Monday February 18th, 2019

Oh my – I haven’t written a Monday post in months! Busy, busy but doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. There is no way to catch up on everything so I am going to choose just 10 of some amazing tiles I have read in last while and share them here.

Some reading photos #kidsarereading. The second one is adorable – one of my students reading to the little sister of a classmate while he has his student led conference with his mom.

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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 read:

If Polar Bears Disappeared by Lily Williams

I read my class Lily’s book If Sharks Disappeared and they couldn’t stop talking about it so I knew this was a must have, must read title. I am such a fan of this series and it is such a rich jumping off point for so many discussions about our world, all of the living creatures, interconnectedness and environment. Highly recommended.

polar bears

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

This was part of our Mock Caldecott collection this year and ended up being an Honor book in our classroom. Stunning with pages to get lost in. My students loved Yuyi’s author’s note in the back of the book and then of course we had to read this book multiple times again.

Dreamers

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I couldn’t see how this could be as equally wonderful but still different from Green. But oh, it is!

BlueCover

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi with illustrations by Hatem Aly

This is a collection of four of the Yasmin titles – the perfect transitional chapter title. I have now ordered more of the Yasmin! stories as this book continues to make its rounds around my room. Yasmin is an energetic, creative Pakistani American girl that you must meet!

Meet Yasmin

One Big Happy Family (Ivy and Bean #11) by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Number 11! Oh how I love this series! This one is hilarious as usual! Worth reading purely to find out how Ivy and Bean plan to become twins!

Ivy and Bean #11

Breakout by Kate Messner

This book has so much going on beyond a prison break in a small town. It tackles a myriad of themes: friendship, systemic racism, small town dynamics, growing up. It is told through a collection of pieces meant for a time capsule: news articles, journal entries, text messages, transcribed recordings and some pretty incredible poetry (with hat tips to some sensational writers like Jacqueline Woodson, Nikki Grimes and Lin Manuel-Miranda), One main character has a brother in the prison, one has a family member soon to be named as a suspect and one has a father who is the superintendent  of the town’s maximum security prison. Highly recommended.

Breakout Kate Messner

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart

Another title inspired by a story of a real life prison break. Again, a book with so much more going on. I love Kephart’s style. She makes art out of words. I seriously walk around the world in a different way when I read her books. This story of Lizzie, her Uncle Davy and her best friend Matias is dramatic, emotional and uplifting all at once. I love them all.

Wild Blues

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Such a read. Walk through Vincent and Theo Van Gogh’s lives as though walking through a museum. Stop and enjoy a scene from their childhood. Marvel at their supportive connections. Shake your head at their many intense quarrels. Peek at their relationships – often unrequited, hidden or secretive and never ending in happiness. watch as Vincent settles into the life as artist. It is far from easy. But each step is fascinating. An emotional, beautifully written, well-researched story of the lives of Vincent and his brother, Theo Van Gogh.

Vincent and Theo- The Van Gogh Brothers

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

Set in Vancouver. Such a story of friendship and family dynamics is told while exploring aspects of poverty, mental health & homelessness.

No Fixed Address

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

YA. Cried through lots of this one. Three siblings who find each other as teens – two were adopted as infants, one has spend his life in foster care. Wow.

Far from the Tree

Up next? I am reading The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

 

Monday November 4th, 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 reads! Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read!

A book filled week to be certain! Some of it was spent reading books. Much of it was reading books to my students. And laughing and wondering and being in awe. Shared a lot of our reading week on our new classroom blog in a new feature called That’s a Wrap!.

Here are my favourite picture books of the week:

Anna May’s Cloak written by Christiane Cicioli and illustrated by Susan Pearson

Isn’t this cover absolutely divine? This is a beautifully illustrated book that spans generations and weaves the importance of a blue cloak into the love of a family. Reminiscent of Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman.

Anna May's Cloak #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Flood by Alvaro F. Villa 

A powerful wordless title that looks at how nature can change everything for a family when a storm causes floodwaters to threaten the safety of their home. Powerful images of worry, upset and hope.

Flood #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Chu’s Day written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex

I always appreciate Adam Rex’s illustrations always but these are particularly adorable. A simple and exaggerated story line of a powerful little sneezer. I found this charming as I once taught a student who sneezed (always in threes) so loudly that he could be heard in every classroom on the same floor. A sneeze can be quite the thing!

Chu's day #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 

This week some of my curious little students went exploring the Halloween display across the hall. The scattered candy proved too tempting and there was a little bit of tasting. Then there were rumours of the dangers of this oldish candy and oh, my, oh my! The anxiety set in and turned, for some, to full blown panic. We all calmed down, learned a lesson hopefully to not sample candy in a display but wow, did it prove that the worry of consuming something that maybe should not be consumed is a powerful stressor! This is the theme of this delightful little picture book told through sweet illustrations all pink, green and black and much humour. What happens when you swallow a seed? Will you end up as fruit salad? Sprouting vines?

Read and find out just what happens to this voracious watermelon muncher.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I know, I know. Everyone has read this book. And I just finally did. It wasn’t for lack of awareness! It just hadn’t happened. Love Jeffers. Love the voices. Fun all around. Mostly what I love is watching students sit and share this book together. One day last week, two girls chose reading this book (taking turns as different crayons) to a classroom volunteer over play time during choices. I think they might have had the most fun in the room!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

Gorgeously illustrated, this book conveys so much about the importance of sunlight and green plants to our life and survival. Nicely accessible for kids with lots of relevant and additional information in the back.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems

A purely whimsical celebration of pretend like only Elephant and Piggie can do it!

I'm a Frog #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading:

Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea (#7) written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Ivy + Bean titles are big in my classroom this year! I have a few girls who have made it a goal to read every title in the series! I must admit to being pretty partial to these energetic and interesting friends myself. This book explored the idea of saving the planet. What could two girls do that would make a difference? Turns out that after some very outlandish ideas like throwing ice cubes into the air to slow down global warming, Ivy and Bean happen upon an idea that might make a big difference in a small moment for the very people who might need it most.

What's the big idea? #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I’m going to start by saying that I think I might just have met some characters that could be the most memorable characters I have met in some time. I would like to have weekly check in sessions with them or at least regular emails/updates. These were characters that you would never put together but yet they turned out to be the perfect fit. Willow Chance inspired me to think about what it is to have “people” in your corner. She reminded me that growing anything in a garden has all kind of magic wrapped up within it. She also made me a little anxious about many things that she knew mostly everything about: the importance of staying hydrated, how essential regular flossing is and why we shouldn’t ignore any strange skin conditions. Willow Chance: brilliant, quirky, vulnerable and not nearly as enigmatic as she first appears. If you have read this title, I’m betting on the fact that you loved it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Counting by 7s #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am beginning the only title by Jo Knowles that I have yet to read! Living with Jackie Chan. I read Jumping off Swings earlier this year and have been eagerly anticipating this title! Knowles is one of my absolute favourite authors so I know I have many happy reading moments ahead.

My students and I are absolutely adoring The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor. Whoa can this lady pull kids in and quick? My students beg me to read more of this novel multiple times a day!

Monday August 12th, 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 reads!

I did lots of picture book reading this week – often lugging stacks of books to the pool to read while my children had swimming lessons. I did my best to narrow the books I want to feature this week to ten:

Journey by Aaron Becker

Gorgeous. Inspired. I shared this with my family and we had so many connections to other stories and experiences. My children thought of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Howl’s Moving Castle, Airborn . . . A book that lures you right back to the beginning to start it again. A book you won’t be able to resist. It’s a must own.

Journey  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Andrew Drew and Drew by Barney Saltzberg

Very creative – such an experience seeing what unfolds with each lifting of the flaps. Celebrates imagination and doodles that might become  . . .

Andrew Drew and Drew #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wag by Patrick McDonnell

Why is it exactly that Earl’s tail wags so enthusiastically? It takes a while to get to the answer but it is absolutely worth it. Adorable.

Wag #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Someday a Tree by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler

A very special story about an important tree that a family visits everyday. When it turns out this tree is dying, it is heartbreaking. Touches on the life cycle of trees, environmental hazards, community, hope. So many possibilities for the primary classroom.

Someday a Tree #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

No Roses for Harry! written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

How did I not know there were other stories about Harry (of Dirty Dog fame)? And wow, am I glad I found out!

no roses for harry #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Long Way Away by Frank Viva

I am still not sure of this title. I appreciate the concept of two stories in one – told either front to back or back to front – very creative. But . . . I kind of felt like the images could have stood on their own. I think this could easily have been a fantastic wordless title. I will see what my students think in the fall. With this book I really need “test readers” to try it out and see . . .

a long way away #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Matchbox Diary  by Paul Fleischman illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline 

I wasn’t quite prepared for just how beautiful these illustrations would be. The cover hints at the story’s concept and not the beauty of what is inside. Still – the concept – sigh. Just amazing. History, stories and memories told through unveiling of various contents of a number of matchboxes. Also love the intergenerational connection! A favourite of the year absolutely.

MatchboxDiary #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Goodbye Mousie written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Jan Ormerod

A well done title that deals with the death of a pet – how will it be handled by a preschooler? Illustrations of the family interactions are warm and natural.

goodbye mousie #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bluebird by Bob Staake So I will confess that I have been avoiding this book since it was published. I think every staff member at Vancouver Kidsbooks (my local bookstore) has tried to share it with me or inquired whether I’ve read it yet. And, I’ve made multiple excuses. “Not in the mood.” “The cover just doesn’t grab me.” “I’ll look at it next time I’m in.” The truth? The cover has been whispering to me – “I’m going to get to you in a big way.” I knew I would love this book. I knew I would find it powerful. I knew I would find multiple ways to share it with my students and that our conversations would be huge and raw and honest as conversations with kids about great books often tend to be. I’m not going to share details about this book. I’m sure everyone but me has already experienced it. I will just say that this time at the book store, I read it and then, it came home with me.

 Bluebird #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frog: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

A fantastic nonfiction read. What was happening to the golden frogs in the Panama? Could they be saved? This book explores the thinking and research of the scientists who tried to answer these questions. A longer read but could be shared even in upper primary over multiple read aloud sessions. So much to discuss – purposes of zoos we might not have known, ecology, environment, endangered species . . .

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I continue to try and read early chapter books and graphic novels that are already in my classroom This week I read:

Ivy + Bean (Book 1) by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall 

Somehow I have never sat down and read an entire Ivy + Bean. What was I thinking? They are more delightful than my skimming through titles had conveyed. Spunky characters in all the best ways. A friend of ours loves reading them with his daughter. He says it best:

“I like that these books have a bit of a wicked edge to them, a lovely appreciation of 7-year old anarchists. Nothing saccharine about Ivy&Bean.”

Ivy&Bean #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

Also realized that I had never read the first Lunch Lady title. I didn’t really read this so much as read it along to a running commentary from my children asking me which part I was at or what had just happened or did I think that . . . Wow, do kids love Lunch Lady! A series I always love recommending.

Lunch Lady #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also read Sold by Patricia McCormick

A difficult but important read. A book that I hope is in all high school libraries.

Sold #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I am currently reading Eleanor and Park (almost finished!)  Loving it so far 🙂

I also finished

Igniting a Passion for Reading: Successful Strategies for Building Lifetime Readers by Steven L. Layne

Appreciated Layne’s voice and passion for making reading something that is adored by students everywhere. He makes it very clear however, that this passion begins with the environment we create in our classrooms. There are many people who need this book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I have a few novels I want to read that are due back at the library at around the same time so it will be a due date competition that determines what I read!