Monday July 17th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have none to share this week (no students until September!) so instead will share a few photos from our week long vacation to Pender Island (we’ve been home a week now) where I got lots of reading done AND lots of wandering through nature.

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:

Life! by Cynthia Rylant with illustrations by Brendan Wenzel

Well, wow. Reminds me a little of All the World by Liz Scanlon. Awe inspiring and soothing all at the same time. And Wenzel – whoa, this guy!

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Oh so clever! A very chatty conversation in the middle of a wordless book. A.k.a. a really hopeful wordless book interrupted by many words. Hilarious!

South by Daniel Duncan

When you find a little lost bird that needs your help, you had better sail south. Endearing.

Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano with illustrations by Laia Aguilar

Camille has a battle dress. Say no more!

Winter’s Coming written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon 

Almost nonfiction, this title teaches young learners about the seasons and how animals adapt and react to winter. A longer read aloud. I ordered a copy for my classroom.

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel

Wonderfully odd in Elise Gravel style. That little smelly thing is pretty darn cute. A graphic style novel that kids will love!

Lint Boy by Aileen Leijten

This is an almost there title. Quirky, clever and definitely odd. Elements of Coraline and a darker Toy Story. I think this will have huge appeal for some interesting readers – I am just not sure who they will be. I think my 4s and 5s of last year would have embraced this graphic novel. I am not sure if my new Grade 3s will manage it. The story line is somewhat confusing and it is dark, though wildly imagined.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 157/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule (Week 3 and this number hasn’t changed . . . )

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 27/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein because I have also started reading Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017

Mock Caldecott is one of my very favourite things to do in the classroom! This year, with a Grade 4 and 5 classroom, I was able to stretch the analysis process further and deeper with my students. All around it was a rich and rewarding learning experience. I have much to celebrate!

We started this three-week process by learning about the Caldecott award, working to understand the specific criteria and examining past winners (both medal and honor).

We wrote about what we noticed.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Students shared favourite titles together.Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Read together sessions happened all over the room.Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Over about 7 days, I introduced our Mock Caldecott contenders. Reading these books took us in many directions. We wrote detailed responses to some stories. We watched related videos. Some books we read more than once and just giggled.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Then in small groups of 3 to 4 students we began the task of rereading each book, talking together about Caldecott criteria, our opinions and all that we loved about each title. Thank you to Jess Lif! Her blog post about her Mock Caldecott unit led me to sheets we could use to record our notes and thinking about how each book met or didn’t meet the criteria.  Like Jess, I used this as an opportunity for my students to learn from each other. I listened in for students’ thoughts about the books, yes. But I also was listening for how we communicated. Some groups needed more support than others to contribute ideas and some groups needed guidance on how to all have voice and how to listen attentively. I was very proud of the growing independence, the progress that happened over the week and how some quiet students stepped up and took on a leadership role in their group.

Carefully rereading the story before going through the illustrations and beginning to talk about what we notice.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Sharing details with each other.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Taking careful notes about what the group discussed.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Enjoying the amusing aspects of a funny book!

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Looking closely at criteria.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Through all of this – lots of joy!

img_4853

And then Friday afternoon came and we spent an hour picking our top 3 titles and filling our Caldecott reflections/self-evaluations.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Some students were confident in their choices immediately. Others took a long time to finally submit their top 3. Everyone took a great deal of care filling out the Mock Caldecott Self-Assessment Reflections and Feedback sheet I created.

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

And the winners? I had some eager volunteers ready to celebrate with a few photos!

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Some dramatic reading!

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

Our medal winner? Return by Aaron Becker

Honor books? They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe and Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Celebration: Mock Caldecott Reflections 2017 There's a Book for That

The reflection sheet allowed students to continue to think critically and creatively about the books, self-assess their own contributions, reflect on their learning and rank all 12 titles in 1 to 12 order. Many students carefully studied their notes to help them with this process. These questions also allowed them to move beyond the illustrations and talk about story.

A few highlights of the thinking. Questions are in bold and italics.

Which book do you think K students would enjoy the most? Why?

  • A Hungry Lion because it has messy drawings and kids will think they can be an author too!
  • A Hungry Lion. Little kids like animals.
  • Maybe Something Beautiful because it’s bright and happy.
  • They All Saw a Cat because it’s cute and creative.

What about Grade 7 students? Explain.

  • Giant Squid because it has such cool drawings.
  • Giant Squid because it’s science.
  • Ada’s Violin – the like drama and true stories.
  • Ada’s Violin because it’s inspiring
  • Radiant Child because it tells you a message.
  • Radiant Child because it’s about a dream and soon they will need to accomplish their own dreams

Which book do you think adults would enjoy the most? Name a specific adult if you want.

  • Radiant Child because it’s a beautiful story and has amazing pictures.
  • Radiant Child because it actually happened. It’s a true story!
  • Radiant Child – old people can relate to “me” time.
  • The Night Gardener because it has very calm pictures.
  • My Mom would pick A Hungry Lion because it’s so funny.

Which book made you think the most? List some of your questions/thoughts.

  • Return. I was inspired by all of the imagination in this book. Is he going to write another book? Please!!
  • Ada’s Violin. I never knew people lived like this. How can people live in a pile of garbage.
  • The Sound of Silence. He can’t find silence. It’s hard to find. I can’t find silence in class.
  • Giant Squid. I wonder everything about giant squids now.
  • The Storyteller. It didn’t make sense until I kept reading it.
  • Radiant Child. It made me think about why people use drugs and about who is sad.
  • The Hungry Lion. What’s going to happen to that turtle?

What did you like about our Mock Caldecott process?

  • Participating in all of these things made me think about so much.
  • It’s fun reading it and then reading it again and actually being like a judge!
  • I love looking at so many books and voting!
  • Seeing all of the different art.
  • Getting to share my opinion about picture books.
  • Some really well done details can actually blow someone’s mind.
  • It was an enlightening experience. It made me more critical. It made me think about details and how colours impact me.
  • I liked getting to read so many different kinds of books and then getting to rate them and show my opinion.
  • We didn’t just read pretty books. I got to share my opinion.
  • I liked looking at many illustrations because they are so beautiful.
  • It was so fun because we got to rate books!

What did you learn about your own likes/dislikes/preferences with picture books?

  • I think I have been judging books too fast instead of taking my time.
  • I now know that if I really like it, I can read it all over again and see more.
  • For some reason, I love art with trees!
  • I like things that are realistic with really bold shadows.
  • It’s possible to have too much colour in a book.
  • I didn’t know I liked books with no text so much. I love illustrations that show adventures.
  • I like books even if the drawings aren’t perfect.
  • It seems I like books with a little bit of mystery.
  • Books that are black and white except for some parts will bring your attention to the spot with colour.

What did you learn about illustrations?

  • Some of the smallest illustrations have great details but you hardly notice unless you focus.
  • That they can be anything – there is no best way. Some are collage. Some are messy. Some are weird. Some are super detailed.
  • I really like pencil drawings.
  • Colours affects your mood.
  • There is lots of orange skin.
  • There are so many different ways drawings can be: colourful, bland, collage, paint.
  • A story doesn’t actually need words.
  • Illustrations can touch you.
  • I learned about the different kinds of illustrations. And finally I can spell illustrations!
  • Not every picture has to be perfect to be beautiful.

Why do you think Mock Caldecott is a worthwhile activity to do in a classroom?

  • We learned that illustrators do many unique and special things
  • Just because you are 10, 11, 9 or any age doesn’t mean you are too old to read or listen to a picture book.
  • We can learn new books and also learn from their art and really know the story.
  • Students should know about illustrations and always see new books.
  • It makes you talk to people you might not usually talk with.
  • We were so inspired by the pictures!
  • We all learned that art is so beautiful and important. We want to read even more picture books now.
  • Kids learn how to judge things by having a list [criteria], I learned a lot about what art looks like.
  • Think critically. Slow down and notice.
  • It expands your reading world
  • Picture books need pictures. Pictures can tell a story all on their own.
  • It’s great to actually be able to vote.
  • Doing this let us talk in groups with new people.
  • Picture books teach you so many things. They teach you to dream.

Students also rated themselves on their ability to share ideas, listen to others, learn from other people’s opinions, work cooperatively in a group and refer to criteria when rating books. Each child gave themselves a compliment about their group work and identified an area for improvement.

The most entertaining response was to this question: Which book would you remove from our Mock Caldecott list. Give specific reasons.

A Hungry Lion. Why? Because animals get eaten!

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!

Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.

celebrate-link-up

Mock Caldecott 2017

This year is Year 3 for me of doing a Mock Caldecott unit with my class. Every year I have worked with a different grade. I taught a Grade 3 & 4 class in 2014/2015, a Grade 2 & 3 class in 2015/2016 and this year I have a Grade 4 & 5 class. So each year I have had to switch things up a little bit. Tomorrow we begin our unit and will be deep in reading and discussion for the next 2 weeks. On January 23rd, the actual Caldecott awards (honor and medal) will be announced!

mock-caldecott-2017

I read a LOT of picture books each year and start selecting Mock Caldecott possibilities early on. In making this list, I do pay attention to Caldecott buzz but I also think about a few other things in compiling the ideal list for my students. I try to choose a collection of titles where there will be some nonfiction as well as fiction. I want the stories we share to be entertaining and inspiring. I want students to encounter illustration styles they might not have seen before. I hope that we will continue to be able to talk about genre – so this list contains a fantasy story, a biography, narrative nonfiction, poetry and a wordless book. First, yes, I have to have been impressed by the illustrations but I usually narrow a list of 20  plus titles down to 10 to 12 so I can also think of these other things in making my choices.

I am very excited about this list of twelve titles on our Mock Caldecott 2017 list.

Listed alphabetically by illustrator.

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

Daniel Finds a Poem

Return by Aaron Becker

Return

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

adas-violin

A Hungry Lion or a dwindling assortment of animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins

a-hungry-lion-or-a-dwindling-assortment-of-animals

The Night Gardener by the Fan brothers 

The Night Gardener

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

the-sound-of-silence

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

Maybe Something Beautiful

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

giant-squid

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

radiant-child-the-story-of-young-artist-jean-michel-basquiat

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

the-princess-and-the-warrior-a-tale-of-two-volcanoes

The Storyteller by Evan Turk

the-storyteller-by-evan-turk

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

they-all-saw-a-cat

In thinking about how I would do this unit with an older class, I was thrilled to come across Jess Lif‘s blog post about her Mock Caldecott unit. Jess is one of the most inspirational, insightful and generous educators I know. The work Jess did with her students is helping me think about how I am going to work with my students this year in terms of discussion, analysis and the voting aspects of the unit.

For the first few days we will be talking all things Caldecott and exploring some of the previous winners. Within a few days, we will be diving headfirst into all of these books! Can’t wait! Stay tuned!

 

 

Gift Books 2016: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season

I love to book shop all year round. In the winter holiday season, I love to insist everyone else should partake. Making a picture book list to give is one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014.  Last year I bumped the list to 25 (2015). And this number seems to be the sweet spot. There are lots of books to love! It is a joy to recommend many of my favourites of the year!

Gift Books 2016: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Which books make the list? There are some things I think about. Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make its readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Does it freeze time? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh?

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

Simply the perfect mentor text for poetry writing. Enough said. Well, except to point out that the illustrations are especially swoon worthy.

Daniel Finds a Poem Monday April 11th, 2016

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

I think this picture book has shades of pure perfection within it. A spotlight on the ridiculous “must be” wedding planning that occurs when love should just prevail. And please note, this is love for love’s sake. Not love that fits in any cookie cutter mold. How I adore this book.

WormLoves Worm

Where’s the Elephant? by Barroux

Beyond a search and find which it seems to be just a few pages in. Not at all. It is a statement about development encroaching on habitat. Of what this means to our world and the animals in it. Powerful. So, powerful. The perfect book to introduce environmental studies. To begin conversations. To worry about. And maybe to inspire change.

Wheres-the-Elephant Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

Return by Aaron Becker

The third book in a trilogy (give the entire collection!). I love each book for particular reasons. This title must be experienced so that you can see how it continues the stories started in Journey and Quest. I think this cover image is my favourite of the three.

Return

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown

I echo what so many others say – oh, if this book had only existed when my children were small. It has so much going on! Each page is full of details and yet a very lovely story of one family unfolds throughout. Spend ages on each page.

the-airport-book

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

This is such an inspiring book based on actual events in San Diego – how a neighborhood can be changed and strengthened by art. Illustrator Rafael López is more than the illustrator here – he is the inspiration for the character of the muralist.

Maybe Something Beautiful

It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton

This book is absolutely delightful. Since actual letters and personal mail is quite the novelty in this day and age, surprises arriving by post really are special. Maybe too much so . . .

It Came in the Mail

A Hungry Lion or a dwindling assortment of animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins

This book is very funny. Very, very funny. It requires that wonderful page flipping back and forth phenomenon – “Did that really happen?” I don’t want to give anything away but will say the surprises delighted me. Can’t wait to read this to a group of children.

a-hungry-lion-or-a-dwindling-assortment-of-animals Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Knowing Book written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich with illustrations by Matthew Cordell

When this book was first published, someone said it was my kind of book. It is most definitely my kind of book. I think it might also be your kind of book. Gently perfect.

The Knowing Book

The Night Gardener by the Fan brothers 

This is just a wow title. It has so much of what I love in a picture book – some surprises, a intergenerational connection, a sense of wonder, lots of creativity . . . Divine.

The Night Gardener Monday April 11th, 2016

Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

This book is so well done. Talking about the story is giving away the story. So I’ll just say this: clever, really funny, perfect read aloud to inspire much conversation about how to look at life.

Barnacle is Bored Monday August 15th, 2016 There's a Book for That

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

This book of poetry is kind of pure perfection. Julie Morstad’s illustrations. Julie Fogliano‘s beautiful images. I can’t pick a favourite poem. But I have many a favourite line.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

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

This book is just incredibly beautiful in its simplicity – the search for silence. One to share and share again. The illustrations are captivating.

the-sound-of-silence

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Full of all kinds of fabulous Hatke-esque characters and its star – the Goblin, is one to root for. This will be loved.

nobody-likes-a-goblin

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce just might be my favourite grump. Lots of giggles here.

hotel-bruce2

Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

Oh Flora, you sure can move. And this time with not one, but two, dancing partners. Stunning all around!

Flora and the Peacocks Monday May 30th, 2016 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Like many, I eagerly anticipated this title. Klassen is so unique. I love the subtle things here. The hints. The suggestions. The not neatly wrapped up ending. The room for readers to do some work.

We Found a Hat

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

This is a tender book about friendship and loss. Allows for conversations about preparing for a death and carrying on. A very special (fictional) story based on a real connection between two bears in New York’s Central Park Zoo.

Ida, Always Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Finding Wild written by Megan Wagner Lloyd and illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Where can you find wild? What is wild to you? Why do we need wild? How is wild beautiful and dangerous all at the same time. Just so full of wow.

Finding Wild Monday May 30th, 2016 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Listzs by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Júlia Sardà (coming in October)

Quirky with gorgeous illustrations and prompts wonderful list making. A great book to share with children who appreciate all the lovely language in the lists. Highly recommended.

the-liszts

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

So very clever. Literal twists and turns! Quite the reading experience exploring the feeling of time’s passage on a road trip.

Are we there Yet?

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Because picture books are especially treasured as they lull us to sleep.

twenty-yawns

 

The Water Princess by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

This might be my favourite title by this author/illustrator pairing. The illustrations here are incredible.

the-water-princess

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Brilliant. So rich with possibilities to share and talk about perspective, self and the world.

they-all-saw-a-cat

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

Well, I am absolutely smitten. This book speaks of friendship and individuality and acceptance and patience. I am kind of in love.

Be a Friend

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

Monday October 3rd, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Teaching in a new to me school has kept me very busy. I didn’t get to post last week so am sharing reading highlights from the past 2 weeks.

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. My students have fallen deep into the land of graphic novels. Ben Hatke‘s Little Robot is a favourite.

Monday October 3rd, 2016

This student is showing me that 2017 is not “coming soon” in terms of the next Hilo instalment. When you are an impatient fan, time moves too slowly.

Monday October 3rd, 2016We have continued to love exploring theme for our #classroombookaday titles. What theme is explored with these titles?

Monday October 3rd, 2016

And these?

Monday October 3rd, 2016

Student voice is beginning to inform our reading community. Some of the wisdom posted up through Reader’s Statements.

Monday October 3rd, 2016

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

Books I enjoyed:

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Brilliant. So rich with possibilities to share and talk about perspective, self and the world.

they-all-saw-a-cat

Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear by Mônica Carnesi

This book is just plain adorable. What do you do if your very good friend Bear hibernates and sleeps away winter?

beatrice-and-bear

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson and illustrated by David Shannon

The story of the Peacemaker and his message of peace and unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. An important lesson about democracy.

hiawatha-and-the-peacemaker

I loved both of these Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! titles.

We are Growing! by Laurie Keller

A humorous account of grass growing.

we-are-growing

The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

Amusing. Full of cookie crumbs and math learning.

the-cookie-fiasco

Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

A perfect beginning graphic series: funny, amusing and wonderfully quirky.

 Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea

A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova

What a gorgeous graphic memoir. A year in the life of the author when her mother leaves her in Russia with her Grandparents to travel to America for a year. Visually stunning.

a-year-without-mom

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Oh, this book.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 to keep from immediately passing on. I have much gratitude to Kate Messner for writing this book.

SeventhWish_r6-2-199x300

Rescued by Elliot Schrefer

A hard book to read. There is so much injustice here for Raja, an orangutan brought to the states to be a pet/brother for a young boy. As time passes, it becomes even more wrong. Is there a way to make things right?

rescued

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 43/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 262/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Monday August 1st, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Summer = no classroom photos of engaged students so I am sharing a sliver of my read aloud shelf newly set up in my new classroom. This is a tall shelf full of fiction (at the top) and nonfiction (at the bottom) read alouds and it makes me very happy!

Monday August 1st, 2016

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 still haven’t got my blogging momentum back so just this post from this week.

Celebration: Worries

Books I enjoyed:

Lots of wonderful picture books did make it into my week! Here are my favourites:

I want a Monster! by Elise Gravel

I have a thing for monsters. I find students love nothing more than creating, imagining and reading about monsters. This title is a must have for the primary classroom with a wonderful create your own monster step by step guide in the back – the perfect extension activity. Also great for a “pet” theme.

I want a Monster! by Elise Gravel Monday August 1st, 2016

Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Dylan Metrano

I love the language (poetry) and the illustrations (cut paper) in this title that highlights birds that children may see in their every day lives. More details about each bird are at the back of the book. What a lovely gift book this would make for little nature lovers. Of better yet for kids that NEED to get out into nature more.

Every Day Birds Monday August 1st, 2016

Follow Me! by Ellie Sandall

I loved the repetitive language and the adorable pictures. A lovely story time title that invites participation!

Follow Me! by Ellie Sandall Monday August 1st, 2016

When Dad Showed me the Universe written by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Eva Eriksson

I really liked this book – while it deals with huge – universe sized – concepts it is also grounded in family routines, real life and yucky things we might step in. Philosophical, beautiful, quiet. Would be a wonderful shared read aloud with one child at a time.

When Dad Showed me the Universe Monday August 1st, 2016

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc

If this book had existed when my own children were pre school age, I know we would have owned it. Illustrations to get lost in as we follow Mr. Postmouse on his route.

Mr. Postmouse's Rounds Monday August 1st, 2016

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies

This book. I am REALLY trying to not buy any new books until I figure out where to put all of my current books in my new classroom. But, this book . . . I think I need to own it. It is pretty precious and allows us to talk about loss in a gentle, imaginative way.

Grandad's Island Monday August 1st, 2016

Can I Tell you a Secret? by Anna Kang and Christophe Weyant

Why not get a little help from your readers if you are a picture book character that isn’t overly courageous?

Can I Tell you a Secret? Monday August 1st, 2016

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Absolutely delightful!! The language is fun – Eucalyptus is full of a lot of syllables and is more entertaining than one would think to say again and again! And these illustrations . . .

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree Monday August 1st, 2016

Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles

There are many things that make this an appealing and important middle grade read. Noah, the main character offers the reader humour, an honest voice and a glimpse into the challenges of middle school, friendship and identity. This part of the story is delivered with lots of humour, believable vulnerabilities and a realistic seventh grader voice. Noah’s life is about more than school and figuring out how to be a teenager. There are struggles at home as he and his parents dance around older sister Emma’s struggles with eating and control. Because this is Noah’s story and not Emma’s, the story line focuses on what it is like to face a health/mental health crisis in a family – an important perspective that Knowles lets us explore. Emma and Noah have a lovely sibling relationship but this is hardly perfect family life. Real, honest and sometimes heartbreaking. Highly recommended for readers 10 and up.
I was pleased to win an ARC of this novel in a Goodreads giveaway.

Still a Work in Progress Monday August 1st, 2016

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 201/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña. Our new family read aloud is Rescued by Eliot Schrefer.

Nonfiction Picture Books – grow a beginning collection

Recently I created a list of 20 picture books to be gifted to new parents/grandparents to begin growing a picture book collection of beautiful books. I purposely did not include any nonfiction titles because I had this list in mind – 20 incredible nonfiction titles that should be on the family bookshelf.

This list includes recent releases and some favourites I have had for some time. I looked for books that inspire wonder and curiosity about nature and the world. On this list are titles that cover specific concepts with rich language and stunning images. None are too lengthy or complex. The books that are more detailed are perfect for sharing in chunks with a parent/adult reader.

Shopping for gift books for a family? Think nonfiction picture books! Here are 20 beautiful titles:

Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Listed alphabetically by author

A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

There are so many different kinds of nests for so many different creatures. This book is a treasure.

Nest Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Wonder, curiosity and thinking outside of the box. Accessible Einstein!

 Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Gravity by Jason Chin

Visual story telling, simple text explain a complex concept so that all readers can grasp it.

 Gravity Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Just Ducks! written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

Gentle narration infused with facts in this beautifully illustrated book about ducks!

Just Ducks Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection 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 Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Some Bugs written by Angela Diterlizzi and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Will absolutely inspire some bug hunting! And maybe collecting. Break out the magnifying glasses.

 some Bugs Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? written by Rita Gray illustrated by Kenard Pak

Beautiful lyrical text. Will get everyone outside to listen to beautiful and varied bird song.

HaveYouHeard Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be? by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Betsy Thompson

Counting. Guessing. Lovely repetition.

eggs123 Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

The format is engaging – each animal is introduced with a mini letter/question and answer.

Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

What happened on the first day each animal was born? Children love to wonder about animal babies.

My first day Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and their Parents by Lita Judge

How do mammals care for their babies? Will inspire many conversations about how young children are cared for too.

Born in the Wild Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge

Were all dinosaurs gigantic? If they were walking around today, just how big would they be?

Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim

Will prompt a discussion about perseverance, creativity and inspiration.

Wild Ideas Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons written by Sara Levine with illustrations by T.S. Spookytooth 

A fun interactive style. What kind of animal would you be if . . . ?

bone by bone Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

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

A beautiful poetic title about the water in our world.

Water Is Water- A Book About the Water Cycle Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Oh these photographs and this beautiful language. Walking in the rain? You will want to go.

Raindrops Roll Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Lifetime written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Math is all around us. Gorgeous illustrations. Fascinating animal facts.

lifetime Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

How do birds use their feathers? For so much more than flying . . .

feathers Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Forest Has a Song poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater  and illustrated by Robbin Gourley 

Beautiful poems about the forest – the perfect place to wander.

Forest has a song Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Mama Built a Little Nest written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Poetic text showcase all of the different nests birds build for their babies.

Mama Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Give books.

Read books.

Share books.

Often.