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

 

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 August 27th, 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. But here is a pile of books, now sorted and back on the shelves waiting for a new room full of readers.

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.

Loved participating in #pb10for10 in early August with a list of titles to inspire world citizens.

pb10for102018

Books I loved

The Haunted House Next Door (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol, #1) by Andres Miedosa

I have purchased the first few titles in this transitional chapter series and now would like to expand the collection. Spooky, scary adventure – ideal for young chapter book readers.

The Haunted House Next Door (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol, #1)

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen  by Debbi Michiko Florence

This title is fantastic and I am excited that I have all four titles that have been published in this series. Excellent transitional chapter book series focussing on family dynamics, Japanese culture and being eight.

Lulu is Getting a Sister by Judith Viorst 

In order to prepare a reluctant Lulu for a new sibling, her parents send her to a camp to learn how to be a big sister. You can just imagine how that goes. Hilarious, as always.

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

Friendship, or lack of it is such an issue for middle grade students. Loved how it was explored in this title.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Lots of important issues and cultural complexities and crimes explored in this young adult novel. I liked it but found I didn’t fully connect with the characters.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz 

This book! Would definitely choose to do this as a read aloud if I were teaching Grade 4 or 5. This will be one of my book club selections for this fall. I loved the advocacy and book love in this book. So relatable, hard to put down. Highly, highly recommended.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to theWorld by Ashley Herring Blake

A must have for an intermediate classroom library. Ivy’s family survives a hurricane but then she must navigate cramped family quarters, less attention from her busy Mom overwhelmed with caring for baby twins, feelings of love that are new and unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have quite the soft spot for Ivy.

Up next? I am reading Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 34/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 12/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 148/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 47 books behind schedule (Kind of hopeless progress . . . )

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 19/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 28/40 books read