Favourites of 2016

Which books stand out from a year of reading? It’s a difficult list to make. The turmoil is sweet though as I get to revisit favourite books and the memories I have attached to them. I made this list quickly this year. No second guessing. Quick and determined. These books are especially wonderful from the list of many that I loved this year.

The 16 books that made the final cut? They showcased beautiful words and imagery. I got lost in the sounds, in the text, in the beauty of the language and in the wonder of the illustrations. These titles also spoke to my heart. All of the emotions are here. Especially hope. Hope feels particularly important this year.

16 books and no more than 16 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2015 (15 books, 15 words) In 2014, it was Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words) In 2013, it was Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

 Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

This year I chose 8 picture books and 8 novels. (Nonfiction favourites will be in another post)

First the picture books!

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

A sweet, colourful adventure that allows us to talk about loss in a gentle, imaginative way.

Grandad's Island Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Full of love. This book honours relationships and reveals all of the emotions in letting go.

Ida, Always  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell with illustrations by Rafael López

Art can change a neighbourhood and pull together community in some beautiful ways.

Maybe Something Beautiful  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

What is poetry? Open your eyes to the world and you will find it.

Daniel Finds a Poem  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato

Love is love. Love is love. Love is love.

Worm Loves Worm  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Poetry that lets us meander across the page picking words and images to celebrate. Perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo

The search for silence. Be in awe of the calm and simplicity.

The Sound of Silence  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

 Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

Follow a little penguin through a largely pessimistic day. Then some perspective happens (mostly) . . .

 A Penguin Problem  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

These novels completely absorbed me.

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

A lone bee buzzing in your ear. A story wrapped up in history and magic. Believe.

hour of the Bees  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

A title that celebrates family, community, resilience and strength of character. And one very amazing boy.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Captivating. Root for a kid that has much against him and can run like the wind.

ghost  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Hope wins. An emotional story of a family coping with cancer treatment and holding it together.

Counting Thyme  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

A 9/11 story. In the midst of loss, shock and pain is connection, hope and love.

 The Memory of Things  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

When Friendship Followed me Home by Paul Griffin

There will be tears. Sadness. Bits of your heart will break. Worth it. So worth it.

when-friendship-followed-me-home  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Full of adventure, wartime atrocities, human kindness and connection. Incredible historical fiction.

Salt to the sea  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Beautiful, emotional and raw. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Pax  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2017 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have!

An early intermediate library is such fun to build. Students are ready for longer chapter books with more complex and compelling story lines but they still adore silly and engaging stories that some early graphics and picture books might offer them. Picture books can be clever and witty and nonfiction can be managed quite independently. So many possibilities!

What twenty titles from 2016 do I think are must have books in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom library?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

This book love is inspired by my students’ reading passions and my own reading journey as I source books for them.

Listed alphabetically by author:

Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol

Kids this age are beginning to understand that alone time is precious and sometimes hard to achieve. This is wonderfully humorous!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

How a story about a robot can be so tender, I don’t know. Heavily illustrated which makes it wonderfully rich. Themes of compassion, kindness and connection.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Achy and real. This book will squeeze you heart. A beautiful, teary emotional ride. But full of hope, not sad. At least not too much sad. The hope wins.

Counting Thyme Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

 Giant Squid Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Just pure poetry perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This is the read aloud I am starting with in January.

Some Kind of Courage Monday Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

This book! Ben Hatke is a super hero in my classroom. This will become the “it” book in the room. Prepare to never see it again except when a child holds it wailing, “When does the next one come out?” (Fall of 2017) Relatable and fantastical all at once.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

There are so many reasons to share this story with children. It is a story of hope, of change, of perseverance, of the power of music and the beauty of community. A story of transformation.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

A book to explore endlessly. Infographics are an incredible source of information. Use this book to teach how to access this information correctly.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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

This title features a number of “pink” creatures from around the world and shares some of the wild and wacky facts about each one. Every page also includes specific information under these headings: Name, Species name, Size, Diet, Habitat, Predators and threats. 

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

Learn about the different kinds of teeth you have in your mouth: incisors, canines and molars. Find out how other mammals use their teeth and why they are different sizes and shapes. How are human teeth similar and different compared to other mammals? How do the teeth of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores differ?

Tooth by Tooth Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Big emotions is a tiny book. Necessary for young readers. All about the challenging process of saying goodbye.

Ida, Always Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Who would think that ice fishing, Irish dancing, magical elements and heroin addiction could be combined to create a story that is impossible both to put down and then impossible to keep from immediately recommending? I have much gratitude to Kate Messner for writing this book.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Readers will fall hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. This would be a fantastic read aloud or an engaging read alone.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Oh, the kid appeal! I chuckled through this and did a lot of head shaking. There is one scene that involves a pile of dog poop that I know I never would have thought of – thankfully! This book continues to be read and reread in my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

CaveBoy Dave: More Scrawny than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew

Highly appealing. A relatable underdog main character. Lots of poop. Again, the poop! Prehistoric creatures. Action. Adventure. Humour. And . . . a series! What more could kids want?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

Because fairy tales can be incredible. Reimagined and retold can go wrong but Shurtliff always gets it right (add Rump and Jack to your collection too!)

Red Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh

A gorgeous book – Tonatiuh gives us an interpretation of the Mexican legend how the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl came to be.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Ravi has just moved from India. Joe has been here for what seems forever. They share a few things in common – a relationship with a bully and the daily classroom and lunch room experiences of middle school. Alternately narrated by both characters, this book reminds us that it is challenging for all kids to fit in, to find your way and to be noticed for who you are.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Willems is more than brilliant and doesn’t disappoint in any way in this last Elephant and Piggie title. Students this age have had Willems as a staple of their reading lives. This book is a must have. They will grieve that there will be no more Elephant & Piggie and then get back to celebrating all the ways Elephant & Piggie are part of who they are!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Intermediate libraries? They need a mix of everything!

Love books. Give your students lots of time to read. Let them choose books so they can read widely and obsessively. Read aloud daily. Share often. Gush and be ridiculously demonstrative with your book love!

Build your library.

Invest in your readers.

They matter.

Happy Reading!

 

20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015

I so often agonize over this list, my favourite nonfiction titles of the year. Which titles should go on my favourites list? I have a very special spot for nonfiction picture books and LOVE being part of this Wednesday community hosted by Alyson Beecher.

I literally ran out to the library to pick up holds in the middle of writing this post to squeeze in a few more nonfiction reads. Then, I tried reading and blogging at the same time. I have mastered reading and folding laundry (although the sock matching often goes south) but reading while typing is a tad too challenging. So I took some breaks, read a few more books and made a few changes. Finally, 20 favourites emerged.

2015 Nonfiction Picture Books 20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

I always have a love of picture book biographies I might share in my classroom. So these featured big on this list.

In Mary’s Garden by Tina and Carson Kugler

In Mary's Garden  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Sky Painter written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Aliona Bereghici

The Sky Painter  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for ThatWhich Trombone Shorty written by Troy Andrews and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Trombone Shorty  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Finding Winnie  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

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

Emmanuel's Dream- The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López

Drum Dream Girl  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli

Tricky Vic- The Impossilby True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

swan the life and dance of anna pavlova  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

After experiencing water shortages this year on the rainy south coast, water is also on my mind. I found relevant and wonderful 2015 titles.

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Raindrops Roll  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Water is Water 20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

And then there are always certain nonfiction topics I am obsessed with: nests and eggs, whales, plants and seeds, endangered animals, Australian animals and rocks. I found titles that covered most of these things from 2015’s offerings.

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

The Blue Whale  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

Nest  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Big Red Kangaroo written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne

big red kangaroo  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Emu written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne

Emu

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild is written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Stephen Walton. Virginia McKenna (from the Born Free Foundation)

Counting Lions:  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

A Rock Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas with illustrations by Violeta Dabija

A Rock Can Be  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Others that stood out are of course by favourite nonfiction writers Nicola Davies and Steve Jenkins

I (Don’t) Like Snakes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Luciano Lozano

I Don't Like SnakesHow to Swallow a Pig by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

How to Swallow a Pig  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Books published by Flying Eye books are often hugely beautiful and extremely interesting. This one about monkeys completely charmed me.

Mad About Monkeys by Owen Davey

Mad about Monkeys  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

What are your favourites of 2015?

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Best of my book lists (2015)

Tis the season to make best of the year lists. I am narrowing my choices to do just that. But in the interim, I thought I would highlight ten favourite book lists I made this year. Sometimes, I think I dream in book lists! I tend to make a lot of them.

The ones I want to especially honour are here. Happy reading!

Top Ten Read Aloud Experiences (2015) Read aloud memory lane. This was an emotional list to make. Lots of happy, lots of joy, lots of connection.

Wish Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

Twenty Picture Books that Capture the Essence of Childhood: These 20 titles are all about kids and all that they are.

 20 Picture Books that Capture the Essence of Childhood Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

Picture Books for New Parents: building a beautiful collection How I love to make lists that encourage families to read together.

Picture Books for New Parents Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

Ten Plus Ten equals 20 auto buy illustrators: My favourite female and male illustrators that I can never, ever, resist.

Auto -buy illustrators Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

Auto-buy Illustrators male Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out: I honour these 25 girls who live beyond the pages of the books they live in.

25 girls Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out: In their own way, each is brave and real. Meeting them will enrich every reader.

25 boys Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

Many of these lists I love best seem to be all about the nonfiction picture book! The final four lists on this list reflect my love of nonfiction.

Nonfiction Picture Books – grow a beginning collection: 20 incredible nonfiction titles that should be on the family bookshelf.

nonfiction picture books Grow a collection Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

Endangered Animals: Building a Read Aloud Collection: I believe passionately in sharing titles about the animals we are in danger of losing with children. Awareness is essential.

Endangered Animals Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2015: Change your Perspective: nonfiction titles that allow us to think about something from a completely new or different perspective.

Change your perspective Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books revisited: Highlights from my 2014/2015 school year with a Grade 3/4 class.

 Best of my book lists 2015 There's a Book for That

It’s the season for reading. Hope you might have found something new to read (or gift) on one of these lists.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Auto-buy Authors But I kind of switched it up . . .

I approached this theme with some flexibility.  First, I only included picture books. Second, my list is all about illustrators, not authors (although some both illustrate and write their books). And top ten? Nope. I have twenty. But I split it into two lists of ten in order to kind of follow the rules. 🙂 10 + 10 = 20

My top ten lists this week are all about my auto-buy illustrators. These artists help make picture books that are irresistible.

I read a lot, a lot, a lot of picture books. Narrowing these lists down was a challenge!

When it became apparent that I couldn’t limit my list to just ten, I decided to make a list of female illustrators and a list of male illustrators. Both make the best books ever! I am so excited to honour them here. For each illustrator, I have included my favourite (or one of my favourite) books that they have illustrated.

My ten auto-buy female illustrators listed in alphabetical order:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Freya Blackwood illustrated Harry and Hopper I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood Blackwood creates through shading and colour.

harry and hopper Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Lauren Castillo wrote and illustrated Melvin and the Boy I love Nana and her wonderful cape and thought it was wonderfully Caldecott worthy, but I have such a soft spot for this sweet little book.

Melvin and the Boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Marla Frazee illustrated All the World It is so absolutely calming and charming and full of all the world’s memories.

All-the-World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Emily Hughes wrote and illustrated Wild which I am more than a little wild about

Wild Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Suzy Lee created the wordless treasure Wave I am quite sure these waves are moving across the pages here.

 Wave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Qin Leng illustrated Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – there is one page oh so very full of green that I fell in love with.

 Hana Hashimoto Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World I already loved this title but then I heard Yuyi read it aloud and I was even more smitten. Such joyous energy and escapades in this book!

Nino Wrestles the World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Julie Morstad’s illustrations in This is Sadie are swoon worthy. Seriously, this cover!

This is Sadie Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

LeUyen Phan absolutely blew me away with The Boy Who Loved Math

 The Boy Who Loved Math Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Erin E. Stead illustrated the stunning  If You Want to See a Whale If you follow this blog you know I have a serious thing for whales. The one in this book? I find it particularly captivating.

If you want to see a whale Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

My ten auto-buy male illustrators listed in alphabetical order

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jonathan Bean illustrated Bad Bye, Good Bye which I found wonderfully delightful. Look at the expressions conveyed just on the cover.

Bad Bye, Good Bye Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Peter Brown won me over with his book The Curious Garden that he wrote and illustrated. Doesn’t it make you want to go plant a seed or two or twelve in some unexpected places?

Curious Garden Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Oliver Jeffers just keeps making more books. Picking a favourite is challeging. I’m going with The Heart and the Bottle which will tug at your heart.

heart in the bottle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jon Klassen is the Caldecott King but it is his illustrations in House Held up by Trees that I find the most incredible.

househeldupbytrees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

E.B. Lewis has done so many titles that are powerful but his illustrations in My Best Friend might be my favourite.

 My Best Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are so whimsical and full of teeny tiny characters that are very large. South is gentle and lovely.

south Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Christopher Silas Neal’s books with Kate Messner are stunning but it is illustrations in Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives that I want to celebrate here.

 Lifetime Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Mark Pett won a special award in my room for The Girl and the Bicycle during our Mock Caldecott process He sent a very special gift for his number one fan (see below).

The Girl and the Bicycle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

John Rocco does many wonderful titles. He wrote and illustrated Blackout which is likely my favourite. The blues. The blacks. Wow. Wow. Wow.

 Blackout Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

David Small does the most delicate, detailed drawings for historical fiction titles. I couldn’t choose my favourite. So instead I picked One Cool Friend which I also love.

 One cool Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Who are your auto-buy illustrators? 

Could you choose ten? Or stop at twenty? It’s difficult!