Monday March 7th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week I have two to share.

I love the joy and focus these girls showcased during buddy reading.

Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

And I appreciated being shown the best page in Ballet Cat according to this little reader.

Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Our #classroombookaday titles this week received lots of book love!

Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

I haven’t shared a #IMWAYR post for two weeks. I have been to two full day Literacy conferences (one in Bellingham and one in Vancouver) and one nErD camp in the past two weeks. I just finished report cards. And, I am writing daily for the March Slice of Life challenge. Busy, busy, busy. Not as much reading as I would like but . . . enough to share happily here!

On the blog:

A number of Slice of Life posts: The Promise of a Day, Threes and Repeats, Those Everyday people, Freedom Arms, A Mom themeWriting Happens HereEyes on the Corner, Hey Little One

A Q & A post with author Tara Lazar to launch Normal Norman

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The Way to School

Books I enjoyed:

Ribbit! written by Rodrigo Folgueira and illustrated by Poly Bernatene

Themes of connection, community and inclusivity. All of these themes are addressed in the most clever of ways. What happens when a little pink pig exclaims “Ribbit!” while sitting amongst the lily pads?

Ribbit! Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Ben Says Goodbye written by Sarah Ellis and illustrated by Kim LaFave

Losing a friend to a move is a huge loss for so many children. This title addresses those big emotions in a lovely, believable way.

Ben Says Goodbye Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Bloom written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by David Small

I adore David Small and it was so much fun to see his work here in a fairy tale like setting. A story of mud and rolling up your sleeves to get the job done! Loved the girl power here!

Bloom Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

If I Had a Gryphon written by Vicki VanSickle and illustrated by Cale Atkinson

Pet wishing, imagining and pondering – wonderfully off the scale! I want a gryphon!

If I Had a Gryphon Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Over-Scheduled Andrew by Ashley Spires

Spires addresses such a growing problem for so many children: schedules that take over children’s lives – leaving little time for friendships and down time.

Over-Scheduled Andrew Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Steve Raised By Wolves by Jared Chapman

So, wolf like habits don’t really match an elementary school setting. Or do they? Hilarious!

Steve Raised By Wolves Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Skunk on a String by Thao Lam

You have probably never thought about how you would react if a skunk floated by. In this wordless tale, spy as one does just that . . . All kinds of reactions and commotion ensue. Quite delightful!

Skunk on a String Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me written by Danielle Marcotte and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

A home where books and reading are treasured and reading is modelled and celebrated. This child is raised with all that stories can provide. This title also touches on all that we read – the faces of clocks, expressions, the sky . . .

Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me Monday March 7th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 7/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 66/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 13/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 8/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin and continue reading All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely with my family.

Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove

This week a treasure of a book arrived at my house.

The Good Little Book written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Marian Arbona

 The Good Little Book Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

This title perfectly captures true #booklove and the notion that books must be shared. What a perfect book to get us thinking about heading back into classrooms and reading to children or snuggling up for a cozy family story time with your own little ones. Books about loving books are especially special. They celebrate the wonder and magic of reading. This title by Maclear reminds us that our attachments to certain stories can be passionate and run deep.

This book is unique. It doesn’t have a jacket (significant later in the story) and its end pages are some of the most exquisite I have ever seen. Vibrant red flowers, quirky doodles and a name plate that makes us think about a very important question: Does a book truly belong to any one person? 

This book is about a boy and his book. His love for the book grows slowly. It comforts him. It transports him to new places and inspires him to experience a myriad of emotions. Soon, he is most definitely attached. And then one day, his book is missing. He worries. He searches. He mourns.

It might be that he does come across this book again. But our boy is now a reader and he knows, most certainly, that a book is a gift. A gift to be shared.

Such a gem. This good little book 🙂

This week I celebrate The Good Little Book and all of the #booklove it will conjure up in its readers.

I have also shared some of my other favourite titles that honour books, literacy and reading.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

 The Fantasict Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Library written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

 The Library  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small

 That Book Woman  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

Mr. George Baker  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty.

The Snatchabook  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

 The Bee Tree  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Best Book in the World by Rilla 

the best book in the world  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.

celebrate-link-up

Happy Reading! 

Thank you to Pamela at Penguin Random House Canada for providing the copy of The Good Little Book for review!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Auto-buy Authors But I kind of switched it up . . .

I approached this theme with some flexibility.  First, I only included picture books. Second, my list is all about illustrators, not authors (although some both illustrate and write their books). And top ten? Nope. I have twenty. But I split it into two lists of ten in order to kind of follow the rules. 🙂 10 + 10 = 20

My top ten lists this week are all about my auto-buy illustrators. These artists help make picture books that are irresistible.

I read a lot, a lot, a lot of picture books. Narrowing these lists down was a challenge!

When it became apparent that I couldn’t limit my list to just ten, I decided to make a list of female illustrators and a list of male illustrators. Both make the best books ever! I am so excited to honour them here. For each illustrator, I have included my favourite (or one of my favourite) books that they have illustrated.

My ten auto-buy female illustrators listed in alphabetical order:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Freya Blackwood illustrated Harry and Hopper I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood Blackwood creates through shading and colour.

harry and hopper Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Lauren Castillo wrote and illustrated Melvin and the Boy I love Nana and her wonderful cape and thought it was wonderfully Caldecott worthy, but I have such a soft spot for this sweet little book.

Melvin and the Boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Marla Frazee illustrated All the World It is so absolutely calming and charming and full of all the world’s memories.

All-the-World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Emily Hughes wrote and illustrated Wild which I am more than a little wild about

Wild Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Suzy Lee created the wordless treasure Wave I am quite sure these waves are moving across the pages here.

 Wave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Qin Leng illustrated Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – there is one page oh so very full of green that I fell in love with.

 Hana Hashimoto Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World I already loved this title but then I heard Yuyi read it aloud and I was even more smitten. Such joyous energy and escapades in this book!

Nino Wrestles the World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Julie Morstad’s illustrations in This is Sadie are swoon worthy. Seriously, this cover!

This is Sadie Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

LeUyen Phan absolutely blew me away with The Boy Who Loved Math

 The Boy Who Loved Math Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Erin E. Stead illustrated the stunning  If You Want to See a Whale If you follow this blog you know I have a serious thing for whales. The one in this book? I find it particularly captivating.

If you want to see a whale Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

My ten auto-buy male illustrators listed in alphabetical order

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jonathan Bean illustrated Bad Bye, Good Bye which I found wonderfully delightful. Look at the expressions conveyed just on the cover.

Bad Bye, Good Bye Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Peter Brown won me over with his book The Curious Garden that he wrote and illustrated. Doesn’t it make you want to go plant a seed or two or twelve in some unexpected places?

Curious Garden Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Oliver Jeffers just keeps making more books. Picking a favourite is challeging. I’m going with The Heart and the Bottle which will tug at your heart.

heart in the bottle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jon Klassen is the Caldecott King but it is his illustrations in House Held up by Trees that I find the most incredible.

househeldupbytrees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

E.B. Lewis has done so many titles that are powerful but his illustrations in My Best Friend might be my favourite.

 My Best Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are so whimsical and full of teeny tiny characters that are very large. South is gentle and lovely.

south Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Christopher Silas Neal’s books with Kate Messner are stunning but it is illustrations in Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives that I want to celebrate here.

 Lifetime Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Mark Pett won a special award in my room for The Girl and the Bicycle during our Mock Caldecott process He sent a very special gift for his number one fan (see below).

The Girl and the Bicycle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

John Rocco does many wonderful titles. He wrote and illustrated Blackout which is likely my favourite. The blues. The blacks. Wow. Wow. Wow.

 Blackout Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

David Small does the most delicate, detailed drawings for historical fiction titles. I couldn’t choose my favourite. So instead I picked One Cool Friend which I also love.

 One cool Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Who are your auto-buy illustrators? 

Could you choose ten? Or stop at twenty? It’s difficult!

Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015

It is that time of year where picture book love is celebrated and shared! Yes, Picture book 10 for 10 is here!

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my fourth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. Last year (2014) I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness.

This year I decided to share ten historical fiction titles that are favourites of mine. When we can engage children with wondering and thinking about another time and place and what it was like for people who lived then, our discussions automatically center on who we are as people. Such rich and important conversations to have. Many of these titles can also be shared with students as we try and read more diverse titles in our classrooms.

Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

My top ten favourites on this theme: Historical Fiction

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small (2008)

What is more beautiful than bravery and perseverance to bring books into the homes of children who don’t even have the chance to go to school? Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s, this book is inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books by horseback to areas where there were few if any schools and no libraries. A story about the power of books, the devotion they are given and the magic that happens when a reader is made.

 That Book Woman Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue (2001)

A story of friendship, prejudice and courage set in the American South in 1964. Beautifully written – lyrical text and honest emotions, this book is one of the best historical fiction picture books I have read.

Freedom Summer Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Busing Brewster written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by R.G. Roth (2010)

A picture book with many important themes: having a dream, the power of libraries to be transformative and what it was like to be black at an all white school. Set in the 1970s when integration was being “helped” along by forced busing – bringing black students into white schools, this story gives children a glimpse into the racial tensions of the time and the complexities of integration.

 Busing Brewster Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Shi-shi-etko written by Nicola Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave (2005)

Shi-shi-etko has only four more days until she must attend residential school. She spends these precious days with her family, in nature gathering her memories and avsorbing the wisdom of her family. Such a beautiful book about a very heartbreaking topic. My students were mesmerized. And full of questions.

 Shi-shi-etko Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Lizzie Nonsense by Jan Ormerod (2004)

The illustrations in this title are incredible. It is nostalgic. Lonely. Gives us a glimpse of the hardships of early pioneer life. Set, so very beautifully, in Australia.

Lizzie Nonsense Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis (2001)

This author/illustrator combination create absolute magic. So much in one little picture book with huge implications for discussion. In a segregated town, black and white don’t mix. A fence that represents the division of race becomes just a fence at the end of the story when a whole row of girls perches atop it.

 The Other Side Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Elsie’s Bird written by Jane Yolen and David Small (2010)

It is the late 1800s and Elsie has lost her mother. Her father moves her to the Nebraska prairie from their home in Boston. When Elsie’s beloved canary escapes his cage she must venture out into the landscape of this new quiet, open space. Both Yolen and Small are at their best – this is a literary and visual treat.

Elsie's Bird Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Red Kite, Blue Kite written by Ji-li Jiang and illustrated by Greg Ruth (2013)

Rich in truth and history (based on the story of the author’s family friend), this book is set during the Cultural Revolution in China. It is the story of father and son –  separated by distance and circumstances who stay connected through kites in the sky. Heartbreaking but full of hope. Such a beautiful book.

Red kite, blue kite Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road by Bonnie Christensen (2013)

An appealing book on so many levels – the history, the geography, the adventure, the culture – wow. The story begins with one girl in China (ninth century China) who dreams of traveling The Silk Road trade route. Not able to travel even part of the way with her father, she asks him to bring a single pebble to send along the road to a child somewhere further along. The path of the pebble is incredible as it is passed from person to person finally ending up in Italy. My son read this book and found it fascinating – all of the old maps and interesting journey.

 A Single Pebble Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2015)

This book does so much. As we travel through time with a recipe for a simple summer dessert, we are treated to a history lesson that is much more than how kitchen utensils and appliances have changed. Sometimes, history titles have heavy themes. This one is about the everyday of cooking together. Pure delight.

A Fine Dessert Monday Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

I have other favourites on this theme that I didn’t include. Check out my Historical Fiction Pinterest board.

Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10

pb-10-for-10

Happy picture book reading!  

My Picture Book 10 for 10 for 2013

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

I am thrilled to be participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event for the second time. This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. What are the picture books that you just can not live without?

pb 10 for 10

Last year I shared many of my all time favourite picture books. This year, I thought I would focus on what has become a beloved theme: picture books that feature a connection between generations – whether it is a child and a grandparent or a child and a grandparent like figure.

These stories remind us that time is a gift, memories have big meaning and wisdom shared always enhances what we know.

My top ten favourites on this theme: Connections across the generations

Mr. Zinger’s Hat written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic

A wonderful story about the power of storytelling and how it meanders this way and that between the narrator and the “creatively involved” listener. Young Leo and Mr. Zinger  collectively “create” a story. And then the storytelling continues once Leo has been “bit” by the writing/narrating bug. Just lovely.

Mr Zinger's Hat: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Friend written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

A beautiful friendship and love exist between little Belle and her devoted housekeeper Beatrice. Bea is little Belle’s daily companion as her parents race off here and there, too “busy” to give their child time. Reminds us that spending time with a child is everything even when doing the most mundane chores. Connection, warmth, love . . . What makes this story even more special is that it is inspired by a similar relationship in the author’s childhood. I wish I owned this book but sadly it is out of print. As always Small and Stewart create a treasured story together.

The Friend: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Imaginary Garden written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

The Imaginary Garden tells a story of grandfather and granddaughter who paint a lush garden mural when a real garden is no longer possible in Poppa’s new apartment. I used this book as inspiration for some beautiful garden art with my students.

 The Imaginary Garden: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Frank Show, a David Mackintosh title

This title is all about a young boy who thinks his Grandad Frank is not going to be an interesting share at Show and Tell. But, watch out for the older generation! Boy do they pull out all the stops. A great book to share to highlight how wonderful it is to get to know our grandparents. (My own Dad who happens to be a “Papa Frank” loved this title and read it to my nieces :-))

The Frank Show: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Oma’s Quilt written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Emily’s Oma (grandmother) has to move to a retirement home and she is very reluctant to do so.  What about her precious things? Her neighbours? Cooking apple strudel? Even the bowling alley at the home doesn’t change her mind (smelly shoes!) While Emily and her mother are sorting through Oma’s possessions, Emily has a wonderful idea. Why not make a memory quilt for Oma!?

Oma's Quilt: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith 

This book has so much of what I love- adoration for a Grandfather (a Great Grandfather in this case!), nostalgia for sick days and lots of reading, gardens, and the love of family history shared between generations. Exquisite!

Grandpa Green: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

What a special story that celebrates friendship, literacy and the sentiment that it is never too late to learn something new. Young Harry waits for the school bus every morning with his friend and neighbour Mr. George Baker. Mr. Baker, a spry and charming man is a hundred years old and has never learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says George. Lyrical. Simple. Inspirational. A book to share with new learners of every age.

Mr. George Baker: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Wednesday Surprise written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Donald Carrick

Anna spends every evening with her Grandma. After dinner and dishes, Grandma and Anna work on a surprise for Dad’s birthday. The surprise is all about books and reading and it makes me cry no matter how many times I read this story. Special. Special. Special.

The Wednesday Surprise: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

When Mary Ellen confesses that she is tired of reading, Grandpa leads her (and half the community!) on an adventure that involves racing over fields and country roads in search of a bee tree. Along with the reward of baking powder biscuits and sweet honey, Mary Ellen receives some of Grandpa’s wisdom:

“There is sweetness inside of that book too! Such things . . . adventure, knowledge and wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them.”

The Bee Tree: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

William’s Doll written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois

A classic and consistently important story that shakes up thinking that is based in stereotypes. Brothers, neighbours and Dad send William the message that wanting a doll is wrong, something for a “sissy” and certainly not for a boy. But Grandma arrives, and in her wise and quiet way manages to get William the doll he covets and give the message to Dad that William wants a doll to love, but also to “play” at being a father – learning to do all of the things he will need to do one day for his own child. More than forty years old, this book is still relevant. I used it with a class last year and it was powerful.

William's Doll: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Last year, my list featured two more favourites on this theme. Stories that remain favourites.

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

(Knew I would find a way to “be creative” (a.k.a. cheat) with the 10 book guideline :-))

Not only do I love books that celebrate connections between the generations, I also love the magic that happens when books are shared during reading experiences. I shared that in this post: The Grandparent Effect

Please share if you have other titles that fit with this theme of connections across generations.

Happy Reading!

Monday June 3rd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of your wonderful reading from picture books to young adult novels. Such a great place to find “new” reads to delve into!

I read a lot of wonderful picture books this week. Some were good. Some just okay. Some fantastic. Here are my favourites from the week:

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small I am an absolute sucker when it comes to David Small – especially David Small does historical fiction. Add to that that this title is also about spreading the joy of literacy and books. Sigh. I am done for. Sold . . . hook, line and sinker. I knew of this book, but I had yet to sit and read it. When I read it, I instantly wondered why I hadn’t read it before. I read it first thing Sunday morning. Then I had coffee and read it again. Then I read it to my family at breakfast. Each time, I teared up. Reading it aloud, I had to stop and my daughter finished it. What is more beautiful than bravery and perseverance to bring books into the homes of children who don’t even have the chance to go to school? Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s, this book is inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books by horseback to areas where there were few if any schools and no libraries. My daughter instantly identified with Lark, the little girl in this family who is the “readenest child you ever did see.” Always her nose is in a book. But it is when Cal, who is not the “readin’ type” delves into reading – finding stories where he once thought there was only “chicken scratch,” that the story reached a level of instant favourite for me.

A story about the power of books, the devotion they are given and the magic that happens when a reader is made.

henson-that-book-woman

The Quiet Place written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small I also especially adore David Small when he illustrates for his wife, Sarah Stewart. These two are the masters of historical stories – conveying emotion, context and historical details always in a gorgeous story. This story is about young Isabel who immigrates to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1950s. Through a series of letters to her beloved aunt, Isabel tells her story of moving to a new country and finding her place. Simply lovely.

the quiet place

I spent Friday in the classroom of the wonderful Ms. Karen Lirenman and her fantastic Grade 1 students. While I did a lot of learning on this day, I also had the opportunity to share some of my favourite read alouds with the children. And . . . I was lucky enough to be introduced to the books of Australian author/illustrator Aaron Blabey. Karen discovered his books while on teacher exchange in Australia some years back. All of these books share certain things in common – brilliant and original character names, appealing illustrations and a celebration of individuality. I would love to have any or all of these titles in my classroom library.

Sunday Chutney written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Sunday is new to her school – in fact she is always the new girl. Her family moves a lot. Sunday is confident and quirky in the best of ways. She has a very active imagination and very particular tastes. Always being new is not always easy but we could all learn a little from Sunday’s optimism.

sunday-chutney

Stanley Paste written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Stanley Paste is very small and he is not at all happy about this fact. Being small is terrible until he meets Eleanor Cabbage who is incredibly tall. She too, despises her stature. But while these two are vastly different in height, they find a special friend in each other and as friendship blooms, so does some perspective about life and accepting the hand you are dealt. Delightful.

Stanley-PasteHere is Aaron Blabey talking about his book, Stanley Paste:

Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey A very special book about friendship. Pearl and Charlie are very different and it is their differences that help them to be such wonderful friends. A friendship story that is worth reading aloud and exploring. Pretty sure it will prompt some discussions about what makes a friend a friend. So well done.

Pearl Barley

Exclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld Such a fun concept of making an exclamation mark the main character and allowing the journey to celebrating personal importance be such a delightful one!

Exclamation-Mark

The Boy who Cried Ninja written and illustrated by Alex Latimer The cover alone hooked my students – a ninja! We found ourselves happily confused in this story – was telling the truth the problem? Or was it being believed? This little boy seemed to always be in trouble. And his outlandish (or were they?) tales made for quite the story.

boy who cried ninja

I finished just one novel this week:

Homesick written by Kate Klise This is the second novel about living with a parent who is a hoarder I have read in the last few weeks. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu was the first. An absolutely difficult topic. What fascinates me is how these young characters deal with living in such stress and feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control. There is definitely no parent providing structure and care in these situations. This novel was lighter than Omololu’s and written for a middle grade audience. Set in a tiny town, it had the quirky appeal of small town eccentric characters and wonderful friendships that span generations. But it didn’t shy away from the fact that a young boy was being neglected and put at risk while living alone with his father who compulsively filled their home with junk.

Spoiler alert: As in Omololu’s story, there is an ending that prevents anyone from having to fully deal with completely cleaning up the mess of a house where a hoarder has lived. The forces of nature come into play in both stories (one helped along a little) Makes me think about what is the rest of the story if someone really did need to be responsible . . . ?

homesick

Currently reading? As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins 

And . . . Because there is a new Clementine story out, my children and I have put Scumble on hold, and are diving into Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker.

Monday August 20th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme celebrating books read from picture books to young adult selections is such a pleasure. There is so much to learn in what everyone is reading and blogging about.

This week I read a number of fantastic picture books. I had a difficult time trying to narrow my favourites to the top five to keep this post to a reasonable size! But here they are – my top 5 picture books of the week:

Sector 7 by David Wiesner. I love Wiesner’s books but for some reason I had never read this one. When I found it at the library the other day, I was delighted. I am always using wordless books in the classroom  (I posted about using wordless books in the primary classroom here) and so love finding new titles to share. This book celebrates creativity, imagination and the endless possibilities in the clouds!

Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka was in a pile of books I had ordered from Scholastic last year and hadn’t yet labelled. When I read this book I was pleasantly surprised by the clever twists. First we meet Wolf who has been reading books about wolves and realizing that wolves are always portrayed as (yes, you know what’s coming) nasty, scary and greedy. He sets out to write his own book that depicts Mr. Nice Wolf acting in only lovely ways. He continuously meets animals that seem only to have met stereotypical awful wolves and they run from him. Finally a duck indulges Mr. Nice Wolf in a bit of a conversation and . . . Here’s the twist you might not have expected . . . I won’t spoil it! It’s worth finding a copy and having your own little chuckle as you read this book.

So I’ve decided that Sarah Stewart and David Small simply have not created enough picture books together. Very soon there is going to be a week where I can’t include a Stewart/Small title here and on that day, I will be very sad. This week I read The Library. All about book love and devotion. Nothing more needs to be said.

My next two favourites were sent to me in a box of “bookly delights” by a book loving friend.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce I absolutely adored this book – it fast became a favourite picture book. I love that it is so whimsical, the illustrations lure you in and you feel entangled with all of the books in the pictures. Amazing. But it also reads beautifully. I read it aloud to my two children and it was so smooth, so lyrical. Cannot wait to share this with my class this fall.

Cats’ Night out written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This was the first picture book that Klassen illustrated and it is so fun. I love the colours – all of the dark browns, blacks and shadows. Across each page dance cats. Cats with such serious smug expressions like they are saying, “We certainly don’t see you, dear reader,  up here doing the fox trot so elegantly in evening dresses or tuxedos.” The text is rhyming and one soon realizes that this is a counting book. Counting by twos! What fun and if you look carefully you can find numbers hidden in each illustration. A book that deserves multiple readings and begs to be shared with a friend to search for numbers, marvel at the pictures and reread the poetic text.

In other reading . . . .

I read Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. This is a mystery novel that is so much more. There is definitely a mystery which keeps it fast paced and highly energized. But wow, the characters! The other story lines going on! The idiosyncrasies of a small town and its inhabitants. The power of family no matter how it is defined. If this isn’t on your TBR list, add it!

I also read The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin. Loved Kevin Cornell‘s illustrations. There were lots of funny parts in this story but I worried that it might possibly too difficult for early readers (this is an early chapter book) to follow. Different chapters are told by different characters and I didn’t think it was always clear who was who. Maybe I’m wrong. I will see how some readers handle it this fall.

I also read Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet: The Cloud Searchers (Book Three) While I am always so impressed with the art work in Kibuishi’s Amulet books, all of the battle scenes are not my thing. But if it is your thing (my son adores these) these books are pretty amazing.

 I am still reading The Search for Wondla to my children and we started listening to The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Exciting!