Monday June 3rd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of your wonderful reading from picture books to young adult novels. Such a great place to find “new” reads to delve into!

I read a lot of wonderful picture books this week. Some were good. Some just okay. Some fantastic. Here are my favourites from the week:

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small I am an absolute sucker when it comes to David Small – especially David Small does historical fiction. Add to that that this title is also about spreading the joy of literacy and books. Sigh. I am done for. Sold . . . hook, line and sinker. I knew of this book, but I had yet to sit and read it. When I read it, I instantly wondered why I hadn’t read it before. I read it first thing Sunday morning. Then I had coffee and read it again. Then I read it to my family at breakfast. Each time, I teared up. Reading it aloud, I had to stop and my daughter finished it. What is more beautiful than bravery and perseverance to bring books into the homes of children who don’t even have the chance to go to school? Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s, this book is inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books by horseback to areas where there were few if any schools and no libraries. My daughter instantly identified with Lark, the little girl in this family who is the “readenest child you ever did see.” Always her nose is in a book. But it is when Cal, who is not the “readin’ type” delves into reading – finding stories where he once thought there was only “chicken scratch,” that the story reached a level of instant favourite for me.

A story about the power of books, the devotion they are given and the magic that happens when a reader is made.

henson-that-book-woman

The Quiet Place written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small I also especially adore David Small when he illustrates for his wife, Sarah Stewart. These two are the masters of historical stories – conveying emotion, context and historical details always in a gorgeous story. This story is about young Isabel who immigrates to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1950s. Through a series of letters to her beloved aunt, Isabel tells her story of moving to a new country and finding her place. Simply lovely.

the quiet place

I spent Friday in the classroom of the wonderful Ms. Karen Lirenman and her fantastic Grade 1 students. While I did a lot of learning on this day, I also had the opportunity to share some of my favourite read alouds with the children. And . . . I was lucky enough to be introduced to the books of Australian author/illustrator Aaron Blabey. Karen discovered his books while on teacher exchange in Australia some years back. All of these books share certain things in common – brilliant and original character names, appealing illustrations and a celebration of individuality. I would love to have any or all of these titles in my classroom library.

Sunday Chutney written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Sunday is new to her school – in fact she is always the new girl. Her family moves a lot. Sunday is confident and quirky in the best of ways. She has a very active imagination and very particular tastes. Always being new is not always easy but we could all learn a little from Sunday’s optimism.

sunday-chutney

Stanley Paste written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Stanley Paste is very small and he is not at all happy about this fact. Being small is terrible until he meets Eleanor Cabbage who is incredibly tall. She too, despises her stature. But while these two are vastly different in height, they find a special friend in each other and as friendship blooms, so does some perspective about life and accepting the hand you are dealt. Delightful.

Stanley-PasteHere is Aaron Blabey talking about his book, Stanley Paste:

Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey A very special book about friendship. Pearl and Charlie are very different and it is their differences that help them to be such wonderful friends. A friendship story that is worth reading aloud and exploring. Pretty sure it will prompt some discussions about what makes a friend a friend. So well done.

Pearl Barley

Exclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld Such a fun concept of making an exclamation mark the main character and allowing the journey to celebrating personal importance be such a delightful one!

Exclamation-Mark

The Boy who Cried Ninja written and illustrated by Alex Latimer The cover alone hooked my students – a ninja! We found ourselves happily confused in this story – was telling the truth the problem? Or was it being believed? This little boy seemed to always be in trouble. And his outlandish (or were they?) tales made for quite the story.

boy who cried ninja

I finished just one novel this week:

Homesick written by Kate Klise This is the second novel about living with a parent who is a hoarder I have read in the last few weeks. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu was the first. An absolutely difficult topic. What fascinates me is how these young characters deal with living in such stress and feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control. There is definitely no parent providing structure and care in these situations. This novel was lighter than Omololu’s and written for a middle grade audience. Set in a tiny town, it had the quirky appeal of small town eccentric characters and wonderful friendships that span generations. But it didn’t shy away from the fact that a young boy was being neglected and put at risk while living alone with his father who compulsively filled their home with junk.

Spoiler alert: As in Omololu’s story, there is an ending that prevents anyone from having to fully deal with completely cleaning up the mess of a house where a hoarder has lived. The forces of nature come into play in both stories (one helped along a little) Makes me think about what is the rest of the story if someone really did need to be responsible . . . ?

homesick

Currently reading? As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins 

And . . . Because there is a new Clementine story out, my children and I have put Scumble on hold, and are diving into Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker.

Monday, January 7th, 2013

It’s Monday!  What are you reading? 

orange pear spread

Join the #IMWAYR community participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme and share your reading from picture books to young adult novels.

Such a fantastic way to learn about “new to you” titles!

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I enjoyed a lot of picture books this week including some board books for the collection I am building for Wednesday buddy reading with the Kindergarten class.

Picture books I loved:

the bear in the book

The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. This book is so lovely. It’s a story within a story of sorts that captures the gentle quiet moments of bedtime story time between parent and child. As the mother and little boy settle into their bedtime routine, they read a story about little bear settling into his winter hibernation. Love how it portrays the intimacy of the mother/child interactions as they talk about the story, ask/answer questions, etc.

Duck Rabbit by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld Delightful!

DuckRabbit

 

Good News Bad News

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack Sparse in text but full of humour and lots of space to infer, discuss and wonder. A fantastic book to teach about perspective, optimism/pessimism and patience.

I cannot wait to share this with my class. I can imagine that it will be one of those stories where we can’t get through a page without everyone talking and then it will travel from book box to book box as it is read and reread.

Nighttime Ninja written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young Stunning illustrations by Young.

nighttime ninja

Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus I can see many thinking this book is either atrocious or hilarious. When animals keep stealing his teddy, this bear does the first thing he thinks of to do in his angst and frustration . . he gobbles them up. In the There was an Old Lady style of . . . wow, how can anything else fit in that tummy? Curious to see how children will respond. I have the feeling they will think it is very funny and it will certainly prompt many discussions about choices and managing our anger/frustration. A wordless book.

bear despair cover

Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc Fantastic for independent rereads or sharing during buddy reading. Silly, creative illustrations with lots of room for discussion/comments.

animal masquerade

Board Books I loved (and now own :-)):

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

orange pear

Thank you Bear by Greg Foley

thankyoubear

Nonfiction titles:

Who’s Like me? Nicola Davies Marc Boutavant

who's like me

Who Has these Feet?

Who_Has_These_Feet1

In other reading:

SmallDamages

I finished Small Damages by Beth Kephart and absolutley adored it. The perfect first novel to complete in 2013.

Lyrical. Everything mixes up – the past, the present, the longing, the worry and the beautiful Spanish landscape and food. Slow and full – like a beautiful, well spiced meal over a long night. What was particularly lovely in this book was the strength of character and the wisdom in the main character. I also loved Kenzie’s relationship with Estela, the house cook who taught her much more than delicious Spanish cooking. Looking forward to reading more titles by Kephart.

wonder 12 for 2012

I finished reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio to my own children. Must admit I enjoyed this novel just as much if not more on a second read – perhaps because I was sharing it with my own children who are ten years old – the same age as many characters in the book. I was surprised at how often my voice broke when I read this aloud especially since the plot was not a surprise. My son who is typically a “fantasy or not interested” reader loved this book. Hoping that this opens him up to more realistic fiction. My daughter who reads everything snatched the book away as soon as we were finished to go reread her favourite parts!  Such a beautiful story about the power of human spirit.

I am currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray and just started The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver as the new read aloud with my children.

Monday December 17th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Celebrate your weekly reading by joining Jen and Kellee’s meme and link up with other reading enthusiasts sharing their reads from picture books to young adult reads.

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I enjoyed many great books during this past week and tried to fit in some last minute Nerdy Book Club nominations 🙂

Picture Books I loved:

Neville written by Norman Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas I read this book with my reading group and we shared questions we had before, during and after the story. An amazing book to inspire questions and discussion. A boy moves to a new town and heads out for a walk, unhappy about his move and convinced he will be friendless. When he begins to yell the name “Neville!” interesting things begin to happen. I adored this book.

neville

Jangles, a BIG fish story by David Shannon Part folklore, part mystery, part adventure – all good 🙂 Gorgeous oil paintings give this book an eerie aura.

jangles

Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills I agree, of course, with many other readers that this book is an ideal story to share when highlighting the writing process. Love the little yellow bird and the big tree of inspiration.

Rocket cover

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan Stunning art helps narrate this story of a nighttime adventure in the forest. Perfect for teaching about nocturnal animals.

little_owls_night

Chopsticks Amy Krause Rosenthal Scott Magoon A fun story about friendship, independence and loyalty with just the right dose of humour “mixed in.”

chopsticks

A few holiday stories shared with my class: 

Home for Christmas by Jan Brett My students loved paying attention to the detailed illustrations for hints of what was coming up next in the story. I have many holiday books by Jan Brett on my bookshelf. Always so festive and sweet.

home_for_christmas_preliminary_jacket

Just Right For Christmas by Birdie Black and Rosalind Beardshaw This book was shared in my class this week, more details here. A story with elements of Phoebe Gilman‘s Something from Nothing or Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. 

just right for Christmas

Some non-fiction themed books:

The Journey: Stories of Migration written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lambert Davis I have been sharing sections of this book all term with my class as we learn about migration. The illustrations were vivid and detailed and the stories very easy to follow for my Grade 2/3 students. Lots of learning!

stories of migration

A Strange Places to Call Home written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Ed Young The pictures in this book are incredible and I really enjoyed reading more about each creature and their strange habitats at the back of the book. Did I love all of the poems? Some more than others . . .

strange place to call home

The novel I finished this week was a young adult read called Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. Great characters and beautiful writing. I quickly requested other titles by this author from the library. Astrid Jones holds her feelings and questions close as she tries to navigate small town life and big world questions with a family not really along for the ride. Everyone in her two parent, two kid family feels very much on their own and so Astrid connects with the unknown passengers on the planes that fly overhead. A story that explores love, friendship and family dynamics.

Girl lying on sand, reaching up to the sun

Monday September 10th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Link up to Jen and Kellee’s meme and share what you have been reading from picture books to young adult selections!

It was back to school this week which has meant more reading to others and less time for my own quiet reading. Which is just fine! I am so happy to be reading to students again!

I just posted (here) my first read alouds. Humour helps to ease the first week’s anxiety so these books bring plenty of  smiles and giggles! We shared Chloe and the Lion, You’re Finally Here and Bink and Gollie: Two for One. 

Other books I read aloud:

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds It is International Dot Day on September 15th. (Read more here) I shared this book with my class and we spent the next half hour getting creative and sharing our dots! Low stress. High engagement.

This Plus That written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by  Jen Corace. I find that when this book is read aloud, everyone gets kind of quiet and reflective. Thinking about connections and how things relate. I love the effect.

Other picture books I’ve enjoyed this week:

A Poke in the I, a collection of poems selected by Paul B Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka I would pick this book up just because Raschka is one of my favourite illustrators, but this book is worth exploring for many reasons. I love the variety of ways words and poems are presented. What inspiration for students!

Necks out for Adventure written and illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering I am a big fan of Ering’s Frog Belly Rat Bone so when I saw this book on a Monday reads list, I was intrigued.  A few weeks later I was searching through a box of donated books and I found this book! It is quirky and odd in the best of ways. Can’t wait to share it as a read aloud.

Delicious (A Pumpkin Soup Story) by Helen Cooper I love books that have another sub-plot going on somewhere else on the page via the illustrations (think Phoebe Gilman’s brilliant Something from Nothing). While persnickety duck keeps rejecting soup flavours, the industrious bugs invent ways to capture the rejected flavours. As a parent, I certainly connected to the picky eater aspect of this story!

I only finished one novel:

The Apothecary written by Maile Meloy. I don’t want to say much about this book because it has so many mysterious twists, I’d hate to give anything away. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Part fantasy, part mystery, part historical fiction, many parts adventure . . . You can’t really go wrong with his title.

I just picked up Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue from the library (have had it on hold for months!) so that is the book I delve into next!