Favourites of 2017

Which books stand out from an entire year or reading? Titles that didn’t leave me. Books I have wanted to share. To reread. That I have particular plans for. Books that I have read to multiple audiences. Books full of the beautiful and the hopeful. Wonder. Inspiration. Humanity. Sorrow and hope. Books I recommend highly. Books I am pleased to celebrate here.

The 17 books that made the final cut? I chose everything from picture books to young adult novels. Middle grade novels. Transitional chapter books. All of it. (except for nonfiction titles – they got a list all their own)

17 books and no more than 17 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2016 (16 books, 16 words) Each year it has been the same: Favourites of 2015 (15 books, 15 words), Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words), Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

Favourites of 2017 There's a Book for That

17 favourites of 2017

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Nearly wordless. All about important things. Kindness. Trust. Simplicity.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Town is by the Sea written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith

Daily life in a Cape Breton mining town. Illustrations that literally freeze place and time. 

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

Our voices cannot be silenced. Timely and timeless.

the-rooster-who-would-not-be-quiet Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

Wordless and wonderful. Rich with kindness and longing for how we connect.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for ThatMy Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

How can we leave one life to begin another? A refugee experience full of sadness and hope.

my-beautiful-birds

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

A creative and inspiring journey that celebrates how what goes wrong is equally exactly right.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Now by Antoinette Portis

Being in the moment has never been celebrated with such lovely wonder and beauty.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Out of Wonder Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjorie Wentworth illustrations by Ekua Holmes

Oh this book of poems and art. Kind of speechless.

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy (Charlie & Mouse, #2) written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes

Endearing and lovely. Sibling antics. Silly stories. Hilarious illustrations. Reading gold.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold 

Bat, his family and a little orphaned skunk make up a cast of characters that you must meet.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

So I kind of love everything about Clayton Byrd.

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King (A.S. King) 

I can’t get Obe and Marvin Gardens out of my head.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Suspend belief. Be uncertain. Allow yourself to get lost in this story. Incredible writing.

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

I adore Alex Petroski. His journey to capture the essence of Earth reveals his vulnerable,  complicated existence.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

An isolated setting. Unique characters. Mystery and intrigue and simplicity that makes a can’t put down story.

Refugee by Alan Gratz.

You will cry. Shake your head. Fret. Dream terrible things. Read this book. Hand it to everyone.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Necessary reading for anyone who happens to currently be human. Deserving of all the hype.

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2018 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

 

Monday November 13th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. I love this one taken at 9:02 a.m. on our new reading bench my husband made for the classroom. Many students arrive and immediately find a spot in the room to read. This little space tucked next to the graphic novel shelf is a new favourite place.

Students continue researching insects for a science/poetry project we have been working on. I love listening in as they discover fascinating facts and share them with each other!

Our #classroombookaday titles allowed us to talk about war, peace and hope.

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from my week in the classroom.

Our class made this wreath for our Remembrance Day assembly. Poppies that didn’t fit on the wreath now wind up tiny bulletin boards between the windows.

I shared more about our discussions about peace and our reactions to our read aloud stories here: Sunday Reflections: Tuesday Crying

Some meaningful writing came out of our thinking about these  #classroombookaday titles.

Math was all about getting organized as we record our counting by sequences.

This practice helped us to be more organized when we participated in counting collections activities on Friday.

Books I enjoyed:

Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

This story is an absolute adventure. It’s all in the details and such details! Lola the armadillo spills orange liquid all over a white chair in a cart wheeling mishap. It is viewed as an absolute disaster! The end of the world! The end of everything! As she escapes her own mess, she runs into many other catastrophes. In the end, some important resolutions are explored. This title is bound to become a favourite for children of all ages.

The Prince and the Porker written by Peter Bently and illustrated by David Roberts

I really love this illustrator which is what drew me to picking this book up at my library. Such a fun version of The Prince and the Pauper. The rhyming text and food adventures will delight young readers/listeners.

Charlie & Mouse (Charlie & Mouse, #1) written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes

I am always thrilled when illustrated transitional chapter books are published that are really good. And this is really good. Sibling antics. Silly stories. Hilarious illustrations. Reading gold.

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy (Charlie & Mouse, #2) written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes

I think I loved this title even more. Endearing and lovely.

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King (A.S. King) 

This is A.S. King’s first middle grade novel and as a super fan, let me say, I couldn’t be happier. This is the story of Obe, a boy who cares about the land he lives on and its history within his family. Watching the land his family once owned be developed is a devastating process and Obe finds some interesting ways to make meaning of his loss. Then he meets Marvin Gardens, a creature like nothing else that has ever existed. And . . . what a story. Would make an incredible classroom read aloud or book club selection for middle grade readers. Highly recommended.

Up next? I just picked up a stack of titles I had on hold at the public library. First one I will begin? Likely The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 55/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 274/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 42 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 39/50 books read

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

I went beyond not clicking with characters. I decided to focus on parents in MG and YA books that upset me. Yes, some had mental health issues or other things going on. But their actions or in some case, inaction, activated my Mama Bear self. I felt protective, seriously protective of their children. I looked deep into my self to make sure I was in no way the kind of parent that they were. Parenting is hard, hard work. The hardest.

In some ways, I wanted to yell at these moms and dads. In some ways I hurt for them. Life is a journey. We all make lots of mistakes. It’s just extra upsetting when our mistakes impact our children.

And to be perfectly clear, I LOVE each of these books. They are well written, must read stories. Many of them are included on my favourites lists. But these parents, oh, sigh.

Albie‘s Dad in Absolutely Almost written by Lisa Graff

“Notice him. Pay attention!” I wanted to say.

Absolutely Almost Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Tommy‘s mother in The Paper Cowboy written by Kristin Levine

The unpredictable rage, often directed at Tommy was so hard.

The Paper Cowboy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Rose‘s father in Rain Reign written by Ann M. Martin

Rose’s father own anger and pain don’t leave much room for his daughter.

Rain Reign Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Flora‘s mother in Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate DiCamillo 

Quirky and interesting? Yes. Tuned in to her daughter? No.

flora and ulysses Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Astrid‘s parents in Ask the Passengers written by A.S. King

Judgemental. Oblivious. These parents made me so frustrated.

Ask the Passengers Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Moon‘s father in Alabama Moon by Watt Key

This father’s choices made his son too vulnerable.

alabama moon Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Theodore Finch’s mother in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

So much pain and this Mom (dealing with her own pain) just didn’t see it.

All the Bright Places Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Gerald‘s parents in Reality Boy by A.S. King

When cameras come into the home . . .

reality boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Jaden‘s father in Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

A talented scientist, yes. Ethical? Hmm. . . not so much

 Eye of the Storm Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Liberty and Billie‘s Dad in Survival Stories of the Almost Brave by Jen White

Clearly, this father had his own demons and was NOT ready to parent.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Are there some parent characters in books you have read that give you that same feeling?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

I decided to stick to middle grade and young adult titles.  I chose authors where I have read three or more titles and who I can’t read to read more from.

 Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shared alphabetically by author and featuring one of my favourite titles from each:

Kate DiCamillo How to pick a favourite DiCamillo title? I have to choose Flora and Ulysses because it was pure pleasure to read this aloud to my class. Some sentences were better than the best chocolate in my mouth. And yes, there is that Newbery medal . . . 🙂

flora and ulysses  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Beth Kephart There is such a beautiful quality to Kephart‘s writing. I love many of her books but I think Going Over is my favourite.

Going Over Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shannon Hale I have read many, many Shannon Hale titles but I think the book that I would read again and again is Princess Academy. It is one title that every child I pass it to absolutely loves.

 Princess Academy  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

A.S. King I fell fast after I read my first A.S. King title. My favourite? Everybody Sees the Ants Lucky Linderman is unforgettable.

Everybody Sees the Ants  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Jo Knowles is another author that after reading one book, I went on to read every book. Which book hit me hardest? See You at Harry’s I was a weepy mess reading this beautiful book.

 See You at Harry's  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

It will be no surprise to Barbara O’Connor that she is on this list I am sure. She is probably the author I most often recommend to be read aloud in the classroom. But I think it is this book – Greetings from Nowhere that is most often on my mind as of late. I think it is calling me to reread it.

 Greetings from Nowhere  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Kenneth Oppel may be the author I have most often read aloud to my own children. But my favourite from him is one I read just on my own: Half Brother. I treasure my signed copy.

 Half Brother  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Andrew Smith seemed to write books faster than I could read them. After hearing him speak, I now know why this appeared to be the case.. I love the characters in Winger so much that this is my favourite title.

Winger  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Even though I am highly addicted to the Raven Boys titles, it is The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater that I love best.

 Scorpio Races  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Deborah Wiles – oh this author. Again, I am choosing a title that was such a delight to read aloud: Each Little Bird that Sings Such a beautiful book full of heartbreak and hope.

each little bird  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for ThatWhich authors have you read again and again?

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

I am celebrating the characters in middle grade and young adult novels who make strong impressions. When you read a lot of novels, there is the wonderful opportunity to “meet” many incredible characters. First, it was these 25 boys that I wanted to highlight. Now, it’s time for the girls!

These are the female characters who have stayed with me. I sometimes worry about them. I stop and remember their actions. The big and bold things and the quietly brave. I admire their choices, the way they move on from mistakes, their soul searching. I honour these 25 girls who live beyond the pages of the books they live in.

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Sophie in Endangered written by Eliot Schrefer

Endangered In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Francesca Schnell in The Summer of Letting Go written by Gae Polisner

The Summer of Letting Go In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Flora Belle Buckman in Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate DiCamillo

flora and ulysses In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Marlee in The Lions of Little Rock written by Kristin Levine

lions-of-little-rock  In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Jewel in Bird written by Crystal Chan

Bird In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Comfort Snowberger in Each Little Bird That Sings written by Deborah Wiles

each little bird In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Fern in See you at Harry’s written by Jo Knowles

 see You at Harry's In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Vera in Please Ignore Vera Dietz written by A.S. King

Please Ignore Vera Dietz In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Georgie Burkhardt in One Came Home written by Amy Timberlake

one came home In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

May in May B. written by Caroline Starr Rose

May-B In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Hattie Brooks in Hattie Big Sky written by Kirby Larson

hattie-big-sky In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Calpurnia Virginia Tate in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate written by Jacqueline Kelly

Evolution-of-Calpurnia-Tate In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucy in Half a Chance written by Cynthia Lord

Half a Chance In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Josie in Out of the Easy written by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Stargirl Caraway in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

stargirl In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Gloriana (Glory) June Hemphill in Glory Be written by Augusta Scattergood

Glory Be In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Gabi Hernandez in Gabi, A Girl in Pieces written by Isabel Quintero

Gabi A girl in pieces In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Turtle in Turtle in Paradise written by Jennifer L. Holm 

 Turtle in Paradise In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Liesel Meminger in The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak

book thief In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Georgina Hayes in How to Steal a Dog written by Barbara O’Connor

 how to Steal a Dog In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Hayley Kincain in The Impossible Knife of Memory written by Laurie Halse Anderson

impossible knife In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Rose in Rain Reign written by Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Carley Connors in One for the Murphys written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

OnefortheMurphys In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Piddy Sanchez in Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass written by Meg Medina

yaqui In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Willow Chance in  Counting by 7s written by Holly Goldberg Sloan

counting by 7s In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

I read a lot. As in hundreds and hundreds of books a year. Many, yes, are picture books. But many are novels. 95% of these are middle grade and young adult novels. So, in some ways, I can say I “meet” a lot of young people. Some make me cry. Some leave me laughing. Some inspire. I have a myriad of emotions as I read about each of these young fictional lives: confusion, hope, worry, relief, upset, happiness . . .

These characters often stay with me. And because they do, I want to honour them here. These boys*, in the pages of the books where they live, impressed me in notable ways. I admire so many of them for their honesty, their growth, their vulnerability, their hard choices, their loyalty, their mistakes, their learning and their endurance.

In their own way, each is brave and real. Meeting them will enrich every reader.

 In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Doug Swieteck in Okay for Now written by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Miguel in We Were Here written by Matt de la Peña

We Were Here  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Nate Foster in Better Nate than Ever written by Tim Federle

Better Nate than Ever  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That,

Jack in Dead End in Norvelt written by Jack Gantos

 Dead End in Norvelt  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ben in Half Brother written by Kenneth Oppel

 Half Brother  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Travis in Blue Fish written by Pat Schmatz

bluefish  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Fadi in Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai

Shooting-Kabul-Senzai  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Matt in The Boy in the Black Suit written by Jason Reynolds

boy in the black suit  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moon in Alabama Moon written by Watt Key

 Alabama Moon  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Holling Hoodhood in The Wednesday Wars written by Gary D. Schmidt

 The Wednesday Wars  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucky Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants written by A.S. King

 Everybody Sees the Ants  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Oscar in The Real Boy written by Anne Ursu

 The Real Boy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moses in Crow written by Barbara Wright

Crow  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

 Victor (a.k.a. “Little Man”) in Paperboy by Vince Vawter

 Paperboy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Julian in Twerp written by Mark Goldblatt

twerp  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Josh in Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

 Living with Jackie Chan  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for ThatJoey in Nest written by Esther Ehrlich

Nest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ali in When I Was the Greatest written by Jason Reynolds 

when I was the greatest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albert in Fish in a Tree written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albie in Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Jack in Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson 

Small_as_an_Elephant  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ryan Dean West in Winger written by Andrew Smith

Winger  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Peter Stone in Wish Girl written by Nikki Loftin

Wish Girl  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Steven in Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie written by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

*Coming soon: In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Considering how much I love books (the reading, the talking about and the book loving community) and how often I make lists of books, I thought it was time to begin participating in Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s theme? Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Listed by date of release.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White (June 2015) 

This is an unknown author for me but I am seeing some positive reviews from my Goodreads friends and I have a thing about resilient kids . . .

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn (June 2015)

I have read two other titles from Kuehn. They were dark, serious and very well written – looking forward to more.

Delicate Monsters Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (July 2015)

I read the first Calpurnia Tate title to my children on a family holiday in Hawaii. We were smitten with the character, the time and the science. Sign me up for more.

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (August 2015)

A Monster Calls was a wow title for me. This one looks like a wild ride.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (August 2015)

Rebecca Stead. Rebecca Stead. Rebecca Stead!

 Goodbye Stranger Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

I Crawl Through It  by A.S. King (September 2015)

Okay so who is with me in being thrilled that A.S. King is so brilliant and so prolific?

I Crawl Through It  Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Stand Off (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith (September 2015)

Loved, loved Winger. Love Andrew Smith.

Stand Off (Winger #2) Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (September 2015)

So if one were to judge a book by its cover . . . this is pretty gorgeous. But I have also read two titles by Rundell this year and am ready for more.

The Wolf Wilder Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (September 2015)

Yes, that Katherine. Oh so very excited.

 Crenshaw Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (October 2015)

Okay for Now by Schmidt is one of my all time favourite MG titles. The man is brilliant.

Jupiter Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

What 2015 titles are you looking forward to reading?