Monday October 28th, 2019

We are fully into fall and my classroom is all about stories, book love and community.

#kidsarereading at our first visit to the Vancouver Public Library.

When buddies perch together over a book in the same colours, it’s extra cute.

How lucky am I? My original book worm has a friend. Both student made. Blessed.

Writers are readers and readers are writers. Scenes from Story Workshop.

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:

Who is the Mystery Reader? by Mo Willems

I so wish I was loving this series a little more. But I am just not. It’s cute enough but it just doesn’t have quite enough for me to get excited about. But remaining hopeful about future titles. The first one was better, in my opinion. This one? Okay.

Hide and Seek by Anthony Browne

Gorgeous forest scenes as siblings play hide and seek in the woods.

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

So yes, this is a wow book – fully Caldecott worthy. Love the historic details and extra information in the back matter. Oh this beautiful lonely lighthouse.

Everything You Need For a Treehouse written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Emily Hughes 

Exquisite language and incredible illustrations. Full out inspiration for tree house imagining.

What John Marco Saw written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Nancy Lemon

Little John Marco notices what nobody else does. And then . . .

 

Get up, Stand up inspired by the song by Bob Marley – written by Cedella Marley Booker with illustrations by John Jay Cabuay

Act with justice and care in mind in the face of bullying and unkind, insensitive acts.

Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl (Mighty Jack, #3; Zita the Spacegirl, #4) by Ben Hatke

What a treat this one is for the fans of both books! Packed with action and adventure;

Monday September 30th, 2019

It’s been ages since I have posted. Ages.  Thrilled to be back and sharing some recent reads!

A few #kidsarereading photos for inspiration. Here is my new Grade 2 and 3 class lost in their books. I asked them to clean out book boxes and they all just started reading after this task was done! Can’t ask for more.

First day reading to our K buddies – this duo got cozy and giggled through Elephant and Piggie.

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:

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel

A companion story to They All Saw a Cat. Simply spectacular. I love how this book travels with us over time and provides an opportunity to discuss perspective.

Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival by Lindsay Moore

This will be one of our Mock Caldecott titles. Absolutely gorgeous but also emotional. This book got me teary. Told in the voice of the polar bear as she travels across seasons. The impact of climate change is clear and discussed specifically in the author’s note at the end of the book.

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris with illustrations by LeUyen Pham

So much here. Themes of perspective, community, connections. Delightful read aloud for younger students and lots to discuss with older listeners.

The Worst Book Ever by Elise Gravel

Absolutely terrible! Atrocious! So bad that my students yelled and yelled for me to KEEP reading!

I Will Race You Through This Book! by Jonathan Fenske

Interactive and super silly. An early reader with high success for young readers.

Harold & Hog Pretend For Real! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!, #6) by Dan Santat

These Elephant and Piggie Like Reading titles are hugely popular in my Grade 2 and 3 classroom. Children will read anything recommended by Elephant and Piggie! This one is especially cute because the whole book talks about Elephant and Piggie! Delightful!

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

A novel in verse. Jude and her mother travel to live with family in the States leaving her father and beloved older brother back home in Syria. This story talks about identity, home and family and touches on issues such as racism, living in a new country, hanging on to culture. Highly recommended.

Up next? I am reading Mighty Jack and Zita the Space Girl by Ben Hatke

Monday May 13th, 2019

Trying to post at least once a month to be part of this amazing reading community and to share all the wonderful titles I have been reading.

A few #kidsarereading photos for inspiration. Our visit to the Vancouver Public Library. Everyone left with a book and a library card if they didn’t have one. Our arms full of books, our heads full of stories, we skipped all the way back to school. Summer reading – we are getting ready for you!

Love how my students want to read EVERYTHING. The size of the book box is never big enough.

Nothing is quite as lovely as buddy reading moments.

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:

Tomorrow Most Likely by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Lane Smith

What will tomorrow bring? A delightful and beautifully illustrated collection of possibilities.

Growing Season by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

A sweet little book about friendship, flowers and all kinds of growing.

Dog Vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson with art by Clayton Hanmer

So much in this book – having faith, wanting to matter – an emotional book wrapped up in super hero style and cute humour.

Our World is Relative written by Julia Sooy with illustrations by Molly Walsh

You know when you play 20 questions with a group of kids and they ask questions like, “Is it big?” or “Is it little?” and you keep trying to prompt, “Bigger than a . . . ” Well, this book would be perfect in times like this! My only complaint – that measurements are not in our Canadian metric system. Otherwise, so ideal! I will be sharing this one in the classroom often. Releases August 13th 2019

Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold

This character! Bat is beyond endearing. I absolutely adore him.

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Such an interesting subject for a novel. A former mill town needs to attract residents to keep its schools and town from completely shutting down. A number of homes are offered to families for just $1.00 if they meet criteria and comply with specific conditions over the next year. This is the perfect chance for Lowen and his family to have a new beginning and more opportunities. It’s also a way for Lowen to try to leave behind the memories of a young friend who was shot. Would be a fantastic middle grade read aloud.

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

There is always something remarkable about Ursu’s titles. Part magic, part harsh reality, unbelievable and completely relatable. Devastating and full of hope. Wow.

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

A rare adult read highly recommended by my sister. Rosie and Penn have 4 boys and then they have Claude. Another boy who actually wants to be a girl. And then everything becomes about how to best let this little human be who they are supposed to be. A truly must read novel.

Up next? I am reading The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

Monday April 1st, 2019

This time weeks have passed instead of months – still feels like too too long since I have posted but here is a post full of a huge variety of titles I am celebrating!

Lots of nonfiction reading aloud happening in the classroom!

Because we are readers, we are writers #kidsarereading So proud of the engagement I witness in my students.

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:

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan with illustrations by Lorraine Rocha

You might be able to guess what you should do with said lemon tree – yet the answer is all wrapped up in a charming little title about family, making a plan, taking good care and patiently working towards a goal. Love the emphasis away from the overly material and onto amazing nature.

Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

Oh community! Generosity. And some incredibly smelling stew. Loved this one.

We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Because, really could you imagine? This little dino really could. And did. Hilarious.

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

We are begiining a unit about water and will be talking everything from where we find it to where we don’t and why. This book will help us dive right in. Can’t wait.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

Wow. Described as a love letter to black live in the United States, this gorgeously illustrated book is magnificent.

The Monster Detector (Big and Little Foot #2) by Ellen Potter

A must have series in the upper primary classroom library. One young boy. One young Sasquatch. One mysterious mystery involving monsters.

The Storm Dragon (The Secret Rescuers #1) by Paula Harrison

A delightful little title about a storm dragon in need of rescuing. Sophy, a young maid at the castle is the perfect one to help.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Upper MG/YA graphic novel. A historical french setting. A prince who loves fancy dresses. A dressmaker trying to make it. Completely engaging.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

An emotional read – the complexity or families and the complications of friends. I love how Delsie figures things out in a highly relatable way. Hunt delivers, again. a title that needs to be in the hands of young readers.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus byAnn Braden 

Zoey Albro lives in rural Vermont. Her mother and three younger siblings count on her abusive and manipulative step father Lenny for a roof over their heads because mom’s waitressing job does not guarantee that they won’t be homeless. This title deals with poverty, the huge responsibilities of a young girl and deep commitment to family. While we witness Zoey’s middle grade stressors and dreams, we also view the struggles of poverty and abuse through her eyes. A powerful novel.

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

This title was a surprising favourite for me. Historical fiction and important magic. Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep who keeps beating the odds – surviving a daily dangerous job. How her story unfolds is quite incredible. An emotional beautiful read.

Up next? I am reading Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

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