Monday November 17th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

My favourite reading photo of the week is of these two boys acting out Elephant and Piggie titles during buddy reading. They got completely into the roles!

Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR 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

I found a wonderful bunch of picture books this week. Sharing my favourites here:

Countablock written by Christopher Franceschelli; art by Peskimo

This book is literally a block. A chunk of interesting pages in a sort of board book format but think super size. Count up to 100. Throw in a little cause and effect (Three boxes become. . . (turn the page) three forts) Lots of counting. Bright colours. And a surprise at the end. So much fun that I had to buy it for our classroom buddy reading collection. I know the kindergarten kids will delight in sharing this title with my students.

Countablock Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems

Piggie has a surprise and Gerald needs to wait to find out what it is. If you know Gerald, you can imagine that waiting is not a talent he has. His impatience is very amusing. What exactly is the surprise? Well . . . it is worth the wait. And, no, I’m not telling.

Waiting is Not Easy! Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Norman, Speak! written by Caroline Adderson and illustrated by Qin Leng

So what happens if the dog you get from the animal shelter doesn’t understand your language? Well, Norman’s new family are willing to do a lot so that they can begin communicating with Norman. My students found this book very interesting!

norman, speak! Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

May the Stars Drip Down written by Jeremy Chatelain and illustrated by Nikki McClure

A beautiful, soothing lullaby. A work of art.

May the Stars Drip Down Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Watch this video of Nikki McClure talking about making the images for this book. Soothing. Calm. Slow. Beautiful.

Big Bad Bubble written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Rubin and Salmieri are quite the team. They make quirky books. This one is especially silly and the monsters especially fetching. It will not appeal to everyone. Some might find it too odd.  I think as a read aloud it has big potential and will be one of those books that certain kids will obsess over.

Big Bad Bubble Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

More monster love. Leonardo may not be the best monster but he has some pretty great endearing qualities.

Leonardo Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Small Medium Large: A Book about Relative Sizes written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Tomek Bogacki

Amazing title to support the vocabulary around describing sizes from minuscule to enormous. So very clever.

Small Medium Large Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Oh Flora, on ice and with an energetic penguin, you are the perfect blend of graceful and flummoxed as your skating partner appears and reappears mid move. Absolutely charming.

Flora and the Penguin Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Reading Sam & Dave Dig a Hole pulls you deep into a “theorizing hole” and digging in, around and out is highly satisfying. Picture book brilliance through and through.

I loved that after reading this title, I could finally read Travis Jonker‘s fantastic post:

6 Theories on the Ending of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

I am not going to add any of my theories here. I just love that 1) Right from the cover, the wondering begins.

I hope they don’t bury the dog,” my husband commented when I handed him the book to read.

And 2) as soon as you finish, you have to start again to deal with that “Huh? Hold on” kind of feeling.

Can’t wait to share this with my class.

 Sam & Dave Dig a Hole Monday November 17th, 2014 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What Can a Crane Pick Up? written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Mike Lowery

I bought this book for many reasons. So many that I will actually start a list.

  1. I love the rhyming text. And I don’t usually like rhyming text.
  2. I think this is a perfect book to read and reread to get the rhythm right.
  3. So . . . it is the ideal buddy reading book and will go in our buddy reading bin.
  4. Any excuse to visit the nostalgic place of construction equipment that I no longer get asked to read since my son is 12 and not a toddler anymore. Sigh.
  5. The bright illustrations.
  6. And . . . there is a page of cartons and cartons of library books (held up by cranes using chains and hooks). Yep!
  7. So with number 6, I was pretty much sold. Which is probably obvious.
  8. I need this crane to come with me to the library 🙂

What Can a Crane Pick Up?

I also finished the brilliant Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Verse novels hold so much power to literally wrap us up in evocative images and in this case, personal history. In some senses, it feels like spying to be so close. A beautifully written memoir of a time and a place – oh so personal but yet, with connections and links to many more than young Jacqueline Woodson. A gift to readers.

brown girl dreaming

Next? I am in the middle of  Nest by Esther Ehrlich and then plan to read Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

It’s Picture Book Month! This week I shared two posts in celebration:

pb month logo

Picture Books that Celebrate Courage

 Picture Books that Celebrate Courage

Picture Books that Model Perseverance

 Perseverance

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 72/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 531/650 books read (38 books behind)

#MustReadin2014: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 120/65 complete

Monday December 30th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

Oh how I love, love, love the reading time the holidays afford! Doesn’t hurt that my #nerdlution goal is to read aloud daily to my children (from the novel we are reading). We just skipped Christmas day because I was ill and family events took up much of the day. Other days we made up for it and read in front of the fireplace for hours! We now begin our third novel since #nerdlution began, The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey.

I have made some “hang out and read picture books” visits to my local library with my daughter. My 10 favourites of the week:

Joone by Emily Kate Moon

I first heard of this title back during the picture book 10 for 10 event – some lovely fellow blogger recommended it to me as my list was all about books with a theme of connections across generations. This title is about Joone and days passed with her grandfather and her pet turtle, Dr. Chin.  Rock collecting, swimming in the pond, reading to Grandpa – a story of sweet little moments.

Joone #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ladder to the Moon written by Maya Soetoro-Ng and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Wow. An emotional, beautiful, significant read. A story of connection between female family members that spans generations and mortality. Images are stunning. The author’s and illustrator’s notes in the back reveal much more to this story.

Ladder to the moon #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wow! Ocean by Robert Neubecker

I wish I had this book before I took my children to Hawaii for the first time. Bright colourful ocean scenes for children to get lost in! So many pages that just really are WOW! moments. Like the jellyfish page. The pull out page on whales. A page of rays. And so many details not to miss – like the nurse’s cap on the nurse shark. I used an earlier Neubecker title Wow! City to inspire an art project – art ideas just leap off the page of this one too!

wow ocean #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Baby Bear Counts One by Ashley Wolff

Another must own title if you have little ones or grandchildren. A beautiful counting book about forest animals preparing for the winter. Colourful pages with perfect counting opportunities. One woodpecker. Two squirrels. Three beavers. Four . . .

baby bear #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Pig on the Hill by John Kelly

Two neighbours. One, stodgy and set in his ways. One, creative and expressive. Much humour as the story unveils.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lemonade in Winter written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

This has been on my “to read” list for ages and I loved it as much as I was anticipating. I am such a fan of G. Brian Karas and appreciated all of the muted shades of a snowy winter backdrop. Yes, I love the math connection (although not so good for me as all money pictured in back is American and Canadian money looks much different – we don’t even have dollar bills!) but I loved the story. An idea that grows between siblings and changes and adapts with the weather and various circumstances. Why not a lemonade stand in a snowstorm? Such fun!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

While We Were Out by Ho Baek Lee

A little rabbit sneaks through the house while the family is out. And of course, they will never know except for the little surprises he left everywhere. Can you guess what? Very sweet.

while we were out #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Crafty Chloe: Dress Up Mess Up written by Kelly Dipucchio and illustrated by Heather Ross

While I didn’t love this as much as the first Crafty Chloe, I did appreciate the very real struggle of trying to please more than one friend and staying true to yourself. And wow, some pretty creative costume ideas!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ike’s Incredible Ink by Brianne Farley

A great title for would be writers. No story ideas are coming for Ike. Maybe if he had the perfect ink? He sets out to make it using found ingredients like shadows and the dark side of the moon.

Ike's Incredible Ink

The Money we’ll Save by Brock Cole

This was another of our holiday reads. A hilarious story of a family who decides to save money by raising a turkey for Christmas dinner rather than purchasing one for the occasion. A turkey in a small apartment? You can imagine . . .

The Money we'll Save #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading:

Danny’s  Doodles: The Jellybean Experiment by David A. Adler

This is a chapter book for the younger/beginning reader. I am always on the lookout for titles in this category so was pleased that one, I liked the story and two, it is part of a new series! Humour and school day escapades but a little more depth than other novels in this category. Characters and emotions that are a little more interesting and not what is expected.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This book literally felt like it transported me elsewhere. I don’t typically read such high fantasy. At times, I would be reading and think, I don’t really know about this . . . But then I was hooked and completely held by the story until the end. Big drama. Other worlds. Battle scenes. Wild imagination. Compelling.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reached by Ally Condie

I really enjoyed reading this series – one book after the other. Definitely some new aspects to the dystopian love triangle theme. And not a disappointing ending which I often find with this genre.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

This was an absolutely delightful read aloud with my children. I will always look at this book and think of our cozy read aloud sessions by the fireplace – lots of giggles, both kids drawing and constant interruptions with connections and predictions. I now want to read this aloud to my students. Such an interesting twist on the fairytale we know (often twists are not interesting at all). I will definitely read all of the titles in this genre that Liesl Shurtliff writes.

Rump #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Happy reading in 2014 to all my fellow book loving friends!

Monday April 29th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee for their weekly meme and share all of your reading from picture books to young adult novels. The #IMWAYR community is always an amazing source of book ideas and inspiration!

I had a lot of fun with picture books this week. Here are my favourites:

A Girl and her Gator written by Sean Bryan and illustrated by Tom Murphy So what might happen really if you went through your day with a gator on your head? Well . . . this book makes it very clear! Written completely in quite sophisticated rhyme, this book is rather delightful!

It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

Skunkdog written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Pierre Pratt I found the fact that this dog with such a very pronounced snout was absolutely lacking in the “sniff it out” department to be wonderfully ironic and silly. Skunkdog cannot smell. Smells just don’t impact him. And so when he tries to befriend a skunk who doesn’t hesitate to spray him repeatedly, he is not at all bothered. His owners, on the other hand, have a different opinion about his association with a skunk! Lots of tomato juice, held noses and questions about what it is to be lonely.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

Me and Mr. Mah written by Andrea Spalding and illustrated by Janet Wilson This title was originally published in 1999 and while I had seen it often in our school library, I just finally pulled it off the shelf and read it. It turns out to have many elements that I love in a story – a wonderful intergenerational relationship between young Ian and his new neighbour Mr.Mah who teaches him, via gardening, about patience, holding memories close and new growth. Themes of divorce, moving and making friends.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

The Worst Princess written by Anna Kemp and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie This book arrived home in my daughter’s backpack with an excited explanation that her Teacher Librarian had sent it on to me to read as she thought I might like it. Thank you to the wonderful Cheriee! Because like it I did! And how . . .

First of all, within the first few pages of reading this book aloud to my class, a spontaneous debate arose between the boys in my room. It sounded something like this:

E: “This is a girl book!”

K: “I have books about princesses and dragons at my house. I read them. I’m a boy.”

P:  “There’s no such thing as a girl book. All books are for everyone.”

K: “Can you read the book now Ms. Gelson?”

After that debate settled itself (love when I just get to sit back and bear witness), we all settled into a charming story about a princess who was expecting much more from life once her Prince Charming finally arrived. And it certainly did not involve weary pouffy dresses and sitting around while her Prince had all of the adventures. One of my students summed this story up best:

“It started out and you thought it would be a Prince and Princess vs The Dragon story but it ended up being The Princess and the  Dragon vs. The Prince and everyone else!”

One might describe this title as a modern Paperbag Princess in yellow hightops! My students certainly connected this book to the Munsch classic.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel SchefflerWell, simply summarized this story is about a thieving rat who gets his just desserts. My students wrote wonderful reviews that tell it much better than me. Please take a moment and enjoy 🙂

The Highway Rat It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

City Dog Country Frog written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Jon J Muth. I have actually read this title before but had yet to read it aloud to a class until this week. I confessed to my students that I had originally bypassed this book because of the cover. While I love frog books, I don’t adore dog books. But of course, this book is so so much more. I had originally (back in 2011) blogged:

“Something about the cover picture spoke dog to me and I kept missing the frog, even when I eyed the title I saw dog instead of frog. Finally, I looked a little closer and spotted the frog so perfectly plopped on the dog’s head and I pulled the book off the shelf.  How could I have missed this? I was missing so much! Inside illustrations are mellow, gentle and ahh, what greens. Together with Willems’ simple text, pictures and words tell the tender story of  friendship, the passage of time, young curiousity and calm wisdom. To make up for the months I haven’t been reading this book, I need to read it over and over and over again.”

So . . . I have been rereading this book over time and am now blogging about it again because it is truly special. One of my favourite book bloggers, Donna McKinnon from 32 Pages, seems to have felt something similar. A must read post from her about this wonderful title.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

“I Have a Little Problem,” said the Bear written by Heinz Janisch and illustrated by Silke Leffler Sometimes, we might have a problem and everyone wants to help yet nobody truly slows down enough to listen clearly to exactly what the problem might be. This book is about exactly that – the challenges of really being heard.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

Miss Maple’s Seeds written and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler There is something tender and sweet about the care that Miss Maple delivers to the seeds she collects. She nestles them in straw baskets and takes them soaring on the wind in floral “air balloons.” She reads them stories by firefly light and takes them dancing in rainstorms. Each image is magical and delightful and at the other end of this charming book, we are delivered –  wiser about seeds and the seasons and content that Miss Maple is a special nature caretaker.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

I was able to finish reading Requiem this week and then started and finished The Water Castle.

Requiem written by Lauren Oliver While I definitely enjoyed this final book in the Delirium trilogy, I wouldn’t rate it as highly as the first two books. Delirium absolutely captured me and I found Pandemonium to be fast paced and full of unexpected drama. This book was clearly meant to wrap things up, which, while on the one hand, I do appreciate, I felt that the whole book was geared towards an ending that was actually not as tightly woven as I was expecting. I did enjoy Hana’s story and everything going on for her inside Portland and on route to a matched marriage that seems scarier than the “on the run life” that Lena has. Maybe I just felt that this book needed more Lena. Still not sure. But – would definitely recommend reading the trilogy to fans of dystopian fantasy.

Requiem It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

The Water Castle written by Megan Frazer Blakemore Thanks to a wonderful community of readers that I am connected with – I have heard many rave reviews of this middle grade title. And now I clearly see why . . . This is an excellent mix of mystery and adventure that would have wide appeal with middle grade readers. In fact, I have just placed it up high on the list as a possibility for my student book club. And, I want to read it aloud to my own children. This book has such wide kid appeal. It is one part science, one part mystery/adventure, one part fantasy/science fiction and one stabilizing part of family/friendship dynamics to make the unreal, part of the very real, world. There is so much I loved about this title – the relationships between the characters, the mystery that permeates everything, the fact that not everything is solved and yet, one isn’t left disappointed. And best of all, the myriad of stories that are woven together across time. Highly recommended.

The Water Castle It's Monday! What are you Reading? There's a Book for that

Next up? I have just started Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco.

What are you reading? 

Sunday Musings

Sunday afternoons, for teachers, are often a bit of a place of limbo. It is still the weekend and there is time for relaxation and family but a little place in the back of our brains starts asking “What about Monday morning. . . ?” For me, part of the Sunday routine is often filling up my school bag with recent treasures from the library that I am excited to share with my students. Often there are more books than my schedule will allow but it is always a priority to find a place for books.

Why?

I believe that the two most powerful things I can do in my classroom each day are reading aloud to my students and providing time for them to read independently. Nothing else exposes them to new vocabulary, new ideas or new perspectives as quickly, as easily and as powerfully as a book. Reading aloud to a class pulls all of us into a magical place, an intimate learning community where words and visual images help us make meaning of our world. We discover something new. We think differently about something. We question ideas. We find support for a perspective. We are changed, often dramatically, by a few pages. Our interactions with these books shape us, constantly. How lovely that I can have this experience be part of my life daily just by reading to children?

Sometimes, it is hard to remember that not everyone shares this philosophy. In educational climates that measure student learning in test scores vs. engagement, reading aloud has no place in the everyday of classroom life. I came across this article on read aloud champion, Jim Trelease’s site. Seems impossible to imagine! More fuel to support the argument that an educational system characterized by high stake’s testing has no place in B.C.’s schools.

Read Aloud Handbook

My copy of The Read Aloud Handbook, discovered in a used book store is probably the book, of all the books I own, that I have read and reread most often. I quote sections of it to anyone sitting near me. I shake my head as study after study and story after story is described that makes the book’s main point again and again:

Reading aloud to a child is the single most important factor in raising a reader.

And it doesn’t stop when they can read by themselves!

Why doesn’t everyone know this!??

An ode to books, to libraries, to reading. A must read for every parent and every teacher. Jim Trelease‘s website contains a lot of interesting information. But owning his book for constant reference is a must.

But back to Sunday. And my pile of books. Because it is always all about the books . . .

Books that might make their way to school with me this week:

The Purple Kangaroo is written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Peter Brown. This book is narrated by a clever monkey that asserts he can read minds – your mind, dear reader, in fact. And he is pretty sure that you are thinking about a purple kangaroo. If you weren’t thinking about a purple kangaroo, you certainly will be by the time this book is finished. One that blows rainbow bubble gum out of his nose. A delightful journey with a book that you can’t help but interact with.

I imagine some very noisy listening to this story. Possibly some shouting! A lot of giggles.

The first line of this book says so much: The skin I’m in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story.

But with this book, every line is a line to read, savour and repeat. How about this one:

Be with me inside the me of me, all made up of stories present, past, future . . .

Skin Again by Bell Hooks is brilliant. And Chris Raschka illustrates! Perfection.

My Favourite Thing (According to Alberta) is written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by AnnaLaura Cantone. This book is all about Alberta, a little girl of particular tastes. She has some very specific opinions. Her favourite ice-cream? Peppermint. Favourite vegetable? Potato chip. 🙂 And you must read to the end to find out exactly what her actual favourite thing is. This book goes on my must use as a springboard for writing list. I have big plans for this book.

I picked this book off the library shelves because it is illustrated by one of my new very favourite illustrators Peter Catalanotto. He doesn’t illustrate books, he paints amazing scenes which accompany text. Then I saw that it was written by Cynthia Rylant. This book just had to be great. An Angel for Solomon Singer did not disappoint.

A book about dreams. About yearning. About finding comfort in a big bustling city. Finding happiness when things are not really the way they ought to be.

A small treasure to inspire big discussion.

So as I move from Sunday, into Monday I take the cozy comfort of reading and books with me and keep it all through the week. It’s all about the books . . .