Monday February 13th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Here are three.

Early morning and my room fills up with students reading books with each other. How I love this!

Monday February 13th, 2017

Student led conferences often included a read aloud from a favourite one or two Mock Caldecott titles. The Night Gardener is being shared here.

Monday February 13th, 2017

Finding a reading nook ūüôā

Monday February 13th, 2017

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 2015

On the blog:

For Nonfiction 10 for 10: Dive Down Deep

dive-down-deep

Books I enjoyed:

The Tree: A Fable by Neal Layton

There is something wonderfully powerful about this title. Powerful and refreshing. How do we share a natural space? Would pair perfectly with Where’s the Elephant? by Barroux


the-tree-a-fable

Tony by Ed Galing and illustrated by Erin E Stead

Oh these illustrations. Gentle. Lovely.

tony

I Am Not a Chair! by Ross Burach

Wonderfully hilarious. A book about being who you are and being courageous enough to make sure others know it.

i-am-not-a-chair

Nope! A Tale of First Flight by Drew Sheneman

Basically wordless. First flight can seem terrifying and a well executed “nope” should be respected, shouldn’t it?

nope

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

So if you are going picture book shopping, this title needs to go on the top of your list. Don’t leave the store without it. I couldn’t. An allegorical tale that will make you giggle and nod vigorously and leap up and shout in agreement. Our voices cannot be silenced. Oh, this book is timely. Cannot recommend it enough.

the-rooster-who-would-not-be-quiet

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Who we are, where we belong, how big all of this can be. Lovely little book.

not-quite-narwhal

A Greyhound, a Groundhog written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

A beautiful book. Wonderfully playful illustrations. Wonderfully playful word play. Find a group of little ones and read this aloud!

a-greyhound-a-groundhog

Earthling by Mark Fearing

Don’t get on the wrong bus! What a fun graphic novel! This will be a well read, well loved title in my classroom.

earthling2

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Wow. Yes, this is a YA love story but it’s more than that. Love stories don’t often hold my interest. This book is a story of being ridiculously human. About hope and faith and choices and kindness. About family and responsibility and dreams.

the-sun-is-also-a-star

I have also been reading a lot for the Cybils awards (nonfiction category) Winners will be announced tomorrow!

cybils-logo-2016-round-2

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 8/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 44/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 2 books ahead of schedule

#MustReadin2017: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 10/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 6/50 books read

U next>I am reading Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz

Monday October 17th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This is a peek into my room first thing in the morning. What are my students doing as they wait for the day to begin? Reading. Always reading. Makes me beyond happy.

Monday October 17th, 2016

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. What theme do you see in these titles?

Monday October 17th, 2016

Here it is pretty obvious – biographies of interesting men – thinkers, artists, problem solvers and heroes. Of course, biographies featuring women will be on the horizon.

Monday October 17th, 2016

I didn’t post last week even though I was reading – I have a pretty beautiful excuse: a road trip into the B.C. mountains:

Monday October 17th, 2016

We celebrated my children’s 14th birthday with a weekend of hiking, train rides, rock hunting and family.

Monday October 17th, 2016

My sister and I on the banks of the Fraser River in Lillooet, BC. We lived here for about a year when we were children.

Monday October 17th, 2016

We got to hike in places like this – pretty spectacular scenery. Ah, the colours of fall!

Monday October 17th, 2016 Monday October 17th, 2016

Monday October 17th, 2016

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 2015

Books I enjoyed:

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

So very, very beautiful even though it is like this book is brewed in loneliness and solitude. There is sadness and hope. Quiet. Space. Mysteries.

the-uncorker-of-ocean-bottles

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce just might be my favourite grump.

hotel-bruce2

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Like many, I eagerly anticipated this title. Klassen is so unique. I love the subtle things here. The hints. The suggestions. The not neatly wrapped up ending. The room for readers to do some work.

We Found a Hat

 I Will Not Eat You written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Charming and sweet while still full of whimsy and fun.

i-will-not-eat-you

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

giant-squid

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Oh, the kid appeal! I chuckled through this and did a lot of head shaking. There is one scene that involves a pile of dog poop that I know I never would have thought of – thankfully! But I am sure this will become a favourite page for some of my readers. This book is flying through my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

dog-man-by-dav-pilkey

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

I adore Piper. She is one plucky kid whose energy makes her leap right off the page. Love that this series seems to stretch its appeal right into grade 4.

piper-green-and-the-fairy-tree-the-sea-pony-by-ellen-potter

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

The fantasy and magical realism in this title didn’t really shine for me. I have loved Raina’s expertise in wading around in the everyday real of young characters. This story had me too distracted. I have also read the questions and concerns surrounding this title and its depiction of the Day of the Dead celebrations at the missions.

ghosts-2

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

How a story about a robot can be so tender, I don’t know. Heavily illustrated which makes it wonderfully rich.

wildrobotcover

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

I suppose that yes, we can call this a sad book. A teacher who is ill. Students who adore and miss her. But this is mostly a human book full of connection, compassion and everyday adventure and humour.

ms-bixbys-last-day

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 278/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 22/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 37/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 32/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Favourites of 2015

Oh, this list. 15 of my favourite fiction titles. I started putting this together in early December and have changed it numerous times. Reading new books shifted things. Revisiting favourites and loving them even more shifted things. I was switching books on and off until moments before I hit publish.

The 15 books that made the final cut? They spoke to my heart. Sometimes happy. Sometimes hopeful. Sometimes with sorrow. But they all spoke deeply.

15 books and no more than 15 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words) In 2013, it was Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

These picture books are both beautiful and in need of many rereads. I love each of them more each time I read them and read to children? Well . . . they certainly do their picture book magic thing.

Lenny & Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Moody. Measured. Heavy but secure. Vulnerable but playful. Oh, this book.

Lenny & Lucy Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

Celebrating the creativity on the page and endless possibility.

My Pen Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Skunk written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

Quirky. Charming. This title sings to my philosophical heart.

The Skunk Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

Lush and moody. Sweet and hopeful. Every shade of green gorgeous.

The Little Gardener Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pe√Īa and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder

Beautiful, playful and imaginative illustrations. Olafur is a transformative Arctic tour guide.

The Bear Report Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

Missing and connecting. Believing and making it so. Lots of love here.

Boats for Papa Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Special Delivery written by Phllip C. Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

A big heart. A big elephant. A big journey. Large doses of joy.

Special Delivery Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life ‚Äď both the real and the imagined parts with gusto.

This is Sadie Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

These six titles are my most favourite of many truly fantastic titles I read this year. Something about the characters in these books made them unforgettable.

Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin

The magic suggested in the story floats off the page and whispers quietly, ‚ÄúImmerse yourself.”

Wish Girl Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

The pull of home, the strength of family, the importance of culture: all rich & complex.

Listen, Slowly Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Family is about who is in your corner. Beautiful. Hopeful. Heartbreaking.

Orbiting Jupiter Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This novel twists from the ugly cruelty of abuse to the powerful healing of connection.

The War That Saved my Life Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Dog as hero. Boy with the weight of the world. Honest truths are the hardest. The Honest-Truth Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

So much grief and challenge but the humanity shines bright.

boy in the black suit Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2016 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

 

Mock Caldecott 2016

Oh this process is a tricky one – deciding on the most beautiful of the beautiful. This year I am sharing twelve titles with my students. But if I could include Canadian illustrators, I would have fifteen titles here. Check out the bottom of the post for books from Canadian illustrators that I would love to include.

I LOVED this experience last year. Read about Mock Caldecott 2015 here and here.

This year I am extremely excited to go through this process again with my new class. I will use the same 3 questions I used with my grade 3/4 class but I have simplified the language a little bit to be more appropriate for this group of Grade 2/3 students.. Students answer each question for each book with a rating of 1 – 5,

This book is a book kids will really like. 1  2  3  4  5

The illustrations in this book are excellent. 1  2  3  4  5

The illustrations are a great fit for the story.  1  2  3  4  5

Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Here are the twelve titles on our Mock Caldecott 2016 list. Listed alphabetically by illustrator (as they would be shelved on last year’s Caldecott Honor artist Lauren Castillo‘s picture book shelves ūüôā )

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Water Is Water- A Book About the Water Cycle Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Special Delivery written by Phllip C. Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Special Delivery Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

The Night World Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Skunk written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

The Skunk Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Float by Daniel Miyares

Float Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

My Pen Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Wolfie the Bunnie written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Wolfie the Bunnie Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Emmanuel's Dream- The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pe√Īa and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Market Street Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach 

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Lenny and Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Lenny & Lucy Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

The Whisper Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

These Canadian OMG titles are not to be missed when we are doing illustration swooning of the best of the best kind. Unfortunately, these are not eligible for the Caldecott medal.

Ask Me written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee

Ask Me Bernard Waber Suzy Lee

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

This is Sadie

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

sidewalk flowers

Which titles would you include for Mock Caldecott 2016?

Monday November 9th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This week because it has been a while, I have more than one. And not all are reading related but humour me please, I am in a sharing mood ūüôā

First – I invite you to enjoy our mural homage to “Shh! We have a plan.” by Chris Haughton. Mini trees and birds by my class. Mural design courtesy of my husband. .

Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

We read some fantastic titles during the week before Halloween for #classroombookaday. Bone Dog squeaked in with the most love.

Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

This art has nothing to do with any book but I just had to share – the colour, the light, the vibrancy and the joy . . . .

Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

And finally my favourite “reading photo” of the week is all about the giggles. Happy, happy, happy.

Monday November 9th, 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 2015

I am committed to a return to my blog and a sharing of my reading and teaching life.

I credit Marla Frazee for this as I shared in this post: Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales and the “in between” place

Also on my blog:

Wrapped up in shades of black and grey (in honour of Picture Book Month)

I haven’t shared a Monday post in two weeks so I have a number of titles that I am excited to highlight here!

Lenny and Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Oh my, my, my, my. And, well, wow. You might have noticed I am slightly speechless over this one. It is moody. Lonely. Emotional. Sweet. Lovely. Sigh. Of course, I had to buy it.

Lenny & Lucy Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Shoe Dog by Megan Mcdonald

I don’t have a dog. I am not that attached to my shoes. But still – if I had a dog and if it chewed up all of my shoes, well, I am not so sure . . . This is book is about some serious pet love. And patience. And it is pretty darn cute.

Shoe Dog Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream written by Kristy Dempsey and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Gorgeous and inspiring historical fiction. A must read.

A Dance Like Starlight- One Ballerina's Dream Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas

A pop up title that is all kinds of amazing.  The perfect book to pair with My Blue is Happy and to break out the coloured pencils and start some really wonderful conversations.

The Color Monster Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Hueys in None the Number by Oliver Jeffers

A Hueys tour of counting and numbers and the concept of zero. Quirky and wonderfully odd.

The Hueys in None the Number Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School by Simon Puttock and Ali Pye

Shy little Mouse is always somewhere but where? Endearing.

Mouse’s First Night in Moonlight School Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Katie Woo No More Teasing written by Fran Amnushkin and illustrated by Tammie Lyon

I bought five of these Katie Woo titles the other day. Ideal additions to my early readers collection.

Katie Woo No More Teasing Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Story of Diva and Flea written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

Yep, all kinds of charming. A seriously winning author/illustrator combination. Paris! Incredible characters. Lots to love here in this illustrated chapter book. Would make a perfect read aloud in a primary classroom.

The Story of Diva and Flea Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I’ll Be There¬†by¬†Holly Goldberg Sloan

Fast paced, impossible to put down.

I'll Be There Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

And then there was a sequel. I had a Goldberg Sloan marathon. If you are in a reading slump, these YA novels are the perfect books to pick up. Personally I was looking for serious escapism and these dramatic stories and wonderful writing fit the bill perfectly!

 Just Call my name Monday November 9th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 59/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 363/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 64/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 43/50 books read

Up next? I am reading to escape so¬†The Husband’s Secret by Lianne Moriarty is an ideal story. When do I ever ever read adult fiction? Usually never. It is wonderfully ridiculous and like zone out T.V. Perfect.

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the “in between” place

So if you are a voracious children’s book addict, you often experience the world in relation to images and phrases in children’s books. If you have a blog called There’s a Book for That, ¬†you absolutely do . . . Some of you, I know, are with me. Yes?

“Shhh!” I often exclaim, “I have a plan.” (Full credit to Chris Haughton‘s Shh! We Have a Plan) And the children, they actually stop and listen. Yes, for about 2.5 seconds, but still.

When I do something particularly impressive, I might deem it “skilly” (thank you Bob Shea and Cheetah) The “skilly” descriptor elevates things. And makes us smile.

Holy Bagumba!” once was uttered in my classroom (a classroom besotted with Flora & Ulysses) multiple times a day. For a while, when I was reading one of the Clementine novels (thank you Sara Pennypacker) the children delighted in affectionately calling each other vegetable names. Nowadays, we pretend to have Mrs. Gobble Gracker sightings. (Thank you to Abby Hanlon¬†and the wonderful Dory books) Sometimes, I am almost convinced she is lurking around the corner. Sometimes, in very hopeful ways. I could go have a third cup of coffee and Mrs. Gobble Gracker could take care of everything.

A recent afternoon consisted of a mini Betty Bunny¬†(thank you Michael B. Kaplan)¬†reading marathon. All of us professed our love for chocolate cake or equally divine lemon tarts, strawberry cupcakes or apple pie. Although none of us wanted to stuff any of these favourite desserts into our socks (Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake is a must read), we did certainly identify with Betty’s intense love for delicious sweet treats.

We then read Betty Bunny Didn’t Do it¬†and talked a lot about the honest truth. Betty, has switched her obsession from chocolate cake to honest lies and the “situations” she anticipates them saving her from. Honest truths. Honest lies. In the world of Betty Bunny? Quite hilarious. And of course, perfect inspiration for those important conversations we can have with children about accepting responsibility, “owning up” and dealing with the consequences.

I keep thinking about life right now in these categories. Honest truths. Honest lies. The honest truth? This has been a challenging fall. For some reasons I can share freely and for some reasons I can’t. Unfortunately, much is not in my control. Also the truth? That when lots is hard, we doubt what we know. We get pulled from our confidence. We drift from our strengths. We see clouds over what we trust. We don’t feel all that skilly.

Honest lies? Sometimes I tell them to myself until I can get back to the truth. What are they? That I am fully coping. The truth? Not really. Not always. I have been drifting. I have been waiting to see the metaphorical whale in front of me – the inspiration and the amazing in a class full of children that can and does outweigh the challenges that might be swimming around. But storms have taken me off course. I have been doing it all wrong. I have been looking the wrong way.

In If you want to see a whale, the beautiful book written by Julie Fogaliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead, Fogliano writes,

“If you want to see a whale, keep both eyes on the sea and wait . . . and wait . . . ¬†and wait . . .”

I have not had both eyes on the sea. My attention has been pulled. I have been looking at foggy, cloudy skies and missing things. But I have kept faith that one day again soon, I will look out at the right time, in the right way and see. When I see my “whale” I will realize that my boat is strong and steady, that I can row in rough waves and that I can pause and appreciate the wonder and the magic of teaching children. I can recognize that multiple little sightings of amazing lead to something with the promise as enormous as a whale.

I didn’t know that Marla Frazee would point me in the exact direction I needed to look. But she did.

Yesterday, Marla Frazee addressed an audience of picture book lovers and devoted fans at the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable‘s Illustrator breakfast. She began with a gracious acknowledgement of her welcome and introduction. She honoured Vancouver’s torrential rain, calling it beautiful and welcome to a California resident. And then, before she launched into an inspirational talk about her books and her art and her practice, she asked, “Is Carrie here?” Once we figured out that she was actually talking about me, I raised my hand. “I just wanted to see who you were,” she explained.

The honest truth? This simple statement was a gift. It made me teary. Teary beyond being flattered that my “super fan status” and my sharing of how meaningful Marla’s titles have been in my classroom had also meant something to her.

Yesterday, in that room full of picture book love, these words from Marla Frazee brought me back. In my searching for a whale metaphor, they steadied my boat. But really, they planted my feet. Right back where they needed to be. They reminded me of who I am.

I am a teacher. A teacher who believes firmly in the gift of literacy. ¬†I am a conduit between authors and illustrators who have magic to give and the children who need to receive it. And when I can, I reflect it back. I love nothing more than to share how very beloved stories are in a community of little readers. I am blessed to sit “in between“- in the middle of the book makers and the readers and listeners who they make these books for.

How lucky we are Рreading teachers Рwho get to read aloud to children daily. To put amazing books in the hands of children. To witness as all of the creative energies, the stories, the world flows to these students entrusted to us from nine to three each day. To bask in the wow moments as these children shine it back out into the world. And sometimes, to catch bits of that and pass it back to the book makers who shared in the first place . . .  It is a beautiful thing.

The honest truth? I am a reading teacher. And I have important work to do. Marla Frazee, thank you for reminding me of this. What a pleasure it was to listen to your wisdom and meet you yesterday.

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the

Thank you also to the wonderful Nancy Johnson from Western Washington University who I loved visiting with yesterday. She hears the same words I do when we are in the presence of author/illustrator brilliance and writes them down and holds them close. I love that we both know that through books we find most of the answers and all of the questions and that these beloved book makers, when they share, help to illuminate both. Your students, Nancy, are so blessed to have you shine the light on this.

And so, on Monday, I will do what I do. I will let books do what they do. Yesterday, I found the perspective and the emotion I had been missing. Hard things wear us down. It would be an honest lie to say all is well, but honestly, truthfully, I feel like I have renewed energy to focus on what I need to be doing each day.

For me, yes. But more importantly, for my students.

For the children who want to be readers and who aren’t yet . . . For each child, no matter how they express this – through quiet admissions, through masking behaviours, through various emotions, through smiles of pride as progress happens. For these children, I will continue searching for books that each one can read at every stage so that we all get to feel like the books in our room are for all of us. I made a pit stop at Vancouver Kidsbooks yesterday, to fuel up. Yes, there are over a thousand books in my classroom library but each new group of readers has new needs and so I will always be book shopping.

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the

For Joey in my class who just wants to read all day and is on #2 of Stone Rabbit and our classroom library has only #1 to #3, I purchased these. Because nothing makes me happier than hearing a child tell me, “I just want to read all day. Can I?” Oh, reading bug, I hope the contagion factor is very high. Go forth and infect!

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the

For the children who comment, “Look at all of those books we have read,” I will continue to read aloud. Every day. Multiple times. For those who ask me to read more books like “this” of “that” I will find them and I will read them so that all of us are hearing the stories we need to hear.

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the

For the Elephant and Piggie devotion, we will celebrate and read and read and read. And giggle, of course.

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the

For the buddy reading pride. Such an amazing thing to watch these moments between my students and the little ones who come to visit each Wednesday afternoon. As Marla Frazee said yesterday, anything an illustrator puts in a picture, the children will see. They naturally know how to read pictures. I want to give them multiple opportunities to do just this.

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the

Because I have readers to support. Because I have learners to celebrate. Because this is what I believe in. All the World shines through when I know this.

Sunday Reflections: Honest Truths, Metaphorical whales, and the

And yes, for those who have been asking, more blog posts should be happening. Soon. Maybe not quite as often but they are coming.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Auto-buy Authors But I kind of switched it up . . .

I approached this theme with some flexibility. ¬†First, I only included picture books. Second, my list is all about illustrators, not authors (although some both illustrate and write their books). And top ten? Nope. I have twenty. But I split it into two lists of ten in order to kind of follow the rules. ūüôā 10 + 10 = 20

My top ten lists this week are all about my auto-buy illustrators. These artists help make picture books that are irresistible.

I read a lot, a lot, a lot of picture books. Narrowing these lists down was a challenge!

When it became apparent that I couldn’t limit my list to just ten, I decided to make a list of female illustrators and a list of male illustrators. Both make the best books ever! I am so excited to honour them here. For each illustrator, I have included my favourite (or one of my favourite) books that they have illustrated.

My ten auto-buy female illustrators listed in alphabetical order:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Freya Blackwood illustrated Harry and Hopper I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood Blackwood creates through shading and colour.

harry and hopper Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Lauren Castillo wrote and illustrated Melvin and the Boy I love Nana and her wonderful cape and thought it was wonderfully Caldecott worthy, but I have such a soft spot for this sweet little book.

Melvin and the Boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Marla Frazee illustrated All the World It is so absolutely calming and charming and full of all the world’s memories.

All-the-World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Emily Hughes wrote and illustrated Wild which I am more than a little wild about

Wild Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Suzy Lee created the wordless treasure Wave I am quite sure these waves are moving across the pages here.

 Wave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Qin Leng illustrated Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin Рthere is one page oh so very full of green that I fell in love with.

 Hana Hashimoto Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated¬†Ni√Īo Wrestles the World I already loved this title¬†but then I heard Yuyi read it aloud and I was even more smitten. Such joyous energy and escapades in this book!

Nino Wrestles the World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Julie Morstad’s illustrations in This is Sadie are swoon worthy. Seriously, this cover!

This is Sadie Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

LeUyen Phan absolutely blew me away with The Boy Who Loved Math

 The Boy Who Loved Math Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Erin E. Stead illustrated the stunning  If You Want to See a Whale If you follow this blog you know I have a serious thing for whales. The one in this book? I find it particularly captivating.

If you want to see a whale Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

My ten auto-buy male illustrators listed in alphabetical order

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jonathan Bean illustrated Bad Bye, Good Bye which I found wonderfully delightful. Look at the expressions conveyed just on the cover.

Bad Bye, Good Bye Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Peter Brown won me over with his book The Curious Garden that he wrote and illustrated. Doesn’t it make you want to go plant a seed or two or twelve in some unexpected places?

Curious Garden Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Oliver Jeffers just keeps making more books. Picking a favourite is challeging. I’m going with The Heart and the Bottle¬†which will tug at your heart.

heart in the bottle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jon Klassen is the Caldecott King but it is his illustrations in House Held up by Trees that I find the most incredible.

househeldupbytrees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

E.B. Lewis has done so many titles that are powerful but his illustrations in My Best Friend might be my favourite.

 My Best Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are so whimsical and full of teeny tiny characters that are very large. South is gentle and lovely.

south Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Christopher Silas Neal’s books with Kate Messner are stunning but it is illustrations in¬†Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals‚Äô Lives that I want to celebrate here.

 Lifetime Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Mark Pett won a special award in my room for The Girl and the Bicycle during our Mock Caldecott process He sent a very special gift for his number one fan (see below).

The Girl and the Bicycle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

John Rocco does many wonderful titles. He wrote and illustrated Blackout which is likely my favourite. The blues. The blacks. Wow. Wow. Wow.

 Blackout Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

David Small does the most delicate, detailed drawings for historical fiction titles. I couldn’t choose my favourite. So instead I picked One Cool Friend which I also love.

 One cool Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Who are your auto-buy illustrators? 

Could you choose ten? Or stop at twenty? It’s difficult!

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!

Picture Book Wishlist: July 2015

Summer time is a lovely time for picture book dreaming. Don’t you think?

Last year at this time, book shopping was not a possibility for me due to a very lengthy teacher’s strike here in B.C. I am now happily back into my book purchasing groove but even us book lovers must prioritize. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to unlimited book buying funds.

Yet, these titles are calling to me! So I thought I would celebrate them in a list. Hopefully, these books will be able to make it into my classroom collection because I can’t wait to share them with students.

 Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

Shared by publication date:

Float by Daniel Miyares (June 2015)

Wordless and wonderful. Themes of discovery, persistence, problem solving and creative thinking. And simply beautiful. I would love to add this title to my wordless book collection.

Float  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein (June 2015)

This is truly brilliant. A dark, usually known world, is busy and alive when it is explored at night. Slowly, morning happens. And wow, does it happen beautifully. All about the magic of light.

The Night World  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

To the Sea by Cale Atkinson (June 2015)

Teachers are always looking for amazing books that explore all there is to explore about friendship. Everywhere I turn there is book love for this title. I can’t wait to find it.

To the Sea  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

First Grade Dropout written by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell  (July 2015)

I have read some wonderful reviews of this title (here and here) that have convinced me that this book needs to be in my collection. Intense emotions, Humiliation. Moving forward. Compassion and community. All of these are themes to explore in a primary classroom.

First Grade Dropout  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

Ask Me written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee (July 2015)

I read this beautiful review of this title on the blog What to Read to your Kids and I knew I had to own it. I too am a fan of Waber and Lee but I am completely smitten with stories that portray little moments of family relationship.

Ask Me Bernard Waber Suzy Lee  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes (August 2015)

When I first read Emily Hughes‘¬†Wild (a library copy) aloud to my class,¬†I admitted that I really loved the book and wished I had a copy for our classroom. One child remarked:¬†‚ÄúYou really should buy it. Otherwise, you might go a little crazy.‚Ä̬†Wise words ūüôā Wild is now a beloved book that I own. The pages I have peeked at on various blogs make it very obvious that I must also bring The Little Gardener into my collection.

The Little Gardener  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi (August 2015)

I love fairytales and stories with nuances of fairytale elements. But . . . I am very particular. I find that I either love these titles or I find them barely mediocre. My students are always asking me to purchase more fairy tale stories for our collection and I want to find them the best. From the reviews I have read, this will be a title I will happily add to our growing collection.

 The Ta Party in the Woods  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

Leo a Ghost Story written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson (August 2015)

I love the whole idea of this book. We don’t often meet ghosts in picture books. But many children believe they are out there. I love books that celebrate imagination and big believing. And also – Mac Barnett! Christian Robinson! No need to say more.

Leo a Ghost Story  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

Lenny & Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead (October 2015)

I think Erin Stead is one of the most talented illustrators out there. Off the charts, can’t quite believe it, oh my, oh my, talented. When the brilliant Stead duo do their thing, I need to own the book. It’s that simple.

Lenny & Lucy  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for That

Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler  (October 2015)

I am hearing lovely book buzz about this title. Reviews contain words like imagination, curiosity, magic . . . Sounds delightful!

Beyond the Pond  Picture Book Dreaming Wish List July 2015 There's a Book for ThatWhat picture books are you dreaming of? 

Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection

There are so many beautiful picture books out there in the world.

Books make lovely gifts that become part of a family’s story world.

So how to choose?

Board books always make wonderful gifts but so do picture books that will be part of a child’s collection of read again and again stories.¬†Not every book gift needs to be given thinking only about babyhood and the first few years. Give a book that can be grown into. A book that tells a story families will want to share repeatedly. Stories to be savoured and talked about and wondered about.

These suggestions have a definite theme of being in the moment and noticing the world – the big moments, the small things, the important feelings. Because childhood soars by. These titles remind us to experience it as fully as we can.

Here are 20 titles I would gift new parents and why they need to be on the family book shelf:

Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Listed in alphabetical order by author.

Yard Sale written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

No matter what the journey, no matter what is possessed along the way, family matters most of all.

 Yard Sale Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

Facing fears is a lot easier with a Nana by your side. I love what this book says about home, family and the wisdom of grandparents.

Nana in the City Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper

Simple and reassuring. The power of walking in the neighbourhood: being, noticing, connecting.

A Good Night Walk Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pe√Īa and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty

This book reminds us that everyone needs to be read to. A life with bedtime stories is rich indeed.

The Snatchabook Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

A book about a problem that needs solving and having wonderfully, persistently, kind intentions.

 Hank Finds an Egg Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

The ins and outs of waiting. And wondering. And hoping. Patience is underrated in life but celebrated in this beautiful little book.

If you want to see a whale Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

An opportunity to talk about cooking together over time. Tradition. Changes. Savouring of sweet treats.

A Fine Dessert Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

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

Read this book early and often and send the message – our life is going to be a life where we are surrounded by books and reading and all of the magic that will guarantee.

 The Fantastic Flying Books Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

What is at eye level for our little ones? Flowers and many other interesting things. Children notice many things and give so freely.

Sidewalk Flowers Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Wave by Suzy Lee

There is nothing like the joy of a big expanse of beach and the waves that roll in and out. This wordless book captures all of the all the excitement, fear and wonder of a child’s beachside experience.

 Wave Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Sleep Like a Tiger written by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski 

Such a beautiful book for those who appreciate the soothing power of bedtime books. Sleep is a wonderful thing!

Sleep Like a Tiger Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life ‚Äď both the real and the imagined parts with gusto. Wonderful connections to favourite book characters.

This is Sadie Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

There is kindness and then there is putting others’ happiness before your own. Kindness between siblings is very special.

 The Girl and the Bicycle Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

I Wish You More written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld 

This book captures hope and love in a sweet, endearing way.

I Wish You More Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Blackout by John Rocco

Time. Time together. Time together as a first priority. This book reminds us of how very important this is. Because everything can get in the way. But only if you let it . . .

 Blackout Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

All the World  written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee

Simple rhyming text pays tribute to the small simple things our world has to offer like a tomato blossom or a fire to take away a chill.

All-the-World Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman 

A wonderful story about siblings, mistakes, owning up and doing what’s right.

 Three Bears in a Boat Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by¬†DuŇ°an Petrińćińᬆ

This is an important story of what we miss by not being in the moment. How many beautiful experiences are lost on us as we rush through our days?

The Man with the Violin Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Happy by Mies van Hout

What could be better than a bright and bold celebration of our emotions?

Happy Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Give books.

Read books.

Share books.

Often.