This is the first post in a series. Next post will be later this week.
Books I read:
Waiting for High Tide by Nikki McClure
I will be honest – I am going to have to go back and reread this one. I was so enamoured with the illustrations of the Pacific Northwest shore line that I can’t remember the text. This book is a stunner.
Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the Cafeteria by John Grandits and illustrated by Michael Allen Austin
This has got to be one of the longest titles out there for a picture book! A fun look at being anxious beginning somewhere new. Such engaging and colourful illustrations.
Owl Diaries #1 Eva’s Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliot
In preparation for moving back to primary, I am reading a lot of transitional chapter book titles. This is a cute series in the Branches series from Scholastic. Very accessible for readers building their stamina for longer stories.
Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split by Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Meg Park
I really liked this title and purchased two more in the series for my classroom. A very realistic portrayal of friendship struggles and dynamics at this age.
The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper
Visually really fun. But must admit, for me, this book was just odd. Would like to kid test it.
Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
A must read middle grade novel in verse about a young girl with Tourette syndrome.I learned so much. This is also a wonderful read about friendship, moving and complicated family dynamics. If I was still teaching Grade 4 and 5, I would be purchasing this one.
Reading Progress updates:
2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 40/75 complete
Goodreads Challenge: 168/365 books read
Progress on challenge: 42 books behind schedule (one better than last week)
#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 23/50 titles
Diverse Books in 2016: 28/50 books read
Up next? I continue to have a few novels on the go.
Town is by the Sea written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith
I am not sure if it is humanly possible to illustrate this book more beautifully. I almost couldn’t breathe looking at these pages. The story is lyrical and full of vivid images. The beauty of the seaside is a sharp contrast to the reality of the daily life in a mining town.
The Fog written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Kenard Pak
Well. Where to begin with this book? There is so much that is clever and charming but there are heavier themes to explore for each reader to discover. I can’t wait to kid test this one and see what the reactions will be. Very worth getting your hands on this title!
Caring for Your Lion written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Troy Cummings
A wonderful mentor text for the primary grades. Often the text and the pictures don’t completely match and this is hilarious and scary all at the same time as we follow the step by step instructions of how to look after a mail order lion. I shared this with a group of Grade 1 students who were thrilled to share what animal they might like to order in the mail!
The Good for Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper
Another wonderful Elephant & Piggie recommended title. I loved this book and then I read this post by Travis Jonker and loved it more. (If fidget spinners have taken over your school – read the link for a smile)
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton
We LOVE Super Narwhal in my classroom! Love, love, love. It is the perfect blend of amusing, informative and just plain cute.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
I read this in one sitting. An ideal read aloud for a Grade 2 or 3 classroom. There is so much here. Bat, his family and a little orphaned skunk make up a cast of characters that you must meet.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
This book is flying through my Grade 4/5 classroom. Friendship issues, fitting in, sibling stressors and growing up. The perfect middle school title. A graphic novel.
Moon Shadow by Erin Downing
Some fantastic elements that middle grade readers will love. For me personally, too much magic. But I can see young readers devouring this book. Recommended for Grade 6 and older because of the romance themes and nasty friendship dynamics.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
This YA novel is hard to put down. Fabiola Toussaint joins her aunt and female cousins in Detroit. Newly arrived from Haiti without her mother who has been detained by immigration, Fabiola has much to navigate in this new world full of dangers and threats and uncertain security. Highly recommended.
Reading Progress updates:
2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 25/75 complete
Goodreads Challenge: 123/365 books read
Progress on challenge: 10 books behind schedule
#MustReadin2017: 14/30 complete
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/50 titles
Diverse Books in 2016: 18/50 books read
Up next? I have a few titles on the go including Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt
The Lonely Book written by Kate Berhheimer and illustrated by Chris Shelban
A story that tells many stories of how relationships with books can be so special. Sometimes a book is beloved by many and passes from hands to hands to hands. Sometimes a book’s qualities are treasured by one for any number of reasons. And sometimes a book, worn and well read, finds the best place to be and the reader who is most in need of its magic.
Sing . . . sing a song . . . lyrics by Joe Raposa, story in pictures by Tom Lichtenheld
Yes, this is a book of that song Sing, Sing a Song. Starts off wordless. Our frustrated little bird demonstrates perseverance and finds some confidence after being serenaded by a joyful guitar player. Full of happiness and smiles. Just a lovely little book.
Worth watching the video on youtube:
Tommaso and the Missing Line by Matteo Pericoli
One sentence summary: Tommaso goes in search of a line that has disappeared from a beloved drawing.
Wow. This is a book that asks to be shared and discussed. In big ways. With big questions. What inspires art? Does a piece of art contain a piece of the inspiration? Do things exist differently in our memories? Can art capture a memory? Can it prevent it from fading? Love this book.
I am the King by Leo Timmers
Part of why I was drawn to this book is that it is very pink but appears to not be a pinkish book (it isn’t) and also because last year my class fell in love with Timmers’ book The Magical Life of Mr. Renny so I was curious. This is an interesting book. Maybe one that on first read might not seem so interesting but then when you think about the potential questions it might inspire, its interest level elevates. Various animals find a golden crown and convinced it fits them perfectly, each announce, “I am the King!” The next animal finds that assertion preposterous, dons the crown (in a totally different way) and claims “King” status for themselves. Finally, the crown lands at the feet of Lion. Lion puts the crown on his head and all of the animals cheer that “Lion is the King.” That is just that.
So back to the questions:
Do we see ourselves vastly differently from the way others see us? Better? Worse?
Does competition prevent us from celebrating our potential for more?
Do some people (lions in this case) just command respect? How?
Wumbers written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
What an amusing mixture of numbers and words to communicate little stories scattered throughout this book. Lots of fun! I just wished a coherent story ran through the entire book. Still, I passed this to a student last week and he was instantly hooked on deciphering the text.
Is This Panama? A Migration Story written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Soyeon Kim I reviewed this book earlier this week here.
Tushes and Tails by Stephane Frattini
A hugely engaging nonfiction title ideal for an interactive read aloud experience. Who belongs to which tush and/or tail? It is not as easy as it many seem to guess. Under each lift the flap, one is rewarded with more information about each animal – enough to learn something new, not too much to lose the momentum of guessing, checking and discovering.
Queenie: One Elephant’s Story written by Corinne Fenton and illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe
A story about a gentle elephant captured and put in a zoo. This book tells the story of Queenie, but really forces the readers to think about zoos, animals in captivity and our obligations to them and treatment of them. Made me think of Eve Bunting‘s The Summer of Riley and the questions around whether a dog should be euthanized or not based on its actions in particular circumstances. Can see this book being very powerful shared with an older primary or an intermediate class.
Mimi’s Village And How Health Care Transformed it written by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Part of the Citizen Kidseries of information story books that talk about real world issues and how they affect children around the world. This book teaches readers all about what life is like when basic health care and disease prevention is limited. Set in Kenya, Mimi’s reality before a village health worker becomes attached to her village is one where she and her family lack clean water, appropriate nutrition, and protection from diseases. Simple things like mosquito netting to sleep under have huge impact.
Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball, an early graphic novel by Cherise Mericle Harper
Delightfully silly. My class adores this little graphic story.
Boris Gets a Lizard an early illustrated chapter book by Andrew Joyner – part of the Branches series of books by Scholastic
Boris desperately wants his own Komodo Dragon. He is what you might call obsessed. What is his clever plan to have his own Komodo Dragon, if even temporarily? And does his plan succeed? I can see my younger readers being interested in this title. Full colour pictures and manageable text.
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library written by Chris Grabenstein
A fully engaging middle grade mystery/adventure – even more perfect for book lovers and avid readers. Many have talked about connections to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and certainly this book has those wonderful elements of unexpected adventures set in a fantastical location with twists and turns on every page. I really liked this book. Think I would like it even more if I shared it with a class of children. I can imagine those reading this aloud to a classroom are having a delightful time of it!
Next up ? I am loving the novel Jinx by Sage Blackwood (and I really love saying the name Sage Blackwood, it’s so beautiful). Now that we are settled back into school routine and bedtimes, I am happy to have some dedicated evenings to continue reading The Fire Chronicle by John Stevens to my own children. We have been doing a lot of nonfiction picture book reading over the last few weeks and need to delve back into this novel that we were so excited about at the end of the summer.
Have a great reading week everyone! And if you are so inspired, check out this post and add your #5words: In 2013/2014 I will be . . . Loving the comments 🙂
Today we started reading books that help us to address the bully/bullied/bystander dynamic. When Randolph Turned Rotten by Charise Mericle Harper was our first book.
Many would not categorize this as a book about bullying. It would more likely be labelled a book about feelings, friendship or forgiveness. While it does teach us about all of those things, I also think it is the ideal book to introduce the concept of how our feelings translate into our actions. Quite simply here: rotten feelings = nasty actions. We are going to learn a lot in this unit. To start, why does someone act like bully/engage in bully behaviour? Next, what does being bullied feel like? What emotions does someone go through? Third, what about when there are bystanders? What are their roles? And finally, how does all of this work together? What happens when bullying begins and isn’t stopped?
In When Randolph Turned Rotten, we gain insight to what made Randolph go from being a good friend to a guy with “stinky rotten insides” that wishes ill on his best friend. In Randolph’s case, he is impacted by envy. His lovely best friend Ivy is invited to a birthday party. An all girl birthday party. A birthday party that Ivy is super duper excited about and that Randolph is NOT invited to attend. Randolph wishes he could go. He wishes Ivy would not go. He wishes he wasn’t going to be left alone. Then his wishes get mean. He hopes Ivy will have a horrible time and he devises a plan to ensure it. Randolph turns into nasty Randolph (Harper creates the perfect labelled diagram complete with mad hands – we all practiced trying to smile with clenched fists like that and it was close to impossible!) Mean thoughts invade his brain.
Randolph does a number of things to try and mess up Ivy’s trip – many of them focussed on getting her to pack ridiculous items in her bag and scaring her about potential beach hazards like the awful beach bears that she will need a poiny stick to ward off! This book has very interesting twist when Ivy arrives at the party. The geese (Ivy happens to be a goose!) get locked out of the house and must spend the night on the beach. All of the items Randolph inist Ivy pack turn out to be incredibly useful. Instead of ruining the party, Randolph is a hero! But, not to himself. Randolph, once alone with just time to contend with, feels guilty for what he has done. He apologizes. Ivy forgives him. They are best friends as always. But, we the readers, learned a lot. When we let our upset feelings take over and take us from thinking to acting in mean ways, we are engaging in bully behaviour. Wanting others to feel as bad as we do is a normal feeling but not one that we want to allow to cloud our judgement. It helped us understand why someone might do and say cruel things. It allowed us to start having those conversations about why someone might bully.
We are looking forward to reading more titles on this theme and the conversations that they might inspire.