Monday July 29th, 2013

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 reads! These #IMWAYR posts are a great place to “shop” for new titles.

Favourite picture books from the week:

The Hueys in It Wasn’t Me by Oliver Jeffers The second title in The Hueys books by Jeffers. Sometimes an argument becomes bigger than the original source of conflict. This simple little picture book highlights exactly this phenomenon. For anyone who spends anytime with children, this story rings very true!

 It Wasn't Me There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco An emotional historical fiction title set during the American civil war. Touches on themes of war, slavery, racism and survival. Definitely for older readers.

Pink and Say There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Carmine – A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet An extremely clever alphabetical retelling/fractured tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Wander through bolded words in ABC order and Sweet’s signature artistic style – part collage, part detailed panels and so expressive. Loved the vocabulary and the fresh approach to this classic tale.

Carmine A Little More Red There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

A House is a House for Me written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Betty Fraser I simply adore Mary Ann Hoberman and her gift for rhyme. And Fraser’s illustrations make me nostalgic for childhood ease. First published in 1978, this title is one long poem about everything that can be a house. All about homes/houses for just about everything. My favourite was no surprise: A book is a house for a story.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

The Night Riders by Matt Furie One of my newest favourite wordless titles. This is some kind of adventure into the world of real and fantastical nocturnal creatures and amazing things that happen beneath the light of the moon. One of the best things about the book? The jacket unfolds into a double sided poster of images from the story. Here is a link to Matt Furie’s interview with The Beat (the daily news blog of comics news, reviews, and information) about this, his first book. 

Looking for more wordless titles? I just created a Pinterest board with all of my favourites.

Night Riders There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bruno Munari’s ABC First published in 1960, a wonderful graphic ABC book.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Flora McDonnell’s ABC Bright, bold and beautiful. This has inspired some art project ideas . . . A study in letters, opposites and clever pairings. Each page has 2 objects beginning with a specific letter. Some of my favourites? The large giant with a tiny red glove perched on his thumb, a regal tiger with a teapot balanced on his head and a rhinoceros sniffing at a radish. So fun.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Anticipating fall book talks, I am trying to catch up on some graphic novels and early chapter book titles. This week I read two winners.

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat written by Anna Branford with illustrations by Ellana Allen Loved the nature/science/ecology connection. Perfect for my Grade 2/3/4 readers just beginning to read chapter books. And how delightful that Violet names her ladybug Small Gloria.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bird & Squirrel on the Run by James Burks What fun and absolutely full of silly escapades. Loved the contrast of the pessimistic and optimistic characters. Kids will love this!

Bird and squirrel There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

I also finished two novels

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater A friend passed on her ARC of this book to me. I had resigned myself to impatiently waiting for September but, I was so thrilled to read it now! Let’s just say this – I am fully just as hooked and intrigued by these Aglionby boys and the character of Blue. Intrigue, mystery, twists, upsets, revelations. This second title has it all. 

The Dream Thieves There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick Wow. This book subtly and not so subtly sneaks right up on you pretty quickly and holds fast. It is at times teary and heartbreaking, other times hilarious and witty and all the while, just plain good. A very human and honest look at a family hit hard by childhood illness and how they navigate the complicated business of hospitals, emotions and changing family dynamics. Stayed up half the night to finish this title. Now I get the Sonnenblick love. I’m in. Thank you to everyone who raved about this title to me. And yes, I am planning to read After Ever After – already requested from the library 🙂

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?


Next up? Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner and some more graphic novels in my pile!

Happy reading everyone!

Monday August 20th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme celebrating books read from picture books to young adult selections is such a pleasure. There is so much to learn in what everyone is reading and blogging about.

This week I read a number of fantastic picture books. I had a difficult time trying to narrow my favourites to the top five to keep this post to a reasonable size! But here they are – my top 5 picture books of the week:

Sector 7 by David Wiesner. I love Wiesner’s books but for some reason I had never read this one. When I found it at the library the other day, I was delighted. I am always using wordless books in the classroom  (I posted about using wordless books in the primary classroom here) and so love finding new titles to share. This book celebrates creativity, imagination and the endless possibilities in the clouds!

Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka was in a pile of books I had ordered from Scholastic last year and hadn’t yet labelled. When I read this book I was pleasantly surprised by the clever twists. First we meet Wolf who has been reading books about wolves and realizing that wolves are always portrayed as (yes, you know what’s coming) nasty, scary and greedy. He sets out to write his own book that depicts Mr. Nice Wolf acting in only lovely ways. He continuously meets animals that seem only to have met stereotypical awful wolves and they run from him. Finally a duck indulges Mr. Nice Wolf in a bit of a conversation and . . . Here’s the twist you might not have expected . . . I won’t spoil it! It’s worth finding a copy and having your own little chuckle as you read this book.

So I’ve decided that Sarah Stewart and David Small simply have not created enough picture books together. Very soon there is going to be a week where I can’t include a Stewart/Small title here and on that day, I will be very sad. This week I read The Library. All about book love and devotion. Nothing more needs to be said.

My next two favourites were sent to me in a box of “bookly delights” by a book loving friend.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce I absolutely adored this book – it fast became a favourite picture book. I love that it is so whimsical, the illustrations lure you in and you feel entangled with all of the books in the pictures. Amazing. But it also reads beautifully. I read it aloud to my two children and it was so smooth, so lyrical. Cannot wait to share this with my class this fall.

Cats’ Night out written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This was the first picture book that Klassen illustrated and it is so fun. I love the colours – all of the dark browns, blacks and shadows. Across each page dance cats. Cats with such serious smug expressions like they are saying, “We certainly don’t see you, dear reader,  up here doing the fox trot so elegantly in evening dresses or tuxedos.” The text is rhyming and one soon realizes that this is a counting book. Counting by twos! What fun and if you look carefully you can find numbers hidden in each illustration. A book that deserves multiple readings and begs to be shared with a friend to search for numbers, marvel at the pictures and reread the poetic text.

In other reading . . . .

I read Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. This is a mystery novel that is so much more. There is definitely a mystery which keeps it fast paced and highly energized. But wow, the characters! The other story lines going on! The idiosyncrasies of a small town and its inhabitants. The power of family no matter how it is defined. If this isn’t on your TBR list, add it!

I also read The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin. Loved Kevin Cornell‘s illustrations. There were lots of funny parts in this story but I worried that it might possibly too difficult for early readers (this is an early chapter book) to follow. Different chapters are told by different characters and I didn’t think it was always clear who was who. Maybe I’m wrong. I will see how some readers handle it this fall.

I also read Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet: The Cloud Searchers (Book Three) While I am always so impressed with the art work in Kibuishi’s Amulet books, all of the battle scenes are not my thing. But if it is your thing (my son adores these) these books are pretty amazing.

 I am still reading The Search for Wondla to my children and we started listening to The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Exciting!

Monday August 13th 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Celebrating books read and enjoyed from picture books to young adult reads. Link up with the meme sponsored by Kellee and Jen.

This week was quite busy for me – organizing/revamping my classroom library. Much of my reading was picture books and early chapter/graphic novels. (Trying to make sure that I am as familiar as possible with my library – often my purchasing gets ahead of my reading!)

The one novel I finished was Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones. I had been wanting to read this young adult novel for some time. Years ago I read The Maestro by Wynne-Jones and it became one of my favourites. While I loved the mystery and drama associated with the plot of Blink and Caution, what sold me on the book were the characters. Both main characters (Blink aka Brent and Caution aka Kitty) were so accessible, vulnerable and likeable. I was along for the ride simply because I really wanted to be around these characters. Wynne-Jones did not disappoint.

Early Chapters/Graphics:

Fangbone 2 The Egg of Misery by Michael Rex. While I personally didn’t love all of the gross humour (the stinky feet did me in), I can absolutley see the appeal for my Grade 2 and 3 students. I know these books (I have #1 as well) will seldom be in a basket and frequently passed around the room and enjoyed. Lots of fun, lots of action, lots of silly.

 I also read the first book in the Captain Awesome series. Comic books. Super heroes. Yucky cafeteria food. Another book with large kid appeal.  I plan to get a few more of these titles for my classroom collection. Captain Awesome to the Rescue was written by Stan Kirby and illustrated by George O’Connor.

I spent much of this week reading picture books. Four of my favourites were:

 Press Here by Herve Tullet. How I haven’t read this book up until this point, I have no idea! I’ve frequently seen it but this week I sat in the library and actually read it. Or is that what happens with this book? It is much more than reading! Yes, I did everything asked. Pressed. Shook. Titled. Turned. Giggled. Now I must own this book for my buddy reading/sharing bin!

Elsie’s Bird written by Jane Yolen and David Small. I adored this book. I think every week I fall just a little more in love with David Small’s illustrations. I am also trying to read as many picture books within the historical fiction genre as possible because. . . . Well because I am just in the historical fiction mood in a big way! I even started a new pinterest board! Any suggestions? Please share!

Fish on a Walk by Eva Muggenthaler. I found this book at the library earlier this week and was captivated by the illustrations. It is basically wordless – just two words on each page. Opposite words like scared/brave, cranky/kind, jealous/accepting . . . Examine the pictures. Find the stories. So interactive.

Let’s Talk About Race written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Karen Barbour. I have almost nothing to say about this book right now because I have so much to say about it. Many ideas in my head, plans for themes I’m considering for this year. Philosophical discussions. Art projects. Oh, I have plans for this book . . . .

Currently I’m reading The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi to my children. It’s an engaging read aloud and we love all of the picures. I’ve just started Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage So far – wow!



Monday July 23rd, 2012

It’s Monday What are you reading?

Here is my second post participating in Kelly and Jen‘s meme that celebrates all of the great literature being read by avid book lovers and bloggers (from picture books to YA fiction)

Picture Books I read this week:

My Dad is Big and Strong but . . . (A Bedtime Story) written by Coralie Saudo and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo  Loved the muted colours in the illustrations and the interesting twist on the going to bed battle.

Unfortunately written by Alan Durant and illustrated by Simon Rickerty. I purchased this book and The Plot Chickens this spring to add to my mentor texts to inspire writing. Can see this book inspiring mini stories illustrated in graphic style panels. Finally got a chance to read these titles I uncovered a basket of books in my new book area that I had thought I misplaced!


The Plot Chickens written by Mary Jane Auch and illustrated by Herm Auch. Such a fun book to emphasize important story elements.

East Dragon West Dragon written by Robyn Eversole and illustrated by Scott Campbell. I found this book at the library but would put it in my “diversity” bin at school if I end up purchasing it.

Swirl by Swirl (Spirals in Nature) written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes I finally read this book after seeing it on multiple lists all year. It is really as gorgeous and amazing as all of the hype!


I read and really enjoyed three middle grade titles:

Kepler’s Dream by Juliet Bell. I loved this book for many reasons: that it celebrates the love of books, that is has a well developed inter-generational relationship (grandmother and granddaughter) and that it explores themes of friendship, serious family illness, divorce and growing independence so well. Will recommend this title to previous students who love realistic fiction with strong characters.

kepler's dream

Olivia Bean Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart. My almost Grade 5 daughter and I both read this book this week and both of us really liked it. Such a fabulous book that looks at the friendship and family dynamics of a middle grade student. Olivia is a great character and I adored the little brother!

Because of Mr Terupt by Rob Buyea. Really well done novel told from seven different perspectives. Lots to think about as a teacher re the classroom community we build.


I am currently reading The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine.

Other Reading:

I read the third Binky book – Binky Under Pressure. These titles are so popular in my classroom and I am excited to add this one to the collection.

I also read Kylie Jean Spelling Queen This is part of a series about a little Texan girl who aspires to be a beauty queen (role models??) and has a dog named Ugly Brother (funny). Very accessible for those children just beginning chapter series.

Looking forward to another week of reading! Hurray for summer!

Kidsbooks sale – so some new books to our class!

Vancouver Kidsbooks just had its annual sale so a little book shopping was necessary!

Kate DiCamillo is a favourite author (Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux). Her beginning chapter book series (about  Mercy Watson, an adored pet pig) was an instant hit in our classroom.  So much so I had to choose numbers between 1 and 100 to pass out the first 3 books in the series to eager little hands during quiet reading this morning. And the books each have an understood “I’m next” list attached to them.

mercy watson

We also got the new Binky book by Ashley Spires! Binky the Space Cat has been a very popular book in our Graphics bin.

The newest Binky (Binky to the Rescue) flew off the new book ledge as well!

Happy reading everyone!