Monday September 3rd, 2012

The last It’s Monday! What are you reading? post of the summer! I really hope I can find lots of time to read as the new school year begins. My TBR towers everywhere are a great incentive! ūüôā

Link up with Jen and Kellee’s meme and share your reading from the week (picture books to young adult titles).

Our family finished listening to the False Prince  by Jennifer A. Nielsen as an audio book. It was the perfect Vancouver to Seattle and back listen and we finished the book all sitting happily in our den listening avidly to the last disc. What a story! We loved the suspense, the character of Sage and all of us are excited for the next titles in the trilogy. In fact, there are almost daily arguments about who gets to read the second book first when it is published.

I read a few middle grade titles this week. The first was The Great Gilly Hopkins written by Katherine Paterson. Gilly is a raw, angry  character. Quick to judge. Guarded. But so in need of love and acceptance and a real sense of belonging. The character of Maime Trotter in all of her simplicity is a hero of sorts. I thought I might read this book to my Grade 2/3 class but realize it needs a slightly older audience. Still love that it so candidly deals with the reality of being a foster child.

I just finished Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.¬†As I read, I kept thinking: “Wow.” By the end of the book I was up to a lot of “Wows.” ¬†A must read middle grade selection for so many reasons: the history, the character of Moose and what rests on his very tall shoulders, the way autism was understood and misunderstood in the 1930s and the depiction of childhood in times of more freedom (despite living on Alcatraz). Can’t recommend this book enough.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I read a lot of picture books this week, finding titles at the public library, my school library, and my own collection. As always, for brevity’s sake, I will limit this list to five. A bit of a back to school theme going on here with the final three.

Bink and Gollie: Two for One written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated (perfectly) by Tony Fucile. Take a state fair with all of its rides, booths and amusements, add Bink and Gollie and there is guaranteed laughter! My favourite lines?

“Tell Madame Prunely what it is you seek.”

“Truth,” said Gollie.

“Food,” said Bink.

Art and Max by David Wiesner. Absolutely delightful! So much to discuss as this book takes us through a very colourful exploration of art, fantasy and imagination.

¬†Vera’s First Day of School¬†by Vera Rosenberry. Something speaks to me in little Vera – the way she holds so firmly to the black and white version of life (totally appropriate at her age and stage.) When she hasn’t entered school by the time the bell has sounded, she is convinced she can’t go at all. A lovely Mom, an understanding teacher and a brave attitude allow Vera to begin her day again.

Things I learned in Second Grade by Amy Schwartz. A lot happens in a school year. This book is an interesting documentation of just how much for one little boy. Great to read at the end or beginning of a school year.

Mr. Ouchy’s First Day written by B.G. Hennessy and illustrated by Paul Meisel. The first day of school is a first day for everyone, teachers included! Children might be surprised at how nervous those new teachers might be! A lovely book that explores the building of classroom community and the passion a teacher has for making learning paramount for his students!

We enjoyed listening to an audio book so much that we have just started The London Eye Mystery. Should be a fun nightly routine as we ease back into a new school year!

Happy Reading everyone!


Louder, Lili

We have continued to read books that help us explore what it is to be brave. Louder,  Lili written by Gennifer Choldenko and illustrated by S. D. Schindler was the perfect book to help us talk about what motivates us to stand up and be brave.

Lily has a voice that is so soft, it just doesn’t ask to be heard. Lili often gets missed and often feels alone. Some students connected to her immediately. Shae-Lynn commented, “I used to be like Lily in my old school. It’s a scary feeling. I learned now that I don’t have to be shy.”

In the story, Cassidy begins selecting Lili to be her partner for everything but Cassidy’s version of sharing doesn’t seem very fair. She has Lili do the work and she takes the credit. When they share, Cassidy takes the cake and gives Lili all the carrots. My students were on to Cassidy pretty quickly!

Purity commented, “I think Cassidy is using Lili. She takes stuff and gives nothing back.”

Catriona pointed out, “Lili doesn’t say no to her.”

Shae-Lynn had a prediction. “Maybe, Cassidy might make Lili so mad that she might yell so she will realize that she can be loud.”

Jacky wondered, “Maybe Cassidy will use her and blame her.”

When Cassidy took Lois the guinea pig out of her cage and gave her a hair cut, everyone was very upset.

This story really had Shae-Lynn thinking. “I don’t think Cassidy has respect for anyone which means she doesn’t have respect for herself.”

When Cassidy suggested putting glue in Lois’ water bottle, Lili yelled. So loud that everyone stopped. In the classroom, all of us also quieted too and just let the moment of Lili’s outrage resonate.

Then all hands were up wanting to share how Lili had been courageous.

“She was courageous to take care of the guinea pig.”

“Courageous to talk so loudly finally!”

“Lily learned that she could be loud when she wanted to be.”

“Sometimes it takes love to make you courageous.”

And after that, what else needed to be said?