Monday May 6th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee for their weekly meme and share all of your reading from picture books to young adult novels. The #IMWAYR community is always an amazing source of book ideas and inspiration!

My favourite picture books this week:

The Relatives Came written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell This book takes me right back to my own childhood when it seemed like endless cousins arrived and our beds and rooms were bursting. A lovely celebration of visiting family and long vacations!

The-Relatives-Came-9780689717383

Boy Wonders written and illustrated by Calef Brown Calef Brown is fast becoming a favourite in our room. Rhymes and word play. Lots of wondering and questions in this text. Questions that you might not ever have considered . . . The art is incredible!

Boywonders

Polka-bats and Octopus Slacks (14 stories) written and illustrated by Calef Brown This could very well be my favourite Calef Brown title. As always the art is simply divine. But in this text, I love the stories. Quirky. Fun. Silly. Clever. And whoa. . . what a stylish octopus! A definite title to source out and savour if you have not had the pleasure . . .

polka bats

An Undone Fairy Tale written by Ian Lendler and illustrated by Whitney Martin This is a favourite book that seems to travel like hotcakes through my room every few months. And I realized that I had never actually read it. The big appeal – it’s a story not quite ready to be told. The illustrator is not quite caught up so the story needs to keep changing to adapt. Feels very interactive. Lots of humour. Lots of fun!

AnUndoneFairyTale

In other reading . . . 

Beholding Bee written by Kimberly Newton Fusco A very special little read. Set in the early 1940s, we meet Bee, 11 years old and an orphan travelling with an on the road carnival crew including, Pauline who has been looking out for Bee since she was four (when her parents died). Bee is shy and self-conscious of the “diamond” birthmark on her cheek. But she is bright and compassionate and loves animals and the few people she connects with at the carnival. When Peabody, a stray dog ends up finding his way to Bee and Pauline is distracted by love, Bee finds herself in circumstances that lead her to run off from the carnival to find a home for herself, Peabody and Cordelia, a little pig she cannot bear to leave behind. But there is something very special about the home she finds and the two women that begin to care for her. Conjured up by love, need, magic and life lessons that need teaching, these two aunts provide what Bee needs. Even though she seems to be the only one who can see them . . . There is much to this story – women’s rights, childhood bullying, issues of school inclusion and the importance of the ‘right’ teacher. It is also a story of love, family, friendship and belonging. Quite wonderful.

Beholding Bee

Listening for Lions written by Gloria Whelan This is actually the third time I have read this book. First it was for myself and then as a read aloud to a Grade 3/4 class I taught a few years ago. We just finished this as a book club book for my student book club and I read it aloud to my own children at the same time. I continue to adore this novel. This book begins with Rachel Sheridan living with her English missionary parents in the East African village of Tumaini. When her parents die in the influenza epidemic in 1919, Rachel is vulnerable. Her fate seems decided – she will be sent to live in an orphanage. Unless . . . Rachel is instead scooped up by a neighbouring family and sent off to visit their Grandfather in England, posing as his granddaughter, Valerie. The relationship between Rachel and the grandfather is lovely but never predictable. And certainly full of secrets. Historical Fiction. Mystery. Adventure.

Listening

I am currently reading Endangered by Eliot Schrefer Wow.

With my children, we have just begun a new read aloud, Scumble by Ingrid Law. A few years ago we read Savvy so are excited to read the next book in the trilogy.

 

Monday April 22nd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme to share all of your reading from the week – everything from picture books to young adult reads.

I’ve enjoyed sharing some new classroom books with my class this week. Many of them I was able to read aloud and enjoy all of the rich discussion they sparked.

My favourite five picture books of the week:

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons written and illustrated by Il Sung Na This is a gorgeously created book to introduce young readers to all the wonders of the changing seasons as they follow a little rabbit through the pages. He hops through the winter white and eventually ends up in the spring, outfitted in his new brownish fur. Beautifully captures the transition between winter and spring. My students were intrigued by how the artist seemed to have created her own paper to make collages.

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit Il Sung Na review

Pirateria: The Wonderful Plunderful Pirate Emporium written and illustrated by Calef Brown Oh, the writing and questions this book inspired . . . Read here for student reviews.    Imagine entering a pirate store with every imaginable piece of pirate gear. What would you choose? Interested in learning about how to avoid the gallows? Well, at Pirateria, they have a class for that! Told in energetic rhyme and illustrated in moody hues, this book was a huge hit in my classroom! We could have spent all day just examining the eye patch page. The book is worth owning just for that wonderful page!

Pirateria

The Frank Show written and illustrated by David Mackintosh My students LOVE David Mackintosh. Earlier in the year I shared Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School with them. As soon as I pulled out this new Mackintosh book they instantly started talking about the book they knew. Such distinctive and kid friendly quirky style. This title is all about a young boy who thinks his Grandpa Frank is not going to be an interesting share at Show and Tell. But, watch out for the older generation! Boy do they pull out all the stops. I am a sucker for any title with a well done intergenerational relationship so . . . hooked! A really, really great book to share to highlight how wonderful it is to get to know our grandparents.

The Frank Show

Chameleon’s Colors written and illustrated by Chisato Tashiro We have been a little chameleon obsessed in my room lately. So this book was a real treat. It poses the very interesting question: What if other animals happened to change their colours? Or do original colours serve important purposes? Art. Science. Wonder.

chameleon_large

Prickles vs. The Dust Bunnies (A Balloon Toons comic) by Daniel Cleary There are some really fantastic Balloon Toons comics out there. This, is absolutely one of them! I was just going to book talk this book and give a few sneak peeks but ended up reading the whole thing aloud. So much fun as a shared read! So, really, be honest, who doesn’t struggle with the odd dust bunny (or an infestation under those hard to move couches)? This little book will have you thinking about dust bunnies with a whole new respect. And maybe a little empathy? A big smiles and giggles book!

Prickles vs the Dust Bunnies

Things got busy this week with this and that and strangely I didn’t finish any novels. Maybe it was reading all of the #IRA2013 tweets! But, I am close to finishing Requium by Lauren Oliver and am loving sharing Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan with both my student book club and as a read aloud with my children.

Next up? The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore.

Happy Reading one and all! Have a great week.

Pirateria

Pirateria written and illustrated by Calef Brown was our BLG book this week read by the very talented Bill who read sections in a very believable piratey “accent.” This was one fun book and a very amusing read aloud experience! Bill started off with the title and immediately one child remarked that the title sounded a lot like “bacteria.” Well, yes . . . With amazing illustrations, rhyming text and read in “regular” English and “pirate” English, this read aloud was highly energetic! Bill was frequently interrupted by requests to see the illustrations up close and a few times for some feedback like,

 “It’s kind of like you are using up all of your saliva.”

 

“You should think about being in a movie about pirates.”

 

“Are you having a lot of fun talking like that? I think you are.”

Pirateria

Pirateria (the book) describes Pirateria (the store) and all of the treasures that are available there. Everything these “treasure seekers”, “barnacle scrapers” and “sea robbers” might be in the market for . . .  My favourites? Maple walking planks, black pantaloons, big buckled shoes and the incredible sword collection! Also important to note, you can take night classes at Pirateria and learn about such things as “wild pirate rumpuses , “smuggling molasses” and how to avoid the gallows.

When Bill read us the information about Calef Brown on the book jacket, we were very interested that it referenced a real store called Pirateria! Many students decided to provide details in their book summaries of what they would purchase if they could go shopping in such a store! 

There was also a discussion between a few girls about whether or not there were any girl pirates featured in this book. They couldn’t decide if the long haired pirates were girls or long haired boys. Their writing below reflects this concern. I loved that this conversation was happening independent of adults. Fantastic for little readers and listeners to be aware!

This book will likely inspire some future pirate art. Pirates are very fashionable and eccentric and this book revealed all of the pirate details in the best of ways!

Student reviewers respond: 

Kala: To the author: Why did you make is so piratey? If I was you, I would buy a pirate family. I love your book. I’ve got a pirate stuffie. I like all the colours. I am a girl. You did not really put girls in it.

Kevin: My favourite part was when the pirate was wearing stripes, sword, map, and eye patch. I would buy socks like Miles [our volunteer Miles happened to be wearing pirate socks today :-)], a parrot, lots of eye patches and pirate socks.

Brian: I would buy a sword, a treasure map, an eye patch, a fake moustache and a fake beard. The names of the pirates were funny names. And I would buy a talking parrot too! I love pirates!

Vicky: I would buy a sword, treasure maps, gold, money, pirate socks and a bracelet. My favourite part is when they showed all eye patches on the page.

Gracie: To the author: Is Pirateria a real store? If it was, I would buy a blue and white striped shirt. If Pirateria is a real store, do you work at it? I would also buy a fake moustache and a talking parrot. And a tophat and striped socks. I also want a new belt and I want a sharp sword. Also: a red eyepatch and a pair of boots. I really like this book but I wonder why don’t you put colourful colours in the book? And you didn’t put many girls in the book. Girls can be pirates too. But I like this book a lot! Bye!

Heman: My favourite part is when the pirate was eating a grub! I like pirates and I liked the colours. I would buy a pirate ship, eye patches, swords and treasure maps. And a parrot.

Arianne: I would buy a talking parrot, sparkly jewels and a sparkly hat. I liked it when the pirates were funny.

Andrew: My favourite part is when I figured out that there is a real store named Pirateria. I would buy a sword, a map and a crest.

Shereese: I like the book. I like the book because it has a hat and boots and a parrot. Calef Brown, do you like your book because I really do. My name is Shereese.

Ethan: Was that a cool book? Cause I thought it was cool. Do pirates drink whiskey? I would buy a sword and a costume.

Kelvin: I like the pictures. Beautiful. How do you make the pictures so nice. Really?

Kassidy: I like your story because you used lots of colours. Are you a real pirate? Where do you live? I live in Vancouver B.C. I am 8. What is your real name? Is it the one on the book? My name is Kassidy.