Wrapped up in shades of black and grey

It is November and that means it is Picture Book Month!

Here in B.C. we have been experiencing some dark, rainy days. Daylight savings means we just found an extra hour of light in the morning but our afternoons disappear into evening black far too soon. Yet darkness is not all about doom and gloom. It also means cozy, long stretches to read or bustle about inside. Darkness can pull us together for seasons of celebration and special events or provide us with solitude for introspection and calm. Bright is beautiful but so is dark. Whether we seek out the mystery and unexpected or the opportunity to settle into the quiet.

All of the dark has got me thinking about picture book covers. I started a list to see if I could come up with a number of titles that come specially wrapped in blacks and greys. My list ran off the page and I realized that many of my favourite books reside here. Is it just me or is there a certain elegance to these titles?

When you need a break from the bright, pick up one of these beautiful books.

25 titles to swoon over.

Wrapped up in Shades of Black and Grey There's a Book for That

Listed alphabetically by author.

Leo a Ghost Story written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Gleam and Glow written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Peter Sylvada

A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper

The Black Book of Colors written by Menana Cottin and illustrated by Rosana Faría

Nighttime Ninja written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young

Willaboughy and the Moon by Greg Foley

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

I Know a Bear by Mariana Ruiz Johnson

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

In the Tree House written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Our King has Horns! written by Richard Pevear and illustrated by Robert Rayevsky

Big Bad Bubble written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Swan written by Laurel Synder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien

Friends by Mies van Hout 

Happy by Mies van Hout

Surprise by Mies van Hout 

Ten Birds by Cybele Young

How I love sharing picture book lists during this month of picture book love!

Happy Picture Book Reading!

pb month logo

Picture Books that model perseverance

It’s Picture Book Month and I have picture books on my mind. I am beginning to think in lists. Often. It may be a syndrome. Picturebooklistitis? Something like that.

On Friday, I had some parent meetings in the a.m. It was lovely to talk about students who have demonstrated improvement in goal areas due to persistence, determination and creative approaches to problems. Heading home, after school, I started thinking about picture books on this theme of persistence.

What exactly was I thinking about? All of the synonyms for perseverance: persistence, tenacity, determination . . . But also being able to solve problems with creativity or a different/unique approach. A lot of it has to do with being able to focus but also being able to think outside of the box. Sometimes it is just about, simple but tough, hard work and diligence.

I think all of these picture books highlight a particular aspect of this theme and in their own way, model perseverance.

Twenty favourite titles:

These ten beauties:

Picture Books that model perseverance

And ten more:

Picture Books that model perseverance There's a Book for That

Twenty picture book titles that model perseverance:

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

Rosie Revere, Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Rosyln Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth by Marie-Louise Gay

Ice by Arthur Geisert

Flight School by Lita Judge

A House in the Woods by Inga Moore

The Mighty Lalouche written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds 

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires 

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead

Oscar and Hoo written by Theo and illustrated by Michael Dudok De Wit

Queen of the Falls by Chris VanAllsburg 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Ten Birds by Cybèle Young

In case you’ve missed them, I have been making more lists:

Picture Books that celebrate courage

Picture Books to make you giggle

Happy Picture Book Month!

pb month logoAs always, please share your favourite titles on this theme!

Monday October 27th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

I hope everyone was able to get lost in a book or two or three just like these guys did in Buddy Reading this week!

Monday October 27th, 2014 #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.


My favourite picture books of the week:

Ms. Brooks’ Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome!) written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Michael Emberley

In this delightful tale, Miss Brooks gives her students the opportunity to connect with their inner story telling selves. But things get really interesting when Missy realizes that she can use her creative energies and wild imagination to tackle real life problems. Say problems named Billy Toomey . . .

Check out my students’ reviews here.

Miss Brooks' Story Nook #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The trailer is delightful

Giant Dance Party written by Betsy Bird and illustrated by Brandon Dorman

Stage fright explored by big blue fluffy monsters and a feisty little girl.

Giant Dance Party Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Don’t Play with Your Food by Bob Shea

This book is absolute kid humour. In fact, one of my students found it at the library and insisted I read it and consider reading it aloud. I think I just might because it would be a LOT of fun to share with a group. A hungry monster continues to be outwitted by a group of ever multiplying bunnies.

Don't Play with Your Food Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

H.o.r.s.e. a game of basketball and imagination by Christopher Myers

I read this aloud at dinner to my family and my twelve year old son and husband – both who enjoy basketball – were quite enthralled. Love the friendly banter and boasting and the focus on stretching both skills and creativity.

HORSE Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Rosie and Buttercup written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Oh, so very, very real when it comes to sibling relationships. Don’t you sometimes wish you could just give your annoying little sister away? What if you could? This title explores that question in such a tender and honest way. No blame – just exploring normal feelings of being irritated and having reached the point of frustration.

 Rosie and Buttercup Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Nancy Knows by Cybèle Young

Such an interesting title – exploring the concept of memories – so Nancy, our elephant main character, is perfect.

Nancy Knows Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Oliver’s Tree by Kit Chase

Adorable illustrations of these three friends. What kind of tree can an elephant belong in? Two friends support Oliver to find out.

Oliver's Tree Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Early readers/younger chapter books:

Annie’s Adventures (The Sister’s 8 Book 1) written by Lauren Baratz-Logsted with Greg Logsted & Jackie Logsted

My daughter devoured all nine titles in this series and I have some girls in my room beginning to read the series so I thought I should read one so I can talk with my students. Lots going on – mystery, sibling negotiation and sister power. Quite sophisticated writing and longer than a typical early chapter book – verging on a middle grade read at over 100 pages.

Annie's Adventures Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Humphrey’s Playful Puppy Problem written by Betty G. Birney and illustrated by Priscilla Burris

I find these Humphrey’s Tiny Tales to be the ideal balance between interesting plot and supported text to be the perfect early chapter title.

Humphrey's Playful Puppy Problem Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Novels: (both in verse)

Caminar by Skila Brown

There is something about a heavy story being light in words. Novels in verse can capture images and emotions with so much power that the reader must just stop. This is a beautifully done story – set in Guatemala in the early 1980s when mountain villages are wiped out in the name of searching for rebels. Family. Community. Courage. Nothing is what it once seemed. A powerful story for mature middle grade readers.

Caminar Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Libertad by Alma Fullerton

One night I read Caminar in one sitting and the next morning I woke up and devoured Libertad before getting out of bed. Another novel in verse, also set in Guatemala with a focus on courage and family, Libertad tells the story of a boy forced to protect both himself and his brother after their mother dies as they scavenge for garbage in the Guatemala City Dump. Determined to find his father in America, Libertad brings his brother Julio on a journey to family, freedom and safety. But will each decision be the right one? Is the risk too great? Is their dream even possible? I couldn’t put this book down.

Libertad Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am still reading The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson and have a large pile of novels just in from the library that I am excited to dive into.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 69/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 484/650 books read (continue to remain 48 books behind, still keeping it under 50!)

#MustReadin2014: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 111/65 complete

Monday February 25th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I love Sunday nights when I reflect on my reading over the week and join Kelle and Jen’s meme to share books read from picture books to young adult novels.

Because I am really supposed to be writing report cards, my book descriptions will be shorter than usual. Report card writing has also interfered with my reading time. This week I only finished one novel: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, a Printz title by Benjamin Alire Saenz. But, oh, what a novel it was . . . So much I loved about this book. It was a truly beautiful read. Loved the relationship between mothers and sons. The respect for family. The search for who exactly one might be. I love the contemplative narration. The vulnerability revealed. Oh, did I adore this book . . .

Aristotle and Dante- It's monday What are you reading?

Picture books I read:

Ten Birds by Cybele Young A great book to spark discussion! I personally love the illustrations. They are wonderfully quirky and odd. A counting theme but much more . . .

Ten Birds - It's Monday!

The Little Red Fish by Taeeun Yoo Library love and mixed up feelings of real and unreal as one travels literally, and not, through the pages of a book. Stunning!

littleredfish It's Monday!

These Hands written by Margaret H. Mason and illustrated by Floyd Cooper Such voice in the Grandfather teaching his little grandson what “these hands” can do. And then . . . what “these” hands cannot do because of racist ideas. Beautiful book. I need to own it.

these hands It's Monday!

Goal! written by Mina Javaherbin illustrated by A.G. Ford My students adored this book and wrote fantastic reviews. The illustrations are so full of life, the text beautiful to read aloud. I loved the celebration of play. These words in the text were my favourite: “When we play, we forget to worry. When we run, we are not afraid.”

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin

The Monster Returns by Peter McCarty A sequel to Jeremy Draws a Monster – don’t think it would be as cute if read as a stand alone. But as a sequel, charming.

The Monster Returns - It's Monday!

Looking for a Moose written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Randy Cecil Wonderful combination of energetic playful language and sweet images.

Have you ever seen a moose — a long-leggy moose– a branchy-antler, dinner-diving, bulgy-nose moose?”

Looking for a moose - It's Monday

Kite Day: A Bear and Mole Story by Will Hillenbrand Hillenbrand writes such whimsical, sweet stories. Adventure shared by two friends. Adorable.

Kite Day - It's Monday

Nonfiction titles:

Queen of the Falls by Chris VanAllsburg This was a fantastic read aloud that held my Grade 2 reading group on the edge of their seats. How could a 62 year old woman plan and execute a stunt such as going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Here is the story of Annie Edson Taylor, determined to make her fortune by being the first person to go over the falls.  A compelling and sad story.

QueenofFalls - It's Monday!

Watch this video of VanAllsburg discussing creating the book:

Oscar and the Frog by Geoff Waring A cute little book that introduces concepts of growing and how different living things begin, grow and develop. I liked the connections between plants and animals.

Oscar and the Frog

I discovered that this book is part of an entire collection of Oscar books to introduce science/nature concepts to young readers. Would love to get all of the titles for my nonfiction collection.

Oscar Collection