Monday October 16th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

This one is a favourite. Dory Fantasmagory fans being bothered by an even bigger Dory fan, their teacher (me!) being all excited that Dory is getting lots of love! I did leave them in peace after my happy dance.

Our #classroombookaday titles supported our study of insects and arachnids. The book love went to fly vomit and squishy spiders.

Classroom Highlights 

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

Writing has been a beautiful thing in our classroom. My post on Sunday shared how we are Growing Writers. There are some beautiful samples of student writing shared there.

Part of our celebration of writing was having author Bree Galbraith visit to talk with us about writing and to share her book Milo and Georgie. Students didn’t want to stop talking with her!

I think my favourite question she was asked was this one:

“Did you get an opportunity to be a writer or did you just do it?”

And they loved the read aloud! It looked something like this. (Read aloud rendering by Amelia)

We also have some incredible art happening! Thanks to Maggie in the Art and Discovery studio, we had the opportunity to paint our portraits with water colour paints. I love all of the portraits so much! Each one has such personality shining through.

Lots of math happened this week. A favourite activity was playing this game to practice our doubles facts. Thanks to Carole Fullerton for so many fantastic math games!

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:

That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares

Wordless. Caldecott buzz. A huge story in these beautiful pages.

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison

Another fantastic title to share with students to give them a sense of the refugee crisis. In this true story, we meet a family who has fled Iraq with their beloved cat. An incredible story of the cat and family being reunited.

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wilde and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

A favourite author and illustrator pairing.  A precious book is protected as a family escapes from war and tries to hang on to important history. 

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires

Perseverance and risk taking are a journey. Love the way they are depicted here.

What Makes a Monster?: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures written by Jess Keating and illustrated by David DeGrand

The second title in this series by Jess Keating. So. Much. Fun. Keating makes learning an adventure in the wow and wild!

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A new favourite nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Students will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

Hero Dog!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #1) by Hilde Lysiak with Matthew Lysiak 

Can’t wait to share this new Branches series with my students. Written by a young writer with the support of her Dad. This author really does write a newspaper detailing crimes in her community,  A great mystery series!

Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I read these books and I laugh. Out loud. Often. I think about these books later and I laugh. Again out loud. Just so beautifully amusing. I LOVE the story of the suit Dory sports on the cover.

The Year of the Book (Anna Wang #1) by Andrea Cheng with illustrations by Abigail Halpin

A wonderful series bridging between transitional chapter books and longer middle grade reads. Grades 3 and up.

A Tale of Two Kitties (Dog Man #3) by Dav Pilkey

I couldn’t resist reading this one before it makes its way into my classroom library and is never seen again.

Swing it Sunny by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm

Sequel to Sunny Side Up. I know many of my Grade 4 and 5 readers from last year will be clamouring to read this one. It is well done with incredible details from the 70s.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 244/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 43 books behind schedule. Closing in on 40!

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 34/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Refugee by Alan Gratz

Monday March 28th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. I haven’t been teaching for the past two weeks (Spring Break) so I don’t have any reading photos from my classroom. Instead, I will share a view I had on holiday for a week. This was what I looked at when I sat in my reading and writing place. This is early morning after a night of rain.

Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

As we were away last week, I didn’t share a #IMWAYR post so this post includes 2 weeks of reading. Lots of novels!

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:

I have written everyday for the Slice of Life challenge. All of these posts can be found here.

If you missed it, I celebrated our week long author/illustrator study of Melissa Sweet here: Riding Through an Artist’s Life

Books I enjoyed:

The Dead Bird written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Christian Robinson

This is the newly illustrated (2016) edition of Brown‘s 1938 title. I think it is beautiful. Perfectly captures children’s fascination with death and their gentle care. I purchased this one for my collection of books on death and grief.

The Dead Bird Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Spare Dog Parts written by Alison Hughes and illustrated by Ashley Spires

A little girl imagines how her dog must have come to be. Lots of charming in Spires’ illustrations.

Spare Dog Parts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

I shared lesson ideas for this title in my #nfpb2016 post this week. A must own.

 Pink is for Blobfish Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

The Princess in Black and the Angry Bunny Horde (Princess in Black #3) written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Seriously this is wacky. Purple bunnies that can destroy a landscape or worse in mere moments, on masse. But the best kind of wacky! Love this series for young readers!

Princess in Black #3 Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This would make the ideal middle grade read aloud or book club selection- truly something for everyone! One of the first books of 2016, I won’t stop talking about!


Some Kind of Courage Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Stand Off  (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West continues to be one of my all time favourite characters. The characters in this book . . . Just fantastic.

Stand Off (Winger #2) Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

 All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I read this aloud to my family – my 13 year old twins and my husband. Such a powerful story to share. We had moments of silence. On a few pages, I wept. It prompted many conversations. Incredible read.

All American Boys Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead 

This may be one of the all time most wise and wonderful book about preteen/young teen relationships ever. Friendships, choices, worries, decisions, forgiveness, care . . . Stead is an incredible writer.

Goodbye Stranger Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Paper Hearts  Meg Wivott   

A novel in verse based on the true story of a group of young women who were forced to work at the munitions factory in Auschwitz while they were imprisoned in the camps. A story of incredible courage, friendship and survival. I couldn’t put it down.

Paper-Hearts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

Someone passed an ARC on to me and I opened the book and never looked up. I love Kephart’s writing more with each book. Reading her words is like being immersed in something beautiful. Everywhere you look is an image you want to hold on to and savour. Released in April 2016. Highly recommended.

This is the Story of You Beth Kephart Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 14/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 84/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 15/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 9/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys Our family read aloud is Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Monday March 7th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week I have two to share.

I love the joy and focus these girls showcased during buddy reading.

Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

And I appreciated being shown the best page in Ballet Cat according to this little reader.

Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Our #classroombookaday titles this week received lots of book love!

Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.


I haven’t shared a #IMWAYR post for two weeks. I have been to two full day Literacy conferences (one in Bellingham and one in Vancouver) and one nErD camp in the past two weeks. I just finished report cards. And, I am writing daily for the March Slice of Life challenge. Busy, busy, busy. Not as much reading as I would like but . . . enough to share happily here!

On the blog:

A number of Slice of Life posts: The Promise of a Day, Threes and Repeats, Those Everyday people, Freedom Arms, A Mom themeWriting Happens HereEyes on the Corner, Hey Little One

A Q & A post with author Tara Lazar to launch Normal Norman

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The Way to School

Books I enjoyed:

Ribbit! written by Rodrigo Folgueira and illustrated by Poly Bernatene

Themes of connection, community and inclusivity. All of these themes are addressed in the most clever of ways. What happens when a little pink pig exclaims “Ribbit!” while sitting amongst the lily pads?

Ribbit! Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Ben Says Goodbye written by Sarah Ellis and illustrated by Kim LaFave

Losing a friend to a move is a huge loss for so many children. This title addresses those big emotions in a lovely, believable way.

Ben Says Goodbye Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Bloom written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by David Small

I adore David Small and it was so much fun to see his work here in a fairy tale like setting. A story of mud and rolling up your sleeves to get the job done! Loved the girl power here!

Bloom Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

If I Had a Gryphon written by Vicki VanSickle and illustrated by Cale Atkinson

Pet wishing, imagining and pondering – wonderfully off the scale! I want a gryphon!

If I Had a Gryphon Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Over-Scheduled Andrew by Ashley Spires

Spires addresses such a growing problem for so many children: schedules that take over children’s lives – leaving little time for friendships and down time.

Over-Scheduled Andrew Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Steve Raised By Wolves by Jared Chapman

So, wolf like habits don’t really match an elementary school setting. Or do they? Hilarious!

Steve Raised By Wolves Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Skunk on a String by Thao Lam

You have probably never thought about how you would react if a skunk floated by. In this wordless tale, spy as one does just that . . . All kinds of reactions and commotion ensue. Quite delightful!

Skunk on a String Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me written by Danielle Marcotte and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

A home where books and reading are treasured and reading is modelled and celebrated. This child is raised with all that stories can provide. This title also touches on all that we read – the faces of clocks, expressions, the sky . . .

Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 7/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 66/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 13/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 8/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin and continue reading All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely with my family.

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!

Monday November 19th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Join Jen and Kellee’s meme to share all of the reading you are doing from picture books to young adult novels. This is one of the best ways to build your knowledge of new book titles and to be part of a fantastic reading community.

This week I was happy to start The One and Only Ivan with our student book club! Our first book of the year – Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper was a huge hit! So much so that we had Moms, Dads and siblings joining us and reading along! Some even commented on the blog! 🙂

Weird but True 4 by National Geographic Kids was a fun read aloud to share with my own children as an alternative to reading our novel each night. (Although we are almost finished The Search for Wondla!) What we thought would be a few quick pages read together became a big chunk of time discussing our connections, questions and background knowledge about the different information we read.

My daughter’s favourite fact: The world’s largest outdoor swimming pool (at that height) is an 150 meter pool atop a 55 story hotel in Singapore. “I definitely want to go there,” she exclaimed. My son’s highlight from the book: There are twice as many chickens on Earth as people. “That’s cool. And I don’t want to eat them so there might be even more soon!” Hmm . . .?

Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems I love the extra being prepared nature of Gerald and the chanting together of certain words. I experienced this book when two girls in my class read it to me, one reading Piggie’s part and the other Gerald’s. They read with great expression and I giggled quietly.

Those Darn Squirrels Fly South written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri was shared by a guest reader in my class this week. I enjoyed it so much I brought it home to share with my own children. My son gave it a 6/5 rating! He is normally pretty stingy with his high scores but if it makes him laugh out loud, it fast becomes a favourite. Read about how my class enjoyed this story here. This is the third book featuring Old Man Fookwire and “those darn squirrels.” This title has some extremely humourous parts. I adored the squirrel hug, the creative flying contraptions the squirrels fashioned and as always Fookwire’s exceptionally grumpy ways (he berates the clouds for being too fluffy!)

Food Chain by M.P. Robertson. I’ve had my eye out for M.P. Robertson titles new to me since I was reminded last week of how talented he is after reading Frank ‘n’ Stan. This book follows a little goldfish after he is flushed down the toilet by a boy whose curiosities turn thoughtless. The little fish ends up in the big ocean and we begin to see who eats who. Bigger seems better that’s for sure. Our little boy from the beginning of the story gets a few doses of what my students quickly recognize as “karma.” Gorgeous illustrations and few words on each page leave a lot of space to infer and discuss.

Keeping with the who eats who in the water world theme, I read Ugly Fish by Kara Lareau and illustrated by Scott Magoon to the primary gathering this week. It definitely was a crowd pleaser from K to Grade 3! Ugly Fish is nasty to every visitor to his tank. So nasty in fact that after exchanging a few unpleasantries with each new fish, he gobbles them up. Eventually, he realizes that he may be King of his Tank but he is very alone. When a new fish arrives, and Ugly Fish has decided to change his ways, this new (bigger) visitor isn’t exactly ready to make nice. Spoiler: more karma. You can imagine what happens . . .

Binky Takes Charge by Ashley Spires. Very hard not to adore Binky! I love what my  daughter says about Binky: “I love Binky because he has all of these adventures but really he isn’t having them. But you wouldn’t want to tell him that. He’s too cute.” We loved meeting Gordon and laughed at how his eager puppy energy conflicted with Binky’s frequently scheduled naps.

The novel I finished this week was Sharon Creech‘s The Great Unexpected. I loved the lyrical and mysterious flow of this book. I’m hesitant to write about it in detail because I am still savouring the perfect mix of simplicity and complicated, reality and fantasy, memory and now. This story is many stories all shaken up into one, it becomes more powerful as bits and pieces intertwine with one another. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if it all makes sense. The journey and possibilities were divine.

Kidsbooks sale – so some new books to our class!

Vancouver Kidsbooks just had its annual sale so a little book shopping was necessary!

Kate DiCamillo is a favourite author (Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux). Her beginning chapter book series (about  Mercy Watson, an adored pet pig) was an instant hit in our classroom.  So much so I had to choose numbers between 1 and 100 to pass out the first 3 books in the series to eager little hands during quiet reading this morning. And the books each have an understood “I’m next” list attached to them.

mercy watson

We also got the new Binky book by Ashley Spires! Binky the Space Cat has been a very popular book in our Graphics bin.

The newest Binky (Binky to the Rescue) flew off the new book ledge as well!

Happy reading everyone!