Monday April 16th 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

What better than a room full of readers? Everyday it looks like this during Reading Workshop. Pure reading joy.

#classroombookaday titles allowed us to meet some extraordinary friends.

This week we explored stories from around the globe and had some big discussions about the importance of education and not taking basic resources for granted.

Classroom Highlights 

We have been building our understanding of fractions in math.

In the Art and Discovery studio we have been designing our imaginary child friendly homes. We will begin building next week.

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 loved:

Backyard Fairies by Phoebe Wahl

How I wish this book had existed when my daughter was younger. She was convinced fairies lived in our back garden. This book would have helped her to believe even more fiercely. Gorgeous illustrations.

Come Home Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies

We all need alone time. But do we need it in large, large doses? And isn’t having our friends around kind of the best? Duck tries to cope when Bear heads out alone on a fishing expedition.

Forever or a Day by Susan Jacoby

A beautiful wandering through a conversation about time.

Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily Mackenzie

I completely empathize with this little book burglar. Books are addictive!

I Got It! by David Wiesner

Nearly wordless. Mere moments in a baseball game.

I Am the Boss of this Chair by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Marisa Morea

Hmm, a new kitten on the scene? Looks like Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III is going to have to establish some very clear boundaries about his favourite chair! Perfect for little ones who may be preparing for a new sibling.

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes 

Beatrice does her best work upside down. There are lots of reasons for some important thinking in this book – friendship woes, new teacher expectations, fashion decisions to stay true to your ninja nature, etc. Loved this one and it is being devoured by the readers in my room.

The Wild Robot Escapes (The Wild Robot, #2) by Peter Brown

I loved this adventure as much as the first. Roz is such a memorable character. She is determined to return to Brightbill on her wild island. Is it possible?

Up next? I am reading The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 85/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 1 book behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 9/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 8/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 13/40 books read

I wanted to see a whale

One of my very favourite picture books of all time is If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead When I first read this book, I had just spent a week at a summer house waiting to see a whale. I never did. But this book reminded me of how very much I longed for one to pass through the ocean as I gazed out ever so patiently at the water.If you want to see a whale I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatHow I adore this book. I love it because it’s beautiful. It is gentle and calm. It reads like I imagined a whale might move – softly, smoothly and ever so gracefully. But I mostly love it because I really do want to see a whale. It tempts me with the possibility. It lures me with the one day . . . The maybe . . .

Now, I love this book for another most perfect reason. Finally, I have seen my whale. We just spent over a week in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast of B.C and we saw a gray whale just off the beach close to where we were staying. Honestly, I got teary. It was one of the most beautiful experiences in nature I have ever had.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Of course we were not the only ones enamoured with this whale. While we watched from shore, a few small boats watched from closer by.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Two kayakers stopped as well.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Here are my children watching the water for sightings of “our” whale. Every few minutes it would surface to exhale.

 I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

I was lucky enough to see this whale on three different occasions and each time I watched it for at least thirty minutes. Once, we saw it in the evening. It was so quiet and the sound of the whale exhaling is something I won’t ever forget.

If you are like me and have had dreams of seeing a whale, here are some more picture books – both fiction and nonfiction that will make you long for the experience even more. I have always been “swoony” about whale illustrations. I suspect this sighting will make me more so.

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

The Blue Whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor
Trapped! A Whale's Rescue  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

The Eye of the Whale: A Rescue Story by Jennifer O’Connell

The Eye of the Whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatBig Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland
big blue whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatHere Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan
here come the humpbacks  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman Three Bears in a Boat  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That Flotsam by David WiesnerFlotsam  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatJumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens
Jumping Penguins  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatFollowing Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino 
 Following Papa's Song  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatThe Storm Whale by Benji Davies

 The Storm Whale  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatWater Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs illustrated by Meilo So
Water Sings Blue  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatThe Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell
mermaid and the shoe  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatBilly Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex
 Billy Twitters  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for ThatWild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim
Wild Ideas  I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

To the Sea by Cale Atkinson

To the Sea I wanted to see a whale There's a Book for That

Have you seen a whale in the wild?  I would love to hear about it!

Monday October 7th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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 reads! The #IMWAYR crowd always has so many fantastic titles to share.


The picture books I enjoyed this week:

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Nearly wordless and wonderfully odd and quirky. Mr. Wuffles is a cat who doesn’t move unless it’s for a very good reason and he certainly doesn’t move to chase after silly toys his owner buys him. So what is it about the teeny spaceship that has Mr. Wuffles racing all over the house? You must experience this title to truly understand what is happening. At the end of the week I told my students that I would be sharing a book with them this week that is part wordless, part English and part in a language I don’t understand. They are totally intrigued. Can’t wait to see what they make of this book!

 Mr. Wuffles #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Island by Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman

Another wordless title where the narrative isn’t necessarily even close to obvious. I suppose if this really bothers you, this book will be somewhat irritating. I love the illustrations and the suggestion of many story lines. My children and I shared this title over breakfast. Each of us was sort of sure we knew what was going on – all of us telling stories that went in quite different directions. Quite fun actually.

The Island #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Paper Dolls written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

Although this story is definitely for a younger audience (preschool to K/1 would be ideal) I found it absolutely lovely. A beautiful story celebrating mother daughter time, imagination and playtime adventure. A little girl and her five paper dolls – the names repeat in a poem (loved “Jimmy with two noses”) have many wonderful adventures. There is a moment of cruelty handled without much attention – it isn’t explored but rather gives the story another aspect – that when something is lost or destroyed it is not gone but enters the special world of memories. Would love to gift this to a family with young children. Can see it being a favourite. And of course it has Donaldson’s rhythm and flow.

The Paper Dolls #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

I Dare You Not to Yawn written by Helene Boudreau and illustrated by Serge Bloch

A cautionary tale about how to avoid yawns that will inevitably lead to being put to bed. And oh are there some cozy, soothing temptations. Yikes, just typing this and visualizing those pages, I yawned! Me: zero. Book: one.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry written by Samantha Berger  and illustrated by Bruce Whatley 

Sorry is such an interesting phenomenon. So often children are forced to say sorry and it has no meaning at all. Martha does not voice these words willingly. It is clearly a power thing. It’s not that she isn’t nice, she just won’t admit she’s wrong. When she does finally utter them, it really does feel meaningful. Well handled in a sweet little family story.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Unicorn Thinks he’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

I love that so many important themes are handled in a story that is full of silly, whimsy and all out bling. Themes such as jealousy, friendship, diversity, and accepting someone new. Read this book to laughter and smiles and then settle in for an interesting discussion about a whole lot of stuff. Most importantly of course: How do we get it to rain cupcakes?

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Give Up, Gecko! A Folktale from Uganda retold by Margaret Read MacDonald illustrated by Deborah Melmon

A fun little story highlighting the importance of persistence and the big meanings of what is fair. Silly, fun language and a lovely story all wrapped up in one.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

This week I also blogged about some great nonfiction titles I read recently –  perfect for preschool listeners right up to late primary.

In other reading, I finished Jinx by Sage Blackwood

I am so happy that I really liked this book. I really really wanted to like this book. I loved the cover, the author’s name and the promise of a storyline about wizards, witches, various kinds of magic, curses, secrets, adventure, mystery and listening trees. It might have gone the direction of not pulling it off because it seemed to promise so much. But no, it all comes together and I found myself wishing for more free time to just stay lost in this story. An excellent middle grade fantasy/adventure/mystery. Would be great for fans of The False Prince!

 Jinx #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

People seem to either love this title or they are kind of middle of the road on it. I am in the first camp. I finished it early this morning over my first cup of coffee and found myself crying twice in the last section. A really intimate little book that introduces us to Billy Miller, his family, his worries and his triumphs. A seven year old hero of the everyday. Love him. Love him. Love him.

 The Year of Billy Miller #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Next up?

The Boy on the Wooden Box A Memoir by Leon Leyson

Happy reading to everyone!

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!

Few words on five wordless books

Because the creators of wordless books can say so much with no words at all, I decided to use sparse words to express my awe for each of these titles and let their gorgeous covers invite you in.

#1 Sea of Dreams by Dennis Nolan

Adventure over and under the sea . . .

#2 The Conductor by Laetitia Devarney

Swirl, whirl, leaves take flight . . .

#3 Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage

Where is that wacky walrus?

#4 Tuesday by David Wiesner

And what if frogs floated by?

#5 Beaver is Lost by Elisha Cooper

Beaver travels to a bustling city and back.

Thanks to Adopt a School Funds which purchased #1 and #2 for our classroom wordless (or nearly) collection. Wordless books allow us to practice using picture clues and background knowledge to infer meaning. They are also lovely to share together or to ponder over alone.