Monday October 30th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

9:01 a.m. This little reader doesn’t even bother to remove his jacket or backpack before he grabs a book first thing each morning.

Our #classroombookaday titles let us explore the natural world, wild life and how we interact with animals.

Classroom Highlights 

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

In case you missed it, our class interviewed Sara Levine and T.S. Spookytoothfor the cover reveal of Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones. Check it out here.

Loved the writing that #classroombookaday inspired

All of our self portraits are now complete and ready to be added to a school mural that asks What Does it Mean to Belong? We used Paige Britt‘s beautiful book to explore this theme.

In math, we enjoyed our first experience with counting collections. It’s all about the organizing and the representing on our own papers. Students worked very hard on this task and are excited to try more next week.

Hard at work researching insects and arachnids in preparation for the mini-books we are making.

This week we enjoyed a break from the rain and went outside often!

We played with shapes and shadows.

One afternoon, we made a leaf train and raced up and down it! This student explains.

We took math outside and counted our steps. We recorded each group of ten steps to count totals. We will use this data later 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:

A Day with Yayah written by Nicola I. Campbell and illustrated by Julie Flett.

Incredible title about learning between generations about our natural world. This book raises awareness about endangered Indigenous languages and includes a glossary of words with pronunciations. Local relevance (Interior Salish) Grandmother passes down her knowledge when a family goes to forage for mushrooms and herbs.

Lines by Suzy Lee

This book is beautifully brilliant. Wordless and full of complete surprises and incredible movements (exquisitely implied).

Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex

Absolutely hilarious! Poor little orange is upstaged by everyone – including a famous philosopher. A book full of rhymes and voice and a lot of silly!

Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay

I adore this young chapter book series. This is the first in the series and ever so charming. Lulu’s love of animals gets her into all kind of (quite wonderful) predicaments.

Lola Levine and the Vacation Dream by Monica Brown 

Follow Lola and her family to Peru on their family vacation in this fifth title in the series. This is another series I am so pleased to have as part of our classroom library collection.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 53/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 253/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 48 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 37/50 books read

Up next? I am chapters from finishing Refugee by Alan Gratz. It is incredible but I am having nightmares. I am also reading The War I Finally Won aloud to my last year’s students two recesses a week. How we love this book! Next? Probably OCD Daniel by Wesley King.

Monday October 2nd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. Well, honestly each week I share some photos from the week. It’s hard to pick just one!

Princess in Black titles are VERY popular in our room!

While the “people” are resting, we should probably read them The Story of Diva and Flea. I love that books are pulled out even during play opportunities.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.

Our #classroombookaday titles have continued to explore relationships.

These titles are all about friendships and choices and allowed us to talk about the way we treat each other.

We don’t always write about our #classroombookaday titles but I am already excited by the thoughtful responses students are sharing.

Then we explored a variety of ways kindness can manifest. Hank Finds and Egg is the first “tell aloud” (wordless book) I have shared with this group. They fell in love!

I wrote a post about some minor changes coming on my blog: Dear Blog Readers – sharing more of what is happening in my classroom. So each week I will share a few photos of classroom highlights here.

Classroom Highlights

We began working with Maggie, our Artist in Residence in the Art and Discovery Studio. Up first? Self portraits!

I was supposed to be away for a day but then in the end, didn’t have to be absent. Part of the preparation was to have the students write Dear Guest Teacher letters. They are pretty wonderful I think! I encourage writers to be fearless – to write in pen and cross out and give mistakes a hug for helping us to learn!

Books I enjoyed:

It Takes a Village by Hilary Rodham Clinton and illustrated by Marla Frazee

Frazee brings so much to this title. A simple and powerful book.

If I Had a Little Dream written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Melissa Castrillo

A celebration of possibilities from a child’s perspective. Beautiful.

Love the dreaming this little bunny did on her bed fashioned out of Keva Planks! My class loves to play with these!

That’s Me Loving You written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Teagan White

Such a lovely little book to support children with many things: connection, loss, attachment.

Away written by Emil Sher and illustrated by Qin Leng

I really like this title. A story shared through notes between a busy Mom and daughter. Illustrations by Leng are superb.

One of my students wrote a great note to her Mom this week. After hearing some students tell me that my all black outfit made me look like I was going to a funeral, she thought about her Mom’s wardrobe choices and made this note! 🙂

Secrets I Know by Kallie George and Paola Zakimi

A poetic, lyrical title about the wonders of the world: big and small.

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors written by Drew Daywalt with pictures by Adam Rex

Absolutely hilarious and entertaining! I am going to need to get a copy of this book for my classroom. Students will love this imagined backstory that inspired the game Rock Paper Scissors.

Dough Knights and Dragons written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos

Lots of rhymes, lots of cute and a wonderful example for young readers about coming up with creative solutions to a problem.

The Antlered Ship written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Mock Caldecott? Yes! Gorgeous. I particularly enjoyed the sense of wonder and questioning in this book.

Isadora Moon Goes to School by Harriet Muncaster

The first book in a cute little series about a girl who is half-vampire and half-fairy and trying to find the perfect place for her school setting.

The Infamous Ratsos by Kara Lareau and illustrated by Matt Myers

Such a fun little title about two brothers who work very hard to be bad but just aren’t!

Pie Girl (Piper Green, #5) written by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

I love Piper Green. I read every new title and enjoy each of them. This one did not disappoint. Piper wants to be Pie Girl but things just don’t seem to go her way.

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Oh my goodness me. This book is fantastic. Creepy. Gruesome. Lots of blood and gore but lots of suspense and great story telling (and retelling) Despite the creepy and violent parts, this is definite middle grade material! Fairy tale sharing at its finest.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 50/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 223/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 50 books behind schedule.  Nice even number that is too large for my liking! Yikes.

#MustReadin2017: 23/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 33/50 books read

Up Next? I am starting Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis

Monday March 6th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. 

Last week I was here – Western Washington’s Children’s Literature Conference with Rita Williams-Garcia, Laurie Halse Anderson, Christian Robinson and Matt Phelan so I didn’t post. I just lived in literary love land. It was pretty darn amazing. I came home with bags of signed books and a head full of inspiring words.

Monday March 6th, 2017

So two weeks of literacy snapshots from my classroom are here:

When UBC (University of British Columbia) students come to teach us science for three days, you should also ask them to read aloud The Book with No Pictures. Hilarious!

Monday March 6th, 2017

Loved that I had both big kids (from UBC) and little kids (my 4s and 5s) reading during quiet reading time.Monday March 6th, 2017

Sarah Lean sent us some books – this is a group of readers showing her their excitement!Monday March 6th, 2017

Finally, the Grade 1/2 teacher has agreed to be our buddy reading class! Our first session was all that I knew it would be.

Monday March 6th, 2017 Monday March 6th, 2017 Monday March 6th, 2017

And because I can’t resist – here are my students doing their version of slam poetry – which is basically alternating poem lines in a loud dramatic fashion. They are rocking a Silverstein poem. Kind of hilarious.

Monday March 6th, 2017

#classroombookaday titles

Monday March 6th, 2017

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:

It’s Slice of Life Season so there’s a lot here:

Advice on the Fly: Slice of Life #5 2 minutes to give teaching advice? What would you say?

Elevated Love Notes: Slice of Life #4 A letter from a student that knocked me over.

Proof: Slice of Life #3 A necessary post to help me process some stuff I don’t like observing

Listening During the In-Between: Slice of Life #2 The precious things we hear when there is time to listen.

Doubts: Slice of Life #1 Because you might as well start off a month of writing being sure you can’t do it . . .

Books I enjoyed:

Bob, Not Bob! written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

When we are sick, we clearly need our Mom most of all. This may not be possible to make perfectly clear. Lots of tissues and blowing of noses here. Funny!

bob-not-bob

Antoinette written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Antoinette is pretty charming.

antoinette

School’s First Day of School written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Finally, I got my hands on a copy of this book. A beautifully tender first day book told from the school’s perspective.

schools-first-day-of-school

A Family is a Family is a Family written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng

Oh how I LOVE this book. Families all look amazingly and wonderfully different. This book celebrates this perfectly.

Groundwood Logos Spine

Preaching to the Chickens The Story of young John Lewis written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Gorgeous paintings by Lewis accompany an inspiring story of John Lewis in his childhood.

preaching-to-the-chickens

Before Morning written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Wow. This book is all about leaving and returning to a cozy home on a winter’s day. Just absolutely beautiful and poetic.

before-morning

A River by Marc Martin

Take a journey along a river through your imagination. The colours here are just incredible.

a-river-by-marc-martin

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

This will be another title about a refugee family’s experience that I will be sharing with my students. One little boy must leave his home and his birds behind as he and his family seek safety in a camp.

my-beautiful-birds

When we Were Alone written by David A. Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett

An important story of family and remembering. A grandmother tells her granddaughter about her residential school experience. Beautiful art by Flett.

when-we-were-alone

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

This is one funny book.But it’s also sweet and full of grief and change. Fantastically illustrated letters tell the story of a girl and the chickens she has inherited. She needs lots of help and advice along the way.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 11/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 65/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 2 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 6/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 13/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 11/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Monday December 19th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week I have two! Since I will be without students for a bit, I thought I should share an extra one.

This photo was taken about 20 minutes before school began on the last day before the break. Story time led by a Grade 6 student from next door. This scene brings me a lot of joy.

Monday December 19th, 2016

Could this face be any more serious? Which is wonderfully ironic as he had just told me:

“Oh I am just so happy. I finally learned how to speak Cave Man.”

Seriously, this kid! Made my whole day.

Monday December 19th, 2016

And one more self-portrait as I still haven’t recovered from how talented my students happen to be.

Monday December 19th, 2016

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. This week we read some of my favourite holiday/winter themed books.

Monday December 19th, 2016

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 shared the twenty 2016 titles I think a Grade 4 & 5 library must have here

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

Celebration: A special morning read aloud It’s taken a term and my new school is feeling like home!

Books I enjoyed:

 Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

A quietly comical tale of pessimism and getting back on track. Well at least mostly . . .

penguin-problem

The Cranky Ballerina by Elise Gravel

We all just need to find our thing. Charming.

the-cranky-ballerina

The Bossier Baby by Marla Frazee

What happens when baby number two comes on the scene? This. Exactly this.

the-bossier-baby

How This Book was Made written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

Incredibly clever and thoroughly informative. Learn all about book publishing while being completely entertained.

how-this-book-was-made

The Artist and Me written by Shane Peacock and illustrated by Sophie Casson

A serious story of how Van Gogh was perceived and treated in a small French town. This book just made me so sad. Would need to be unpacked with kids.

the-artist-and-me

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre

I am so happy I read this on a very snowy day – it made it all the more magical. And magical it is!

best-in-snow

Cleopatra in Space:Target Practice by Mike Maihack

I know this series is going to be very popular in my classroom when I introduce it in the new year. A graphic tale full of adventure, action and Cleopatra!

cleopatra-in-space

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

Full of delicious magic, sweet honey, the complications of friendship and the stories that weave all around us, this is part adventure, part fairy tale and part testament to the connections we have to each other over a lifetime. A special story, Ms. Shurtliff!

Red

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 63/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 334/400 books read

Progress on challenge: 51 books behind! Still can’t break that 50 mark!

#MustReadin2016: 23/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 45/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 47/50 books read

Up next? Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley

 

I wanted to see a whale

One of my very favourite picture books of all time is If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead When I first read this book, I had just spent a week at a summer house waiting to see a whale. I never did. But this book reminded me of how very much I longed for one to pass through the ocean as I gazed out ever so patiently at the water.If you want to see a whale I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatHow I adore this book. I love it because it’s beautiful. It is gentle and calm. It reads like I imagined a whale might move – softly, smoothly and ever so gracefully. But I mostly love it because I really do want to see a whale. It tempts me with the possibility. It lures me with the one day . . . The maybe . . .

Now, I love this book for another most perfect reason. Finally, I have seen my whale. We just spent over a week in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast of B.C and we saw a gray whale just off the beach close to where we were staying. Honestly, I got teary. It was one of the most beautiful experiences in nature I have ever had.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Of course we were not the only ones enamoured with this whale. While we watched from shore, a few small boats watched from closer by.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Two kayakers stopped as well.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Here are my children watching the water for sightings of “our” whale. Every few minutes it would surface to exhale.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

I was lucky enough to see this whale on three different occasions and each time I watched it for at least thirty minutes. Once, we saw it in the evening. It was so quiet and the sound of the whale exhaling is something I won’t ever forget.

If you are like me and have had dreams of seeing a whale, here are some more picture books – both fiction and nonfiction that will make you long for the experience even more. I have always been “swoony” about whale illustrations. I suspect this sighting will make me more so.

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

The Blue Whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor
Trapped! A Whale's Rescue  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

The Eye of the Whale: A Rescue Story by Jennifer O’Connell

The Eye of the Whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatBig Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland
big blue whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatHere Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan
here come the humpbacks  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman Three Bears in a Boat  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That Flotsam by David WiesnerFlotsam  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatJumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens
Jumping Penguins  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatFollowing Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino 
 Following Papa's Song  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatThe Storm Whale by Benji Davies

 The Storm Whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatWater Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs illustrated by Meilo So
Water Sings Blue  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatThe Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell
mermaid and the shoe  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatBilly Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex
 Billy Twitters  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatWild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim
Wild Ideas  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

To the Sea by Cale Atkinson

To the Sea I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Have you seen a whale in the wild?  I would love to hear about it!

Monday May 19th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

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. The best way to grow your TBR list!

My favourite picture books of the week

If You Listen written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Stefano Vitale 

How do you know someone is with you even when they are not physically there? A little girl needs reassurance from her mother about how to cope with missing her Dad who is no longer with her. Did he pass away? Has he left the family? It isn’t clarified. The important aspects of the story are how to deal with loss, grief and acceptance of love (whether immediate or far away). First published in 1980 and redone in 2002 with these gorgeous illustrations.

If you listen #IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Once Upon a Balloon written by Bree Galbraith and illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant 

An intriguing story about imagination, sibling dynamics and an act of kindness. This title explores the land of “what if” and the power of belief just as much as it celebrates the story telling whims of an older brother who knows he has a captive audience in his younger sibling. The ending brings an entire other aspect to this story and allows the reader to think about what it is to be kind and compassionate.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Awesome Book of Love! by Dallas Clayton

Love, love, love. Not any one kind in particular but simply love that is huge and all encompassing. My favourite line?

“or just being around when the others have gone or about letting go when you want to hold on.”

A true celebration of love.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Set by the lake in Tanzania, a mother speaks this lullaby to her child as they see father off in the morning and greet him again at the end of a busy day. Vividly illustrated. A story of routine, daily chores and family love.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Tippy-Tippy-Tippy Splash! written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Candace Fleming has such fun with language in this story of Mr. McGreely and his annoyance with the rabbits that make him so angry. Always trying to better these “wily twitchwhiskers” Mr. McGreely finds himself always outdone. Finally, he figures out a way to work with rather than against these “flop eared” foes. Silly and fun, a sequel to Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Moonday by Adam Rex

Absolutely odd. Stunning illustrations. It will either work for people or it won’t. The cover enchanted me and I felt persuaded to come along on Rex’s imaginative journey asking, “What if the moon ended up perched in your backyard?”

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Samsara Dog written by Helen Manos and illustrated by Julie Vivas

Not necessarily a picture book for younger children. Emotional and thoughtful. Based on Buddhist concepts of Samsara and Nirvana, this story tells the tale of a dog who lives many lives, learning and growing in each of them. Finally, he lives the life that allows him to feel deeply, to know much and to give fully.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

Amazing nonfiction – Shackleton’s story of the Endurance’s attempted voyage to Antarctica. Uniquely illustrated by Grill. This book is ironically a book about exploration that needs to be explored for its every detail. Read this aloud to my children (who are eleven) and we were all captivated. I had to own this book as soon as I heard about it and was in no way disappointed.

Shackleton's Journey #IMWAYR May 19th 2014 There's a Book for That

I finished two novels and am now avidly reading Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 

Completed:

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee 

This was a #MustReadin2014 title

Vulnerable. Beautiful. Sad and full of grief while at the same time magical and full of hope. What a story.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy #IMWAYR May 19th 2014 There's a Book for That

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin

I don’t know where to start with this book. The reader must suspend belief and be transported by the sweet song of a young girl and the power of a beautiful voice to heal so much that is wrong. A book full of many examples of choices with huge consequences. Hauntingly beautiful. A story about the power of grief to overwhelm and surround us. Full of so many different kinds of moments- worrisome, sweet and lovely, angst filled. Upper middle grade. Highly recommended.

Nightingale's nest #IMWAYR May 19th 2014 There's a Book for That

Next up? After finishing Golden Boy, I plan to begin A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 38/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 249/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 63/65 complete

Monday December 2nd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

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! This is always my favourite way to discover what to read next.

I read many picture books this week – many aloud to my own children, all to make up for not getting to read as much as I wanted to last week while writing report cards.

I selected my ten favourites to feature here:

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

Just perfectly delightful. A book about a problem that needs solving and having wonderfully, persistently, kind intentions. Sweet. Honest. So engaging. And did I mention wordless. . . ?

Hank finds an Egg #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

No Bears written by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge

A wonderful book for inspiring story writing. Meet Ella, a little girl who loves a creative story but doesn’t love bears. She thinks there are far too many of them in stories today. So Ella is creating a story that will have absolutely no bears. Not a one! But is seems her story is getting a little assistance from a furry creature on the sidelines . . .

No Bears #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Dirty Cowboy written by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Adam Rex

“Wow Mom, that illustrator did a really good job keeping all the privates private!” remarked my son after we read this book. My daughter said, “Disgusting!” a lot. What an amusing story of a very dirty (filthy, with his fair share of critters crawling just about everywhere) cowboy who decided to take a bath in the river. What happens when his loyal dog doesn’t recognize his clean scent? VERY amusing.

The dirty cowboy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Busing Brewster written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by R.G. Roth

A picture book with many important themes: having a dream, the power of libraries to be transformative and what it was like to be black at an all white school. Set in the 1970s when integration was being “helped” along by forced busing – bringing black students into white schools, this story gives children a glimpse into the racial tensions of the time and the complexities of integration.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

Love the desert setting of this classic tale brought to new life by the brilliant Pinkney with an almost wordless title. I particularly enjoyed the last gestures of the hare – an interesting and surprising twist with an equally important message about competition.

The tortoise and the hare #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

I read this title to my children and they were absolutely fascinated by the population data conveyed through the concept in this book – imagine that the world’s population was contained in a village of 100 (each person represents millions). Facts that shocked them: how many people had some kind of faith or another, predicted population growth and the blatant inequity amongst people. Only 24 people in this representative village of 100 have enough to eat? Heart breaking message about our world.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mud written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Lauren Stringer

Oh the messy, gloopy, squishy joys of mud – this title captures it all through lyrical language and richly coloured illustrations. Perfect to practice visualizing.

Mud #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Full, Full, Full of Love written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Paul Howard

Loved the celebration of food, family and affection as Sunday dinner with his family is seen through Jay Jay’s eyes. Language ideal for preschool, early primary children. Happy, happy book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I Lost my Bear by Jules Feiffer

A humorous ode to the child who likes to collect. A bear is lost and it seems like all is lost as we follow this little one on a melodramatic, anxious search.

iIost my bear #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

Poor Billy Twitters, his parents threaten him with a blue whale if he doesn’t do his chores and keep his room clean. Of course, this is just a ridiculous threat, isn’t it? Well . . . no. And so Billy Twitters must now be in charge of a blue whale (have you noticed just how truly big they are??) and take it everywhere he goes. Eventually Billy Twitters discovers this “consequence” has an upside. Absurd and delightful, and it just so happens, the first picture book written by Mac Barnett.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I am terrible about being ahead of the game for the holidays in terms of shopping, baking, decorating, etc but we do own a beautiful collection of holiday books. I set out 24 to read next to the Advent calendars – one for each night (and there are plenty more on the shelf for when the evening calls for a few!) The one thing in the holidays I do do well – celebrate holiday stories! Tonight’s read was a new one for me

Winter’s Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan

A beautiful story of hope and all that is important in the holiday season as an old man faces his first Christmas alone.

 Winter's Gift #IMWAYR

I also finished The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Magical. Lyrical. Beautiful. Mysterious. What a vulnerable, strange (in the best of ways) and hopeful of stories. On one level, this story is a fantastical tale of magic, mystery and monsters. On another, it is all about the most human element in all of us – wanting to be safe and belong. All along, I felt the story was beautiful. But by the end, I was in awe.

The Real Boy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? A.S. King‘s Reality Boy. And plans for many more holiday stories . . .

Happy Reading everyone!