Monday August 17th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer, I am not surrounded every day with little readers so . . . I am choosing moments from the year not previously shared. Always my favourite? Buddy reading laughter!

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

Monday August 17th, 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

On the blog:

For Top Ten Tuesday: Ten MG and YA authors I read the most

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Natural Mysteries, Solved

A special Celebration post about updated allergy testing

Sunday Reflections: The power of observation

Books I read and loved:

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

This book is absolutely adorable. The perfect book for reading aloud at a story time for younger listeners. The perfect bedtime book to remind all soon to be sleepers that they are brave. A wonderful read aloud for any classroom to appreciate how clever and beautiful picture books can be.

Night Animals Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Bad Bye, Good Bye written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Oh how I was impressed with this book. The illustrations were incredible. Maybe my favourite so far from Bean. And the sparse text – full and powerful and conveying so much emotion. Moving is hard. Plain and simple. For kids, it’s a different kind of hard. As a child who moved 9 times before my 7th birthday, I get it. Would pair beautifully with Neville written by Norman Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Bad Bye, Good Bye Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee

Odd, quirky and “rhyme”y.

It's Only Stanley Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies

I LOVED Ben Rides On when it first came out. So I have been waiting for this title. And it didn’t disappoint. It captures the joy of drawing, the dynamics of worry and the power of being noticed.

Ben Draws Trouble Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree written by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

Well, I would like to start by saying that I want to go back in time and be Piper Green. I want to ride a boat to school. I want to eagerly anticipate fresh baking each morning. Quirky little brothers? Yes, please. And a teeny school, absolutely! And I could write paragraphs on how much I want a fairy tree. I am SO excited to share this title with my new class. I predict it will get a lot of love. The perfect early chapter book series. Well written with dynamic characters, gorgeous illustrations and just the right amount of text.

Piper Green

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley

I have actually been reading this book for over a year. I have read many parts multiple times. Finally, this summer, I sat down and read it cover it cover. Of course, there is much here that I celebrate. I also really appreciate how Donalyn is so honest about her journey as a teacher. I know there is more figuring things out to come and that we will all benefit. But what she has figured out already? So wise, so wonderful and so full of celebration of books and readers.

reading in the wild Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I can’t believe I had never read this book. Now, I see why so many insist it is an absolute must read title for high school classrooms. Brave. Upsetting. Necessary.

Speak Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 286/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 54/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Monday December 10th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

trip inside

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme on Teach Mentor Texts to share your weekly reads from picture books to young adult novels. Especially with the holidays approaching, reading all of these blogs and book lists will help to build your lists of fantastic must read titles!

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I did a LOT of reading this week and had a hard time narrowing it down to which books I would share. So many fantastic titles – some brand new and others that have been around for some time. Finally, I picked my ten favourite picture book titles of the week and here they are . . .

Picture books I loved:

hello! hello! by Matthew Cordell A fantastic little book that highlights the wonder of nature and all that it has to offer if we can drag ourselves away from our devices . . . I think this is an ideal companion book to Blackout by John Rocco – another title that reminds us to be in the moment with our families. I loved that book as well and wrote a Picture Book Love post about it here.

hello! hello!

I saw A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva on a best of 2012 list somewhere. Having a kind of thing for Antartica, I was intrigued. I ordered it on a whim thinking my class would enjoy it as we are learning about continents and they are fascinated by the thought of exploring that frozen land down at the bottom of the globe. This is a Toon Book and so comes in a lovely tiny size. Great colours, graphics and relevant images (my favourite is the spread of four types of penguins). Perfect for younger readers to read independently and for more accomplished readers just to savour.

Trip to the Bottom of the World

I realized I hadn’t explored Frank Viva’s other title Along a Long Road and picked it up at my public library. Again, wow! I love the colours with large amounts of solid black on a page. I kind of wish I was at school and could grab one of our little K buddies to share this with. I would love to watch a young child follow this tempting yellow road as it winds through the pages. Only problem with this book? Now I want to own it too.

Along-a-long-road-cover

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning This book explores finding an inner strength in a very honest way. It is not a simple thing to go from quiet to confident and the transformation is not always smooth. I have had students who when they finally shed their shy personas need some guidance about being polite and not hurtful with their words. Sometimes the words come before the social filters kick in. I thought of those children as I read this book about Millie. Millie doesn’t want to be ignored, she is tired of being “barely there” and unnoticed. So she becomes fierce. As she tries on this new found ferocity, she certainly gets noticed. But nobody wants to be with a Millie that puts getting noticed above being considerate or properly behaved. She even realizes that being fierce can be cruel. Finally Millie understands that she can be noticed for her kindness and consideration. This kind of attention is what feels right to her. I think this book could be quite powerful shared with a class and I look forward to the discussions that it might prompt.

Millie Fierce

A Balloon for Isabel written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Laura Rankin I have seen this on many Monday reads posts in the last few weeks and so was delighted when I found it in my school library. How can little Isabel the porcupine get a balloon for graduation? Obviously giving a balloon to a prickly porcupine is just asking for trouble. And so the rule at her school is no balloons for porcupines. But Isabel demonstrates some extremely creative problem solving and we all celebrate her perseverance and optimistic spirit. A sweet little book.

Isabel

Z is for Moose written by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky I have seen this book on so many latest and greatest lists and have just not sat down and read it. This week I did and also shared it with my class. Sometimes a book’s gift is just that it can’t help but make you laugh. This is one of those books. I now see the reason for all of the hype. A book to share with children (and adults) of all ages when you need a smile and a tiny dose of kind.

z-is-for-moose

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold Wow! What an amazing title to help explore fear and courage. A black dog is spotted outside the window of the Hope family residence. As it is described and worried about, it “becomes” larger than life – the size of a tiger. . . no, an elephant . . . maybe a T-rex? These illustrations are beautifully odd. But in the best of ways. From the full page spreads with the huge menacing dog to the little sepia coloured boxes surrounding the text that reveal close ups and clues from the story. I am nowhere near finished exploring these images and I have read this book countless times. But back to the storyline . . . Small (the littlest Hope) finally braves the outdoors to confront this creature. What ensues is absolutely delightful – a visual treat to tickle our imaginations. Small becomes large and large, small. Fear and courage intermix into teasing and challenge and joy. This is a book to gift to adults who may have forgotten the magic of the picture book. The wonder of this book seems impossible to resist.

black dog

Atlantic written by G. Brian Karas I found this book at my children’s school library while I was waiting for my daughter to finish her library monitor shift. Lyrical text, and narrated by the ocean itself, it gives the reader an interesting perspective on the ocean’s vastness. A book to use in a lesson about oceans. Not sure if children would pick up everything independently but as a read aloud with discussion, this is a wonderful way to add wonder to a geography lesson.

atlantic-by-g-brian-karas

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead What a wonderful story about friendship, persistance and devotion. Vernon, the toad never gives up trying to find his new strange friend, Bird, a home. Yet, all along the way, there is no guidance or help from Bird himself. When he finally discovers where Bird belongs it is . . . just as it should be :-)This would be great to share along with Mem Fox‘s Hunwick’s Egg (one of my favourites that I rave about in this post) – another story of faith and commitment to a silent friend.

home for bird

Bear has a Story to Tell written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead. Text and illustrations that match perfectly to create a quiet and calm book about the change of seasons and a small group of friends. There is so much space in this book to question and reflect. It begs to have its pages turned slowly and to just revel in each scene. On some pages it was the phrasing, others the muted colours of a forest sky that asked to be enjoyed before moving on.  It isn’t possible to move quickly through this book just as we have no power over the pace the seasons come at us. Beautiful.

Bear has a story to tell

An exciting accomplishment this week – I met my personal reading goal of 75 new to me novels (not including adult reads which I do occasionally fit in) for 2012. My list, with covers and ratings, is here. Last week I met my Goodreads goal of 500 books so I am on a bit of a roll!

Novel #75 was Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor

An emotional read. I always love books with friendships that span generations and this books delivers relationships in a big way. Raine and her mother, her grandfather, the new people she meets at Sparrow Road, someone she was meant to meet . . . Love and sorrow and art and long summer days all tangle up into a story that had me in tears through the last few chapters. But peaceful tears.

SparrowRoad_PBlarge

My next read? Ask the Passengers by A. S. King.  And of course a towering pile of picture books that I plan to dive into!

Monday November 12th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Join Kellee and Jen’s meme to share all of your reading from picture books to young adult selections! It is always a wonderful way to learn about new titles!

In this past week, I read a number of books on the theme of war and peace. Some I shared with my class as read alouds. Others I read as I worked on a book recommendations page on this theme (peace and war).

When I grow Up, I will win the Nobel Peace Prize by Isabel Pin

A very interesting read. The message is very clear: peace begins with each tiny step that is right in front of us and around us always. The time to begin is now if we are really going to change the world.

The Silver Path by Christine Harris and illustrated by Helen Ong

This book is written as a letter from Niko to his penpal Penny. Niko tells Penny about what is going on in his world after he has fled his village in an unidentified land from a conflict not named.  A very powerful little story that reminds us that children in many parts of the world do not experience peace like children somewhere else might. Lots of unanswered questions make it an ideal story to discuss. A springboard to talk about what war steals from children: their families, their security, their right to play and sometimes, their ability to go to school.

Feathers and Fools written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Nicholas Wilton

Really a book for older children but could be done with younger primary students with lots of guided discussion. Raises questions about how battles start and that the wish to hate and the feeling of being threatened is something that is created more than something that is natural. Rich colours in the illustrations and serious text.

The Conquerors by David McKee

This is a new favourite of mine. A modern fable that points to the ridiculous nature of war in the most clever of ways. A general marches his army about conquering every country around. Eventually, there is just one small country left. When the soldiers arrive to once again conquer a people, this little nation offers no resistance. They welcome the soldiers to their tables, to play their games, to sing their songs and to listen to their stories. When the soldiers return to their own ruling nation, they continue singing the songs, cooking the food and telling the stories of this little nation. Just who had conquered who?

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos

Is it possible for a child to achieve world peace? Yes, if he realizes his world is all around him and simply starts to perform acts of kindness both random/deliberate and simple or creative. Imagine if everyone set out each day to be kind, compassionate and loving? We can all model peaceful ways and make a difference. I love the idea of this book more than the book itself. When I read it aloud I found the casualness of some of the humour took away slightly from the book’s message. Still, I like the discussions it sparks.

Other picture books I enjoyed this week:

Frank ‘n’ Stan by M.P. Robertson

I think books by M.P. Robertson are brilliant often just because of the detailed and creative illustrations. This title has more humour than his usual titles and when it was shared in my class by a guest reader, the children were hooked. Frank wishes for a sibling and when it seems like there will be no little brother or sister in his near future, he sets out to build one. Stan is a robot: huge, helpful and lots of fun. Children loved how he had to plug in and get his oil topped up frequently. When a new little sister really does come on the scene, Stan begins to feel unloved and leaves. The rescue scene when Stan is found in the freezing snow, uncharged and alone is both touching and exhilarating (imagine travelling down snowy hills on a robot’s shoulder). One of the most unique new sibling stories out there – a touch of fantasy, humour, invention and robot building! This is going to be my new go to gift book for young children who love adventure.

The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska

I first heard about this book last week on another Monday Reads post and was thrilled to come across it. Gentle images of the holiday season full of all of the emotions children experience: anticipation, joy, excitement, wonder . . . Perfect for cozy reads in front of a fireplace surrounded by family and happiness. I want my own copy of this book for our holiday collection.

I did not get a lot of time to read any novels this week but am about a third of the way into Sharon Creech‘s The Great Unexpected. Oh, this book. So many wonderful words and quirky characters. A book to slowly savour except you cannot help rushing through it. Perhaps a future read aloud . . . I think reading a lot of the names of people and places aloud would tickle my tongue. Really enjoying this story.