Monday March 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. As we were off this past few weeks, I have a photo of a bookstore visit to the incredible Munro’s Books  in Victoria B.C. Here is part of the picture book display.

Monday March 27th, 2017

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

With Spring Break and being away for a few days I missed last week’s IMWAYR so this post captures 2 weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Continued Slice of Life posts mean daily posting:

Missing Primary: Slice of Life #26 I love Grade 4 and 5 but I miss the little ones

Shopping: Slice of Life #25 I am not a good shopper

So far: Slice of Life #24 So far from a year ago

Rain: Slice of Life #23 Caught in a deluge

Quiet Things: Slice of Life #22 The quiet things I love

Chapter book Challenges: Slice of Life #21 How we support students moving into chapter books

Writing cheats: Slice of Life #20 Words still eluding me

Missing words: Slice of Life #19 Writing steals my reading time

Simply easier: Slice of Life #18 Preparing to write about teaching before? Maybe soon

Slightly Awkward: Slice of Life #17 Thinking about the work that change in our practice involves

Mud: Slice of Life #16 Nothing to write about

For nonfiction Wednesday, Nic Bishop’s newest: Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Penguin Day – A Family Story

Capturing play: Slice of Life #15 The importance of play

Sometimes Guilt: Slice of Life #14 Sometimes, thinking back to leaving my previous school  brings guilt.

The little girl I should have taught: Slice of Life #13 Thinking about a child who should have been in my class

Books I enjoyed:

Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Love the way these two partner up to make us smile and wonder and shake our heads. Little bits of sneaky. Lots of funny. And always, the stunning artwork from Klassen.

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Oh this book. Visually it is absolutely stunning. If this doesn’t make you want to wander through the woods and use every sense . . .

Shy by Deborah Freedman

Underneath a very sweet story is permission to be just who you are.

Rain by Sam Usher

Gorgeous rain. The pages seem slightly drowned. The images feel like they are full of puddles. And a lovely little story about a boy and his Grandpa.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

More than an “I want a pet” story. This is “I want a unicorn story” With big expectations come big disappointments. And then, big love.

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

Not really about Mars. More about set up and surprises and wanting something to be so. Really liked this one.

Dear Dragon written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Charming and full of all kinds of classroom possibilities. Writing to a pen pal becomes even more exciting when you begin to share more and more about yourself. What happens when the chance to meet in “person” happens? Told in rhyming letters, there is a lot to this little picture book.

Egg by Kevin Henkes

I have a thing about picture books where the egg plays a starring role. This one is especially wonderful.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins 

For years, I have made it clear that I do not like squirrels. At all. They steal my daffodil bulbs. They have tried to burrow into my house. They make feeding birds a battle. So, I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about a title devoted to these creatures. Must admit, I kind of loved it and I learned a lot. But, I still do not like squirrels.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong

This is a must experience it yourself nonfiction title. Really incredible illustrations. Would be a beautiful addition to any school or classroom library.

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

I have been putting off reading the final Clementine title because I didn’t want to say goodbye. We found Clementine as an audio book years ago when my children were smaller and went on to read all of the titles. In fact, I have read all but 2 titles aloud to my children. At 14, they weren’t going to sit through this one but I am excited to share it with students who I know have been Clementine fans.

Feathers  by Jacqueline Woodson 

A story of hope.Of family. Of observations. What a lovely read.

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart 

Dramatic and hard to put down. There were parts of this story I found absolutely creepy. Kids who love action driven books will love this story. I am a big fan of Gemeinhart. This is not my favourite of his three so far published titles. But definitely an action packed read.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together. This is what I loved about Counting by 7s – the diversity of characters who were in each other’s lives. In Short, it is all about friendships between generations. It’s also about a play and all of the wonderful behind the scenes preparations. I fell in love with the characters here. A must read middle grade novel!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 94/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 8/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have!

An early intermediate library is such fun to build. Students are ready for longer chapter books with more complex and compelling story lines but they still adore silly and engaging stories that some early graphics and picture books might offer them. Picture books can be clever and witty and nonfiction can be managed quite independently. So many possibilities!

What twenty titles from 2016 do I think are must have books in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom library?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

This book love is inspired by my students’ reading passions and my own reading journey as I source books for them.

Listed alphabetically by author:

Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol

Kids this age are beginning to understand that alone time is precious and sometimes hard to achieve. This is wonderfully humorous!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

How a story about a robot can be so tender, I don’t know. Heavily illustrated which makes it wonderfully rich. Themes of compassion, kindness and connection.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Achy and real. This book will squeeze you heart. A beautiful, teary emotional ride. But full of hope, not sad. At least not too much sad. The hope wins.

Counting Thyme Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

 Giant Squid Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Just pure poetry perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This is the read aloud I am starting with in January.

Some Kind of Courage Monday Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

This book! Ben Hatke is a super hero in my classroom. This will become the “it” book in the room. Prepare to never see it again except when a child holds it wailing, “When does the next one come out?” (Fall of 2017) Relatable and fantastical all at once.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

There are so many reasons to share this story with children. It is a story of hope, of change, of perseverance, of the power of music and the beauty of community. A story of transformation.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

A book to explore endlessly. Infographics are an incredible source of information. Use this book to teach how to access this information correctly.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

This title features a number of “pink” creatures from around the world and shares some of the wild and wacky facts about each one. Every page also includes specific information under these headings: Name, Species name, Size, Diet, Habitat, Predators and threats. 

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

Learn about the different kinds of teeth you have in your mouth: incisors, canines and molars. Find out how other mammals use their teeth and why they are different sizes and shapes. How are human teeth similar and different compared to other mammals? How do the teeth of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores differ?

Tooth by Tooth Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Big emotions is a tiny book. Necessary for young readers. All about the challenging process of saying goodbye.

Ida, Always Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Who would think that ice fishing, Irish dancing, magical elements and heroin addiction could be combined to create a story that is impossible both to put down and then impossible to keep from immediately recommending? I have much gratitude to Kate Messner for writing this book.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Readers will fall hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. This would be a fantastic read aloud or an engaging read alone.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Oh, the kid appeal! I chuckled through this and did a lot of head shaking. There is one scene that involves a pile of dog poop that I know I never would have thought of – thankfully! This book continues to be read and reread in my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

CaveBoy Dave: More Scrawny than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew

Highly appealing. A relatable underdog main character. Lots of poop. Again, the poop! Prehistoric creatures. Action. Adventure. Humour. And . . . a series! What more could kids want?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

Because fairy tales can be incredible. Reimagined and retold can go wrong but Shurtliff always gets it right (add Rump and Jack to your collection too!)

Red Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh

A gorgeous book – Tonatiuh gives us an interpretation of the Mexican legend how the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl came to be.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Ravi has just moved from India. Joe has been here for what seems forever. They share a few things in common – a relationship with a bully and the daily classroom and lunch room experiences of middle school. Alternately narrated by both characters, this book reminds us that it is challenging for all kids to fit in, to find your way and to be noticed for who you are.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Willems is more than brilliant and doesn’t disappoint in any way in this last Elephant and Piggie title. Students this age have had Willems as a staple of their reading lives. This book is a must have. They will grieve that there will be no more Elephant & Piggie and then get back to celebrating all the ways Elephant & Piggie are part of who they are!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Intermediate libraries? They need a mix of everything!

Love books. Give your students lots of time to read. Let them choose books so they can read widely and obsessively. Read aloud daily. Share often. Gush and be ridiculously demonstrative with your book love!

Build your library.

Invest in your readers.

They matter.

Happy Reading!

 

Must Read in 2016 Spring update

It’s time for our first #MustReadin2016 update! How are you doing with your list? Making progress? Only read a few? Enjoying other titles? Please share!

MustReadin2016challenge

This is my list of 30 titles and my thinking back in January:

“My goal is to try and get to most of these. Including them here guarantees they remain on my radar because as I made this list, I had very good reason for placing them on it. If the reasons remain, the book will be read. That’s usually how it works.”

#MustReadin2016

I seem to be on a reading roll with this list so the reasons must have been excellent! I have read 12 titles so far, which is 40% of my list 4 months into the year. And . . . I am in the middle of 2 more of these books.

Titles I finished (listed in the order I read them):

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm 

Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo 

More Happy Than Not by  Adam Silvera

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Stand Off by Andrew Smith

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Paper Hearts by Meg Wivott   

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

I gave each of these titles a 4 or 5 stars and at this point, I can’t really pick a favourite. All of them are well worth reading. If I had to select a few to do a little extra raving about, it would be these titles:

Stand Off by Andrew Smith (YA)

The main character in this novel (sequel to Winger) is a character everyone needs to meet. I will always have such a soft spot in my heart for Ryan Dean West. Start with Winger if you haven’t read it!

Stand Off (Winger #2)

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (MG)

This really was some kind of courage depicted in this title. Full of adventure and still incredibly character driven. An excellent middle grade novel – wonderful as a read alone or a read aloud.

Some Kind of Courage

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart 9YA)

I adore Beth Kephart‘s writing. I truly get lost in her words and images and begin to view the world differently. More beautifully. If you have yet to read a Kephart novel, this is a lovely read.

This is the Story of You Beth Kephart

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (YA)

I read this aloud to my family (2 thirteen year olds and my husband). We all were hooked very quickly. I wept reading the final pages. A MUST for high school libraries.

All American Boys

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2016 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2016 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2016 bloggers/readers and get inspired! And of course, everyone loves comments to know that you have visited!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2016? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists.

Next update will be on September 1st 2016!

HAPPY READING

 

Monday March 28th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. I haven’t been teaching for the past two weeks (Spring Break) so I don’t have any reading photos from my classroom. Instead, I will share a view I had on holiday for a week. This was what I looked at when I sat in my reading and writing place. This is early morning after a night of rain.

Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

As we were away last week, I didn’t share a #IMWAYR post so this post includes 2 weeks of reading. Lots of novels!

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:

I have written everyday for the Slice of Life challenge. All of these posts can be found here.

If you missed it, I celebrated our week long author/illustrator study of Melissa Sweet here: Riding Through an Artist’s Life

Books I enjoyed:

The Dead Bird written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Christian Robinson

This is the newly illustrated (2016) edition of Brown‘s 1938 title. I think it is beautiful. Perfectly captures children’s fascination with death and their gentle care. I purchased this one for my collection of books on death and grief.

The Dead Bird Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Spare Dog Parts written by Alison Hughes and illustrated by Ashley Spires

A little girl imagines how her dog must have come to be. Lots of charming in Spires’ illustrations.

Spare Dog Parts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

I shared lesson ideas for this title in my #nfpb2016 post this week. A must own.

 Pink is for Blobfish Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

The Princess in Black and the Angry Bunny Horde (Princess in Black #3) written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Seriously this is wacky. Purple bunnies that can destroy a landscape or worse in mere moments, on masse. But the best kind of wacky! Love this series for young readers!

Princess in Black #3 Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This would make the ideal middle grade read aloud or book club selection- truly something for everyone! One of the first books of 2016, I won’t stop talking about!

 

Some Kind of Courage Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Stand Off  (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West continues to be one of my all time favourite characters. The characters in this book . . . Just fantastic.

Stand Off (Winger #2) Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

 All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I read this aloud to my family – my 13 year old twins and my husband. Such a powerful story to share. We had moments of silence. On a few pages, I wept. It prompted many conversations. Incredible read.

All American Boys Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead 

This may be one of the all time most wise and wonderful book about preteen/young teen relationships ever. Friendships, choices, worries, decisions, forgiveness, care . . . Stead is an incredible writer.

Goodbye Stranger Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Paper Hearts  Meg Wivott   

A novel in verse based on the true story of a group of young women who were forced to work at the munitions factory in Auschwitz while they were imprisoned in the camps. A story of incredible courage, friendship and survival. I couldn’t put it down.

Paper-Hearts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

Someone passed an ARC on to me and I opened the book and never looked up. I love Kephart’s writing more with each book. Reading her words is like being immersed in something beautiful. Everywhere you look is an image you want to hold on to and savour. Released in April 2016. Highly recommended.

This is the Story of You Beth Kephart Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 14/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 84/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 15/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 9/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys Our family read aloud is Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Monday December 28th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This is from my final week before the holiday break. One of my little readers is proudly sharing poems from her poem book with an intent listener.

Monday December 28th, 2015

We have almost chosen our winners for our Mock Caldecott. But, not quite. It will be the first thing we do when we return. Final voting and tabulating results.

Monday December 28th, 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 2015

It’s been two weeks since I posted an #IMWAYR post so this post includes two weeks of reading.

And since I last posted, I blogged. A lot.

On the blog:

One of my favourite ever Top Ten Tuesday posts: Favourite Read Aloud Experiences

I celebrated after a busy last week of work: (Brief) Ramblings and the Happiness Train

I made some best on the blog lists:

Best of my Book Lists (2015)

A Year of Thinking (2015)

Celebration: Literacy to Fill the Year (2015)

For #nfpb2015, a collection of nonfiction titles I have been reading

Which ten titles would you like to find under the tree? I had a list of picture books

As I do every year, I compiled a favourites list. This year it includes 9 picture books and 6 novels.  Favourites of 2015

Books I loved:

Picture books:

Stella Brings the Family written by Miriam B. Schiffer and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

An inclusive solution to inviting “someone special” to a special day party.

Stella Brings the Family Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Winter is Coming written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Jim LaMarche

I reserve a really huge place of awe in my picture book heart for illustrator Jim LaMarche. This book is absolutely stunning. Ode to a season. Honouring nature. Celebrating quiet and focus and wonder. I had to buy this book.

Winter is Coming Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Wait by Antoinette Portis

The simplicity of stopping to “be” with all that is around us. So very lovely.

Wait Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Marguerite’s Christmas written by India Desjardins and illustrated by Pascal Blanchet

This was the one holiday book I purchased this Christmas. The illustrations are from another time and place. The story is about Marguerite and her quiet life that shifts a little one Christmas Eve. Loved this book.Marguerite's Christmas Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Novels:

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

Twelve year old Grayson is navigating middle grade friendships, the grief of losing his parents and the fact that, while born male, he feels female. A school play and an inspiring teacher provide opportunities for risk, change and understanding. A solid middle grade read.

Gracefully Grayson Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

 This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki with illustrations by Jillian Tamaki

A YA graphic novel about summer places, family changes and all of the awkward and in between of sliding into adolescence.

This One Summer Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The True Blue Scouts of SugarMan Swamp by Kathy Appelt

I will admit I worried as I began to read this title. Appelt’s The Underneath was just too mythical/magical/spirtual for me. So at certain early on points, I worried. But the balance between Chap’s story and the racoon scouts, soon pulled me in to this beautiful tale.

True Blue Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

I loved everything about Stella – her courage, her determination, her devotion to family and her journey as a writer. A book about some hard and ugly things (racism and prejudice) with lots of beautiful people to bring us hope.

Stella by Starlight Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Whoa. A start and don’t put down until done book. Dog as hero. Boy with the weight of the world. Honest truths are the hardest because we don’t often tell them. Beautifully told. Absolutely gripping.

Honest-TruthMonday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I love historical fiction when it is really well done – when the story is enhanced by a time and a setting that literally transports you. In this book, well done is left in the dust. This is excellent writing, an incredible story rich with complex characters living in challenging circumstances. This novel twists from the ugly cruelty of abuse to the powerful healing of connection. It offers up hope and courage mixed with lots of pain. One of the best novels I have read in some time.

The War That Saved my LifeMonday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 70/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 447/415 books read COMPLETE! 

#MustReadin2015: 18/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 78/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 50/50 books read COMPLETE! 

This is the final #IMWAYR posts of 2015. Happy New Year and Happy Reading to this wonderfully generous community of book lovers. Like many of you, I will miss the participation of the passionate reader, educator and blogger Debbie Alvarez (Styling Librarian) who passed away last week after a three year battle with cancer. Debbie was one of the first bloggers to welcome me when I dove into sharing my reading life in the blogging world. I learned much by sharing with her and I will miss our book conversations.

Favourites of 2015

Oh, this list. 15 of my favourite fiction titles. I started putting this together in early December and have changed it numerous times. Reading new books shifted things. Revisiting favourites and loving them even more shifted things. I was switching books on and off until moments before I hit publish.

The 15 books that made the final cut? They spoke to my heart. Sometimes happy. Sometimes hopeful. Sometimes with sorrow. But they all spoke deeply.

15 books and no more than 15 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words) In 2013, it was Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

These picture books are both beautiful and in need of many rereads. I love each of them more each time I read them and read to children? Well . . . they certainly do their picture book magic thing.

Lenny & Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Moody. Measured. Heavy but secure. Vulnerable but playful. Oh, this book.

Lenny & Lucy Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

Celebrating the creativity on the page and endless possibility.

My Pen Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Skunk written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

Quirky. Charming. This title sings to my philosophical heart.

The Skunk Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

Lush and moody. Sweet and hopeful. Every shade of green gorgeous.

The Little Gardener Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder

Beautiful, playful and imaginative illustrations. Olafur is a transformative Arctic tour guide.

The Bear Report Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

Missing and connecting. Believing and making it so. Lots of love here.

Boats for Papa Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Special Delivery written by Phllip C. Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

A big heart. A big elephant. A big journey. Large doses of joy.

Special Delivery Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

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

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto.

This is Sadie Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

These six titles are my most favourite of many truly fantastic titles I read this year. Something about the characters in these books made them unforgettable.

Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin

The magic suggested in the story floats off the page and whispers quietly, “Immerse yourself.”

Wish Girl Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

The pull of home, the strength of family, the importance of culture: all rich & complex.

Listen, Slowly Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Family is about who is in your corner. Beautiful. Hopeful. Heartbreaking.

Orbiting Jupiter Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This novel twists from the ugly cruelty of abuse to the powerful healing of connection.

The War That Saved my Life Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Dog as hero. Boy with the weight of the world. Honest truths are the hardest. The Honest-Truth Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

So much grief and challenge but the humanity shines bright.

boy in the black suit Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2016 full of new favourites and lots of reading!