Monday November 6th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

On Halloween morning our room was full of readers. Like this witch rereading some favourite picture books.

Book sharing circles and talking about our preferences is always an activity that promotes lots of book love.

Our #classroombookaday titles were selected specifically because Halloween was this week. We had monsters, witches, goblins, ghosts and lots of laughs.

Classroom Highlights 

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

Early in the week, the witches arrived. They are still around grumbling and whispering stories of their terrible Halloween nights or of their anger that Halloween is over. My little authors are telling these stories. Stay tuned!

This little writer is hard at work on her witch story.

In the Art and Discovery studio we drew about our families and things we like to do together.

Then we sat and told the stories of our pictures.It is always a treat when we can end our day listening to our current read aloud The Wild Robot, drawing and doodling as we listen.Sometimes our morning writing is to talk about Roz, the robot, the main character in The Wild Robot.

We were also very inspired by our #classroombookaday titles this 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 enjoyed:

I managed to read a lot this week so am limiting this list to my favourites from the pile!

Wild One by Jane Whittingham with illustrations by Noel Tuazon

A celebratory romp through the day leaves a little one in an exhausted heap at day’s end. Incredible end pages and fun illustrations – this book is a bed time poem full of all kinds of surprising guest animals. Put it on your list as a gift book for parents of littles.

Jane is Jane from Raincity Librarian, a regular #IMWAYR blogger and I was thrilled to meet her at her Book Warehouse book launch Saturday.

Her she is signing her book that I purchased for a friend having a baby next month!

Creepy Pair of Underwear! written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

I will admit to having my doubts that this team could pull off another incredible title featuring Jasper rabbit. But they do! Glow in the dark creepy underwear is pretty amusing.

I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds 

You really will feel calmer after reading this book. The perfect title to have in classrooms that practice mindfulness strategies.

Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora

There is a lot going on in this book beyond the lemmings repeatedly leaping into the ocean. A hilarious story about the importance of reading.

You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Liz Climo

This may be my favourite Ame Dyckman book so far. So, so very funny. Who could have guessed that a pet unicorn could be so problematic?

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

So a duck and a mouse take up residence in the belly of a wolf. Only Barnett and Klassen could pull this off.

These two not only make incredible books together. They make book trailers to make you giggle.

Refugee by Alan Gratz.

I think the cover recommendation by Ruta Sepetys captures the essence of this book – engaging and important. I would go so far as to add necessary. This is a book I want to hand to everyone. Sadly, it is relevant now just as it was relevant more than 70 years ago. I think this book is either one you will devour in a few sittings or read slowly over time. I took my time. I had to stop to process. To make room for bad dreams. To worry. To cry.

This book.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 54/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 266/365 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

Up next? I am reading Me and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have!

An early intermediate library is such fun to build. Students are ready for longer chapter books with more complex and compelling story lines but they still adore silly and engaging stories that some early graphics and picture books might offer them. Picture books can be clever and witty and nonfiction can be managed quite independently. So many possibilities!

What twenty titles from 2016 do I think are must have books in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom library?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

This book love is inspired by my students’ reading passions and my own reading journey as I source books for them.

Listed alphabetically by author:

Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol

Kids this age are beginning to understand that alone time is precious and sometimes hard to achieve. This is wonderfully humorous!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

How a story about a robot can be so tender, I don’t know. Heavily illustrated which makes it wonderfully rich. Themes of compassion, kindness and connection.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Achy and real. This book will squeeze you heart. A beautiful, teary emotional ride. But full of hope, not sad. At least not too much sad. The hope wins.

Counting Thyme Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

 Giant Squid Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Just pure poetry perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This is the read aloud I am starting with in January.

Some Kind of Courage Monday Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

This book! Ben Hatke is a super hero in my classroom. This will become the “it” book in the room. Prepare to never see it again except when a child holds it wailing, “When does the next one come out?” (Fall of 2017) Relatable and fantastical all at once.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

There are so many reasons to share this story with children. It is a story of hope, of change, of perseverance, of the power of music and the beauty of community. A story of transformation.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

A book to explore endlessly. Infographics are an incredible source of information. Use this book to teach how to access this information correctly.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

This title features a number of “pink” creatures from around the world and shares some of the wild and wacky facts about each one. Every page also includes specific information under these headings: Name, Species name, Size, Diet, Habitat, Predators and threats. 

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

Learn about the different kinds of teeth you have in your mouth: incisors, canines and molars. Find out how other mammals use their teeth and why they are different sizes and shapes. How are human teeth similar and different compared to other mammals? How do the teeth of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores differ?

Tooth by Tooth Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Big emotions is a tiny book. Necessary for young readers. All about the challenging process of saying goodbye.

Ida, Always Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Who would think that ice fishing, Irish dancing, magical elements and heroin addiction could be combined to create a story that is impossible both to put down and then impossible to keep from immediately recommending? I have much gratitude to Kate Messner for writing this book.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Readers will fall hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. This would be a fantastic read aloud or an engaging read alone.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Oh, the kid appeal! I chuckled through this and did a lot of head shaking. There is one scene that involves a pile of dog poop that I know I never would have thought of – thankfully! This book continues to be read and reread in my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

CaveBoy Dave: More Scrawny than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew

Highly appealing. A relatable underdog main character. Lots of poop. Again, the poop! Prehistoric creatures. Action. Adventure. Humour. And . . . a series! What more could kids want?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

Because fairy tales can be incredible. Reimagined and retold can go wrong but Shurtliff always gets it right (add Rump and Jack to your collection too!)

Red Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh

A gorgeous book – Tonatiuh gives us an interpretation of the Mexican legend how the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl came to be.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Ravi has just moved from India. Joe has been here for what seems forever. They share a few things in common – a relationship with a bully and the daily classroom and lunch room experiences of middle school. Alternately narrated by both characters, this book reminds us that it is challenging for all kids to fit in, to find your way and to be noticed for who you are.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Willems is more than brilliant and doesn’t disappoint in any way in this last Elephant and Piggie title. Students this age have had Willems as a staple of their reading lives. This book is a must have. They will grieve that there will be no more Elephant & Piggie and then get back to celebrating all the ways Elephant & Piggie are part of who they are!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Intermediate libraries? They need a mix of everything!

Love books. Give your students lots of time to read. Let them choose books so they can read widely and obsessively. Read aloud daily. Share often. Gush and be ridiculously demonstrative with your book love!

Build your library.

Invest in your readers.

They matter.

Happy Reading!

 

Monday December 5th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. These photos are from when our intermediate Resource Teacher, filling in for the K teacher (who didn’t get a substitute) brought the class upstairs and performed Hooray for Hat for my class! Doesn’t get much cuter! Picture book to the rescue!

Monday December 5th, 2016 There's a Book for That

Monday December 5th, 2016 There's a Book for That

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. We had a week of silly.

Monday December 5th, 2016 There's a Book for That

And then a week of serious.

Monday December 5th, 2016 There's a Book for That

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.

IMWAYR 2015

On the blog:

Celebration: And then this happened . . . 

Books I enjoyed:

The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo

Okay, so, wow! This book is just incredibly beautiful in its simplicity – the search for silence. One to own and share and share again. The illustrations completely captivated me.

the-sound-of-silence

Imaginary Fred written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I found this title quite charming. The importance of friendship, of being needed and of spending time doing things you love with someone who matters – whether real, imagined or somewhere in between.

imaginary-fred

Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol

Sometimes we really have to go to great lengths to get the peace and quiet we crave. Incredibly amusing.

leavemealone

 A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

Those of us who have had a life seeped in literacy will find this love letter to stories very relatable.

a-child-of-books

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

The illustrations? Oh my! And the invented language – I can’t wait to try this as a read aloud. Such fun.

du-iz-tak

The Day I Became a Bird by Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi

I am utterly enamoured by the illustrations in this book about a boy willing to be a bird to attract the attention of the girl he swoons over.

the-day-i-became-a-bird

Little Man by Elizabeth Mann

Albert is just plain short. After seeing stilt walkers perform on the Caribbean Island where he lives, he longs to be one of them. A lovely little middle grade read.

little-man

CaveBoy Dave: More Scrawny than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew

Oh is this funny. I book talked this title in class and everyone wanted to read it! And . . . it’s a series. Lots of kid appeal here. And poop. There is lots of poop. I did say kid appeal right?

caveboy-dave-2

When Friendship Followed me Home by Paul Griffin

“What are you doing?” my husband asked as I cried out reading this book and threw it down multiple times. And then a few pages later, I was weeping. This book. Oh, this book. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and a must, must read. I adored these characters and rooted for them all.

when-friendship-followed-me-home

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 59/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 314/400 books read

Progress on challenge: 56 books behind! Yikes – worse than last week!!

#MustReadin2016: 22/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 43/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 45/50 books read

Up next? Reading The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. Wow, what a book!

Monday May 23rd, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been absent from #IMWAYR for a few weeks and oh, how, I have missed it! I am back and thrilled to be here. How I adore this community.

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. As you might have anticipated, I have a few to share this week.

Here is my Reading Warrior surrounded by her morning reading 🙂

Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

An engaged buddy reading moment.

Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

More buddy reading joy.

Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

For our #classroombookaday, I have three weeks of titles to share.

Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

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.

IMWAYR 2015

On the blog:

I have been processing leaving my school and this seems to be the only blogging I have done.

I am leaving – – > Changes Ahead: Slice of Life

It’s confusing – – > Not Enough Feet: Slice of Life

Trying to find peace – – > Celebration: Standing in the Middle

Books I enjoyed:

In three weeks, there have been many books! So I worked hard to narrow it down to my ten favourite recently read picture books. In no particular order:

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

So very clever. Literal twists and turns! Quite the reading experience exploring the feeling of time’s passage on a road trip.

Are we there Yet? Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Rules of the House written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Matt Myers

Never open the red door! This is the firm rule of the house. So, what would you do? I can see kids actually finding this kind of scary . . .

Rules of the House Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Willems is more than brilliant and doesn’t disappoint in any way in this last Elephant and Piggie title.

TheThankYouBook Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Horrible Bear written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora

I love this title more and more as I think more about how truly smart it is. Exploring immediate reactions, mistakes and forgiveness. Another wonderful collaboration from Dyckman and OHora.

Horrible Bear Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Nerdy Birdy written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Matt Davies

Reynolds and Davies? I couldn’t wait to lay eyes on this one. I love all that it explores – these birdies navigate social norms and emotions rather than the skies. Lots to talk about.

Nerdy Birdy Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Thunder Boy Jr. written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

I have been waiting for this book since I heard Morales discuss it at Western Washington’s Children’s Literature Conference more than a year ago. Now, I am thrilled to have just purchased tickets for my husband and I to go hear Alexie speak here in Vancouver! (June 21st – tickets via Vancouver Kidsbooks if you are local) This book is all kinds of special. All about identity, family, who we are and what our name represents.

Loved listening to this interview.

 Thunder Boy Jr. Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Puddle by Hyewon Yum

Is there anything better than puddle jumping? Likely not! This book is full of rain and creativity.

Puddle Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

This is Not a Picture Book by Sergio Ruzzier

100% charming. A book that celebrates the beautiful process of reading.

This is Not a Picture Book Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art written by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Mary Grandpré

So fascinating! Made me go and look at multiple images of Kandinsky’s work.

The Noisy Paint Box Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Stay! A Top Dog Story by Alex Latimer

I can see some children becoming absolutely lost in the detailed notes and letters in this book. Lots of fun!

Stay! Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Novels:

Booked! by Kwame Alexander

This is the second Alexander title that made its rounds in my family – both children, my husband and I read it. I think we all took different things from it to love. There is lots to love!

Booked Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

This is some book. Dramatic family relationships, young love, coming of age, and New York in 1977 and all that that means . . . the Son of Sam murders and the fear surrounding this time, fires, black outs, financial hardships. I highly recommend this YA title.

Burn Baby Burn Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers

This is one of those titles that you can pick up and not put down until done. On the one hand, this is the story of a girl trapped in a well and all of the scary and terrible about this. But this little book also contains lots about the ugliness of middle school relationships, the vulnerability of children, our inner voices and introspection . . . .

The Girl in the Well is Me Monday May 23rd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 19/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 147/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 16/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 22/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 19/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

Picture Books that celebrate courage

To celebrate Picture Book Month I have been sharing a variety of picture books and the conversations I am having about them with my students, my children and others. This post is a kind of conversation with my self. I am reading the novel Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt to my own children and it often comes up that Doug, the main character, has to be brave in so many ways.

How do picture books depict bravery? Courage? Conviction? Strength?

In, oh, so many ways . . .

Each of these titles features a character who comes face to face with fear, who takes a risk, who stands up or stands out. Each book is full of inspiration.

Ten of my favourites:

Picture Books that celebrate courage Twenty titles There's a Book for That

And ten more:

Picture Books that celebrate courage Twenty titles There's a Book for That

Twenty Picture Books that celebrate courage:

Those Shoes written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Ruby’s Wish written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Willow Finds a Way written by Lana Button illustrated by Tania Howells

Bird Child written by Nan Forler and illustrated by François Thisdale

The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

Sheila Rae, the Brave written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Spuds written by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Wendy Watson

Soccer Star written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Renato Alarcão 

Across the Alley written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Hello, my Name is Ruby by Phillip C Stead 

Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford

Suki’s Kimono written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward and illustrated by Julie Morstad

What picture book titles on this theme would you share? I would love to hear your favourites!

Happy Picture Book Month!

pb month logo

Monday October 14th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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 reads! The #IMWAYR crowd always has so many fantastic titles to share.

IMWAYR

 

I read quite a variety of picture books this week. My favourites:

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Before reading this action packed colourful picture book, I had never heard of lucha libre – the theatrical professional wrestling popular in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. I was very pleased that Niño with his little white boxers and red face mask was the first hero of the lucha libre world for me. The fact that he outsmarts his opponents with moves like the Tickle Tackle and the Popsicle Slick make him even more endearing. I can see this being a favourite book of many a preschooler with some wild and crazy energy. What fun!

Nino Wrestles the World #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes 

The illustrations in this story made it quite special. It is a wonderful introduction to Hindu literature and mythology through a quite creative adaptation of how the poet Vyasa convinces Ganesha to scribe the epic poem, the Mahabharata. This story involves delicious sweets and a super jumbo jawbreaker. Part silly, part spectacular, this is a fun visual adventure.

Ganesha's Sweet Tooth  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Look, a Book! written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

The text of this title is simple – the premise simply – wow, look where a book might take you – on adventures and rides through imaginative landscapes. I am such a fan of illustrator Freya Blackwood and again, found her illustrations simply magic.

Look, a Book!  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Cat with Seven Names written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Christine Davenier

If you have ever had a pet that liked to share himself/herself with others very generously (and often motivated by food treats if truth be told) then this is a book to connect to. In this story, a cat wanders in and out of many different lives in a neighbourhood, eventually connecting the individuals into a community and being reunited with his owner who explains that this friendly feline will likely visit again. With themes of solitude and loneliness, this story has a happy feel good ending.

The Cat with the Seven Names  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Can I keep him? by Steven Kellogg

First published in 1971 – loved the older style drawings by Kellogg. A little boy tries to convince his mother that numerous animals would make the ideal pet. Finally he finds the perfect companion to keep him occupied as Mom is busy with her daily tasks. The fantasy element made this story lots of fun as a read aloud.

Can I keep him?  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Really? Really! Really, Seeger is just too clever. Her books never fail to delight, engage and entertain. Such a wonderful book to share with my class. They were all completely engrossed guessing what would happen as we flipped the page – what word would the cutout reveal? What image? Amazing!

One Boy  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Carnivores written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat

Oh so, so good. And it scored high on the giggle meter when I read it to my children. Such a clever premise – attempting to have us see these carnivores as well meaning with lots of self control. When true natures win out, Reynolds and Santat have us smiling a little guiltily as we root for these carnivorous characters who just can’t help themselves . . .

Carnivores  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I finished The Boy on the Wooden Box a memoir by Leon Leyson

An emotional read. Every story of the war speaks to our humanity – the cruelty and kindness of people, the devastation and hope in such horrific times. This is the story of Leon Leyson, one of the youngest members of Schindler’s list. It is the story of his childhood taken by war, his family and their love, of his time during Nazi occupation in the WWII and of his chance to actually have hope of a future. Highly recommended.

The Boy on the Wooden Box  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What’s up next? I just started reading The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Next on the list is Crazy by Han Nolan.

What are you reading this week?

 

 

Monday November 5th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? On Halloween night there was torrential rain in Vancouver that prevented a lovely tick or treat scene like this one below (from Muth‘s Zen Ghosts). Still it was a cozy week for lots of seasonal reads!

Join Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with their weekly meme that highlights what everyone has been reading from picture books to young adult novels. It is a fantastic way to learn about new books and share favourites with others.

In my reading world . . . 

New classroom picture books:

Night Song written by Ari Berk and illustrated by Loren Long. Long’s illustrations make this an absolutely stunning book about a little bat’s first solo journey. Guided by his “good sense” little Chiro is able to both explore the world and then find his way home. While this book does not use the word echolocation, this is clearly the good sense being referred to and there is lots of text that helps the reader to talk about the concept. I found children wanted to study the pictures individually after the story was read aloud because it was just so gorgeous with the black as pitch pages.

Chester the Brave written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson. This is another story in the Kissing Hand series that explores being brave and demonstrating courage. Sweet but I find I like the illustrations more than the story with these books.

Dog in Charge written by K.L. Going and illustrated by Dan Santat. I ordered this through Scholastic when I saw Santat‘s signature illustrations. It is a very funny little story about a dog left in charge of a bunch of cats that get into everything! When it all just seems like too much, Dog compulsively devours a bag of cat treats and takes a nap. The cats, who love Dog, decide to clean up their messes and the family are none the wiser when they return from their outing. So . . . I’m wondering where does one find housekeeper cats? Those are some pets I could have a lot of!

New to me Halloween Stories read to my class or my own children (often both): 

The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell I am a huge fan of Patrick McDonnell and found this story to be absolutely delightful. This was our BLG book of the week and you can read more on the blog here. The best part of this book is the quirky little wanna be monsters with some of the best character names I have seen in a while: Grouch, Grump and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom. The final scene on the beach is all about the little moments of happy we all need to savour. Highly recommended.

Zen Ghosts by Jon J. Muth For those who know Muth’s  Zen . . . stories, this is another that will quickly become a favourite. I love that it is a story within a story. After everyone goes trick or treating, Stillwater the Panda tells the children a story based on a koan from The Gateless Gate that forces the reader/listener to question what is real and not real. And then just to sit and be fine with not really being sure. So much to explore within this book makes it a story that children of many ages can investigate. The illustrations, as in all Muth books, are exquisite.

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown. I was very excited to get my hands on this book because I am such a Peter Brown fan. His illustrations are fantastic and accompany a story told by Reynolds that is actually quite sophisticated. This book on the surface is about a little rabbit being terrorized by some menacing carrots even thought nobody will believe him. What looks like a creepy carrot in the shadows of the night is often revealed to be something else entirely when a parent arrives and turns on a light. But are the creepy carrots really just a figment of Jasper, the rabbit’s overactive imagination? To be safe, Jasper builds a huge fence around the carrot patch to contain these orange vegetables that haunt him. In the end, the source of his fear is revealed. Do those creepy carrots really exist? Read this story that explores fear that just can’t be reasoned away in a totally clever and humorous manner. Loved this book!

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie by Denys Cazet This book has been in our library for a few years but I had yet to read it or share it with a class. Wow, had I been missing out!! This book is certainly a perfect spooky Halloween read featuring a ghost that rises out of the pumpkin patch threatening to haunt the residents of the nearby house if they don’t provide him with the perfect pumpkin pie. Yet while it seems like it might even be too scary for a primary read aloud, it is actually more full of humour, rhyme and pumpkin pie spices than anything else. And a very spunky Grandma who I adored. The illustrations are completely bizarre and unique to make this one of my new Halloween favourites.

Novels read:

Between Shades of Gray written by Ruta Sepetys This is a harrowing read. The images are disturbing and the violations against all basic human rights and human spirit are intense. In Lithuania, in June of 1941, fifteen year old Lina is forced from her home along with her Mother and younger brother by the Soviet Secret Police. They travel by train to a work camp in Siberia and eventually farther north to  the Arctic Circle. Survival is based on luck and perseverance that does not seem possible. Many, many die.  Lina is compelled to share her experiences through her art and her drawings recount terrible experiences suffered by her family and those of the other Lithuanian people around her. This story gives us a sense of the horror that happened to so many under Stalin’s rule. Many details were new to me. Ruta Sepetys brings voice to many who were completely silenced by death or extreme fear. A very important young adult read.

Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai. This book has been on my “to read” pile for  over a year and I found that once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in just over twenty-four hours. This book begins in Afghanistan in 2001 with a family fleeing across the border to Pakistan to then travel on to America. During the dramatic escape, six year old Mariam is left behind and her family is all tortured by their guilt and their extreme sadness at not being able to locate her from their new home in the U.S. Fadi, Mariam’s older brother hears about a photography contest that comes with a winner’s prize of a plane ticket to India. He becomes convinced that he can win and get back to Pakistan to rescue his younger sister. Meanwhile, the events of 9/11 happen and the family has to deal with racism, prejudice and attacks on their neighbours while they continue to grieve for their missing daughter. A book that speaks to the strength of family and of the faith of the Afghan people in a peace yet to come. Highly recommended.

Tonight I begin the novel Beneath my Mother’s Feet written by Amjed Qamer.