Monday July 15th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?


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! Checking out all of the blogs that link up is a wonderful way to discover new titles.

I just realized that about a year ago today July 16th, 2012 was the first time I participated in the It’s Monday What are you Reading? meme. I have learned so much in this year of being part of the #IMWAYR community. My Mondays would not be the same without sharing my reading from the week and learning about great titles from others who participate.

This week we were away on an almost week long family trip so most of my reading was novel reading. But here are three picture books that were new to me:

Dot written and illustrated by Patricia Intriago There is a lot to this book revealed through much simplicity. Concepts and opposites are covered and much is left for thought and imagining. This book will make its new home in my buddy reading bin – what a wonderful title to share.

Dot 2

The Red Book written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman I loved the magical and fantasy elements to this wordless book. The connection between characters and the book (as a real part of this very book) was intriguing.

the red book

Phooey! written and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal Many details to explore in this book with such old fashioned feel. The message is a simple one – you will find boredom if you are convinced it is following you. There is so much happening via the illustrations in this story it is difficult to summarize. My favourite detail – a sign at the fruit stand that reads: Navel Oranges: Extra Bouncy. Fantastic sound effect noises: boing, whoop. zip, ploink, klump, etc.


I also finished a number of MG and YA novels:

Doll Bones by Holly Black This might have been my favourite novel this week. I cannot wait for it to come out in paperback so we can purchase multiple copies for our student book club. So much to wonder about, question and reflect upon. Even though I was prepared for creepy (and creepy was delivered) I would also describe this book as tender and vulnerable. It is an adventure novel full of mystery, intrigue and hauntings but it is also a story of friendship and a story of the journey from childhood to the beginning of young adulthood. What lies ahead and what is left behind? Absolutely captivating.

Doll Bones 2

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Challenging circumstances for a young boy left at a campsite by his mother. He experiences much confusion over doing what he needs to do to keep himself safe and protecting his life with his mother. I found Jack’s turmoil very believable. His loyalty to his Mom and their life was always front and center despite the fear and obstacles he faced. A compelling story that I read in one sitting. 


Almost Home by Joan Bauer I so wanted to love this book and I just didn’t. I found the character of Sugar just too sweet. But I seem to be in the minority. My ten year old daughter read it and loved it and I see on Goodreads that this book has a number of excellent reviews. Something about this title just didn’t ring true for me. And I didn’t love the poetry . . . Not all titles are a match despite one’s positive anticipation.


Torn Away by James Heneghan This was the most recent story I read aloud to my children. Published in 1996, this novel details a young boy’s grief and anger after his Mother and young sister are killed in a bombing while celebrating a birthday lunch in Belfast. He is sent (without any degree of willingness) to Canada to live with his Aunt and Uncle and he rebels against the idea of settling with a family, determined to return to Ireland to join the IRA and seek revenge for the murders of his family. Forces readers to explore the importance of family and connection. An emotional read.

torn away

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn I saw this title on Sarah’s (from YA Love) blog post about favourite titles and it caught my eye. It is a very upsetting story about an abusive relationship between two teenagers told through the diary of Nick who realizes with his first romantic relationship, that he has been influenced by his father’s violence in ways he wasn’t expecting. This is a story of aggression and ugly controlling actions. Important that the reader can experience the point of view of the abuser but yet the role is never romanticized. Definitely see this as an important book for high school students to read and discuss.


What’s up next in my reading life?

I am almost finished Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Tonight I begin a new read aloud with my children –  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Next up for me: P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-GarciaA Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean and Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Monday June 10th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads! A fantastic way to learn about new titles.

It’s report card writing season so my reading has been interfered with . . . But I managed to sneak in some fantastic titles!

In picture books . . . .

I found three new lovely board books for my Kindergarten buddy reading collection:

Northwest Coast Native Animals by Kelly Robinson Students loved the gorgeous illustrations and many connected to art they have seen in their homes and relative’s communities up north. Bright, beautiful and perfect for sharing.

northwest coast native animals

Good Morning World by Paul Windsor A lovely board book that celebrates nature and the world around us. Students have loved sharing this title with their little buddies.


Old Bear by Kevin Henkes I was pleasantly surprised by the stunning colours of the seasons in this story. Such a gentle tale about an old bear dreaming about his days as a cub. Soothing and sweet.

old bear

Other picture books I enjoyed:

Ivy Loves to Give by Freya Blackwood I think Freya Blackwood is such a gifted illustrator. I adore her blog.  This is a picture book perfect for a story time setting about a little girl, Ivy, who loves to gift things she finds to whoever is near. Often, her gifts don’t quite match the needs of the recipient but her generosity is treasured.


Museum Trip a wordless book by Barbara Lehman This book is about getting lost on many levels – but quite nicely not about lost and being scared. More of an adventure – getting lost in the pictures of mazes quite literally . . .

museum trip

My two favourite picture books of the week:

Big Wolf and Little Wolf: The Little Leaf that Wouldn’t Fall by Nadine Brun-Cosme and Olivier Tallec Oh how I am coming to adore these two long snouted wolves and their adventures through all that is friendship and nature and love. Devotion. Bravery. Patience. I don’t want to give anything away so I will just say that there is much that is simple and celebratory of the wonder and complexity of nature and near the end a moment of pure beautiful.

leaf that wouldn't fall

A Hen for Izzy Pippick written by Aubrey Davis and illustrated by Marie Lafrance I confess to falling for this book before I even read it. I loved everything about the cover – the greens, the pluck of the girl and hen marching across the page, the quirky title . . . So I could have been disappointed. But not even close. I adored this book through every page (and it is a longer picture book). This book celebrates what we don’t often encounter in a picture book: honesty and a fierce determination to simply do what is right. Yet, this story is not overly dramatic. It is actually quite amusing and whimsical. We meet Shaina who in protecting a hen that belongs to the illusive Izzy Pippik starts a bit of a chicken invasion in her small village. All the while waiting for the return of Izzy Pippik. This story is inspired by Jewish and Islamic traditional texts.

hen for izzy pippik

I also finished two novels:

Clementine and the Spring Trip written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Marla Frazee In my family, Clementine has reached a sort of cult status. Even though we read our first Clementine story way back (five years ago) when my chldren were five, they have not become too old for another Clementine story. Each time, a new book in the series is published, we need to read it! Immediately! We read this story in probably three sit down read aloud sessions and felt like we curled up with our old friend. Many giggles over the mystery of the very unpleasant odour of Bus #7. Can’t wait for the next one!


As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins I liked this book but I didn’t love it. I thought I should at least really like it. But it was simply just “like” Even though the writing is great. . .  The storyline is very interesting. The characters have some wonderfully odd elements to them. Yet, nothing pulled at me to keep reading this book. It was like being offered a very nice cup of tea. But I just don’t really like tea – I want my strong black coffee. Lots of adventure and some of it was very dramatic but I never felt on the edge of my seat. A story of a summer trip that goes sideways in every way.

s easy as

What is on my reading horizon? I just started Torn Away by James Heneghan as a read aloud to my children. I started reading Accomplice by  Eireann Corrigan – a young adult novel I knew very little about going in so we shall see . . . I have many books on hold at the library and looks like they might all arrive at once! So I had better get these report cards written!