Monday August 6th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. So here are a few photos of my room, patiently waiting.When students arrive, this space transforms into a space for book love galore!

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

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James 

Wow. Ah yes, I see why this book has all of those stickers affixed to the cover. This is a stunner. Incredible celebration of the magic that happens in the barber’s chair.

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson with illustrations by Qin Leng

Inspiring biography for young writers. Leng’s illustrations are delightful.

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines written byJeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Beautifully illustrated title about Maya Lin, whose entry was chosen in a national (US) design contest for the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington. Some of these illustrations made me catch my breath.

On Our Street: Our First Talk about Poverty by Dr.Jillian Roberts and Jaime Casap with illustrations by Jane Heinrichs

One of those books you wish didn’t have to exist. But it does. And this book navigates first discussions of poverty with honesty, compassion and respect. I see that there will be more books in this series: The World Around Us by Orca Publishing and I will seek out upcoming titles.

Lion Lessons by Jon Agee

Sometimes you need a little bit of a nudge to be brave.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Strangely, I had a bit of a difficult time getting into this book and then I was fully, completely hooked. A mystery. A testament to a racist and troubled history. Family ties. Beginning friendships. Modern day mystery is woven through history. Absolutely fantastic.

Up next? I am reading Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 30/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 9/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 138/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 40 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 19/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 25/40 books read

Monday July 23rd, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. So here is a photo of the lending library I just set up in my cloakroom for previous students to access.

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 Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Oh, this book. It is a must have for primary teachers. There are a myriad of emotions explored here. And a lot of advice. Sometimes, though, it is all about being heard.

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi

This title explores conflict, cooperative play and creative solutions. Wordless.

Trees by Lemniscates

A beautiful exploration of trees and seasons.

Vivid: Poems & Notes about Color by Julie Paschkis

This one is released later this month. A gorgeous exploration of colours – from the factual to the imaginative. Absolutely wonderful.

Bugs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick with illustrations by Kwanchai Moriya

I am very excited about this nonfiction titles as an inspiration for our own writing. An ideal mentor text. Part of a series by Kids Can Press. Guess and check and lots more.

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock with illustrations by Claire A. Nivola 

This story fascinated me. I can’t wait to share it with students and to use it as a source of inspiration for creativity and imagining with loose parts.

Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter

A new series by Ellen Potter that I will be adding to our classroom library. Boy and Sasquatch become unlikely friends. Many adventures await, I am sure. A wonderful book about noticing and managing differences in a world of assumptions.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed 

Completely engaging. What a wonderful choice for the Global Read Aloud. Amal is an incredibly courageous and compassionate character.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Truly haunting. A story of ghosts – dead black boys who have been killed in ridiculously unnecessary ways. Blurs history with fiction. Such a read. Would make an incredible read aloud in a middle school classroom.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Sweet and endearing. Loved this title full of magic and affection.

Up next? The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 9/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 131/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 35 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 22/40 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

Monday May 28th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

Lone reader, lost in her book.

A Todd Parr reading binge.

The heart of Reading Workshop. Readers perched everywhere totally engaged in reading.

Student book talks are so very powerful!

Two weeks of #classroombookaday titles to share. Gorgeous titles about plants and gardens.

Books that help to transform our thinking.

Classroom Highlights 

During our recent Celebration of Learning, two boys delighted in reading aloud to a captive audience. Their choice? Naked! written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I loved watching students share student writing and voices about some of our recent read alouds.

Titles and student reactions on display for the Celebration of Learning.

Drawing our incredible structures created in the Art and Discovery studio.

Work on display during Celebration of Learning.
Last minute preparation before parents and caregivers are invited to explore our work.

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

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

This is the latest book I cannot stop raving about and reading to anyone who happens to enter our classroom. Absolute picture book perfection. This title shows us “that anyone can be anything they want to be,” explained one of my students. It is about self expression. Dreams. The love of a grandparent. Creativity. The end pages are divine. This will be one of my Mock Caldecott selections for 2019.

A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker

More wordless amazing from Aaron Becker. This one is multi-layered and will require multiple rereads to absorb. An absolute stunner. Becker explores time, grief, history and chance in this beautiful book.

The book trailer gives a lovely sneak peek

A Seed Is the Start byMelissa Stewart

This book! You want this book! Primary teachers, this is the perfect title to share when discussing planting, seeds and gardens. Full of rich, descriptive language and incredible close up photography. Highly recommended!

But the Bear Came Back by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Dan Taylor

Adorable. No persistent bears allowed until said bear no longer shows up.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I sometimes do read adult novels – here is proof! Incredible writing. So very sad. Which is maybe why I don’t read a lot of adult novels.

Up next? I am reading The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens and Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 21/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 100/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 20 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 10/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 17/40 books read

Monday May 14th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

Nonfiction sharing circles to generate excitement about nonfiction reading!

Quiet moments during Reading Workshop.

This little Dory Fantasmagory fan can’t put this series down!

How I love independent reading time!

I need to play catch up with sharing #classroombookaday titles Here are the books we have been reading. See if you can guess each weekly theme.

Classroom Highlights 

Making mini homes in the Art and Discovery studio. These are just incredible!

Drawing our creations.

Nonfiction fact detectives.

Making nature art in the garden with fallen materials.

Gorgeous flower gardens painted for Mother’s Day cards.

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:

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

This book is a must own, must share title. One of the loveliest titles to talk about what it is to stand up and stand with someone who has been bullied. Wordless and absolutely wonderful.

Yak and Dove written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Esmé Shapiro

I love the quirkiness of Maclear’s books – this one still has some eccentric elements but it is a wonderful collection of three friendship stories.

 One Family by George Shannon with illustrations by Blanca Gomez

One family might be so many things.

Albie Newton written by Josh Funk with illustrations by Ester Garay

Josh Funk introduces us to little Albie Newton, boy genius. Little Albie has concocted quite the plan to make some new friends. Will his classroom survive a day of his tinkering and imagining? Told in Funk’s signature rhyming style.

I’ve Got Feet!: Fantastical Feet of the Animal World by Julie Murphy with illustrations by Hannah Tolson

The perfect story time nonfiction read aloud for younger listeners. The unique feet animals have and how they use them.

Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder

Kind of brilliant. Tells a pet story like none I have ever read.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Middle grade perfection. Connor just keeps getting better and better. I dare you not to want to root for Mason Buttle as every kind of grief soaked kind of bad luck gets thrown at him. This story has so many layers. Would be a fantastic read aloud in a middle grade classroom. (Grade 5 and up)

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

This young adult novel does not shy away from any of the harrowing details that are part of a refugee’s journey. Follow Tareq and his family as he leaves Syria in search of safety and hope.

Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai 

I learned so much about the Syrian crisis in this book about Nadia and her desperate search to become reunited with her family as her city is being bombed. This is a middle grade read.

Up next? Think I will be picking up an adult novel – every so often, it happens!

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 20/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 95/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 14 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 9/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 16/40 books read

Monday April 16th 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

What better than a room full of readers? Everyday it looks like this during Reading Workshop. Pure reading joy.

#classroombookaday titles allowed us to meet some extraordinary friends.

This week we explored stories from around the globe and had some big discussions about the importance of education and not taking basic resources for granted.

Classroom Highlights 

We have been building our understanding of fractions in math.

In the Art and Discovery studio we have been designing our imaginary child friendly homes. We will begin building next week.

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:

Backyard Fairies by Phoebe Wahl

How I wish this book had existed when my daughter was younger. She was convinced fairies lived in our back garden. This book would have helped her to believe even more fiercely. Gorgeous illustrations.

Come Home Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies

We all need alone time. But do we need it in large, large doses? And isn’t having our friends around kind of the best? Duck tries to cope when Bear heads out alone on a fishing expedition.

Forever or a Day by Susan Jacoby

A beautiful wandering through a conversation about time.

Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily Mackenzie

I completely empathize with this little book burglar. Books are addictive!

I Got It! by David Wiesner

Nearly wordless. Mere moments in a baseball game.

I Am the Boss of this Chair by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Marisa Morea

Hmm, a new kitten on the scene? Looks like Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III is going to have to establish some very clear boundaries about his favourite chair! Perfect for little ones who may be preparing for a new sibling.

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes 

Beatrice does her best work upside down. There are lots of reasons for some important thinking in this book – friendship woes, new teacher expectations, fashion decisions to stay true to your ninja nature, etc. Loved this one and it is being devoured by the readers in my room.

The Wild Robot Escapes (The Wild Robot, #2) by Peter Brown

I loved this adventure as much as the first. Roz is such a memorable character. She is determined to return to Brightbill on her wild island. Is it possible?

Up next? I am reading The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 85/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 1 book behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 9/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 8/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 13/40 books read