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

 

Monday November 19th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Some reading photos to share:

This one is of a very devoted little reader who had a captive audience well before 9 a.m.

Love that the books being shared during buddy reading were books our class had written!

#classroombookaday titles from the last month have included many themes.

Gardens.

Spooky stories.

Talking about peace and the impact of war.

Refugees and seeking peace and a new home.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

Some highlights from our last month of learning:

We have loved learning about the brain and each drew a labelled diagram.

Busy drawing in the Art and Discovery studio after we finished our prints.

The printmaking process was incredible and the insect prints turned out to be truly amazing!

Story Workshop continues to be a highlight of our week with so many incredible stories being shared!

A large part of math exploring has been around larger numbers – building and stretching numbers into the hundreds.

We are well on our way to creating our second “published” books – monster handbooks called The Monstore. Some incredible monsters are on display inside these pages!

Students have been discussing, drawing about and writing about peace.

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:

I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds

Another incredible collaboration between Verde and Reynolds. I love the emphasis on compassion, celebrating mistakes and being wonderfully imperfect.

Carmela Full of Wishes written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Carmella wants to be big enough to follow her big brother on his daily errands and chores. Finally she is! A story of siblings family and community. Quite lovely.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson with illustrations by Rafael López

Ah this book! The power of our differences and individuality and the worry that we aren’t going to be included when we feel different from others. All of these feelings are celebrated, honoured and explored in this title.

Boo Who? by Ben Clanton

Awfully cute for Halloween.

Misunderstood Shark written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Wonderfully amusing! Prepare for lots of giggles.

Polar Bear Island written by Lindsay Bonilla and illustrated by Cinta Villalobos

What happens when a little penguin arrives on an island exclusive to polar bears? A cute little story celebrating new friendships.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

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

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

A tough story about a young girl trying to manage at home with a tiresome but loveable little sibling, a father overwhelmed by a failing farm in a hot, dry summer and a mother with mental illness that is getting worse and nowhere close to better. Della’s feelings of responsibility make it all too much. An amazing read for middle grade students.

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

In this beautifully written story find hope, courage and an important reminder of what it is to be a citizen of the world . Highly recommended. An absolutely incredible read. I cried through the last 20 minutes of reading this book.

Up next? I am reading Sunny by Jason Reynolds

Monday October 22nd 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I haven’t posted for 3 weeks so have many reading photos to share! Narrowed it to 3. Here is a keen little reader who has discovered Robert Munsch books for himself as an independent reader! He couldn’t stop reading all day!

“This book is really long and really hard and I can read it!”

Ah the joy of buddy reading!

#classroombookaday titles have included themes of stories, characters creatively solving problems and interacting with monsters.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

We have been diving into the Story Workshop experience on Tuesday afternoons creating stories with loose parts and natural objects and then drawing, documenting and writing about these stories. Often stories are also shared orally between students. Want to know more about Story Workshop? Look up Opal School in Portland, Oregon.

In the Art and Discovery studio with Maggie, we have begun to explore and create imaginative creatures that might live in the garden.

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 loved:

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

Wow. Wow and more wow. Such an incredible story and that cover! A fantastic biography of a wonderfully creative individual and how she perceived the world.

I Lost My Tooth! by Mo Willems

So I read this and liked it. But I knew that kid testing was going to be the true measure. My students ADORED this one. It’s a delightful read aloud experience and students have been continuously picking it up to read on their own. Their only complaint? Where are the rest of the titles? These children are used to a full shelf of Elephant and Piggie and can’t fathom waiting and waiting as the next titles in this series are published!

Up the Mountain Path by Marianne Dubuc

Oh what a delightful little title that teaches the love of nature and the cycles of life. Follow along as old Mrs. Badger takes a weekly journey up to the top of Sugarloaf Peak.The illustrations!

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie

Very adorable. Sterling sends himself out to a family’s home as part of a new cutlery shipment and tries to be the best fork ever! Of course, his fork like abilities are limited. But his dog nature is a lot more valued than he ever thought possible.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It written by JoAnne Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley

This is the BEST book for classroom teachers teaching about growth mindset! I am using this title to support our understanding of the brain as part of the Mind Up curriculum.

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci and her older brother are scholarship students at a private school in Florida. Her busy family life full of hard work, shared family responsibilities and grandparents, aunts and annoying younger cousins feels dramatically different than the lives her classmates seem to lead. Merci struggles to understand the changes in her beloved Lolo as he begins to act more and more strangely and seems to forget things all the time. A powerful middle grade novel about growing up, family and figuring out it all out.

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves  (MG) by Liesl Shurtliff

I was so very pleasantly surprised that I was able to fall into this story so fully and be transported to the imaginative fairy tale world that Shurtliff can build so wonderfully. I still love Rump the best, but this title is a close second. Can’t wait to see where Liesl Shurtliff goes next!

Tilly by Moniqu Gray Smith

This novel is really about what it says on the cover – hope and resistance. Based on the author’s own life, this is the story of a young Indigenous woman growing up in the 70s and 80s in British Columbia. I learned a lot.

Up next? I am reading The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

 

Monday October 1st, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. This week I am fully celebrating the joy of buddy reading with our younger K buddies.

#classroombookaday titles from 2 weeks ago were all about the changing season.

Last week we read about kind acts and gestures. And going beyond because we want to be giving and caring.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

I had to share our completed dot art completed for International Dot Day.

I have already tweeted this but had to share here too. This was one of my favourite comments from last week – when we brainstormed what we noticed about all of these titles, someone shared, ” They have characters and creatures that are real if you believe in them.” Still smiling.

The incredible title Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak has inspired us to create our own mini books. Front and back covers are complete. Stay tuned for more.

In morning math explorations we investigated square tiles and pentominoes.

Days later this group requested to use the materials again during free choice time. 🙂

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 loved:

Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

Reds, Yellows and Blues each think they are the best. But then, some mixing occurs and everyone gets a much brighter, more colourful perspective.

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh 

Papa Rabbit had to go North to find work when the rains didn’t come. A big party is organized for his return, but Papa still doesn’t come home. So Pancho Rabbit sets out to find his father. An allegorical tale that speaks to the challenges and struggles faced by families illegally crossing borders hoping for a better life for their families.

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

I can’t decide if the text or the illustrations are more beautiful here. Both are truly incredible. This will be part of our Mock Caldecott list – can’t wait to share it in January with my class.

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

I love everything about this book. I kind of want to carry it around and read it to everyone I meet. Imagine all the conversations that could be shared asking “Where did your name come from??

Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee with illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre

Oh this little book has a lot to say about how to be in the world.

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Love the illustrations – this crazy orange colour and those incredible snails. Essential themes for our times – looking closely, getting lost in nature, unstructured play, losing our devices (here, quite literally).
A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider–The Story of E. B. White by Barbara Herkert with illustrations by Lauren Castillo

Wow. A beautiful biography.

Older Not Wiser (Bad Nana) by Sophie Henn

An illustrated chapter book with lots of humour. The British expressions may require a little bit of assistance navigating but this one has high kid appeal.

Up next? I am still reading Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 14/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 168/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 55 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 31/40 books read

Monday September 17th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Now that we are back to school and I have my new class, I have some photos to share.

I love this one: “I found a big WOW!”

One reader with a big pile of books.

Reading is better with a friend.

Ks came to buddy read!

#classroombookaday titles on the theme of friendship. We learned that sometimes we find friends in unexpected ways.

Classroom Highlights 

Dot day art making was a lot of fun!

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 loved:

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates, co written with Juniper Bates 

A big message – we all belong and there is room for all of us. Wow, is this one timely. Gorgeous.

Let Me Finish! written by Minh Lé and illustrated by Isabel Roxas

A clever way to send the message – don’t spoil the story! Would pair wonderfully with How to Read a Story and Interrupting Chicken. Excited to share this one with my class.

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre. 

A seasonal stunner. Going to be first up tomorrow and will lead the way for a number of other books celebrating autumn. Photographs and poetic text are purely spectacular.

Mission Defrostable (Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast #3) written by Josh Funk with illustrations byBrendan Kearney

Another rhyming escapade full of adventure in the fridge (and now freezer). This one has a whole lot of humour and some mysterious surprises.  Huge kid appeal.

The Itchy Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Like Reading book) by LeUyen Pham

Is it possible to read this book aloud and not get itchy? Not smirk if not out and out giggle? Nope.

A True Home (Heartwood Hotel #1) by Kallie George

I finally got to read the first book in this series (a little longer than many transitional chapter titles but still a lovely balance between text and illustrations). It is definitely sweet and engaging. Lots of adventure but also real character development. Can see young readers loving this one.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang 

I was kind of blown away by this one – partly because so many story events were based on Yang’s actual childhood. A book that examines immigration, the sacrifices of immigrant parents, poverty, discrimination and the incredible will and spirit of a pretty incredible character – Mia. I have been recommending this widely.

Lousiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

I read this in one sitting and I am in love. DiCamillo is some kind of writer. This story is  absolutely beautifully written. Take an emotional walk alongside Louisiana Elefante as she tells her story. What a story! I could listen to this girl all day. Especially if I won one of those deliciously described cakes in the betty Allen Cake Raffle. Chocolate marble please. Cake, coffee and this story. Perfection.

Up next? I am reading Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 13/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 159/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 53 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 20/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 29/40 books read

Monday July 9th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

Here are students completing lists of their favourite books of the year. We created this list  together.

Buddy reading with the Grade 1 class and some of my students from last year who came to visit.

#classroombookaday titles included some of my favourite nonfiction titles.

Classroom Highlights 

Working on symmetry with square tiles and pentominoes.

How cute is this book worm handmade for me by a student?

Nonfiction titles that shaped our year.

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 loved

Islandborn written by Junot Díaz with illustrations by Leo Espinosa 

This is definitely a title that will be part of my Mock Caldecott list for 2019. Lola needs to draw a picture of where she is from but she doesn’t have any memories. So she asks family, friends and members of the community to talk about images of the Island where she was born. What results is a vivid journey into memories and stories. Longer text and stunning illustrations. One of my favourites of the year.

Drawn Together written by Minh Lê and illustrated by Dan Santat

I always love texts that portray intergenerational relationships. A special story about how grandson and grandfather find a way to connect

Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynold

Bursting with hope, inspiration and reassurance. Lovely little book.

Flashlight Night written by Matt Forrest Esenwinewith illustrations by Fred Koehler

What might you see when you point your flashlight into dark spaces? Gorgeous and imaginative.

Dude! by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat

One word tells this story of two little friends – a platypus and a beaver encounter a shark. What you think might happen doesn’t. Pretty cute.

Love Is by Diane Adams with illustrations by Claire Keane

One duckling and one girl that cares for her over a year. Sweet.

I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein 

Kitten meets big cats – the big cats. He is not like them, they each point out. But little Simon clearly is cat enough.

Olga #2 We’re Out of Here by Elise Gravel

Elise Gravel has a wonderfully weird mind that allows her to come up with odd and quirky books. High student appeal – the only reason I got to read this one is that summer happened and it ended up back on the shelf. The second in a series – full of humour and fun. And lots of unexpected.

In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Beautiful writing takes us through the hard and heartbreak of the grieving process – sometimes so muddy and muddled we need a lot of guidance getting through. Loved Klee and all of those guiding him through. Polisner is one of my favourite YA authors. I will read anything she writes! 

Up next? I am almost finished Amal Unbound and then will be starting Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 26/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 123/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 32 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 15/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 20/40 books read

Monday June 25th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Some Mondays have passed and I haven’t shared – report cards, end of the year busy, my daughter’s incredible dance show – all pulled me away. Now, I need to play catch up!

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Here are a few.

Reading a little Dan Santat to an imaginary audience

Serious fan of the Fan Brothers.

#classroombookaday titles to share

Wonderfully weird and wild.

Interacting with animals.

Some of my absolute favourites.

Classroom Highlights 

We have been making book lists of our favourite titles of the year. This is serious business!

There are book piles everywhere!

Making sure we don’t miss any!

Laying it all out. 

Symmetry play in math.

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 loved

Little Robot Alone written by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlin Charest with illustrations by Matt Phelan

I am partial to Phelan’s illustrations. Pretty darn cute. A little robot needs a friend and what a wonderful companion he creates!

If I Had a Horse by Gianna Marino

Just beautiful. Whimsical pages. Horse dreams.

On the Night of the Shooting Star written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jenni Desmond

We can never have enough delightful and charming friendship books. This one is extra special.

A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

So impressed with this team that creates picture books that allow us to look at children’s lives where money is not easy. This book explores challenging, ethical decisions in a child’s life and is so, so well done.

When Sophie Thinks She Can’t…  by Molly Bang

All about growth mindset and the power of the magical word Yet. More lesson than story but still worth sharing. Didn’t love this one as much as I was hoping to.

Hawk Rising written by Maria Gianferrari with illustrations by Brian Floca

For three summers in a row, Cooper hawks nested in the trees on our street and in our yard. I have been in love with crows ever since. This book is about red-tailed hawks and we are able to follow them throughout a day. Beautiful illustrations, powerful words. A gorgeous nonfiction title.

What’s Your Favorite Bug?  by Eric Carle and Friends (out at the end of July)

I am a real fan of these What’s Your Favorite? series. In a classroom that reads lots of picture books, there is such joy in recognizing the style of a known and loved illustrators! This title is just as wonderful as the others in the series! I will want to purchase a hardcover copy this summer.

Wild Orca: The Oldest, Wisest Whale in the World written by Brenda Patterson and illustrated by Wendell Minor (out in September)

Thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC of this book. I shared it with my students who were completely enamoured. Especially as many children in my room have been lucky enough to spot orcas from ferries in our BC waters. The students loved that a community watches out for these whales and knows their calls and habits. Lots of learning about wonderful whales that inhabit our oceans.

The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens 

I finished reading this on the bus yesterday on the way to a dance class and found myself  quietly sobbing. Just a beautiful book about friendships, nature and the many ways to be alive. Incredible sibling relationship develops over the course of the book. An incredible friendship between young Frances and the more than eighty year old wise and wonderful school bus driver. A place in the rocks. Crow watching. Crisp, cold air. Figuring it all out. Loved this MG title.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

I wanted to love this YA novel. And I really liked aspects of it. But, it was just not for me. Multiple possible endings. And realities? Just too much.

Loser’s Bracket by Chris Crutcher

This book I really liked. Such an exploration of family. If you love YA realistic fiction that is real and true and gritty, I highly recommend this one! I was waking up before 6 a.m. to sneak in pages.

Up next? So excited to begin In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 24/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 111/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 32 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 13/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 13/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 18/40 books read