Monday July 17th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have none to share this week (no students until September!) so instead will share a few photos from our week long vacation to Pender Island (we’ve been home a week now) where I got lots of reading done AND lots of wandering through nature.

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:

Life! by Cynthia Rylant with illustrations by Brendan Wenzel

Well, wow. Reminds me a little of All the World by Liz Scanlon. Awe inspiring and soothing all at the same time. And Wenzel – whoa, this guy!

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!

South by Daniel Duncan

When you find a little lost bird that needs your help, you had better sail south. Endearing.

Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano with illustrations by Laia Aguilar

Camille has a battle dress. Say no more!

Winter’s Coming written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon 

Almost nonfiction, this title teaches young learners about the seasons and how animals adapt and react to winter. A longer read aloud. I ordered a copy for my classroom.

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel

Wonderfully odd in Elise Gravel style. That little smelly thing is pretty darn cute. A graphic style novel that kids will love!

Lint Boy by Aileen Leijten

This is an almost there title. Quirky, clever and definitely odd. Elements of Coraline and a darker Toy Story. I think this will have huge appeal for some interesting readers – I am just not sure who they will be. I think my 4s and 5s of last year would have embraced this graphic novel. I am not sure if my new Grade 3s will manage it. The story line is somewhat confusing and it is dark, though wildly imagined.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 157/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule (Week 3 and this number hasn’t changed . . . )

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 27/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein because I have also started reading Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 3)

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

This is the final list (3 of 3) where I share thirty titles (ten at a time) of my favourite nonfiction books for older readers. The first ten are here and second ten are here.

Even though I teach primary students, I often come across fantastic nonfiction titles that older students (Grades 4-8) might enjoy. Hope some of these titles are ideal for a reader you know.

The final ten:

 Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Tracking Trash  Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns (published 2007)

Tracking Trash  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin (published 2012)

Island  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez (published 2013)

Electrical Wizard  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Birds of a Feather written by Francesco Pittau and illustrated by Bernadette Gervais  (published 2012)

birds of a feather Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Just a Second by Steve Jenkins (published 2011)

Just a Second  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier (published 2010)

 Dave the Potter  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (published 2008)

 River of Words  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

The Journey: Stories of Migration written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lambert Davis (published 2006)

 The Journey  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry (published 2013)

 Tree Lady  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Eruption: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives written by Elizabeth Rusch with photographs by Tom Uhlman (published 2013)

Eruption  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers 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 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 104/65 complete!

Monday December 23rd, 2013

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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

A favourite comment I received last week was from Elisabeth Ellington who after reading that I had had a week full of 2/5 and 3/5 books, wrote:

Enjoy your week! Hope it’s filled with 5/5 books!

Such a lovely wish and I am happy to report that it certainly was a week full of wonderful books! And so, please pardon the large number I will be sharing here – I narrowed it to my ten favourite picture books of the week!

I had a lot of book celebration this week. Earlier in the week I met my Chapter Book Challenge goal and finished my 95th novel of the year! (Now I am going to try to reach 100 by the 31st! Thankful for the #bookaday challenge!) And this morning I completed my Goodreads goal of 625 books read this year! Now I have just one more reading challenge – to read the last 2 titles on my list of My Must Read Novels of 2013. These two titles are on my shelf as I type ready to be devoured by December 31st! Much to celebrate 🙂

I feel grateful for the wonderful #IMWAYR community that makes celebrating reading such a priority. Such a honour to be part of this passionate community of readers.

So . . . back to the books! My top ten picture books of the week:

These first 6 titles are all about finding joy, honouring acceptance and celebrating calm. It is an understatement when I say the last few weeks in my classroom have been challenging. These books all found me at just the right time.

Red Sled by Lita Judge

A little red sled brings an evening of adventure for some adorable forest creatures. Basically wordless except for the delicious sound effects

Scrinch scrunch scrinch scrunch scrinch scrunch

Gadung Gadung Gadung Gadung

Whoa!

My children and I Ioved the illustration of the porcupine clutching on to the antlers. Delightful!

Red Sled #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Homer by Elisha Cooper

I don’t have a dog. But this book is not just a dog lover’s book. It is also a book about family. About spending happy time. About waiting for everyone to return and about knowing someone is waiting. Love, love, love Cooper’s soothing illustrations.

Homer #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

A Funny Little Bird by Jennifer Yerkes

A funny little bird who learns to appreciate his “invisibility” as an asset rather than a deficit. Unique. Definite book I want to share with a group of children to see what is discussed.

 A funny little bird #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Augustus and his Smile by Catherine Rayner

Stunning bold black lines on the gorgeous Augustus. This tiger discovers in his smile, the simple hidden happiness we carry with us always as long as we let it in. An important message about how we all navigate the world.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

All in a Day written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Nikki McClure

Truly a book that highlights the importance of being mindful – of understanding that each day is a gift of multiple small and meaningful moments. Would be wonderful to share with All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee.

 All in a Day #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Whimsy’s Heavy Things by Julie Kraulis

A quirky little title I have never heard of – a true find at my public library. Some fairly hefty themes here of facing what weighs us down, of rethinking obstacles and finding ways to cope with what is heavy in our lives. Much to ponder. I am still thinking about how I might share this with a class.

whimsy's heavy things #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Other titles I loved:

Toot & Puddle – Let it Snow by Holly Hobbie

I am always a sucker for Toot and Puddle. The comforts and coziness of home are always depicted in the most soothing of ways by Hobbie. Thinking about Christmas gifts. Quiet time. A beautiful winter ski through freshly fallen snow. A beautiful holiday book!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Spuds written by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Wendy Watson

A serious title in many ways. A family who has little has each other and big plans. Maybelle leads her two younger siblings into the night and into Kenney’s potato field. The children dig up potatoes and drag them home. When they arrive and stack their loot on the kitchen floor, they have quite a surprise.

Spuds #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Sophie’s Fish written by A.E. Cannon and illustrated by Lee White

This is a hilarious story that grows more and more funny and finishes with a bang. Jake has huge worries about looking after Sophie’s fish Yo-Yo. Why, oh why, did he agree to take care of him in the first place? Do fish need stories read aloud? Do you need to play games with them? What if they cry? My, oh, my the things to wonder about. The last page of this book makes it absolutely awesome! Such fun.

Sophie's fish #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Long, Long Line by Tomoko Ohmura

What a wonderful book for the younger set – a great way to learn animal names. Amusing. Interesting. Lots to look at on every page. What is this line up for? An amusement ride you certainly were not expecting! And one younger readers will want to visit again and again!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Novels I finished:

The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

I finished this sequel to The Emerald Atlas with my children as a read aloud. Hugely suspenseful. Full of adventure, mystery, intense drama and intrigue. The perfect family read aloud. We are eagerly anticipating the third book in this trilogy which now finally has a release date!

The Fire Chronicle #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Crossed by Ally Condie

I don’t often get to read a trilogy one title after another but that is exactly what I am doing with this set of YA dystopian titles by Ally Condie. And it’s kind of great! Matched hooked me with the characters and philosophical questions. Crossed is full of much more adventure, drama and survival – a perfect set up for the third novel which I am just about to start. 

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

What’s next? My children and I are reading Rump by Liesl Shurtliff  I have launched into the final book in the Matched trilogy, Reached by Ally Condie. I then plan to read the last two titles on my Must Read for 2013 list: The Hero’s Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Happy reading and Happy holidays to all!

Monday, November 18th, 2013

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! This is always my favourite way to discover what to read next.

The picture books I enjoyed this week:

999 Tadpoles written by Ken Kimura and illustrated by Yasunari Murakami

My, oh my, a lot can certainly happen on route from one pond to another. The illustrations in this book are highly engaging – it’s a lot of fun to imagine what 999 growing tadpoles might look like. The story is not that complex but it is an amusing book to let students explore. What happens when one pond becomes too small and very cautious Parent Frogs need to move their quite humongous family to a bigger water hole?

999 Tadpoles #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague

My students were delighted by this very charming version of the classic Three Little Pigs story. Student reviews are shared here. We particularly loved the clever third pig and how she handles both the wolf and her not so focussed siblings.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Oscar’s Half Birthday by Bob Graham

There isn’t a huge amount of story here, no action filled plot. Rather there is a whole lot of moment. Family. Time together. Celebration. A Park. A picnic. Lots of community. And . . . love the multiethnic parents depicted! Takes me back to the slower pace of having little ones still in babyhood.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dream Friends by You Byun 

I had to read this title twice as the first time I was just entranced by the illustrations. A sweet little story about dream friends and the challenges for shy children to connect with others. Would love to read this with a young class and see the reaction.

Dream Friends #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Picture books I LOVED:

Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom by John Rocco

So first, I adore John Rocco. Second, a few pages in is an illustration of our big haired hero and his equally hair blessed friends marching across the page as “unstoppable!” Wow. And then the “station wagon capture” scene. Maybe this took me back to my own childhood full of those boat like station wagons, bell bottoms and big hair . . . Yes, this book definitely had the nostalgia advantage. But, I also loved the story of a little guy who equated his hair with superpowers and sees the world as a series of adventures and rescues where heroes fare best. Truly sweet. Big points for the illustrations. Would love to see another Caldecott next to Rocco’s name for this!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett and illustrated by Matthew Myers

This title gets full points for its highly appealing “revision” to make a book absolutely kid appreciated. Mind you, not just kid, as my husband read it and instantly wanted to buy a copy for his father for Christmas! It is the creative license that this book celebrates – the humour, the scribbles, the reinventing of a character . . . that I love. Also worth noting – I showed the book trailer to my class and they ask me about 15 times a day if I have bought the book yet! (Can’t wait to book talk this tomorrow and let this book loose into the hands of my classroom full of readers who will energetically devour it!) I think this book delivers the message that we can all be writers and imagine characters that we can bring to life. SO MUCH FUN.

BattleBunny #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I have also been reading through some new purchases for my “almost ready for chapter book” set.

Mr. Putter and Tabby See the Stars by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Arthur Howard

I remember reading many Mr. Putter titles when my children were younger and have a real soft spot for all of these characters! This book gives Mr. Putter’s tummy a starring role. Oh what midnight walks do for the digestion!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mr. Putter and Tabby Run the Race by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Arthur Howard

I giggled through this entire story of Mr. Putter in his long socks and baggy shorts doing his training for a Senior’s Run. Very funny.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Spring Babies by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Betsy Lewin

One of my little readers so loved the first Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa title. She read it to me. She read it to the principal. She keeps it in her book box as a kind of treasure. These early readers are a perfect stepping stone to longer chapter books. This title is particularly wonderful to let children explore the miracle of babies on a farm.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished and loved Living with Jackie Chan by the brilliant Jo Knowles

Knowles just has vulnerability and raw emotion down. I was one of those readers of Jumping Off Swings that wanted to know more about Josh. This novel certainly delivered. A beautiful story of family, of healing, of facing mistakes and figuring it all out (sort of). Loved all of the characters in this story. Now my only problem is that I’ve read every book Knowles has written. Looking forward to anything else she might do!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I just started reading If you Find Me, a YA novel by Emily Murdoch and can’t put it down.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Migration Stories

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

I will admit to being absolutely fascinated by the whole concept of migration – the effort exerted, the distances travelled and the whole idea of living life in different places in different seasons. Animals are amazing.

A new migration favourite: Is This Panama? A Migration Story written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Soyeon Kim (published in 2013)

A little Wilson’s warbler wakes up to a colder than usual morning and realizes that it is time to make the journey south to Panama. But, where are all of the other warblers? They must have left without him! How would he make it to Panama alone? So begins this story of Sammy (the warbler) and his quest to find his way to Panama on his own, without knowing the way.

Is this Panama? NFPB Wednesday There's a Book for That

Sammy meets many other animals who are also migrating, adapting for the changing season or planning to sleep away the winter. A ptarmigan explains that he doesn’t need to travel south because his changing white feathers keep him safe from predators while he continues to find lots of food in the north. A flock of sandhill cranes give Sammy a lift further south but not nearly close enough to Panama. They do however teach him that their migration strategy is to search for landmarks that they count on every year. Darner Dragonflies explain to Sammy that they follow the shoreline because flying over open water is much too dangerous. Other warblers (some redstarts, warbler cousins) show Sammy how they follow star maps by flying at night and a sense of knowing awakens in Sammy. Unfortunately, as he sets out with a clearer sense of his destination, he is confused by the bright lights of a city. In a terrible storm, Sammy finds refuge on the backs of a group of social humpback whales on route to warmer waters to calve. They bring him farther south and give him the rest he needs to find some new energy to fly. Finally, Sammy finds himself just where he needs to be. What a journey.

In the back of the book is a map revealing the regular route warblers take from Alaska to Panama and then Sammy’s much longer round about route. All of the creatures Sammy encounters are described as well – with important details about migration routes, reasons for migrating and migration strategies.

Did you know that Hudsonian Godwits can fly almost 10, 000 km in one go? Really! Humpback whales use the position of the sun and Earth’s magnetic field to guide their journey. Caribou migrate farther than any other land animal.

There is also a page titled How Animals Migrate detailing the various strategies animals use to guide their migration, why animals migrate and what are some of the dangers of migration (most happen to be caused by humans).

An amazing story and so much more on the topic of migration, I highly recommend this title. It would be a great read aloud in primary classes and ideal for independent reading for early intermediate students.

Interested in other picture books about migration?

These are also favourites:

Bird, Butterfly, Eel with story and paintings by James Prosek

Bird, Butterfly, Eel NFPB Wednesday There's a Book for That

The Journey: Stories of Migration written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lambert Davis

Stories of Migration NFPB Wednesday There's a Book for That

My original goal was 60 nonfiction picture books for 2013. Progress: 50/60 complete

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2013! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.

NFPB2013leaves

Monday May 6th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

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

My favourite picture books this week:

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

The-Relatives-Came-9780689717383

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

Boywonders

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

polka bats

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

AnUndoneFairyTale

In other reading . . . 

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

Beholding Bee

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

Listening

I am currently reading Endangered by Eliot Schrefer Wow.

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

 

Monday December 17th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Celebrate your weekly reading by joining Jen and Kellee’s meme and link up with other reading enthusiasts sharing their reads from picture books to young adult reads.

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I enjoyed many great books during this past week and tried to fit in some last minute Nerdy Book Club nominations 🙂

Picture Books I loved:

Neville written by Norman Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas I read this book with my reading group and we shared questions we had before, during and after the story. An amazing book to inspire questions and discussion. A boy moves to a new town and heads out for a walk, unhappy about his move and convinced he will be friendless. When he begins to yell the name “Neville!” interesting things begin to happen. I adored this book.

neville

Jangles, a BIG fish story by David Shannon Part folklore, part mystery, part adventure – all good 🙂 Gorgeous oil paintings give this book an eerie aura.

jangles

Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills I agree, of course, with many other readers that this book is an ideal story to share when highlighting the writing process. Love the little yellow bird and the big tree of inspiration.

Rocket cover

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan Stunning art helps narrate this story of a nighttime adventure in the forest. Perfect for teaching about nocturnal animals.

little_owls_night

Chopsticks Amy Krause Rosenthal Scott Magoon A fun story about friendship, independence and loyalty with just the right dose of humour “mixed in.”

chopsticks

A few holiday stories shared with my class: 

Home for Christmas by Jan Brett My students loved paying attention to the detailed illustrations for hints of what was coming up next in the story. I have many holiday books by Jan Brett on my bookshelf. Always so festive and sweet.

home_for_christmas_preliminary_jacket

Just Right For Christmas by Birdie Black and Rosalind Beardshaw This book was shared in my class this week, more details here. A story with elements of Phoebe Gilman‘s Something from Nothing or Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. 

just right for Christmas

Some non-fiction themed books:

The Journey: Stories of Migration written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lambert Davis I have been sharing sections of this book all term with my class as we learn about migration. The illustrations were vivid and detailed and the stories very easy to follow for my Grade 2/3 students. Lots of learning!

stories of migration

A Strange Places to Call Home written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Ed Young The pictures in this book are incredible and I really enjoyed reading more about each creature and their strange habitats at the back of the book. Did I love all of the poems? Some more than others . . .

strange place to call home

The novel I finished this week was a young adult read called Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. Great characters and beautiful writing. I quickly requested other titles by this author from the library. Astrid Jones holds her feelings and questions close as she tries to navigate small town life and big world questions with a family not really along for the ride. Everyone in her two parent, two kid family feels very much on their own and so Astrid connects with the unknown passengers on the planes that fly overhead. A story that explores love, friendship and family dynamics.

Girl lying on sand, reaching up to the sun