Monday December 11th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Sharing reading and learning from the past 2 weeks.

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. I love this photo of Ms. B who works in my classroom (and her helpful page turning assistant) reading a book to a group of avid listeners.

Proud Mama and new reader of the chapter book series Heidi Hecklebeck. These moments 🙂

Our #classroombookaday titles last week were all about persistence and working to solve a problem.

This week we highlighted sibling relationships.

I loved reading student writing about these books.

Again, we noticed the importance of persistence!

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from our week in the classroom.

We did counting collections this week and used lots of spaces and containers to count a myriad of things: seashells, buttons, bread ties, bottle caps, etc.

As we have explored addition and subtraction equations with unknown numbers we have used numerous materials including Cuisenairre rods, unifex cubes and number charts to help us visualize and represent problems.

We did lots of learning in these past two weeks and lots of playful explorations with our classmates. So much creativity is expressed through play.

In case you missed it – I have compiled my list of gift book recommendations for 2017: 25 amazing titles! Read about them here.

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:

The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein

One boy. One whale tangled in a fishing net. Should the boy disobey his father and risk potential danger to save the whale? Such a story.

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter written by Eugenie Doyle and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

Such interesting details and routines are involved in putting a farm to bed for the winter. A family works together to complete each important chore.

Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam

A breathtaking wordless title.

You’re All Kinds of Wonderful by Nancy Tillman

A celebration of finding our gifts and honouring what is unique about each of us.

Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton

What a fun way to learn about bees! Follow along as a reluctant bee enthusiast becomes convinced of the wonder and importance of bees. Entertaining and informative! A must have for school and classroom libraries.

Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro and illustrated by Catia Chien

Read to celebrate the wonder of the world. Use as a mentor text for poetry writing. This book will be read again and again. So excited it is now part of our classroom collection.

Chasing Augustus by Kimberly Newton Fusco

I adored Fusco’s earlier middle grade novel Beholding Bee and have now met another memorable character in Rosie. After her Dad has a stroke, Rosie finds herself living with a grandfather ill prepared for a granddaughter. She also finds herself without her loveable dog Augustus. Determined to find him and bring him home, Rosie battles the world.

Up next? I am reading The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season

It’s December – the time to think about gifting books! How I love to help with shopping lists! 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.  In 2015 and 2016, I bumped the list to 25. Once again, I am happy once again to celebrate 25 incredible titles for 2017! Looking to buy a special picture book (or books) for someone in particular? Here is a beautiful selection to consider.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

My criteria? 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? Our world needs more laughter!

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

So a duck and a mouse take up residence in the belly of a wolf. Only Barnett and Klassen could pull this off. We all need a little wonderful wackiness in our lives.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Why Am I Me? written by Paige Britt and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

I loved this lyrical, beautiful book full of questions and musings about self, identity and the wider world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Nearly wordless. All about important things. Kindness. Trust. Simplicity.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

A completely endearing title about one little boy’s route to being brave.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

An allegorical tale that will make you giggle and nod vigorously and leap up and shout in agreement. Our voices cannot be silenced. Oh, this book is timely. Cannot recommend it enough.

the-rooster-who-would-not-be-quiet Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Windows by Julia Denos and illustrated E.B. Goodale

I could read this book endlessly. It is so calm and quiet and the little details are exquisite.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Liz Climo

So, so very funny. Who could have guessed that a pet unicorn could be so problematic? You might never look at cupcakes the same way again!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Milo and Georgie written by Bree Galbraith and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Moving is hard. Kids are quirky. It isn’t always easy to embrace change. Or maybe it is , , , This book celebrates adjusting to the new however we might approach things. Charming.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for ThatLittle Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

This wordless title won my heart. Graphic panels. Sweet characters. Generosity and kindness. What more could you want in a picture book?

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

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!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

If I Had a Little Dream written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Melissa Castrillo

A celebration of possibilities from a child’s perspective. Beautiful.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe

What do you eat for dinner? What is school like?  What is your daily routine? What do you do for fun? How do you help your family? These details define us and unite us. They make us realize how we all have similar routines even though things in our day can be vastly different. Based on the lives of seven real children from around the world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Lines by Suzy Lee

This book is beautifully brilliant. Wordless and full of complete surprises and incredible movements (exquisitely implied).

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

This book begins with an eye that was drawn too large. Where it ends up? Oh my! A creative and inspiring journey.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro and illustrated by Catia Chien

This title should ideally inspire endless poetry writing and will definitely help you see the world with a little more wonder. Gorgeous all around.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs written by Carol Murray and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

So much fun – lots of creepy and not so creepy crawlies flit, skitter and wander across these pages. Lots of information and delightful poems to share.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Now by Antoinette Portis

Being in the moment has never been celebrated with such lovely wonder and beauty.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

If You Were the Moon written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim

What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line, page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations by Jaime Kim.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again by Dan Santat

Find yourself completely surprised. This book. In awe.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Another Way to Climb a Tree written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Oh this book. Sweet. Inspiring. Creative. A perfect mix of text and illustrations.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Danielle Daniel 

Sparse words, gorgeous illustrations and a message of strength.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires

Perseverance and risk taking are a journey. Love the way they are depicted here.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Can an Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Created by nonfiction royalty, this book is a winner! Animal sounds. And many other cool things you might have wondered.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

This story is an absolute adventure. It’s all in the details and such details! Lola the armadillo spills orange liquid all over a white chair in a cart wheeling mishap. It is viewed as an absolute disaster! The end of the world! The end of everything! As she escapes her own mess, she runs into many other catastrophes. In the end, some important resolutions are explored. A book to get lost in.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Children will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

 

Top Ten Read Aloud Experiences (2015)

The #TopTenTuesday theme this week is the top ten best books read in 2015. How we interpret this theme? Up to us. I have some Best of Lists coming up on the blog so I decided to tackle this list a little differently.

My theme this week: Top Ten Read Aloud experiences of 2015.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

I am looking at the calendar year of 2015. From January to June I taught a Grade 3/4 class. Since September I have taught a Grade 2/3 class.

The Scar written by Charolette Moundlic and illustrated by Olivier Tallec

I happen to own a number of books that deal with grief. I always figured that when I needed them, I would have them. And so I keep them close. Now, I need them. Sharing this very emotionally challenging book about a little boy whose mother has died with a little one who needed to see herself in the pages of a book was a read aloud experience I will never forget. Ever. Watching her lighter afterwards made me so glad I have that important stack for when.

The Scar

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney

I appreciated all of the pre-book love this title got in my room. And so, of course, my students from last year had to come in during a recess to have me read this title aloud when Josh Funk sent it our way. This book will always represent serious reading community.

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

This was the first read aloud I attempted with my class this fall. I needed an all kinds of amazing title for a group of kids who had never experienced a chapter book read aloud before. This book delivered!

I was thrilled that Abby Hanlon shared our read aloud joy with this book on her blog.

Dory Fantasmagory

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

When students remain after the bell just to share impressions and reactions, you know you have a winner. I blogged about our beautiful read aloud experience here.

This is Sadie

Wish by Matthew Cordell 

This book means something to me on many, many levels. I read it aloud to my class of three years to send them off on our last day together with the very important message – they were everything I could have wished for and more . . .  And yes, I cried. Those joyous, emotional, meaningful tears.

Wish

Little Robot by Ben Hatke

I have never read aloud a graphic novel before. A graphic novel that is basically wordless but for a number of robot noises. This title held my class absolutely spell bound. And inspired!

Little Robot

Little Robot

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Shouting. Shouting. Shouting. This book will always be about the shouting audience. “No! They missed it again!” “Oh my God!” “Seriously?!” This book absolutely surpassed my read aloud expectations!

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by

There was some absolute blow me away kind of thinking around this book in my class. I recorded it here. Children’s compassion and wisdom is a beautiful thing.

A Boy and a Jaguar

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

Reading this title was definitely about watching a book be loved. It was also about watching fans be made. Loved every minute of it!

Ballet Cat

Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles

This is such an incredible title to read aloud. There are moments where the room fills with hold your breath hope that I might not ever forget. This title made funerals such a fascinating prospect that one student earnestly asked my parents (reading volunteers extraordinaire) if she could attend their funerals! I suppose when you spend all day with 8 year olds, the past 65 year olds who visit once a week seem like your best “might have a funeral” prospects. My parents have great senses of humour so recounting this request has been a constant source of amusement!

Each Little Bird That Sings

Do you have some unforgettable read aloud moments?

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited

I read a lot of nonfiction aloud to my class. I never get to as many titles as I intend to – the “must share” stack is always growing. It’s not necessarily due to lack of time. I make lots of time for nonfiction reading. It’s that I believe nonfiction read alouds need to be rich reading experiences. And so, they require time. Time for questions. Time for discussion. Time to think and absorb and ponder. We “stretch out” our read alouds over days and days – reading, writing, talking, drawing. I celebrate the time we take with each book because I know the learning is rich.

I thought I would make this post for Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday be all about the celebration of and learning from our nonfiction reading this year.

Here are (most of) the titles we read together in this “stretched out” style. We also read many other nonfiction titles – some in their entirety, some just a few pages here or there.

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

I chose some particularly important learning to highlight here.

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien

In this title we learned that a love for animals can be deep and a promise to protect them can be deeper. Alan Rabinowitz is a huge inspiration for my students. They felt his anxiety growing up stuttering and were inspired by his commitment to his work.

 A Boy and a Jaguar A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Ivan’s story prompted discussions of animals in captivity, of human cruelty, of just “why?” Lots of conversations. Thanks To Katherine Applegate and all of those who have loved Ivan, we love Ivan too.

 Ivan A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

This title allowed students to explore a question they had never before considered – just how do butterflies get to museums and science centres all over the world? But it did more than that. It gave students a close up view at the miraculous life cycle of a butterfly and allowed them to see the beauty in every stage.

 Handle with Care A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry

This book gave my students hope. It energized them. It reminded them about the power of an individual to impact a community. When we closed the book, students made comments like this one: “I like Kate so much. It happened a long time ago but her soul probably still speaks for trees. She was one person who did so much.”

 The Tree Lady A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Galapágos George written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor

This title let us talk about extinction. It allowed students to grasp the true vulnerability of so many species. We read this after reading various books about endangered animals. Reading about a special creature that actually became extinct prompted both outrage and sadness. “So many animals could disappear because of humans . . . ” one child observed solemnly.

Galapagos George A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Tiny Creatures The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Emily Sutton

This title prompted a lot of “Wows” and a lot of hand washing! 🙂 It is so important for students to wonder about the world they can not easily see. The power of something very tiny is a very big idea.

 Tiny Creatures A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

This title opened up the conversation about inspiration. What inspires an artist? What inspires any art? One child commented, “The book was about what inspired Matisse. Maybe we have inspiration all around us too.”

Iridesence of Birds A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Our learning climbs up the walls, surrounding us all year.

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

We learned. Some things. A lot of things, in fact. Not close to everything. It’s a huge amazing world out there. But wow, did we learn.

We wondered. We pondered. We talked and listened. We developed our curiosity. We considered things from new perspectives. Most importantly, we considered our place in the world. What do we impact? What can we impact? What do we notice? What do we not yet understand? What do we plan to find out?

A year of reading nonfiction.  I have described reading nonfiction titles with a class as building shared knowledge, one learning layer at a time. How exciting it was to build this developing understanding of the world with this group of children this year.

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!

#nfpb2015Looking for nonfiction titles to read aloud? Check out this list: Nonfiction Picture Books for Reading Aloud

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection

Many thanks to Alyson Beecher, Melissa Stewart and Margie Culvers who answered my call when I asked for favourite titles on the theme of endangered and extinct animals. Their suggestions helped me collect more books to share with my students. We have been reading through many of these titles and it has led to lots of writing, talk and rich questions.

I thought I would share my list with all of you here and welcome suggestions for more titles if you have some to add. Please share in the comments section. I chose 20 titles that I have, will or could share with a Grade 3/4 class.

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Almost Gone by Steve Jenkins

Almost Gone Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Abayomi The Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma- The True Story of an Orphaned cub Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection 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 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

can we Save the Tiger? Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ape written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

 Ape Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Looking for Miza by Juliana Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff and Paula Kahumbu

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

SkyDiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin

Skydiver- Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Tale of a Great White Fish: A Stugeon Story by Maggie De Vries illustrated by Renné Benoit 

Tale of a Great White Fish Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart illustrated by Higgins Bond 

Place for Butterflies Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke

sloth Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ice Bear (In the Steps of the Polar Bear) written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Gary Blythe

ice bear Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan

here come the humpbacks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Wandering Whale Sharks by Susumu Shingu

Wandering Whale Sharks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Galapágos George written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Galapagos George Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Jimmy the Joey by Deborah Lee Rose and Susan Kelly

Jimmy the Joey Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! Written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Annie Patterson

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange  *creatures that are NOT endangered but survivors POEMS

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

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

Reading and responding: A Boy and a Jaguar

When I first read A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien, I closed it, took a deep breath, opened it up and read it again. And then I began to think about sharing it with my students. Soon, I thought about it so much, I bought a copy for my classroom and finally, as part of a study about endangered animals, I am reading it aloud.

As we do in our room, we are taking our time with this title. There is much to share and discuss. We are now two thirds of the way through and our word list (recorded on a sticky note on the inside cover) is getting long: voice, stuttering, broken, fluently, promise, protected area, hunters, capture and release, Belize, endangered, wild . . . 

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

So far, we have talked a lot. What is it like to stutter? What makes a difference for Alan? Why does being around animals have such impact? What is his promise all about? Why does he feel so broken?

Students were honestly appalled that Alan was excluded from his classroom community. Many of them talked a lot about this. Lots of questions. Lots of upset.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

The children also felt sad that Alan continued to feel “broken” despite learning to speak without stuttering.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

On this page, one child shared: “I think he has been told this so many times about himself, he doesn’t know how to feel differently.”

When the talk is powerful, the writing is powerful. Full of both passion and compassion.

Some student responses from this part in the story:

“I think he feels sad and lonely. His parents help him buy help from doctors. I wouldn’t want to be judged. I think the boy feels comfortable around the jaguars and hopeful and happy. He feels right talking to animals.”

“Alan was a little boy. He was stuttering. My class, we talked with each other about how he stuttered. It is sad having no friends. He is probably very lonely. Maybe he just sits on a chair and reads a book and minds his business. I think he goes to the zoo to see the jaguar and maybe this makes him stop stuttering.”

“If I was the boy, I think I know the cure because if he doesn’t talk when he talks to animals, so when he’s talking to people, he should imagine an animal. I think he should try practicing by talking to his parents. Of if he is shy, he could face his fears. I think he can always feel sad at school because he keeps stuttering and he has no friends.

“This book is about how Alan stuttered and his teacher would put him in time out or away because she thought he was broken. So he thought he was broken. But the good thing is that he could talk to animals without stuttering and he could sing. I wonder if he still stutters now? I think he can talk to animals because they don’t make fun of him and he really liked talking to jaguars. His Dad took him to the big cat’s cage probably so he can be happy because he likes talking to jaguars.”

“Alan’s life was hard when he was young. He stuttered. There was no cure and he was told he would be a stutterer for life. He figured out that he didn’t stutter when he talked to animals. Maybe if he told the teachers that he didn’t stutter when he talked to animals, he would get through a special course with animals involved.”

“We’re reading a new book and I really like it so far. It’s called A Boy and a Jaguar. It’s about a boy who is a stutterer and he has a hard time talking to people but he can speak smoothly when he’s singing (but he says it’s not very good) and he can speak fluently when he speaks to his pets. Yes, that’s right, pets with a “s”. He’s got more than one pet. He’s got a turtle, a snake and . . . I forget the rest. It must have been hard for him thinking that he doesn’t fit in and that the teachers say he’s broken. When they say that to him, he questions himself “Am I broken?” But deep down Alan has to remember that he is not broken. He’s different in his own way. Everybody is different and the same and that’s why you don’t judge someone because if you put yourself in a stranger’s footsteps, you would actually know what their life is like. Alan makes a promise to his many pets that when he finds his voice, he would help his animals and animals in general. It’s toughing to read about a boy and that animals change his life. That’s why we shouldn’t treat animals horribly.”

We continued to read about how Alan went to Belize and studied jaguars. He was given 15 minutes to present to the government of Belize that they should make a protected area for jaguars. We stopped here and wrote again.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

Some more writing:

“I wonder if he is worrying because he won’t be able to convince them? Is he going to stutter when he is talking? I wonder if he is saying to himself, ” I have to do this.””

“I wonder if he still studies animals. I feel bad for the animals because they’re being hunted still today. I hope that Alan did not stutter to the government. I’m worried in 15 minutes he will stutter. I think he gots butterflies in his stomach and I think he’s nervous.”

“Alan goes to the Smoky Mountains to study black bears. Then he does his promise because he found his voice to go study and learn more about jaguars because he was the first person to study jaguars in Belize. That country is really poor so it will take lots of convincing power to build a jaguar sanctuary. I think he will think what he is going to say through and not stutter but maybe a minor stutter. I think he is nervicited (new word).”

“It’s sad to hear in this book that jaguars are in danger. I hope they don’t get extinct. Why do people do this? They kill animals for a shiny trophy? That’s not fair. Animals are just like humans. They care for their babies like humans do. Animals drink water, they eat like humans do. Humans are killing more animals than animals attack humans. Did you know that humans kill hundreds and hundreds of sharks year after year for their skin, their fins and even for medicine.”

“If I was him, I would write a script before I go to speak to the government because then I can speak properly and it has a better chance of no stuttering. I wonder if Alan will stutter? I wonder how Alan feels because I think he’s very nervous and worried.”

“When Alan knew that the hunters were on the loose, he wanted to find somewhere for them to be safe so he went to the Prime Minister. He only had 15 minutes. He seemed pretty nervous. He kept his promise that he made to animals. Hunters were trying to kill the jaguars so they are endangered. I hope that the Prime Minister says yes. It says he feels broken. At first I didn’t understand but then I thought and I got it. I think he feels pretty sad that animals like jaguars are dying.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

I look forward to the continued conversations and thinking from my students as we finish this book this week.

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

Monday January 19th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This week, the photo I love best was taken during Reading Workshop on Friday. Everyone was so excited to get down to reading. These girls all settled on the carpet reading various comics and picture books. Two girls are engaged in an animated discussion about Sam & Dave Dig a Big Hole. Lots of books. Lots of book love.

Monday January 19th, 2015  #IMWAYR 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.

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Favourites of the week:

Are You Awake? by Sophie Blackall

This book is all about adorable little child questions that happen when there should be sleeping. From the Mom’s perspective, oh dear, go to sleep little one. From the reader’s point of view? Pure delight. And I adore Sophie Blackall‘s work, so = extra great!

Are you awake? Monday January 19th, 2015  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Camel in the Sun written by Griffin Ondaatje and illustrated by Linda Wolfsgruber 

Not sure where to begin with this book. Such an emotional and serious read. A beautiful book all around. Themes of kindness, compassion and empathy. More suited for older readers/listeners. Although, in an interactive read aloud, younger listeners could manage it. A fable of sorts.

Camel in the Sun Monday January 19th, 2015  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Gus & Me The Story of My Grandad and my First Guitar written by Keith Richards and illustrated by Theodora Richards 

I was seriously skeptical with this one. Musician writes a children book . . . and his daughter illustrates it . . . ? But, actually, this was a lovely title. The text was well done. I really liked some of the illustrations – especially the guitar atop the piano page. And, it has so many elements I love in a picture book – a relationship between generations, family connections, special memories. Well done, Mr. Richards.

Gus & Me Monday January 19th, 2015  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Priscilla and the Hollyhocks written by Anne Broyles and illustrated by Anna Alter 

This is the story of Priscilla, a young slave, who is sold to a Cherokee family and then must walk with them along the “Trail of Tears” when they are relocated. Hollyhock flowers represent a link to her childhood memories of family and her mother. An important historical read.

Priscilla-and-the-Hollyhocks- Monday January 19th, 2015  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

My Blue is Happy written by Jessica Young and illustrated by Catia Chien

This book almost leaps about shouting, “Don’t you want to use me for a writing activity prompt? You do, don’t you?” Yep, yes I do! I fell quickly for this book exploring the emotions of colour, asking us to look at typical colour feelings from another perspective. And, wow, Catia Chien is impressing me at every turn. Gorgeous illustrations.

My Blue is Happy Monday January 19th, 2015  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also read two novels:

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating

Captures the intensity of this middle school age – the navigating the social world, the figuring out of who one is with lots of humour, surprises, embarrassment and joy. As my daughter, who happens to be 12, and have a twin brother, said “this book is so real.” Ana is a character you will want to keep reading.I will definitely be picking up Jess Keating’s next novel and soon!

How to Outrun a Crocodile when Your Shoes are Untied

Going Over by Beth Kephart 

I am not sure if this book spoke to me so intensely because I have read so much literature set in Central/Eastern Europe. Or because I lived in what was once Czechoslovakia from 1990 to 1992 just after the wall went down in a small town that really was slow to “westernize”and shake off Communist influences. All of that is part of it. A lot of it is that Kephart is so ridiculously talented. 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. Loved this book. And I haven’t even touched the plot. Just go. Find it. Read it. Let the images swirl about. Be with these characters. Fall into this time. What an experience.

Going Over_FC

Next up? Reading another title from my #MustReadin2015 list The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 4/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 26/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 3/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 4/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 2/50 books read