Monday August 7th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.

This week, I would like to instead share an article. I had the honour of sharing a student’s story –  first with author/illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo and then with writer Alexandra Alter about Suzanne’s incredible book My Beautiful Birds. Alexandra included this story in her New York Times article

Children’s Authors Take on the Refugee Crisis

It was an unforgettable experience to organize a Skype with Alexandra and Nour and listen as Nour told her story. It will be something that I think about forever – the resilience and hope and love in this young girl’s voice as she talked about everything that she’s lost and found.

I am sharing this here with the #IMWAYR community because I know all of you know the power of books to change lives. This book told Nour’s story and gave her truth voice and audience. So powerful.

If you haven’t yet read this book – buy it! It’s a must have for our school and classroom libraries.

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.

On the blog:

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 2: Weed

This is the second in a series of posts about working in the classroom library over the summer break.

Books I enjoyed:

I had a bookstore visit and read a lot of picture books and nonfiction titles this week. Some even followed me home. Surprise, surprise!

Some of my favourites:

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

This title is an incredible celebration of looking at “mistakes” as opportunities instead of something purely negative and wrong. A creative and inspiring journey. Such an important title to share in our classrooms.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist written by Jess Keating and illustrated my Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Eugenie Clark is some kind of incredible! A scientist. A risk taker. A creative thinker that allowed the world to look at sharks through a different lens. Jess Keating shares Eugenie’s story to honour and celebrate curiosity and perseverance. Lots of additional information in the back pages including a detailed time line of Clark’s life and accomplishments. Gorgeous end pages too!

Teacup written by Rebecca Young and illustrated by Matt Ottley

This is a somewhat haunting and extremely beautiful story about a boy who must leave his homeland in a boat clutching a teacup full of soil The ocean journey brings peace, drama and unexpected surprises as he sails in search of a new home.

Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead 

Gentle and sweet. A book about compassion and care.

Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

A lovely little wordless title with lots of room for talk and questions. What is community? Who should we care about? What matters?

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

A completely endearing title about one little boy’s route to being brave. Loved.

A Squiggly Story written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Mike Lowery

Perfect for writer’s workshop. Clearly sends the message that all writing is story telling – marks on the page, drawings, words (regardless of spelling). I I were a K or Grade 1 teacher, I would be snapping this one up. As a Grade 3 teacher, I am also pretty tempted.

Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler

Power plays on the playground have lots of dynamics. Creatively explored in this little gem.

This Beautiful Day written by Richard Jackson with illustrations by Suzy Lee

This beautiful book. Wow is Suzy Lee talented! A celebration of rainy days and optimistic attitudes. Lovely all around.

If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel by Elise Gravel

So I am calling this a favourite, fought over classroom book for 2017/2018. And I KNOW I am going to be right. This book will be inspiring some funky sketchbooks in my students’ futures. Again, guaranteed.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

So I kind of love everything about Clayton Byrd. And Williams-Garcia, whoa, can this woman write! A must read middle grade title.

Alvin Ho (Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things) by Lenore Look with illustrations by LeUyen Pham

I was pretty thrilled to find this title as I think it will be my first classroom read aloud in the fall. A lot of things in the world frighten and overwhelm Alvin including speaking out loud at school. So wonderfully portrayed in a humorous, relatable way by Look. I am buying the series!

Patina by Jason Reynolds

I share all of my book love for this title (released later this month) here.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 43/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 185/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 32 books behind schedule (ten better than last week!)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 25/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

Wrapped up in shades of black and grey

It is November and that means it is Picture Book Month!

Here in B.C. we have been experiencing some dark, rainy days. Daylight savings means we just found an extra hour of light in the morning but our afternoons disappear into evening black far too soon. Yet darkness is not all about doom and gloom. It also means cozy, long stretches to read or bustle about inside. Darkness can pull us together for seasons of celebration and special events or provide us with solitude for introspection and calm. Bright is beautiful but so is dark. Whether we seek out the mystery and unexpected or the opportunity to settle into the quiet.

All of the dark has got me thinking about picture book covers. I started a list to see if I could come up with a number of titles that come specially wrapped in blacks and greys. My list ran off the page and I realized that many of my favourite books reside here. Is it just me or is there a certain elegance to these titles?

When you need a break from the bright, pick up one of these beautiful books.

25 titles to swoon over.

Wrapped up in Shades of Black and Grey There's a Book for That

Listed alphabetically by author.

Leo a Ghost Story written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Gleam and Glow written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Peter Sylvada

A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper

The Black Book of Colors written by Menana Cottin and illustrated by Rosana Faría

Nighttime Ninja written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young

Willaboughy and the Moon by Greg Foley

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

I Know a Bear by Mariana Ruiz Johnson

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

In the Tree House written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Our King has Horns! written by Richard Pevear and illustrated by Robert Rayevsky

Big Bad Bubble written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Swan written by Laurel Synder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien

Friends by Mies van Hout 

Happy by Mies van Hout

Surprise by Mies van Hout 

Ten Birds by Cybele Young

How I love sharing picture book lists during this month of picture book love!

Happy Picture Book Reading!

pb month logo

Monday April 6th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This is buddy reading at its best. Kids everywhere. Engaged. Reading. Talking. Laughing. Did I say engaged? Because, really, that’s what it’s all about.

 Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also shared an emotional Celebration post this week. All about how very much I have loved having my current class for (for many of them) a third year. There is much to be said for teaching children over multiple years.

 Celebration post

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

The picture books I loved this week:

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Wordless perfection. I love everything about this book. And I own it. I pick it up everyday and swoon.

sidewalk flowers  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah written by Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

A fantastic nonfiction picture book biography. True inspiration.

Emmanuel's Dream- The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Big Red Kangaroo written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne

I shared this book in my nonfiction post this week.

big red kangaroo  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

I left this at the bookstore but haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I always say there is power in the pencil (or pen, or marker, etc) – this book celebrates the creativity on the page. But on the page is so much more. I know this book will soon become part of my collection. I want to share it with each group of children I teach for forever . . .

My Pen  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I Wish You More written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld 

I want any of these wishes to be true. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

I Wish You More  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

See You Next Year written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Todd Stewart

The illustrations are beautiful – such magic in the way light is shown. Nostalgia, memory inducing book. Power in the “same every year” summer vacation.

See You Next Year  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Cardinal and the Crow by Michael Moniz

The message? Pride and foolishness go hand in hand. Inspired by Aesop’s fables. For bird lovers, the illustrations are divine.

The Cardinal and the Crow  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Chicken Big by Keith Graves

Kids LOVE silly. This book is bursting with it.

Chicken Big  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

NonRandom Acts of Kindness (Life of Ty #2) by Lauren Myracle

I am so excited that this young chapter book exists. I started with #2 but will be finding number one and adding both to my classroom collection. Ty is believable, the story line is relevant and I liked the friendship/family dynamics explored.

NonRandom Acts of Kindness (Life of Ty #2)  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

We Were Here by Matt de la Peña (YA)

Where to begin? These characters, sigh. I feel like I could go for a walk and I might find them standing on a corner, watching people go by. I would want to run up and talk about courage and honesty and deep morals and true loyalty. I would want to buy them a sandwich. I would want to know that their worlds are all going to be okay. I’m hopeful. Which doesn’t really tell you anything about this book. I will say this, I am fast becoming a de la Peña fan. If you haven’t read any of his books, start here. Soon.

We Wre Here  Monday April 6th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 16/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 134/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 7/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 29/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am almost finished The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern And then it is to Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero 

My Picture Book 10 for 10 for 2013

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

I am thrilled to be participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event for the second time. This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. What are the picture books that you just can not live without?

pb 10 for 10

Last year I shared many of my all time favourite picture books. This year, I thought I would focus on what has become a beloved theme: picture books that feature a connection between generations – whether it is a child and a grandparent or a child and a grandparent like figure.

These stories remind us that time is a gift, memories have big meaning and wisdom shared always enhances what we know.

My top ten favourites on this theme: Connections across the generations

Mr. Zinger’s Hat written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic

A wonderful story about the power of storytelling and how it meanders this way and that between the narrator and the “creatively involved” listener. Young Leo and Mr. Zinger  collectively “create” a story. And then the storytelling continues once Leo has been “bit” by the writing/narrating bug. Just lovely.

Mr Zinger's Hat: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Friend written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

A beautiful friendship and love exist between little Belle and her devoted housekeeper Beatrice. Bea is little Belle’s daily companion as her parents race off here and there, too “busy” to give their child time. Reminds us that spending time with a child is everything even when doing the most mundane chores. Connection, warmth, love . . . What makes this story even more special is that it is inspired by a similar relationship in the author’s childhood. I wish I owned this book but sadly it is out of print. As always Small and Stewart create a treasured story together.

The Friend: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Imaginary Garden written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

The Imaginary Garden tells a story of grandfather and granddaughter who paint a lush garden mural when a real garden is no longer possible in Poppa’s new apartment. I used this book as inspiration for some beautiful garden art with my students.

 The Imaginary Garden: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Frank Show, a David Mackintosh title

This title is all about a young boy who thinks his Grandad Frank is not going to be an interesting share at Show and Tell. But, watch out for the older generation! Boy do they pull out all the stops. A great book to share to highlight how wonderful it is to get to know our grandparents. (My own Dad who happens to be a “Papa Frank” loved this title and read it to my nieces :-))

The Frank Show: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Oma’s Quilt written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Emily’s Oma (grandmother) has to move to a retirement home and she is very reluctant to do so.  What about her precious things? Her neighbours? Cooking apple strudel? Even the bowling alley at the home doesn’t change her mind (smelly shoes!) While Emily and her mother are sorting through Oma’s possessions, Emily has a wonderful idea. Why not make a memory quilt for Oma!?

Oma's Quilt: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith 

This book has so much of what I love- adoration for a Grandfather (a Great Grandfather in this case!), nostalgia for sick days and lots of reading, gardens, and the love of family history shared between generations. Exquisite!

Grandpa Green: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

What a special story that celebrates friendship, literacy and the sentiment that it is never too late to learn something new. Young Harry waits for the school bus every morning with his friend and neighbour Mr. George Baker. Mr. Baker, a spry and charming man is a hundred years old and has never learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says George. Lyrical. Simple. Inspirational. A book to share with new learners of every age.

Mr. George Baker: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Wednesday Surprise written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Donald Carrick

Anna spends every evening with her Grandma. After dinner and dishes, Grandma and Anna work on a surprise for Dad’s birthday. The surprise is all about books and reading and it makes me cry no matter how many times I read this story. Special. Special. Special.

The Wednesday Surprise: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

When Mary Ellen confesses that she is tired of reading, Grandpa leads her (and half the community!) on an adventure that involves racing over fields and country roads in search of a bee tree. Along with the reward of baking powder biscuits and sweet honey, Mary Ellen receives some of Grandpa’s wisdom:

“There is sweetness inside of that book too! Such things . . . adventure, knowledge and wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them.”

The Bee Tree: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

William’s Doll written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois

A classic and consistently important story that shakes up thinking that is based in stereotypes. Brothers, neighbours and Dad send William the message that wanting a doll is wrong, something for a “sissy” and certainly not for a boy. But Grandma arrives, and in her wise and quiet way manages to get William the doll he covets and give the message to Dad that William wants a doll to love, but also to “play” at being a father – learning to do all of the things he will need to do one day for his own child. More than forty years old, this book is still relevant. I used it with a class last year and it was powerful.

William's Doll: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Last year, my list featured two more favourites on this theme. Stories that remain favourites.

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

(Knew I would find a way to “be creative” (a.k.a. cheat) with the 10 book guideline :-))

Not only do I love books that celebrate connections between the generations, I also love the magic that happens when books are shared during reading experiences. I shared that in this post: The Grandparent Effect

Please share if you have other titles that fit with this theme of connections across generations.

Happy Reading!

Monday April 8th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share what you have been reading from picture books to young adult titles!

It’s been about three weeks where I have just not been to the bookstore or the library and sourced out picture books I loved. Well, back to school hit along with a very productive trip to the bookstore and I have some new to me titles to highlight this week! 

In the Tree House written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dusan Petricic I think Larsen is able to share some quite lovely moments between family members in his picture books (like the girl and her Poppa in The Imaginary Garden). This book has beautiful moments between brothers – those endless play days and nights that seem to not have an end during our childhood. But there is also the loneliness when one sibling enters a new stage and doesn’t have as much time for family. Yet certain things happen to bring everything back to what it should be and we realize the strength of family connection. This story, like John Rocco‘s Blackout, delivers the magic of what happens in a neighbourhood and in a family when all of the lights go out. And . . .  Dusan Petricic . . . so you know, it’s going to be wonderful!

in the tree house

Friends by Mies van Hout I literally leaped when I saw this title in the bookstore – as I adore Happy done in a similar style. I used that title to inspire some wonderful fish art of our own earlier in the year:

IMG_5831

Can’t wait to see what this book might inspire! What adorable little monsters.

Friends_Opmaak 1

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen I made a trip to the bookstore this weekend precisely to purchase this title. Klassen is the perfect illustrator for this book – he brings so much depth and emotion – fear, wonder, mystery – to black sections of a page. The concept is very clever – the dark is given full presence as more than an entity but an actual character. And if you have been reading reviews and wonder about that page of many words, I found this interview with the book’s editor very interesting.

The-Dark

Unspoken A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole I finally experienced this amazing title. What a story is told through these striking images. Much to discuss. Much to think about quietly. Loved this book.

unspoken

Tree Ring Circus by Adam Rex Many things end up in a very curious tree. Fun illustrations but it is the rhythmic and whimsical language that make this book a hit. I read a portion out loud and this book travelled through my class like wildfire. It begs to be read aloud.

treeringcircus

And one sweet little board book: Big and Small by Guido Van Genechten A lovely search and find – perfect to share with our K buddies when they come for buddy reading.

big and small

I have so many books on the go, that I didn’t end up finishing any novels but am sure enjoying the three books I am reading! My children and I are fully into The Runaway King and loving it! I just started Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan with my student book club. This is a reread for me and can’t wait to discuss it with the group. I am almost done One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Oh these little girls, what characters. How did I not read this book sooner?

Hope to have more novels on next Monday’s What are you reading post!

We imagined some gardens . . .

This gorgeous book written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher was our inspiration for some beautiful flower art. The Imaginary Garden tells a story of grandfather and granddaughter who paint a lush garden mural when a real garden is no longer possible in Poppa’s new apartment.

Just as little Theodora and Poppa created flowers from bright green stems and blobs of paint colour, the students used dabs of paint to create beautiful imagined gardens, each one unique.

Students began by adding dibs and dabs, blobs and swirls of bright coloured paint to their papers.

Adding the blooms

Some chose to make huge blooms. Others, a mixture of shapes and sizes.

Then with vibrant green paint, stems were added.

Carefully snaking the stems up to the flowers

We let our pictures dry overnight with plans to add details the next day with felt markers.

When we were ready to add more detail to the flowers on Day 2 we used two books by Lois Ehlert for inspiration.

Planting a Rainbow takes us on a garden tour colour by colour.

Waiting for Wings tells the story of butterflies flitting flower to flower in a garden in full bloom. Both books are gorgeous.

Each student approached this step very carefully creating a variety of interesting effects. Markers were used to add details to blossoms and stems.

Adding details

Finished pieces are stunning. Come check out our display in the hall and walk through an imaginary garden or two or three . . .

Can you pick a favourite flower?

We were so pleased with how these pieces turned out that our Mother’s Day cards are painted in the same style!

Another one just because they are that beautiful . . .

 Tempted to come visit our display yet? They really do look beautiful all together!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms, Grandmas and important women who love us!

Garden themed Books

Division 5 is participating in the Growing Chefs program and learning all about growing plants, urban agriculture and the wonder of vegetables! Our windowsills are full of seedlings and we are indulging in many garden themed read alouds to learn more about the magic of gardens, growing and green. The following is a list of books that will be part of our reading:

The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne

An informative information story book that details the lifecycle of the Queen bee. Touches on hive life, pollination and human behaviour towards bees.

Deborah Hodge‘s Watch me Grow and Up we Grow (photographs by Brian Harris)

These books have special meaning as Deborah Hodge gifted them to our class when she visited in the fall! These books immerse us in the world of gardening and growing! One focuses on life on a small farm and the other looks at growing food in the city.

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering

 In Cement Land, the promise of a packet of seeds is huge admist the gray drab world. Highlights the magic of watching seeds transform into plants!

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

Can a package of flower seeds bring happiness and beauty to a family during the Great Depression?

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Liam lives in the city and nurtures a struggling garden into a majestic green world. The power of a garden to invade (in the best of ways) stark city life.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

We each need to do something to make the world a more beautiful place. Miss Rumphius spreads lupine seeds throughout the countryside and the resulting flowers have a transformative effect on everyone who stumbles upon them.

Westlandia written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Wesley creates Weslandia, his own civilization using the plants he grows from some mysterious seeds and the products he makes from them.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long

Poetic text and beautifully detailed illustrations introduce us to the wonder of both familiar and unfamiliar seeds.

The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

When Theodora’s Grandfather must leave his beloved garden when he moves to an apartment, granddaughter and grandfather create a beautiful garden from seed to flower through the power of art and love.