Monday October 23rd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

Love how this little brown bench is a magnet for readers!

Our #classroombookaday titles helped us to talk about bullying and all of the assumptions and complicated feelings that happen when someone is unnecessarily cruel and others bear witness.

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from my week in the classroom.

Students had so much to say about all of our #classroombookaday titles this week. Their written responses were also rich. One sentence can be so powerful when the talk leading up to it has been so layered.

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 didn’t get a lot of reading done this week. Part of the reason – I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the largest ever Professional Development Conference hosted in B.C. – a Super Conference with over 6 000 attendees. Two days of learning (Friday and Saturday) from some amazing educators and presenters. On the Saturday I presented two workshops and was honoured to share my love of nonfiction picture books and my passion about Reading Workshop with those who attended my sessions.

Further reading to complement both of my sessions is posted on this blog: Reading Workshop Resources and Nonfiction Resources. A comprehensive book list for nonfiction titles is here.

I presented in a gorgeous room with a beautiful view of the water (not seen in this photo) but wow, there were a lot of seats!

Books I enjoyed:

If You Were the Moon written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim

So excited about this book! I brought it along to share at my session. What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations. Jaime Kim is fast becoming a favourite.

Older than The Stars by Karen C. Fox and Nancy Davis

It’s hard to believe this book does what it does. Told partly in a rhythmic repetitive poem and partly in longer sections of text, the origin of the universe – the big bang theory – is explained for young readers. I will be sharing this with my students soon.

Today Is the Day by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Based on true story of an orphanage in Africa that helps children celebrate their birthdays – some who don’t even have a registered birth. Extra details in back matter. These stories by Walters and Fernandes are so special.

The Memory Box: A Book About Grief written by Joanna Rowland and illustrated by Thea Baker

This title explores the complicated emotions of loss and grief. How do we hold on to our memories? How powerful is forgetting? Why does it seem to get easier and then harder again? In this title, a young girl participates in a number of things to help her hold on and remember the one she lost. She makes a memory box, asks others to talk and share their own memories and begins to enjoy new experiences (making new memories). While this book has a gentle, soothing feel, it doesn’t pretend that having somebody die is easy. Many pages reveal the confusing, contemplative, lonely feelings involved in grief. This title would be an ideal title to share in the classroom to initiate discussions about grief or to read with a child experiencing loss.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 249/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 45 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 35/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading Refugee by Alan Gratz Wow, what a book!


Diverse Children’s Books: Water in our world

My students and I are currently learning more about water in our world. Beyond, how essential water is to life, we are talking about access to water and more specifically, children’s roles in gathering water in places in the world where water is scarce or doesn’t flow from indoor taps.

Here are two books we have read together in the past week:

Hope Springs written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes (Tundra Books 2014)

Based on a true story of drought and water shortages in Kenya and what it takes to secure fresh water for a community. This book is about worry and fear. Kindness and forgiveness. In the back of the book are actual photos of the community and people that inspired the book.

Hope Springs Diverse Children's Books: Water in our world

Anna Carries Water written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Laura James (Tradewind Books 2014)

Set in the Caribbean, this is the story of young Anna who strives to master the task of carrying water on her head. Children related to the desire to learn a physical skill and had discussions about the need to have to fetch water every day instead of just turning on the faucet. This story is beautifully illustrated and is, more than anything, a story of childhood: wanting to be grown up, wanting to be able to do what older siblings can do, wanting to face a fear.

Anna-Carries-Water Diverse Children's Books: Water in our world

Diverse Children’s Books is a brand new book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.


We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, May 7th and will continue on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The diverse post that received the most clicks from the last #diversekidlit is … Diverse Children’s Book Celebrating Cultural Traditions by Adrienne at Reading Power Gear. She shares seven great picture books focusing on different cultural traditions including Divali, Chinese New Year, and more!

Hosted By:

Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact Katie at 1logonaut (gmail).

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to subscribe for notification emails.

If you want to share a favourite or recently read diverse title, please leave a comment with the link (current link up technical difficulties) and then head over to Katie’s blog to share your link on the link up. Happy reading!

Monday September 7th, 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. Who doesn’t love Piggie and Gerald? During buddy reading with the Ks they are often acted out!

Next week I look forward to having a photo from my current classroom! School begins tomorrow!

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

Monday September 7th, 2015 #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.


On the blog:

For Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective 

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A starter Kit collection

Must Read in 2015: Fall Update

Celebration: Quiet Possibility

Sunday Reflections: How to Organize a Classroom Library – 20 points to consider 

Books I read and loved:

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

I don’t know where to begin with this book. It’s lush and moody and at the same time sweet and hopeful. I had all kinds of wishes. I wanted to shrink down and wander about this little garden. I wanted the book to be quilted so I could gift it as a “stuffie” type treasure to little ones to snuggle with. I wanted each image, framed, to hang on my wall. This is a book to love.

The Little Gardener Monday September 7th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Hope Springs written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Based on a true story of drought and water shortages in Kenya and what it takes to secure fresh water for a community. This book is about worry and fear. Kindness and forgiveness. In the back of the book are actual photos of the community and people that inspired the book.

Hope Springs Monday September 7th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Thirst for Home: A story of Water Across the World written by Christine Ieronimo illustrated by Eric Velasquez

This book was written to tell the story of the author’s adopted daughter who first lived in Ethiopia. Because of water shortages and the struggle for food, Alemitu’s mother was forced to place her daughter in an orphanage in order to ensure she was cared for. Heartbreaking. I am studying water with my class this year – stories like this are stories of what lack of access to water really can mean.

A Thirst for Home Monday September 7th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Little Robot by Ben Hatke

This is an almost wordless graphic title that I know will be quickly shared throughout my classroom. It’s a story of friendship and kindness that we get to explore between little girl and little robot. Pure delight.

LittleRobot Monday September 7th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango 

Thank you to Kellee and Ricki for recommending this book to me. It is a fictionalized novel based on the actual experiences of Virginia as a young indigenous girl growing up in Ecuador. As it happens in many poor indigenous families, Virginia is basically given away to “work” for a wealthier family. It is a stolen childhood full of many hardships and much cruelty. Virginia’s spirit is incredible. I don’t want to give story elements away but will say that culture, family and identity are beautifully explored.

The Queen of Water Monday September 7th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 51/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 314/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 58/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 36/50 books read

Up next? I am reading  Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

Monday February 24th, 2014

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 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!

This week in my blogging world, I . . .

  • shared my ten favourite nonfiction picture book biographies featuring inspiring women for the #nf10for10 event. My post was called The Wonder of Women.  Check out all of the lists featured here.
  • celebrated my rich reading life for The Celebration Link Up hosted by Ruth Ayres

It is report card writing season so . . . I always feel like I don’t get the reading in that I want to 😦 But this week, I managed to read some wonderful picture books. Here are my favourites:

My Name is Blessing written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

This was quite the story – based on the author’s actual visit to Kenya in 2007 where he met the little boy this book is based upon. This little boy is raised by a Grandmother raising many of her grandchildren who are now orphans. They have little food and lack adequate shelter and sleeping space. Muthini (Grandmother) must make the best decision for her grandchild. This is the story of what this means for a special little boy eventually called Blessing.

My Name is Blessing #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What’s Your Favourite Animal? by Eric Carle and Friends

I was on the lookout for this title and when my Teacher Librarian and I went book shopping on Friday, it didn’t take much (she was as enchanted as I was!) to convince her we needed this title for our collection. In fact, I think every library must have this title! It celebrates art and illustration, story telling and the unique tastes and favourites of beloved picture book illustrators. Automatically, one is tempted to answer two questions. What’s my favourite animal? and Which favourite do I like best from this book? I am sure that my answers will change often but in this moment I am going with: The owl as my favourite (wise, secretive and majestic) and my favourite here? I’m with Jon Klassen, ducks.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Snow Leopard by Jackie Morris

How to describe this title? It is lyrical and full of myth, magic and enchantment. A story of a Guardian spirit who must pass into another world (the star filled sky) and so teaches a new Guardian to lead and watch – this one a child who takes the form of the beautiful and elusive snow leopard.

The Snow Leopard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bird Child written by Nan Forler and illustrated by Francois Thisdale

This isn’t a new read for me but I it feels fresh anytime I read it with a new group of children and it has been much on mind this week after sharing it with this current group. So I am sharing it here. This is one of the best books to illustrate the power of the bystander to stand up and not stand by. My students were so sympathetic to the character of Lainey who had been bullied.

“Maybe those bullies buried her smile when they buried her hat in the snow.”

“Those bullies undug the sadness in her.”

When Eliza stands up to the children who are bullying Lainey and others follow her lead, it is so powerful.

“One girl did it!”

“She is a leader and others are doing the right thing now too!”

Bird Child #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Quayside Cat written by Toby Forward and illustrated by Ruth Brown

This was our BLG book this week. I shared student reviews on my class blog. We loved getting lost in the illustrations that made us feel as if we were rolling about on the high seas. One cat with “sea legs” so to speak, leads another cat on an ocean adventure.

The Quayside Cat #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Coral Reefs by Jason Chin

Nobody depicts getting lost in a book quite like Jason Chin. But lost in a book means lost in a completely different world – in this case the magical world of coral reefs. Simply gorgeous. Worth reading and rereading to examine all of the clever details from beginning to end when our little reef explorer passes this book onto new readers and stands to watch – drip, drip, drip . . . My son was fascinated with locating the underwater creatures he had seen while snorkeling this past summer.

Coral Reefs #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter

Both Margie Myers-Culver and Linda Baie have raved about this book and for very good reason! Another title I would love to own and keep in my picture book biography collection. This book focuses on the time in Matisse’s life when he was too ill to paint and draw and discovered a new way of making art through paper cut outs. Beautifully told.

Henri's Scissors #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished one novel – Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur

This was a #Mustreadin2014 title for me. My daughter is a huge fan of LaFleur and I was lucky enough to win a copy of this title in a Goodreads giveaway – Suzanne signed the book to my daughter and I gave it to her at Christmas. She carried it with her on every holiday visit to show people and then finally sat down to read it. I “borrowed” it from its special place on her bookshelf. This is an ideal MG title – perfect for readers 10 and up who are beginning to be more independent in the social world but still remain very connected to family and home. There is plenty of introspection and soul searching in this book as we get to know Siena. But there is a whole lot more: ghosts, spirits, visions and mystery. Yet everything is very grounded in the story of a young girl growing up and searching for answers for herself and her family – from the typical questions of this age (Do people think I am strange?) to more complicated questions like why does three year old Lucca refuse to speak? I read this mostly in one early morning read and it was wonderful to be carried away to Maine beaches, old houses and the warmth of family connection.

Listening for Lucca  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next? I’m going to continue on with the theme of ghosts and channeling spirits and have begun Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy. My children and I are reading two nonfiction picture books and started The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen earlier in the week. How impatiently we had been waiting for this title!

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 12/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 108/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 7/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 36/65 complete

What are you reading? Wishing everyone some time to get lost in a book!