Picture Books that model perseverance

It’s Picture Book Month and I have picture books on my mind. I am beginning to think in lists. Often. It may be a syndrome. Picturebooklistitis? Something like that.

On Friday, I had some parent meetings in the a.m. It was lovely to talk about students who have demonstrated improvement in goal areas due to persistence, determination and creative approaches to problems. Heading home, after school, I started thinking about picture books on this theme of persistence.

What exactly was I thinking about? All of the synonyms for perseverance: persistence, tenacity, determination . . . But also being able to solve problems with creativity or a different/unique approach. A lot of it has to do with being able to focus but also being able to think outside of the box. Sometimes it is just about, simple but tough, hard work and diligence.

I think all of these picture books highlight a particular aspect of this theme and in their own way, model perseverance.

Twenty favourite titles:

These ten beauties:

Picture Books that model perseverance

And ten more:

Picture Books that model perseverance There's a Book for That

Twenty picture book titles that model perseverance:

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Rosie Revere, Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Rosyln Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth by Marie-Louise Gay

Ice by Arthur Geisert

Flight School by Lita Judge

A House in the Woods by Inga Moore

The Mighty Lalouche written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds 

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires 

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead

Oscar and Hoo written by Theo and illustrated by Michael Dudok De Wit

Queen of the Falls by Chris VanAllsburg 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Ten Birds by Cybèle Young

In case you’ve missed them, I have been making more lists:

Picture Books that celebrate courage

Picture Books to make you giggle

Happy Picture Book Month!

pb month logoAs always, please share your favourite titles on this theme!

Some new wordless favourites

 Some New Wordless Favourites There's a Book for That

I am always pleased when I uncover new wordless (or nearly wordless) titles to share with my students. These books are ideal for allowing us to sit back and let our imagination follow the author/illustrator to wonderful places. I use wordless books to build storytelling skills, enhance visual literacy, practice inferring and asking questions and for amazing oral language opportunities.

This post elaborates on why I think wordless books are so important in the classroom and how I use them.

Here are a handful of words about some new wordless favourites:

The Night Riders by Matt Furie 

 An adventure with real and fantastical nocturnal creatures. Oh what can happen by the light of the moon!

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Making a friend, being both graceful and wonderfully clumsy. Perfectly not perfect.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Red Hat by Lita Judge What can we get up to with a knitted red hat? Playful. Full of joy.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Thunderstorm by Arthur Geisert Chase a storm through farm country and notice every little detail. Brilliant.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Kitty and Dino and Sara Richard What happens when the new pet is a dinosaur who has come to share the house with Kitty (who is really having none of it)? Wild antics.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus You upset me? I eat you! My students responded best: “This bear is ruled by his amygdala!”

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Unspoken by Henry Cole Haunting. Multi-layered. A springboard to discussions about slavery and the Underground Railroad.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Monday July 1st, 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! The #IMWAYR community is a fantastic community of readers with many wonderful titles to share.

This year was the end of school, so lots of winding down before my reading can really wind up. Looking forward to much more time to read this summer! Which has now started! Hurrah!

I read quite a few picture books this week and I really did not love them all. Here are the best of the week – including some wonderful board books that I plan to add to our buddy reading bins for when the Kindergarten class comes to read with us.

One of our best moments of the last week was exchanging letters with our little buddies before we began buddy reading this week. The smiles say it all!

IMG_7254

Board books

Odd One Out: In, Out and All Around by Guido Van Genechten A fun look and find book that introduces a number of language concepts. Perfect to share together and discuss what is observed. Three questions on each page leaves lots of room for talking:

Who is hiding behind the brick wall?

Who has lost their house?

And who is ready to go to a dance?

Careful scanning over the page reveals that one little snail is sporting fancy earrings 🙂

in, out and all around

Peekaboo! by Taro Gomi Absolutely simple and sweet with cut out peek a boo eyes. Ideal when attention span and reading skills are both developing.

peekaboo1

Caveman a B.C. Story by Janee Trasler A hilarious tale told one word at a time in ABC order. Much humour and much to infer. Another title to add to the growing favourite ABC books.

caveman

Book of Play: with Northwest Coast Native Art I am trying to bring in more Aboriginal stories and images into our book collection. This is another board book that will be fun to interact with (counting pages, matching, ABC page) but that also has gorgeous Native art from various Native artists.

book of play

Picture books:

A Boy and his Bunny written by Sean Bryan with illustrations by Tom Murphy My class loves A Girl and her Gator and A Bear and his Boy created by the same author/illustrator pair. This book actually came first, but I added it to our classroom collection last. What I love about all of these titles is that the illustrations are so simple but have huge impact. The rhyming text is never awkward and children love to read and reread these books over and over. This book in particular is a wonderful mentor text for giving examples – what are all of the things that work out perfectly fine with a bunny on your head? Armies can be led, peanut butter can be spread, you can drive a moped, etc., etc.

a boy and his bunny

The Woods by Paul Hoppe A sweet testament to the creative thinking/imagining that can go into avoiding the dark at bedtime. A little boy realizes that his favourite bunny is missing and he must enter the woods to find itOn his night time journey, he finds much more than his missing bunny.

the-woods-by-paul-hoppe-bedtime-story.childrens-book

Redwoods by Jason Chin It’s not just that redwood trees are majestic, this book brings some kind of added magic to learning about these forest giants. Part fantasy, part nonfiction – this title by Chin is a magical information story book. Learn about each level of the tree from small sapling to the canopy hundreds of feet off the ground in a redwood tree over 350 feet tall! A book that needs multiple read throughs to truly absorb and think about all of the details. One of those titles that I am reluctant to return to the library. I think I need my own copy . . .

Redwoods by Jason chin

Thunderstorm by Arthur Geisert I am a huge fan of Geisert and particularly love his wordless titles. Ice and The Giant Seed (featured here) are must reads if you have yet to discover them. In this title, we bear witness to the devastating and phenomenal effects a storm has on the farm country in the American Midwest. What do animals do? How do people react? What kind of damage happens? Study these pages and find out.

thunderstorm

I also finished the novel Twerp by Mark Goldblatt Narrated with such vulnerability. Gets to your gut – where we all must check in with what is right and what is wrong. A story of friendship, of choices and of dealing with the consequences. Starts slow and then doesn’t let you go. Told through the journal of sixth grader Julian Twerski, this story is much more than the details of the event that prompted the “journal writing” consequence. Allows us to ask those hard questions: What is a bully? What do we do for friends? How do we take responsibility for our choices. So well written.

twerp

Currently reading? The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. A rare adult readI also have a number of professional reads on the go -including Catching Readers Before they Fall which I am loving. My book piles are everywhere I look and I am very excited about the reading that might happen over this week!

Happy reading everyone!

My picture book 10 for 10 for 2012

Picture Book Love!!

This is the first year I am participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

Any opportunity to celebrate a love for picture books, count me in!

Of course I could have listed hundreds but I tried to select the first ten that came to me. My list for 2012:

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed. Oh how I love this book that celebrates love! I gushed about it here. This book is quite possibly my favourite picture book ever. And that is really saying something!

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert. Geisert is a master at telling a beautiful and whimsical fantastical story through a wordless book.  How the pigs happen to be saved from volcanic disaster is a reason to share this story many times. Gorgeous.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. I really liked this book on first read. But after sharing it with my class I quickly grew to love it. My students went crazy for this book! Read more here. This book read aloud in a classroom of book lovers is a force to be reckoned with.

All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee. This book could be read daily and one would never tire of it. I have blogged about it before: “The images are comforting, saturated with details and evoke our own memories attached to the experiences suggested by each picture. These pictures are so easy to connect to, I felt like I had taken a journey through some of my own most happiest of memories.”

Hunwick’s Egg written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts. I have blogged about this book before as it is one of my favourites: “Hunwick’s egg never hatched although it provided him with companionship, faith and an important secret. Yes, he realized his egg was not an egg at all but a perfectly shaped stone and he loved it all the more. This book is beyond endearing and my heart lifts just pulling it off the shelf.”

The Gardener written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. It is wonderful to have historical fiction wrapped up so beautifully in this illustrated book. My own children wanted to study this book again and again.

House Held up by Trees written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This book celebrates the power of nature and how we are naturally drawn to it. Efforts to keep it at bay are often futile. Nature finds its way. This book is stunning.

Leaf by Stephen Michael King. A story of the friendship between a boy, a dog and a plant. Simple, sweet, endearing. The best thing about this book? It is nearly wordless – the only text  – sound effects – Whooosh, Boing, Sploosh, Glurg glurg .

Hello Goodbye Window written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka. The vibrant colours in this book are pure joy! I love the celebration of the relationship between grandchild and grandparents. “Hello World! What have you got for us today?” We still quote this line frequently in our house!

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas. A favourite of mine for years. Every time I read it aloud to a new group of students I sit back and enjoy their discussions of all the special kinds of memories. A book every house and classroom should own.

Read aloud everyday – in practice

This week in a piece of writing, one of my students shared, “My teacher is a book maniac!” This not only made my day, it made my week. Because the love of books, the excitement over stories and the magic of reading are the gifts I never tire of giving and hope that I have gifted in abundance this year. Every week we share a lot of things. And books? Well, they are at the top of our list! Reading aloud on a daily basis is a priority. We find many reasons to read together.

What did Division 5 read this week? When you add it all up, it’s a lot! 

On Monday we read . . . 

We often begin our mornings with a read aloud (or two or three). On Monday when we had five students absent, we began to wonder if this book might have been up to no good on Friday afternoon. Was is ravenous? Were some children devoured? We had to wait until the next few days to see who returned all in one piece! A fabulous book to humorously explore a little bit of fear . . . . The Book that Eats People is written by John Perry and illustrated by Mark Fearling.

We used Thank You Miss Doover to get us in the mood for writing an appreciative and personal thank you letter. Students learned a lot about writing and giggled through the how to train a puppy aspects of the story. Hint: there is paper and it is often yellow after a certain puppy stands on it. I was ordered to place this new book in the humour bin!

(Written by Robin Pulver and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson)

On Tuesday we read . . .

On Tuesday morning I shared some books that were brand new to our school library. When the students saw author Kevin Henkes on the cover of Penny and Her Song, they begged me to read the book aloud. Well, c’mon! Kevin Henkes? How could I say no?

I then shared another new to the library title. The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert is the sequel to the fabulous Ice that we read a few months ago. (The book that instantly made us Geisert fans). This new title lets us revisit the island with the industrious pigs and this time, the disaster they face is not a water shortage but a volcanic eruption. Evacuation via dandelion parachutes is absolutley delightful. Our class loves sharing wordless books!

Our Reading Group finished Hurricane, another fantastic information story book by Celia Godkin. Students had many questions about what happens during and after a hurricane. Just how destructive can it be? How do living things survive? This book allowed us to explore these questions and later students wrote about what they discovered. Our latest focus in our writing has been to include supporting details/ evidence. This book offered lots of great information on life in and around a mangrove swamp just before, during and after a hurricane. Writing was prolific!

In the afternoon we read A Butterfly is Patient  (an extension of our plants/seeds/garden theme) and students wrote about their new learning and their background knowledge. Read more here.

 On Wednesday we read . . . 

Wednesday mornings always begin with Just a Second by Steve Jenkins. This is a perfect book to read in little chunks as there is so much to discuss, ponder and dijest. We only have 15 minutes before Ms. S picks students up for their weekly book exchange so we love to share a few fascinating facts to turn on our brains and make us exclaim “Wow!”

 After recess we have one of our favourite events of the week. A reader from the BLG law firm comes to read to us and leaves us with a wonderful new book for our Seymour library collection. This week we listened to Crafty Chloe read by our BLG reader, Dan. Read more here in our latest BLG Reads this week post.

Every Wednesday afternoon, our three primary classes meet for our weekly Social Reponsibility Gathering. Often we share a book with a SR theme or a title that helps us extend our learning over concepts covered in the MindUp curriculum. This week I read the gorgeous Little Bird. A book that celebrates finding joy in the smallest of things. We learned that when we are mindful of our environment and those around us, real magic happens. A nearly wordless book so we were able to tell it together. Just lovely. Written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine (winner of  2011 Prix Sorcieres (the French Caldecott) for this title).

little-bird 12 for 2012


On Thursday we read . . .

Crafty Chloe reminded me of the creative genius highlighted in I Had a Favourite Dress written by Boni Ashburn and illustrated by Julia Denos. So this new addition to Seymour’s library was our morning read aloud.

In the afternoon we shared stories from Donata Montanari‘s Children Around the World. We enjoyed reading about children’s lives in different countries: their school experiences, their homes, their traditions, the languages they speak, their parents’ jobs and tasks and their favourite pasttimes. This inspired our own writing where students shared information about themselves and their families thinking all the while about what a child somewhere else in the world might want to know. Lots of great writing and wonderful sharing!

Elementary teachers – What did you share in your classroom this week? Do you get a chance to read out loud every day? 

More fabulous picture books with a Garden theme

As we continue to learn about plants, seeds and gardens, it feels like there are garden themed books blooming everywhere we look.

See our first list here which includes many more titles.

Ava’s Poppy by Marcus Pfister

We read this book today and students were inspired to create a list of all the great reasons this book should be shared: we can learn how to grow a flower, it teaches us about life cycles, we learn how to take care of a flower, there is lots of information about seeds,  and it has important themes of kindness and friendship. Lovely little Ava makes friends with a gorgeous red poppy in a field of green and cares for it in changing weather and over time. When she buries a seed capsule, she has no idea that the next spring her poppy will return to her!

 Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine written by Allison Wortche and illustrated by Patrice Barton

Students loved this story about a little girl who learns about friendship, kindness and surviving competition while tending pea plants in her classroom. Shared in our classroom here.

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert

Another wordless book by the brilliant Geisert and a follow up to the equally wonderful Ice (reviewed here) Explore the concept of seed dispersal and how seeds travel in this fantasy story. How the pigs happen to be saved from volcanic disaster is a reason to share this story many times.

And then it’s Spring written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead 

Explore the magic of the transformation from brown and boring to the wonder of green that comes in spring. What treasures lay buried deep waiting for the sun, warm temperatures and the power of spring showers?

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms written by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Is that snow in the middle of spring? Fletcher certainly thinks so. But he learns that blossoms can cover the earth in a blanket during the spring just like snow does in the winter. A beautiful celebration of spring.

Book Magic

Often I have much to say on the magic of a book. Today I cheat and literally let a picture tell a thousand. And then I’ll just add a few . . .

Buddy Reading with the K/1 class happens every Wednesday afternoon. There is real joy in watching my Grade 2/3s bring the magic of books alive for their younger buddies. The boys above are sharing the story of Pigaroons by Arthur Geisert that I read to the class yesterday. Ice sculpting. Air ships. Popcorn balls. Pirate Pigs. Thwarting sabotage attempts. Adventure. Wit. It really couldn’t be much better.

Reading. Talking. Questions. Sharing. Engagement. Not much better at all!