Monday September 5th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. During the summer, these photos will be about getting my classroom library up and running for a room full of readers in September.

Still adding to the shelves. More titles have since been labelled and are out on the shelves. I will be bringing in some more titles once I have a better sense of who my students are as readers. And I meet them (finally) this week!

Monday September 5th, 2016

I was away last week on Vancouver Island and did lots of great reading and lots of fantastic walks and hikes with my family.  A few pictures below.

Monday September 5th, 2016 Monday September 5th, 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:

We updated our #MustReadin2016 lists. Here is mine

For #nfpb2016: First Read Alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Books I enjoyed:

Bring Me a Rock by Daniel Miyares

I so love Miyares’ illustrations. The expressions on the faces of these insects! Rich material here to talk about power, community and contributions.

Bring Me a Rock

Wolf Camp by Andrea Zuill

One little dog with wolfish aspirations heads to camp to be transformed.

Wolf Camp

Monsters Go Night-Night by Aaron Zenz

Oh this is the perfect gift for little ones – bed time is a big event! It is super cute. I read this in the bookstore and there was a toddler there with his grandmother. I kind of wanted to ask if I could read it aloud to him. I think it would have been a big hit.

Monsters Go Night-Night

Inspector Flytrap #1 by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell

Seriously silly and spirited. Part of a new series about A Venus flytrap whois a detective. He solves BIG DEAL mysteries with the help of Nina the Goat, his assistant. An illustrated chapter book.

Inspector Flytrap #1

Stinky Cecil in Operation Pond Rescue by Paige Braddock

Cecil is a toad who utilizes his stink power when necessary. Can he and his friends save their pond from development? I bought this one for my new class.

Stinky Cecil in Operation Pond Rescue2

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Soledad lives with her little sister Ming and their nasty step-mother in a run down apartment in small town Louisiana. Life is nothing like it was in the Philippines. The girls miss their father who went back to the Philippines and has never returned. They mourn their mother and sister who have passed away. They manage their grief over what they have lost and their anger over their present circumstances in a variety of ways. Both rely heavily on imagination and pieces of the stories that their mother once gave them. A story of family and new lives. A fantastic main character.

the-land-of-forgotten-girls-erin-entrada-kelly

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Reading a book like this reminds me that books like this are my kind of books. Achy and real. Books that squeeze my heart. Characters I want to know. An emotional ride. A beautiful, teary emotional ride. But full of hope, not sad. At least not too much sad. The hope wins.

Counting Thyme

How to Speak Dolphin by Ginny Rorby 

Whoa this book. Lily has lost her mother. She lives with her step father and her little brother Adam. Adam has autism and while his father can’t face the reality of Adam’s needs and struggles, Lily is fully entrenched in the day-to-day care of Adam. This story tackles many themes – family, friendships, animal rights and boundaries. An excellent middle grade novel.

How to Speak Dolphin

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 241/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 30/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Celebration: From Here

If you read this blog, you know I am a reader who shares. I am a teacher who believes in the transformative power of stories. I spend thousands of dollars and endless time filling, organizing and thinking about my classroom library. Recently, I have shared details about it here and here and here.

This year, I moved from a grade 3/4 class (mostly 4s) to a grade 2/3 class (mostly 2s). This summer, I spent time switching out books that would likely not be at the reading or interest level of my new students. I thought a lot about how to ensure I “switched on” the reading love with this new group. I even wrote a post about it: Literary Nest Building 101. Two weeks in, some of my instincts were bang on. We are reading a lot of humour filled silly stories. Read aloud time is joyous! It often ends with “Read it again!” We read multiple times a day. Every afternoon we begin with a #classroombookaday and on Friday we vote for our favourite. The children love this. One of them has even figured out that I will share the news with the author if I can.

“Ms. Gelson you have to tweet Cece Bell! I Yam a Donkey is the winner of the vote this week! Tweet her so she knows.”

Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

We have connected books with celebration. We read the amazing story The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds and made a dot of dots. This dot is now hanging in our room and we broke out a fancy felt pen to have each of us sign our names around the outside.

Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

Our first chapter book read aloud was the perfect pick for many children who have never listened to a chapter book read aloud. It is illustrated, it is full of kid humour and fun and it works a little bit like magic. As soon as I start reading it, these little bundles of energy and distractibility start to calm as they inch closer and closer to me to listen at the carpet. I think some of them even hold their breath as they listen. I feel little hands on my arm, on my shoe, on my leg as if touching me can bring them further into the book. When Dory explained about ketchup monster noises, there was a whisper, “So that’s what that noise is.” When Dory shot Mrs. Gobble Gracker in the butt with a sleeping dart, there was pure joy that their teacher said “in the butt” out loud! They laughed and giggled but they also shared knowing smiles that said, “How cool are we?” I hear them heading home at the end of the day debating whether Mary, the Monster is really a monster, really even real or some strange talking dog. 🙂 I will be forever in your debt Abby Hanlon for Dory Fantasmagory!

Dory Fantasmagory Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

We started our first nonfiction read aloud: Guess What is Growing Inside this Egg by Mia Posada and the children love listening for “specific” words to add to our vocabulary list. Words like swamp, water-proof and instinct. Many of them were delighted when I explained to them that they could take their new knowledge home to share with their families. I am sure a lot of Moms and Dads and Grandmas heard about how alligators, despite all of their teeth actually don’t chew their food but swallow it whole. “I guess their teeth are just there to look scary,” suggested one child.

guess what is growing inside this egg Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

These children love books. They love stories. They love to be read to. They love to sit with a book that we have read together and in twos or threes retell or reread the story. I think I have heard Chris Haughton‘s Shh! We have a Plan about thirty times. I might have it memorized! Such an engaging fun book to read and feel successful.

“Ready one . . . ready two . . . Ready three . . . GO! “

Shh! We have a plan Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

And . . . (I am not going to write but) many children (more than half) in my new classroom are not reading even close to grade level “expectations.” This, I was not fully prepared for. Not to this extent, not so many children. Expectations, levels, proficiency are all descriptors that can officially name what is happening for these students. I am going to name it this way: they aren’t independent. (“Can you read this to me?” “I wish I could read this book.”) They desperately want to be. (“I really need to learn to read more words.”) They don’t identify as readers. (“I can’t read.” “I don’t know how.”) They can’t self select titles that correspond to their levels. (filling book boxes with chapter books because this is what they want to read when they can’t read 90% of the text on the page.) They need to be reading and they aren’t and this is not okay.

I feel a lot of things as I have discovered this. I feel angry and I am not going to elaborate on what I know has gone wrong. I feel worried. I feel little moments of desperate. This isn’t grade 1 where my task is to grow readers from non readers. This is grade 2 and 3 where I must now grow readers and play all kinds of catch up. I feel responsible. But most importantly, I feel urgent. And this is what I celebrate – the urgency of my task. The advocacy that needs to happen. My determination. It is fierce. My fear. It is motivating. My breath. It keeps me grounded. Somehow, someway, we are going to change things for these children.

I began sharing wordless titles in “tell aloud” experiences to make the point that we can read with or without words. That the pictures tell a story. That our own experiences and inferences fill in the missing pieces. That we have a sense of stories that is in us and we bring it to the books we read.

hank finds an egg Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

Friday afternoon, I packed up books from the classroom library into three rubbermaid bins. This wasn’t about taking books away. It was about removing titles that are currently not relevant and are actually, distracting. I left about 7/8 of the books still out. There are a lot of books. But now, we can focus on surrounding ourselves with books that we can read or might grow into in the near future. Some people thought this made me sad. Only very briefly. Until I thought about it: I love books because I love that they are read by readers. I adore the readers (and the readers to be) and these readers are my priority. These books will be back. When we’re ready.

Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

I filled display shelves with titles we have read and loved together. We need to look around and see our reading experiences in our environment.

Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

I went to the library and brought up bins of levelled readers and have them available not to start labelling a child with a number but to have titles to place into book boxes that match reading ability and a “ladder” to climb. I filled some other display shelves full of books that many of us can read with success. Displaying titles honours them. It screams, “Hey you! Read me!” It says these books are for us.

Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That Celebration: From Here There is a Book for That

I celebrate that I must get my students reading. I acknowledge the fear and the worry. I accept the challenge. I celebrate the necessity, the urgency and the will.

From here . . . here we go.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Happy 100 celebrations! I haven’t shared 100 times yet. But, in the future, I will get there. Every celebration gives me more.

Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. This week, knowing that I must celebrate allowed me to frame this challenge in the most positive way possible. Healthy for me, necessary for my students.

celebrate-link-up

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

I was thrilled to see this topic this week and decided to celebrate a range of books – right from picture books to young adult novels. As readers we need to see both ourselves and others in the books we read. Reading beyond ourselves? It opens up our world, deepens our understanding, makes us think differently. Reading about ourselves? It confirms. It soothes. It makes us feel connected. As a reader I want both of these experiences. As a teacher and a parent, I want these experiences for the children in my life.

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That We Need Diverse Books logo

The definition of diverse books on the We Need Diverse Books site is one that I always refer to:

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

From the Mission Statement on the We Need Diverse Books site.

Diverse Literature Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Ten of my favourites:

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

A book to savour. To read slowly. It inspires questions about the life of Frida Kahlo – her art, her culture, her passions. I had the pleasure of hearing author Yuyi Morales read this title aloud. Just beautiful.

 Viva Frida Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Shin-Chi’s Canoe written by Nicola Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave

An emotional story of two Aboriginal children (siblings) who are sent to residential school. Accessible for younger readers. The emotional pain endured by the families and children impacted by residential schools is powerful in this book. Beautifully illustrated.

Shin-Chi's Canoe Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

No 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke

Much to love in this title: the unique characters, the entertaining dynamics and the beautiful setting of Africa. So very, very good.

 No 1 Car Spotter Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

El Deafo by Cece Bell

All kinds of honest and vulnerable and powerful and hilarious. I am in awe of how this story is told, how friendship issues are explored and highlighted, how the power and powerlessness of a “disability” was portrayed through a child’s perspective.

El Deafo Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

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

Listen, Slowly Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Verse novels hold so much power to literally wrap us up in evocative images and in this case, personal history. In some senses, it feels like spying to be so close. A beautifully written memoir of a time and a place – oh so personal but yet, with connections and links to many more than young Jacqueline Woodson. A gift to readers.

brown girl dreaming Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 

A story that is fictional but not at all. Because Habo’s story could be, might be and in fact, is, playing itself out STILL in Tanzania for other albino citizens. This book speaks to everything both beautiful and horrific about humanity.  A human rights crisis. One that needs attention. One that needs to stop. “Be that one person,” – the words Sullivan leaves us with in her author’s note. Read this book and remind yourself to be more human than less. A story that will never leave the reader. And never should.

goldenboyTop Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

I find myself strangely without words on this title about two young women – special education students now living on their own for the first time. The pages are seeped in vulnerability for so many reasons. There are some hard and heartbreaking pages. It’s a quick read that follows you around for days. I can see why the Schneider committee selected this book. A YA read.

Girls like us Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds 

What characters. What quietly bold and beautifully human characters. Jason Reynolds, these characters you write . . .

 When I was the Greatest Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

A shooting of a young teenage boy. Is it racially motivated? Who is at fault? What is the truth? All important questions. More important though -the grieving and the moving on of a community and family impacted by the loss of one of their own. Powerful.

how it went down Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

What titles would you add to this list?

Monday July 13th 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer and I am not surrounded every day with little readers, what can I do? Choose favourite, not yet shared moments of course! Here is one of my avid readers sharing her love for author Robert Munsch. She told me.

“I love Robert Munsch. And I love cookies. Who doesn’t love Robert Munsch? And cookies?”

Good question. 🙂

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

Busy, busy with book lists! In case you are interested:

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Fascination with Nests and Eggs

I dis some amazing picture book reading this week! Some of my favourites:

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

Gorgeous. Wordless. Two children dive deep and meet under a bunch of swimmers and floaters in a busy pool. What do they find there? A fantastical world. I had to purchase this one. I love the colours, the negative space, the whimsy.

Pool Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Book written by David Miles and illustrated by Natalie Hoopes 

A book about the magic of books. Celebrating all things @booklove Yes, please.

Book Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

This is truly brilliant. A dark, usually known world, is busy and alive when it is explored at night. Slowly, morning happens. And wow, does it happen beautifully. All about the magic of light.

The Night World Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

I Yam a Donkey by Cece Bell

Super silly. Can’t wait to read this aloud!

I yam a Donkey Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

In the Village by the Sea written by Muon Van and illustrated by April Chu

A Vietnamese family. A small house.A cricket. A certain kind of magic. I recommend experiencing this title.There is so much to it I want to reread it again and again and then share it with children. Simple but yet complex.

In a Village by the Sea Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Chengdu could not, would not fall asleep by Barney Saltzberg

Wow these illustrations. For panda lovers, this is adorable.

Chengdu could not, would not fall asleep Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

What If . . . ? by Anthony Browne

Worries about attending a birthday party. A big imagination. Full of fantasy and emotion.

What If . . . Anthony Browne Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Day the Crayons Came Home written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I was lucky to get a sneak peek at an advanced reader copy of this title at my local book store. Hilarious. Hilarious. Hilarious. I laughed out loud multiple times. Mark down August 18th on your calendar and rush out and buy this book from your favourite local book store!

thedaythecrayonscamehome Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner

Sweet story by Catherine Rayner. How I love her illustrations.

Bear who Shared Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

I Will Take a Nap by Mo Willems

An over tired Gerald really needs a nap. As always, so funny.

elephant and piggie I will Take a Nap Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

And I finished two novels.

The Paper Cowboy written by Kristin Levine

Levine is such a story teller. This title is a challenging read. Our main character Tommy struggles with his own actions and his mother’s unpredictable rage. Guilt, fear, anxiety, pride – so many feelings. So many themes in this historical fiction title: bullying, friendship, family dynamics, community, sibling relationships . . .

The Paper Cowboy Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Lost in the Sun written by Lisa Graff

What a concept for a book. What is life after you accidentally kill someone? (freak accident) Now there is a big question! Somehow, this title answers it. A book about a young boy lost. Dealing with family. Making friends. Being really angry. Moving on. And how much do I love the character of Fallon Little?

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff Monday July 13th 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 242/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 48/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am about to begin The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

Favourites of 2014

Here are my favourite titles of 2014! Another wonderful year of reading – always in awe of the amazing authors and illustrators out there that give us the important gift of stories.

The best of the best (published in 2014) for me?

14 favourites and no more than 14 words of raving about each title. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. This year I get one more book and one more word to play with! 🙂

This year I chose to spread my book love evenly between picture books and novels. 7 and 7. I will be sharing my nonfiction favourites in a post of their own this week so I focussed a little more on fiction here.

In no particular order – my 7 favourite picture books of 2014:

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow – yes, like a sloth.

Sparky Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin written by Chieri Uegaki with illustrations by Qin Leng

A story of determination, perseverance and creativity. Dream. Be courageous. Such messages.

 Favourites of 2014 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

Thanks To Katherine Applegate and all of those who have loved Ivan, we love Ivan too.

ivan Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

A cover that hints at mystery and strange happenings and . . . ? Tender. Sweet. Kind

 The Farmer and the Clown Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

Persistence and love wrapped in brown, green and a little brother’s smile.

 The Girl and the Bicycle Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay

A story starts with a blank white page . . .

 Any Questions Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

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

Pulls you deep into a “theorizing hole.” Digging in, around and out is highly satisfying.

 sam and Dave Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

And the novels that touched me – often making me pause and just connect with the state of being and living and loving. Novels roll out stories that transform our thinking with beautiful words on a page – the characters in these books have stuck with me.

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

Vulnerability. A touching exploration of grief. Superb writing and of course, little Frankie Sky.

 The Summer of Letting Go Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Bird by Crystal Chan

One girl raised in grief and superstition chases living. Sad and spectacular imagery.

 Bird Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Friendship trials and celebrations. Growing up with hearing loss and super powers.

El Deafo Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Chirp. Joey. Solid but broken. Love their observations, their coping strategies, their complicated friendship.

Nest Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tears, faith, outrage, peace. What a story. Wiles pulls you right into 1964.

Revolution Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose does things differently. But much a lot more bravely. Such a read.

Rain Reign Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Full of raw mistakes and huge hopes. Energizing despite the grief and pain.

I'll Give you the sun Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . . 

Monday October 6th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

Picture book highlights:

Musk Ox Counts written by Erin Cabatingan and illustrated by Matthew Myers

One of my beloved #IMWAYR bloggers sent me a gift card when the strike finally ended to buy a few new treasures for my classroom. This is one of my selections – lots of silly, perfect humour delivered through illustrations, pacing and dialogue and some favourite characters – zebra and musk ox back again. I can’t wait to share this with my students and know it will quickly become a buddy reading time favourite. Thank you to Linda for the smiles and giggles all wrapped up in this title!

Musk Ox Counts #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

Perfect Square by Michael Hall 

Some books go for a clever kind of creativity that manages to be bold without being loud. I finished this book and just smiled. Impressive.

 Perfect Square #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

Open This Little Book written by Jesse Klausmeier and illustrated by Suzy Lee

Yippee! This book makes me want to grab hands with a bunch of little ones and spin about and then settle into a story time session where I have the time to indulge in the requests to “read it again” please! A book that celebrates the magic of stories and quite literally pulls you in closer to examine every detail. What fun.

Open-This-Little-Book #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

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

I read this first through teary eyes. The beginning sentence is too beautiful. And oh how I love Ivan. He occupied our hearts – my students and mine when we read Applegate’s special novel The One and Only Ivan in the spring. I have to practice reading this book multiple times before tomorrow so that I can read it without my voice catching when I look up at those little faces who love Ivan too.

 Ivan #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

I also read a lot of early/young chapter books in anticipation of lots of book talks on the horizon:

Princess Posey and the Perfect Present by Stephanie Greene 

I have a number of girls in my class who have been asking me to get this series for our class library. I had read one title in the past and tried another. Definitely sweet and perfect for young readers. In my classroom, these are a comfort read for those students ready for chapter books but easing in to the whole idea of reading titles a little longer and more complex.

princess posey #2 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

Mortimer Keene: Attack of the Slime by Tim Healey and Chris Mould

Amazing illustrations full of creepy and creative things, this title comes from Britain and is told in rhyming text. I think this would go over best if I read parts of it aloud and then let students read it on their own independently. There are many more complicated words and vocabulary so this is not for the beginning chapter book reader – a little more confidence and skill are needed to be able to tackle this title with success.

Mortimer Keene Attack of the Slime #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

Kung Pow Chicken Let’s Get Cracking by Cyndi Marko

I continue to be impressed by Scholastic’s Branches series. This is full of action and lots of images – kind of a cross between a heavily illustrated chapter book and a graphic novel. Lots of silly escapades and much kid humour. I am predicting this series will be very popular in my class.

Kung Pow Chicken Let's Get Cracking #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

And two graphic novels:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Okay, yes, I admit, I have never read Smile until this weekend. I had read parts of it. I had heard it summarized by my daughter in huge detail numerous times, but I had never sat down and read it cover to cover. No reason for this – just a fact. Then I went to see Raina this week when she was in town promoting Sisters and of course, I was completely charmed. And now, I have read Smile and yes, I am in the fan club.

Smile #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Well, wow. All kinds of honest and vulnerable and powerful and hilarious. I could not put this book down. There are too many reasons why this book is fantastic and so beginning a list is just silly. But, wow, am I in awe of how this story is told, how friendship issues are explored and highlighted, how the power and powerlessness of a “disability” was portrayed through a child’s perspective . . . Okay, yes, I just started a list. If you haven’t yet, go read the book. Immediately.

El Deafo #IMWAYR There's a Book for That October 6th 2014

What’s Next? Probably Sisters by Raina Telgemeier I am currently enamoured with these authors telling their stories and their truths through the graphic genre.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 64/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 450/650 books read (currently 44 books behind – slowly trying to get this down to 0 from the scary 54 I noticed a few weeks ago)

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 108/65 complete

Monday December 24th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Join a fabulous group of readers who share their weekly reads from picture books to young adult novels by participating in Jen and Kellee’s meme. If you are looking for new book ideas, this is a fantastic place to start! Especially if you are looking ahead to some lazy reading days over the holidays!

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I read a lot of picture books this week, but I must confess, I didn’t love them all. Those titles are not included here. Instead, below are the ones that stood out for me as being titles I would recommend/read again/read aloud.

The Man in the Moon by William Joyce (A Guardians of Childhood book) ConfessionI don’t often know what is going on in mainstream media. Ask me about hip songs and the latest and greatest movie and I likely can’t tell you. So I did not connect these Guardians of Childhood books to the slight movie buzz I was hearing with this same title. Many of you are probably cooler than me and knew all about it.

Wow! Does William Joyce create visually stunning books! I shared this as a bedtime read aloud and the next night my children were begging me for the next title that we had just received from a lovely book gifting friend (The Sandman). I loved the images and how magical the stories felt. My children were intrigued by the whole concept of the Guardians watching over children – how they were brave and majestic yet at the same time teeny and odd. Very interesting.

The MAn in the Moon

The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie by William Joyce (the second picture book in the Guardians of Childhood series

If you, like me, are not so up on this series here is more information. It seems there are so far, two picture books and a handful of novels featuring different Guardian characters.

william_joyce_the_sandman

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward  and illustrated by Julie Morstad This book is absolutely lovely and a new favourite of mine. Typically I am wary of  books with rhyming text but this one is done so well. A little girl, all of six years old has an early morning walk through snow banks and spooky trees on a cold winter morning to catch the school bus.

“When I was six and walked a mile and sang the dark away.”

Woodward recalls images of her own childhood walks in the Peace River region of B.C. Some of us really do have childhoods that included long walks to school and this book takes me back to all the small moments of bravery that once seemed so huge on my own walk to school on my journeys of childhood. Beautifully illustrated by Morstad.

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The Golden Rule written by Ilene Cooper and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska. This book explores this simple rule of childhood that seems so difficult for so many to follow. It is pointed out that a version of “”Do Unto Others . . . ” is in every religion for people all over the world. A little boy and his grandfather discuss what the world could be like it everyone actually followed this rule. A lovely format to make this concept accessible to children.

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Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter The true story of Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and the green landscapes that she returned to Africa. A book in the biography genre that explores ecology, environment and inspiration.

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How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills I adore books that promote the love of literacy and the magic of reading. Hills captures the delight of putting sounds together to make words and the lure of a story in this lovely little book that features Rocket as student and the little yellow bird as enthusiastic teacher. I would pair this title with How to Teach a Slug to Read, a book I have used in the past to explore the process of learning how to read.

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Rabbit and Robot The Sleepover by Cece Bell. A fun little story but what excites me most is that it is a fun little story in early chapter book format that can be enjoyed by students just beginning to dive into this genre There are not enough of these titles out there that have this kind of interest, humour and unique characters while still exploring familiar territory: navigating the complications of friendship. Can’t wait to get this book into the hands of students!

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I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, an adult novel. I rarely read adult novels anymore and quite honestly, I am happy to dive back into the land of middle grade and young adult novels full force. This book was just too full of ugliness. Well written but what characters . . .

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I am close to finishing  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I cannot put it down.

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