen, ducks.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Snow Leopard by Jackie Morris

How to describe this title? It is lyrical and full of myth, magic and enchantment. A story of a Guardian spirit who must pass into another world (the star filled sky) and so teaches a new Guardian to lead and watch – this one a child who takes the form of the beautiful and elusive snow leopard.

The Snow Leopard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bird Child written by Nan Forler and illustrated by Francois Thisdale

This isn’t a new read for me but I it feels fresh anytime I read it with a new group of children and it has been much on mind this week after sharing it with this current group. So I am sharing it here. This is one of the best books to illustrate the power of the bystander to stand up and not stand by. My students were so sympathetic to the character of Lainey who had been bullied.

“Maybe those bullies buried her smile when they buried her hat in the snow.”

“Those bullies undug the sadness in her.”

When Eliza stands up to the children who are bullying Lainey and others follow her lead, it is so powerful.

“One girl did it!”

“She is a leader and others are doing the right thing now too!”

Bird Child #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Quayside Cat written by Toby Forward and illustrated by Ruth Brown

This was our BLG book this week. I shared student reviews on my class blog. We loved getting lost in the illustrations that made us feel as if we were rolling about on the high seas. One cat with “sea legs” so to speak, leads another cat on an ocean adventure.

The Quayside Cat #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Coral Reefs by Jason Chin

Nobody depicts getting lost in a book quite like Jason Chin. But lost in a book means lost in a completely different world – in this case the magical world of coral reefs. Simply gorgeous. Worth reading and rereading to examine all of the clever details from beginning to end when our little reef explorer passes this book onto new readers and stands to watch – drip, drip, drip . . . My son was fascinated with locating the underwater creatures he had seen while snorkeling this past summer.

Coral Reefs #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter

Both Margie Myers-Culver and Linda Baie have raved about this book and for very good reason! Another title I would love to own and keep in my picture book biography collection. This book focuses on the time in Matisse’s life when he was too ill to paint and draw and discovered a new way of making art through paper cut outs. Beautifully told.

Henri's Scissors #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished one novel – Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur

This was a #Mustreadin2014 title for me. My daughter is a huge fan of LaFleur and I was lucky enough to win a copy of this title in a Goodreads giveaway – Suzanne signed the book to my daughter and I gave it to her at Christmas. She carried it with her on every holiday visit to show people and then finally sat down to read it. I “borrowed” it from its special place on her bookshelf. This is an ideal MG title – perfect for readers 10 and up who are beginning to be more independent in the social world but still remain very connected to family and home. There is plenty of introspection and soul searching in this book as we get to know Siena. But there is a whole lot more: ghosts, spirits, visions and mystery. Yet everything is very grounded in the story of a young girl growing up and searching for answers for herself and her family – from the typical questions of this age (Do people think I am strange?) to more complicated questions like why does three year old Lucca refuse to speak? I read this mostly in one early morning read and it was wonderful to be carried away to Maine beaches, old houses and the warmth of family connection.

Listening for Lucca  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next? I’m going to continue on with the theme of ghosts and channeling spirits and have begun Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy. My children and I are reading two nonfiction picture books and started The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen earlier in the week. How impatiently we had been waiting for this title!

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 12/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 108/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 7/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 36/65 complete

What are you reading? Wishing everyone some time to get lost in a book!

30 thoughts on “Monday February 24th, 2014

  1. Love your list this week, Carrie! Many that are are NEW to me – like Henry’s Scissors and My Name is Blessing – I love Eugine Fernandez illustrations. I KNEW (and love) Bird Child (so powerful!), Listening for Lucca and I shared the Animal book in my post last week. I adore Jackie Morris – she lives a dream life in Wales – painting and writing in a cottage by the sea! My favorite of hers is Tell Me A Dragon. Did you watch the big game this morning? We were all up at 4 am cheering on the team! Have a great week!

    • We didn’t – just Dad was up. Kids have been ill so getting some sleep! But we celebrated the score and the medal upon waking! A cottage by the sea – does sound pretty dreamy . . . I think you will love My Name is Blessing An emotional but powerful story. I want to share it with students and see what we talk about.

  2. Thanks for the link Carrie. I’m glad you liked Henri’s Scissors-good story! I bookmarked every single one of those you shared today-and like others, the picture of the snow leopard captivated me. Wow, what a cover! I will especially look for Bird Child, new to me. Have a great week!

  3. Another wonderful list, as always! I’ve added Listening for Lucca to my list. I love middle-grade so much! I hope my library gets the new Eric Carle soon. My older son loves recognizing illustrators’ work when I bring new books home, so I think he will really like a book featuring many of his favorite artists. I am planning a picture book biography day in Children’s Lit in a couple of weeks–will have to get Matisse’s Scissors to add to my collection. My Name Is Blessing sounds very similar to my son’s life in Ethiopia. He is doing A LOT of trauma processing/grieving right now; this title might be therapeutic for him. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Does he find it helpful to read about stories that trigger connections? I know for some kids that is really powerful and for others, they aren’t in the space for it. I think your son will love this Carle title. I am of course tempted to purchase my own copy. It is so amazing! I love the celebration of all of the different styles of illustration. How fun to feature picture book biographies with your class – I hope you include The Boy Who Loved Math. This, I think, has been our favourite biography so far this year and we have read quite a few!

      • Boy Who Loved Math is certainly one of my faves as well! I am tempted to purchase my own copy of the Carle too. But then I am always tempted to buy more books! And LOL, no, my son does not REMOTELY find it helpful to read stories that trigger connections. He would like to avoid every connection he can! In his words, all of that is in the past and it’s over and now he’s a different kid. But he has a lot of explosive rages, flashbacks, etc. He had a very hard life before and he has a lot of stuff to work through. And I’m always looking for ways to bring it up so we can process a little more and move him forward a bit. I ordered that book today–though I’ll hold onto it and bring it out when I’m ready to deal with what it’s no doubt going to bring up! Parenting him is definitely a marathon. Actually, it’s more like one of those ultra marathons!

      • I am often able to convince myself why I need specific titles! Doesn’t take much convincing – that’s the problem. I wish you much luck in helping your son talk. With my guy, when he has things that are troubling (very different things of course) sometimes he will only talk when we are walking. Something about the not needing to make eye contact and moving. How old was your son when you adopted him?

      • The age question is actually complicated for my older son! On his adoption paperwork, he was listed as age 8, but when we took him to the dentist, he already had his 12 yr old molars. We aren’t really sure how old he is! Biologically, at least 15. But according to his birth certificate, he is now 11.That’s what we chose to go by. Emotionally and socially, it’s the right age for him and he has just in the past month or two become the biggest kid in his class. He seems happy in 5th grade and accepts being 11. Developmentally, sometimes he’s 4, sometimes 11, sometimes 15. School is very hard for him so we decided it wouldn’t make sense to try to move him up several grades to his “real” age. Love what you say about your son needing to move and not make eye contact. My son does best talking when we’re driving somewhere, just the two of us.

      • It sounds complicated but that you have made the right decision to let him be with peers that are more of a fit academically and social-emotionally. Did you adopt both boys at the same time? Parenting is such a journey. The hardest lessons lie here.

  4. Hi Carrie – I too like My Name is Blessing. I liked the positive spin in the name change. It is truly a special story. I always love that you have a few books on your list that I have never heard of such as Snow Leopard. Wow! That cover is gorgeous. Off to add that to my TBR list.

    • Thanks Alyson. It is a very lyrical story – full of magic but does have the great connection to snow leopards in Mongolia. I am reading Saving the Ghost of the Mountain right now – one of the scientist in the field books.

  5. These are wonderful books, Carrie – each picture book looks like another treasure to want for one’s classroom library. Listening For Lucca sounds lovely, and I think my sixth graders will love (and respond to ) the themes. Thanks for sharing today!

  6. Wow – the cover to The Snow Leopard is gorgeous (I see I’m not the only one who thinks so)! I must read that! I just picked up What’s Your Favorite Animal? at the library. I see you’re going to read Small Medium at Large. I had heard so much about it when it came out, but never got to it. Happy reading this week!

    • It is really striking. The images inside are also beautiful. Enjoy What’s Your Favourite Animal! I put Small Medium at Large on my #mustreadin2014 list after my daughter enjoyed it so much. Didn’t want it to get lost at the bottom of my TBR

  7. Hi there Carrie, I immediately looked for Bird Child in our online library database, but could not find it. 😦 Perhaps later in the year, we’d acquire the title. Henri’s Scissors looks like a picture book biography I should include in my conference presentation about PBBs later in the year. The Snow Leopard looks great too, that one we have in our libraries. We also have My Name is Blessing, which I am thinking I can use as part of my text-set in class as it is a multicultural title. 🙂 Thank you for sharing Listening for Lucca, it sounds like a quiet and gentle book, plus that very peaceful book cover. Love it! Hoping you have a lot of reading time this week too! 🙂

    • Bird Child was published a few years ago – it’s Canadian – maybe smaller publishing and didn’t make it to your collections. Too bad – it is very powerful. I think you would love it. Glad you have so many others in your libraries though!

  8. Oh dreaded report card season…I feel for you! Putting our students on a sheet of paper is so tough.
    The cover of Snow Leopard is gorgeous, and it sounds like an interesting read.
    I love the little story you shared about your daughter’s signed copy of Lucca. I am a huge LaFleur fan too, so I can relate to her excitement 🙂 And if you ever need an escape to a Maine beach in the summer I happen to live very close to such a place! And who knows, you might encounter a ghost in my 100 year old home too…

    • So glad you also love LaFleur! It is pretty special to have an author you love sign a book to you! She treasures this title. Oh don’t tempt me with visits to houses by the beach . . .

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