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.

IMG_2716IMG_2780

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

 

My Must Read Titles for 2019

For those readers and list makers, nothing is more exciting than January! The time to make an amazing list of books to read for the year!

Where will our reading lives take us? What adventures and emotions will we experience through the books we read? Always, there are endless possibilities.

So many books. Limited time.

New books to distract us from other books.

A must read list ensures not all are forgotten!

#MustReadin2019

Join the #MustReadin2019 community!

To read more about the challenge and add your list, read here.

MustReadnovels

Here are the 30 titles I am going to try and read over this year. As always these titles will represent only a portion of my reading. My goal? To read most of these. I use this list like a road map of where to turn next when I come to a pause in my reading choices. It is always waiting to guide me. But it also waits patiently when I am distracted by new books. Often, I am.

Making a list like this – a To Read list – also allows us to reflect on the reading that we want to do. I know I want to emphasize middle grade novels. I didn’t read as much as I usually do in 2018 so my list has more titles that are published in 2018 or earlier (19 titles) and fewer 2019 releases (11 titles).

Here is my list:

Published in 2018 or earlier

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

After Zero by Christina Collins

After Zero

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Read April 7th 2019 5 stars

Hey, Kiddo

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Read April 19th 2019 5 stars

The Dollar Kids

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson Read January 6th 2019 5 stars

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena  Read February 11th 2019 4 stars

A Girl Like That

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway Read February 17th 2019 5 stars

Far from the Tree

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden  Read March 19th 2019 5 stars

The Benefits of Being an Octopus

Lu by Jason Reynolds

Lu

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan Read January 22nd 2019 4 stars

All that I can fix, chan

From You to Me by K.A. Holt

Girl sitting on pier and lookingat the river

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier  Read March 24th 2019 5 stars

Sweep

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Tight

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart Read January 29th 2019 5 stars

Wild Blues

(Time Castaways #1) The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

The Mona lisa key

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang  Read March 2nd 2019 5 stars

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Published in 2019 

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Padma Venkatraman The Bridge Home

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu Read May 12th 2019 5 stars

The Lost Girl

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Dig by A.S. King

Dig, King

Song for A Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for A Whale

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Read March 7th 2019 4 stars

Shouting at the Rain

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

OtherWordsHome

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Where the Heart is by Jo Knowles

Where the Heart is

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James by Ashley Herring Blake

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James

What novels are at the top of your TBR list? Please share! 

 

Must Read in 2016 Spring update

It’s time for our first #MustReadin2016 update! How are you doing with your list? Making progress? Only read a few? Enjoying other titles? Please share!

MustReadin2016challenge

This is my list of 30 titles and my thinking back in January:

“My goal is to try and get to most of these. Including them here guarantees they remain on my radar because as I made this list, I had very good reason for placing them on it. If the reasons remain, the book will be read. That’s usually how it works.”

#MustReadin2016

I seem to be on a reading roll with this list so the reasons must have been excellent! I have read 12 titles so far, which is 40% of my list 4 months into the year. And . . . I am in the middle of 2 more of these books.

Titles I finished (listed in the order I read them):

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm 

Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo 

More Happy Than Not by  Adam Silvera

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Stand Off by Andrew Smith

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Paper Hearts by Meg Wivott   

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

I gave each of these titles a 4 or 5 stars and at this point, I can’t really pick a favourite. All of them are well worth reading. If I had to select a few to do a little extra raving about, it would be these titles:

Stand Off by Andrew Smith (YA)

The main character in this novel (sequel to Winger) is a character everyone needs to meet. I will always have such a soft spot in my heart for Ryan Dean West. Start with Winger if you haven’t read it!

Stand Off (Winger #2)

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (MG)

This really was some kind of courage depicted in this title. Full of adventure and still incredibly character driven. An excellent middle grade novel – wonderful as a read alone or a read aloud.

Some Kind of Courage

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart 9YA)

I adore Beth Kephart‘s writing. I truly get lost in her words and images and begin to view the world differently. More beautifully. If you have yet to read a Kephart novel, this is a lovely read.

This is the Story of You Beth Kephart

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (YA)

I read this aloud to my family (2 thirteen year olds and my husband). We all were hooked very quickly. I wept reading the final pages. A MUST for high school libraries.

All American Boys

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2016 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2016 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2016 bloggers/readers and get inspired! And of course, everyone loves comments to know that you have visited!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2016? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists.

Next update will be on September 1st 2016!

HAPPY READING

 

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.

IMWAYR 2015

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

I decided to stick to middle grade and young adult titles.  I chose authors where I have read three or more titles and who I can’t read to read more from.

 Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shared alphabetically by author and featuring one of my favourite titles from each:

Kate DiCamillo How to pick a favourite DiCamillo title? I have to choose Flora and Ulysses because it was pure pleasure to read this aloud to my class. Some sentences were better than the best chocolate in my mouth. And yes, there is that Newbery medal . . . 🙂

flora and ulysses  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Beth Kephart There is such a beautiful quality to Kephart‘s writing. I love many of her books but I think Going Over is my favourite.

Going Over Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shannon Hale I have read many, many Shannon Hale titles but I think the book that I would read again and again is Princess Academy. It is one title that every child I pass it to absolutely loves.

 Princess Academy  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

A.S. King I fell fast after I read my first A.S. King title. My favourite? Everybody Sees the Ants Lucky Linderman is unforgettable.

Everybody Sees the Ants  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Jo Knowles is another author that after reading one book, I went on to read every book. Which book hit me hardest? See You at Harry’s I was a weepy mess reading this beautiful book.

 See You at Harry's  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

It will be no surprise to Barbara O’Connor that she is on this list I am sure. She is probably the author I most often recommend to be read aloud in the classroom. But I think it is this book – Greetings from Nowhere that is most often on my mind as of late. I think it is calling me to reread it.

 Greetings from Nowhere  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Kenneth Oppel may be the author I have most often read aloud to my own children. But my favourite from him is one I read just on my own: Half Brother. I treasure my signed copy.

 Half Brother  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Andrew Smith seemed to write books faster than I could read them. After hearing him speak, I now know why this appeared to be the case.. I love the characters in Winger so much that this is my favourite title.

Winger  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Even though I am highly addicted to the Raven Boys titles, it is The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater that I love best.

 Scorpio Races  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Deborah Wiles – oh this author. Again, I am choosing a title that was such a delight to read aloud: Each Little Bird that Sings Such a beautiful book full of heartbreak and hope.

each little bird  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for ThatWhich authors have you read again and again?

Monday July 6th 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer and I am not surrounded every day with little readers, what can I do? Choose favourite, not yet shared moments of course! From the classroom 2014/2015 archives: Mr. Putter and Tabby love shared 🙂 Because sometimes, life needs to be all about tea and neighbours and cozy cats.

Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

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.

imwayr

This is my annual July novels only #IMWAYR post. Every summer, my family and I (sisters, husbands, parents, grandparents and children galore) travel a few hours out of the city and spend a week making kids happy. Lots of sorbet and gelato, swimming multiple times a day, lake appreciation, farms and goat cheese and quirky small town places. I also pack a pile of novels and try and read as much as possible. This week it was these titles, all 5 titles were 5 star books for me:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

How do you read a book like this and not be changed? I couldn’t put this book down. I felt like I may not have blinked. As I read this I was convinced that humanity is the most beautiful and the most horrible thing all at the same time. And when it felt the most horrible, this was a hard, hard read. I am grateful for Beah’s memory, his ability to tell his story, his sharing of hurt and pain and absolute mind numbing despair. A must read novel.

A Long Way Gone- Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

Well. Where to start? This book is about so many things. It is a love story. It is about racism and judgement. Prejudice and fear. It is about characters who you will root for in times that don’t support them. It’s about football. If you love the sport, you will appreciate it. If you aren’t that interested, it’s about these characters playing football. And you will read about these characters doing anything. Highly recommended.

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley  Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

Reading about the Penderwicks is soothing. It’s celebratory. It is like coming home after a long trip and being absolutely charmed by the known, the ordinary, the nuances of family. I love every little detail on every page. If you too are a Penderwicks fan, then story details don’t matter, reuniting with these characters is as wonderful as you hoped it might be.

The Penderwicks in Spring Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The courage of a student, the compassion of a teacher, the celebration of spirit. Loved this little gem of a book. And a big shout out to the character of Albert – you are my kind of super hero!

Fish In A Tree Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

I am such a fan of Beth Kephart’s writing. I get lost in her words. I reread for beauty, not clarity. I am okay with confusion. I am reminded that the world is a beautiful place, to be aware of all of my senses, to see what I might have been missing. This is a story of Nadia. A neurological disorder removes her from her own narrative. So she weaves (literally) stability and reality into nests, takes refuge (strangely) in stolen and beautiful things and races away from her own fear of what is happening to her. Set in Florence. Rain, blossoms, cups of tea. Gorgeous, gorgeous story telling.

One Thing Stolen Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 35/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 229/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 14/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 47/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 25/50 books read

Up next? I spotted The Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine on Kellee’s #MustReadin2015 update last week and just picked it up at the library. Other titles in my “will be reading soon” pile include Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff and Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose (both on my #MustReadin2015 list)

Top Ten Titles read so far in 2015

Once again, I am thrilled to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s theme? Top Ten Titles I’ve read so far in 2015

I read widely so this will be a mix of picture books (fiction and non) and middle grade and young adult reads. I am curious to see which of these titles will remain on my final top 2015 books list in December.

For this list, not all titles are published in 2015 but are titles I have read since January.

Which books made this list? Titles I keep thinking about . . .

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

I always say there is power in the pencil (or pen, or marker, etc) – this book celebrates the creativity on the page. But on the page is so much more. I want to share it with each group of children I teach for forever . . .

My Pen Top Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Wordless perfection. I love everything about this book. How it is about little things, being in the moment, noticing, kindness . . .

sidewalk flowers Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

Wish by Matthew Cordell

This is a book I have fallen hard for. I had a long journey to motherhood. This book honours this. But it is also a book to share anytime with any group of children you adore. I read it to my class on our last day of school. I told them I had been waiting for them and now that they had been my students, all is just better. So very true.

WIshTen Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

Explore just how enormous a blue whale really is. Gorgeous.

The Blue Whale Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah written by Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

A fantastic nonfiction picture book biography. True inspiration.

Emmanuel's Dream- The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

So much grief and challenge but the humanity shines bright. Highly recommended.

boy in the black suit Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

Going Over by Beth Kephart 

This is a story and a piece of art. I can see reading this book over and over because it is so very, very rich in imagery and emotion. It is painful. It is beautiful. It is haunting

Going OverTen Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

We Were Here by Matt de la Peña

These characters, sigh. I feel like I could go for a walk and I might find them standing on a corner, watching people go by. I would want to run up and talk about courage and honesty and deep morals and true loyalty. I would want to buy them a sandwich. I would want to know that their worlds are all going to be okay

We Were Here Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

A powerful story about the pull of home, the strength of family, the importance of culture and the complexities of personal and family histories.

Listen, Slowly Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin

Beautifully written. Loftin manages to leave her readers always a little on edge yet completely attached to the emotional story line she shares. It’s almost as if the magic suggested in the story floats off the page and whispers quietly, “Come in. Immerse yourself. Feel.”

Wish Girl  Ten Titles read so far in 2015 There's a Book for That

What titles have you loved this year?