Monday May 5th, 2014

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. The best way to grow your TBR list!

I have been busy writing many blog posts to celebrate a lot of literacy related events in my classroom. Blog highlights include:

On my classroom blog Curiosity Racers, I shared about our amazing Skype experience with author Liesl Shurtliff and a photo heavy thank you to the Writers’ Exchange. On this blog, I shared the process of how we got a book full of student stories published through working with the Writers’ Exchange.

My very favourite of the picture books I read:

Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants written by Barbara Ann Porte and illustrated by Annie Cannon

Sorry for the blurry image – had trouble finding an image online (the book was published in 2000) This book is a great read aloud for listeners who can handle a longer title. Set in China many years ago we meet the Ma family who makes a living selling orange ants to the orange growers who use the ants in their orange groves to protect their fruit from insects (the ants eat the pests not the fruit). When Jiang’s father and older brothers are called to serve in the Emperor’s Army, how will the family survive? A fascinating story of ingenuity, history and family ties. My children found this story fascinating when I read it aloud to them.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Max’s Magic Seeds written by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Jean-Pierre Corderoch 

This book totally speaks to me. A botanist uncle with huge bags of flower seeds. Guerilla gardening of sorts. Making joy and community happen one blossom at a time. Would be great to pair with The Curious Garden by Peter Brown.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Ruby’s Wish written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

I love this title! One little girl in a prosperous Chinese family wants an education like her brothers and male cousins, not a future that includes marriage and motherhood. Based on the life of the author’s grandmother. A beautiful example of a little girl who speaks up and the grandfather who hears her.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Oh my, my, this pigeon! He is channeling all children who resist, resist, resist the bath and then, absolutely refuse to get out. My children still do this!

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Found by Salina Yoon

I read this at the bookstore the other day and it was all I could do to leave it in the store. Absolutely adorable. So sweet that the bear tries so hard to find the owner of the lost rabbit he finds. Can he help it if on this search, he becomes very attached? Sometimes things are just meant to be. There sure is a lot of doing the right thing in this book! 🙂

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Hi, Koo! by Jon J Muth

I have only one complaint. It is absolutely impossible to pick a favourite poem. Can’t even narrow it to top three. And the illustrations . . . sigh!

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

What a fantastic biography for our nonfiction collections. This book tells the story of Eleanor Prentiss who broke the world record for sailing from New York City to San Francisco around the tip of Cape Horn and its treacherous waters. In 1851, a female navigator was unheard of let alone one that could sail at record speeds. A fantastic story of adventure, determination and absolute bravery.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Finished just one novel

All That’s Missing by Sarah Sullivan

I really enjoyed this middle grade novel about Arlo, an eleven year old boy living with his grandfather who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. With nobody else to care for him when his grandfather ends up in the hospital, Arlo searches for an estranged grandmother who might be able to help. All about finding family, making friends and creating home.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

What’s up next? I am just about to begin Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee. 

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 228/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 61/65 complete

Tales, Tails and Tadpoles

We read an interesting information story book called Tale of a Tadpole by Barbara Ann Porte. Illustrations by Annie Cannon.

Before we read, we peeked at some of the pictures and wrote some questions about tadpoles in our Wonder web:

Kevin wondered:

What do they eat? How fast can they swim? What are their predators? Do they have parasites?

Emily also had some questions:

Why is their tail so long? Why are they brown? How do they swim? Why are they so small?

Some other great questions from Jena:

How come they transform? Do they have gills? How do they get out of their eggs? Do they eat fish?

As we read, we asked more questions and read on to see if we could find out the answers. At the end of the story, we found out that we had learned a lot and everyone chose one of the key questions to answer in more detail. One surprise for everybody was that the tadpole in this story turned into a toad, not a frog. The grandfather in the story explained the differences between frogs and toads and we were all eager to discover what these were.

Many people explained some of the differences between frogs and toads in their writing. Jeremiah wrote: “Toads have bumps on their back but frogs don’t. Frogs have smooth skin.” Eddy explained, “Toads live in the woods and frogs live in ponds.”

Another topic that many people chose to write about was why the tadpole’s tail got smaller. Hajhare writes, “Frogs get energy from their tails.” Jenifer gave us a few more details: “All the nutrients from the tail go into the body, this makes the tail small.”

Information storybooks such as a Tale of a Tadpole are a great way to learn a lot of new information while enjoying a great story. We find that when we ask lots of questions before we read, we are even more eager to read and see what new information we can find out.