Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015

I am excited to once again be list making – about books of course –  with the always fun (and dangerously addictive) meme Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and Bookish.


This week’s theme? Top Ten Books on Your Summer TBR list for 2015

Listed alphabetically by author

I have of course many more than ten titles I want to read but these are not to be missed! Some of these titles are on my #MustReadin2015 list. Some are by authors I saw speak over the last calendar year. Some are by authors I love or titles that come highly recommended.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

This has come hugely recommended and I just picked it up at the library.

A Long Way Gone- Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

Nostalgia and joy all wrapped up in the family Penderwicks. Love these books!

The Penderwicks in Spring Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña

One of my recent favourite titles was We Were Here by de la Peña. Heard him speak in Bellingham in the early spring and want to read more of his work.

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Saving this for the beginning of summer when I can read it all in one day.

Fish In A Tree Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Kephart is one of my very favourite writers. Period.

One Thing Stolen Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen

In my house we loved The False Prince trilogy so checking this out next.

Mark of the Thief Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Everyone who has read this book has such strong reactions. My turn!

Grasshopper Jungle Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

The Whisper by Aaron Starmer

The Riverman was extremely troubling and odd and oh so curious. I am completely intrigued by this next title,

 The Whisper Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That


Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Have loved two novels by Wein so far so I have hight hopes for this.

black dove white raven Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

I hear Woodson read excerpts of this book this spring when my husband and I went to see her. We bought a copy and I can’t wait to read it.

Beneath a Meth Moon Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR list for 2015 There's a Book for That

What will you be reading this summer?

Monday December 29th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a weekly reading photo of the week each week but because of winter break, I haven’t been with my students. So I decided to share a favourite from late spring during buddy reading time. How I love all of the reading that happens in my room.

 Monday December 29th, 2014 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.


I did a lot of reading this week trying to meet my 2014 goals. Unfortunately, my plans have been sidelined by a very painful possible pinched nerve in my shoulder and an allergic reaction to medication. Not a lot of fun. I can read, but not as much and typing is many shades of excruciating. So I am trying a few minutes at a time to write this post today.

Here are my favourite picture book titles of the week – covers only. Can’t type the details.

Born in the Wild  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

shooting at the stars  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That Winter is for Snow  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That Mama  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Iridescence of Birds  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Kid Sheriff  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Lizzie Nonsense  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

big bug  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That Draw!  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That 100 Bears  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

In novels I finished:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray 

Unfortunately, not a fit for me. Too much paranormal not enough normal for my tastes.

A great and terrible beauty

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Again, Raina nails the teenage voice.


Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

Fantastic middle grade read. Made me smile and cry.


Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I am a huge fan of the Raven Cycle books.

Blue Lily There's a Book for That

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Absolutely incredible and completely heartbreaking.

Rose Under Fire

Next up? I have just started  Wake up Missing by Kate Messner. Then I am going to try and meet my Goodreads goal so lots of picture books and hopefully a few more novels before the 31st. Trying to reach 90 novels instead of 100.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 88/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 617/650 books read (26 books behind)

#MustReadin2014: 24/30 complete (finished 3 this week!)

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 143/65 complete



Monday December 31st, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Ring in the new year with books! Link up with Jen and Kellee and participate in this weekly meme that celebrates reading (from picture books to young adult titles).

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Of course the best thing about the holidays for a book lover is . . . books and the time to read them! I enjoyed lots of late night page turning and even better, early morning caffeine fuelled reading marathons while the rest of the house slept.

This week I will start with the novels I completed:

I finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein just in time to name it one of my 12 favourites of 2012. I am so reluctant to write anything about this book for fear of giving anything away. It’s a story of storytellers and oh, what stories. . . Stories that shock, that crush you in one moment and fill you with hope in another, stories about friendship that will make you rethink what it means to be a friend. An amazing read. If you haven’t read it yet, put it to the top of your must read list.

codenameverity12 for 12

Words that Start with B by Vikki VanSickle This book was passed to me by the Teacher Librarian at my children’s school who happens to have an amazing blog (check it out for a variety of great book recommendations/many Canadian titles) I tried to capture my thoughts about this book and inspired by VanSickle, started them with B . . .

Best friends that make one smile just to know that friends like that matter
Bullies and some bystanders that in the end, don’t stand by
Bumps of the health and growing up kind that are so well handled
Believable characters that could just as well live down the road or around the corner

I am now on the lookout for the next title in this eventual trilogy.


Divergent by Veronica Roth So I was ready for this book to be fast paced and carved out a good chunk of reading time so that I didn’t really need to put it down for long. It certainly was an adventure. I liked it. I fell right in to the world Roth delivers. I’m sure I will go on to read Insurgent. There are certainly characters I want to follow. It filled my dystopian craving (haven’t read a dystopian title lately) But . . . it’s a few days later and . . . it’s not totally sticking with me. I wrote on my Goodreads review that I felt like I was reading a movie and that is still how it feels. Much of it just did not go deep enough for me. I found the reviews on this book really extreme. People loved it or really didn’t and I can kind of see why.


The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats Fantastic historical fiction in a time and a place I knew little of – Wales in the late 1200s. Two girls with very different lives yet who share much of the same day to day experiences while Gwenhwyfar works in Cecily’s home. Narrated in turn by these two characters with very distinct voices and struggles. Gripping. Brace yourself for the end. Highly recommended.

The Wicked and the Just

Picture Books:

It seems I have a thing for books with bears or there are so many books out there that feature bears in starring roles that I just cannot help coming across them . . . Not sure. What do people think? Regardless, again I found some lovely books with bears!

Leaves by David Ezra Stein This is a wonderful book that reminds us how amazing nature is as it takes us through the changing seasons from the perspective of a young bear who marvels and worries over the falling leaves.


Little Bear’s Little Boat written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter I have been on the lookout for some more board books ideal for sharing when our kindergarten reading buddies come to read with us each week. This title is so sweet with themes of growing up, being kind and accepting change.


Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland Saving the forest one hug and one tree at a time. You’ve got to meet this bear.


Then I went on a bit of an Elephant and Piggie reading spree. Mo Willems can do no wrong. I read Should I share my ice cream?, Listen to my Trumpet, Elephants Cannot Dance and I Broke my Trunk. All wonderful. No wonder these are consistent favourites in my class always!

I loved this title in particular – as always it is an ode to friendship but I love also how it exposed the anxiety of indecision. And melting ice cream just can’t wait . . .


My children and I read many of our favourite holiday picture books leading up to Christmas. A new one for us this year?

A Christmas Tree for Pyn by Olivier Dunrea We loved how Pyn decorated her tree with found objects from nature and how the finding and setting up the tree linked the little girl and her father even in their sadness of a missing Mama.


A beautiful non-fiction title my family enjoyed was Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin A simply gorgeous book detailing the birth of the Galapagos islands over millions of years and the fascinating creatures that inhabit them. This is a book we will return to often to further study the illustrations and explanations.


May your 2013 be full of happiness, health and many books 🙂

My favourite twelve titles of 2012 are shared here.

2012 Favourites

What a wonderful year of books! Quickly before I change my mind, my twelve favourites of 2012 (I divided the love evenly between picture books and novels)

Yes, I am aware that Jon Klassen takes a starring role in this list 🙂

My personal challenge here is to do no more than 12 words of raving about each book. Possible? Let’s see . . .

Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

A town styled out in multi-coloured knitwear. Justice and magic win out.

extra yarn 12 of 2012

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

Hat thievery in the big ocean. Much humour, little hope (sorry fish)

ThisIsNotMyHat 12 of 2012

House Held Up By Trees written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen

The trees are persistent and protective of life travelling on. Stunning illustrations.

househeldupbytrees 12 0f 2012

Virginia Wolf written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

A dark mood, a hopeful sibling, and the magic of imagination.

virginia wolf top 12 of 2012

Little Bird written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine

A book that celebrates finding joy in the smallest of things.

little-bird 12 for 2012

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

Become swept away and entangled in book love.

fantastic flying 12 for 2012

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Choosing a friend can be an incredible act of bravery.

lions-of-little-rock 12 for 2012

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Be kinder than is necessary; a story to remind us how.

wonder 12 for 2012

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The power of unconditional love, the magic of resiliency . . .

OnefortheMurphys12 for 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

A story of stories. Flies you through a myriad of emotions.

codenameverity12 for 12

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A world of prophecy, desperate searches for magic, the real and unreal.

raven-boys 12 for 2012

Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Funny. Brilliant. Sad. No sappy. All wit.

fault in our stars 12 for 2012

Please share your own favourites of the year . . . 

Monday December 24th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Join a fabulous group of readers who share their weekly reads from picture books to young adult novels by participating in Jen and Kellee’s meme. If you are looking for new book ideas, this is a fantastic place to start! Especially if you are looking ahead to some lazy reading days over the holidays!

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I read a lot of picture books this week, but I must confess, I didn’t love them all. Those titles are not included here. Instead, below are the ones that stood out for me as being titles I would recommend/read again/read aloud.

The Man in the Moon by William Joyce (A Guardians of Childhood book) ConfessionI don’t often know what is going on in mainstream media. Ask me about hip songs and the latest and greatest movie and I likely can’t tell you. So I did not connect these Guardians of Childhood books to the slight movie buzz I was hearing with this same title. Many of you are probably cooler than me and knew all about it.

Wow! Does William Joyce create visually stunning books! I shared this as a bedtime read aloud and the next night my children were begging me for the next title that we had just received from a lovely book gifting friend (The Sandman). I loved the images and how magical the stories felt. My children were intrigued by the whole concept of the Guardians watching over children – how they were brave and majestic yet at the same time teeny and odd. Very interesting.

The MAn in the Moon

The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie by William Joyce (the second picture book in the Guardians of Childhood series

If you, like me, are not so up on this series here is more information. It seems there are so far, two picture books and a handful of novels featuring different Guardian characters.


Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward  and illustrated by Julie Morstad This book is absolutely lovely and a new favourite of mine. Typically I am wary of  books with rhyming text but this one is done so well. A little girl, all of six years old has an early morning walk through snow banks and spooky trees on a cold winter morning to catch the school bus.

“When I was six and walked a mile and sang the dark away.”

Woodward recalls images of her own childhood walks in the Peace River region of B.C. Some of us really do have childhoods that included long walks to school and this book takes me back to all the small moments of bravery that once seemed so huge on my own walk to school on my journeys of childhood. Beautifully illustrated by Morstad.


The Golden Rule written by Ilene Cooper and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska. This book explores this simple rule of childhood that seems so difficult for so many to follow. It is pointed out that a version of “”Do Unto Others . . . ” is in every religion for people all over the world. A little boy and his grandfather discuss what the world could be like it everyone actually followed this rule. A lovely format to make this concept accessible to children.


Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter The true story of Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and the green landscapes that she returned to Africa. A book in the biography genre that explores ecology, environment and inspiration.


How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills I adore books that promote the love of literacy and the magic of reading. Hills captures the delight of putting sounds together to make words and the lure of a story in this lovely little book that features Rocket as student and the little yellow bird as enthusiastic teacher. I would pair this title with How to Teach a Slug to Read, a book I have used in the past to explore the process of learning how to read.


Rabbit and Robot The Sleepover by Cece Bell. A fun little story but what excites me most is that it is a fun little story in early chapter book format that can be enjoyed by students just beginning to dive into this genre There are not enough of these titles out there that have this kind of interest, humour and unique characters while still exploring familiar territory: navigating the complications of friendship. Can’t wait to get this book into the hands of students!


I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, an adult novel. I rarely read adult novels anymore and quite honestly, I am happy to dive back into the land of middle grade and young adult novels full force. This book was just too full of ugliness. Well written but what characters . . .

Gone Girl

I am close to finishing  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I cannot put it down.