Wrapped up in shades of black and grey

It is November and that means it is Picture Book Month!

Here in B.C. we have been experiencing some dark, rainy days. Daylight savings means we just found an extra hour of light in the morning but our afternoons disappear into evening black far too soon. Yet darkness is not all about doom and gloom. It also means cozy, long stretches to read or bustle about inside. Darkness can pull us together for seasons of celebration and special events or provide us with solitude for introspection and calm. Bright is beautiful but so is dark. Whether we seek out the mystery and unexpected or the opportunity to settle into the quiet.

All of the dark has got me thinking about picture book covers. I started a list to see if I could come up with a number of titles that come specially wrapped in blacks and greys. My list ran off the page and I realized that many of my favourite books reside here. Is it just me or is there a certain elegance to these titles?

When you need a break from the bright, pick up one of these beautiful books.

25 titles to swoon over.

Wrapped up in Shades of Black and Grey There's a Book for That

Listed alphabetically by author.

Leo a Ghost Story written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Gleam and Glow written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Peter Sylvada

A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper

The Black Book of Colors written by Menana Cottin and illustrated by Rosana Faría

Nighttime Ninja written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young

Willaboughy and the Moon by Greg Foley

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

I Know a Bear by Mariana Ruiz Johnson

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

In the Tree House written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Our King has Horns! written by Richard Pevear and illustrated by Robert Rayevsky

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

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Swan written by Laurel Synder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien

Friends by Mies van Hout 

Happy by Mies van Hout

Surprise by Mies van Hout 

Ten Birds by Cybele Young

How I love sharing picture book lists during this month of picture book love!

Happy Picture Book Reading!

pb month logo

Monday, January 7th, 2013

It’s Monday!  What are you reading? 

orange pear spread

Join the #IMWAYR community participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme and share your reading from picture books to young adult novels.

Such a fantastic way to learn about “new to you” titles!

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I enjoyed a lot of picture books this week including some board books for the collection I am building for Wednesday buddy reading with the Kindergarten class.

Picture books I loved:

the bear in the book

The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. This book is so lovely. It’s a story within a story of sorts that captures the gentle quiet moments of bedtime story time between parent and child. As the mother and little boy settle into their bedtime routine, they read a story about little bear settling into his winter hibernation. Love how it portrays the intimacy of the mother/child interactions as they talk about the story, ask/answer questions, etc.

Duck Rabbit by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld Delightful!

DuckRabbit

 

Good News Bad News

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack Sparse in text but full of humour and lots of space to infer, discuss and wonder. A fantastic book to teach about perspective, optimism/pessimism and patience.

I cannot wait to share this with my class. I can imagine that it will be one of those stories where we can’t get through a page without everyone talking and then it will travel from book box to book box as it is read and reread.

Nighttime Ninja written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young Stunning illustrations by Young.

nighttime ninja

Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus I can see many thinking this book is either atrocious or hilarious. When animals keep stealing his teddy, this bear does the first thing he thinks of to do in his angst and frustration . . he gobbles them up. In the There was an Old Lady style of . . . wow, how can anything else fit in that tummy? Curious to see how children will respond. I have the feeling they will think it is very funny and it will certainly prompt many discussions about choices and managing our anger/frustration. A wordless book.

bear despair cover

Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc Fantastic for independent rereads or sharing during buddy reading. Silly, creative illustrations with lots of room for discussion/comments.

animal masquerade

Board Books I loved (and now own :-)):

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

orange pear

Thank you Bear by Greg Foley

thankyoubear

Nonfiction titles:

Who’s Like me? Nicola Davies Marc Boutavant

who's like me

Who Has these Feet?

Who_Has_These_Feet1

In other reading:

SmallDamages

I finished Small Damages by Beth Kephart and absolutley adored it. The perfect first novel to complete in 2013.

Lyrical. Everything mixes up – the past, the present, the longing, the worry and the beautiful Spanish landscape and food. Slow and full – like a beautiful, well spiced meal over a long night. What was particularly lovely in this book was the strength of character and the wisdom in the main character. I also loved Kenzie’s relationship with Estela, the house cook who taught her much more than delicious Spanish cooking. Looking forward to reading more titles by Kephart.

wonder 12 for 2012

I finished reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio to my own children. Must admit I enjoyed this novel just as much if not more on a second read – perhaps because I was sharing it with my own children who are ten years old – the same age as many characters in the book. I was surprised at how often my voice broke when I read this aloud especially since the plot was not a surprise. My son who is typically a “fantasy or not interested” reader loved this book. Hoping that this opens him up to more realistic fiction. My daughter who reads everything snatched the book away as soon as we were finished to go reread her favourite parts!  Such a beautiful story about the power of human spirit.

I am currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray and just started The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver as the new read aloud with my children.

Monday, November 26th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Join a fabulous group of readers who share their weekly reads from picture books to young adult novels by participating in Jen and Kellee’s meme. If you are looking for new book ideas, this is a fantastic place to start!

The reading and the blogging about my reading are guilty pleasures this week. I am supposed to be finishing report cards. The reports are coming along but the reading and celebrating cannot be sacrificed!

I read a lot of wonderful picture books this week. Most of them fit into one of two categories: sweet or humourous. And a few were neither or straddled both. This is how I categorized my top ten favourite picture books reads this week:

Picture books of the Sweet variety :

Spork written by Kyo Mclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault I am a big fan of Virginia Wolf written by this author/illustrator team but I had yet to read this earlier book. A lovely story about being meaningful when you are truly needed. Arsenault’s illustrations are as always, stunning.

Make a Wish Bear by Greg Foley Yes, this book does end on a kind of predictable note but all along the way it celebrates a bunch of “strategies” for making a wish come true. I am a sucker for wishing upon a star so I thought this book was pretty special.

Plantpet by Elise Primavera This book ranks up there as one of my all time favourite picture books. It was not a new read but an important “re-read”shared with my class. We savoured it and then we did some art (see below) to celebrate the wonder of Plantpet. I highlight how amazing this story is in this post. Plantpet enters Bertie’s life as a found little creature in a cage. When Plantpet’s digging seems to have no end, Bertie banishes him to a corner of the yard and soon finds himself all alone. When he recognizes how much he misses his friend, Bertie races to find him only to discover a withered little green being. The two revive their friendship in the most beautiful of ways.

Student art inspired by this story: Ode to Plantpet

Mine! written by Shutta Crum and illustrated by Patrice Barton This little book is almost wordless (so I am instantly a fan) . One word is used in a multitude of ways: “mine” Young siblings and a dog experience owning, sharing and exploring with some toys. A little love expressed happens along the way.

Books that tickle your Humour bones: 

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems This was a fantastic read aloud shared in my classroom this week. A twist on a classic tale that only Willems could deliver. My favourite comment from a student: “Why did the dinos want to eat Goldilocks so badly? I liked that Goldilocks.” This is a Goldilocks you really must meet.

Slightly Invisible by Lauren Child I really do like Lauren Child’s Charlie and Lola books. They are so much fun for children to read aloud to practice dialogue reading and expression and I love the sibling relationship: Lola’s spunk and Charlie’s patience. I particularly love Lola’s “imaginary” friend Soren Lorensen. So the fact that this character has a kind of key role in this story, makes me an instant fan.

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid I had seen this title on a number of blogs and booklists earlier this year and finally bought my own copy. This is certainly a book to own. Petunia wants a pet. A pet skunk. And when her parents cannot be convinced, my, oh, my does she react. Off she stomps to live in the woods where she happens to meet a real skunk. Let’s just say real life experience has a way of being a powerful teacher . . .

I’m Bored  written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi I’m Bored” – oh such tedious words that parents and teachers dread. This story’s power is in the hugely large display of “I will prove I am NOT boring” that the main character shows to us.

Kids are boring.” Those are fighting words!

In between:

Won Ton (A Cat Tale Told in Haiku) written by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by  Eugene Yelchin Such a cleverly told tale of a cat finding his way into the home and hearts of a family who adopts him. Funny moments of cat quirkiness alongside tender images of a cat and “his boy.”

Something else entirely and so worth a read: 

Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis Reminiscent of The Hundred Dresses this beautifully illustrated picture book’s power is in the questions it suggests: What does it mean to be kind? How do our actions impact others? What does it feel like to be left out and ignored? What happens when we run out of chances? Each kindness has a chance to matter if it is in fact offered. Powerful.

I also finally finished The Search for Wondla written and illustrated by Tony Diterlizzi as a read aloud with my children. We took quite a while to read this because we so frequently find picture books and non-fiction titles to share together. But every time we picked it up after a few nights off, we fell right back into this very unusual science fiction/fantasy title. Stunning artwork. Interesting story. Not necessarily the best book I’ve read in a while but certainly made for lots of great discussion with my children.

Upcoming book adventures?

I just started reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio to my own children! I loved this title when I read it and can’t wait to share it.

Last week I finished reading Clementine and the Family Meeting to my class and we just started Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. I hope it will be a favourite for my students as it was for me!

The novel I am reading for myself is What Came from the Stars by Gary D Shmidt. Very intriguing so far.

Monday October 29th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Join in with Kellee and Jen’s meme and share all the pages you have been turning in the past week in picture books through to young adult reads!

Fantastic Read alouds this week:

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino This is probably my favourite discovery of the week, I read this at our primary gathering to fifty plus little listeners and we were all delighted with it. The pictures are stunning and do things that illustrations typically don’t do like . . . suggest that they are leaving the Earth. Amazing. And fun to twist and turn the book around to see what is happening. Owl and Rabbit live next to each other atop a hill. Rabbit enjoys the sun to grow fresh vegetables. Owl likes the view to watch the forest. When rabbit’s vegetables begin to obstruct Owl’s view, their relationship gets inconsiderate and competitive as they race to build their houses ever taller than the other. Eventually they discover that when alone, they have nothing but together . . . Well read and find out but I bet you get the idea 🙂 Highly recommended!

The Runaway Pumpkin written by Kevin Lewis and illustrated by S.D. Schindler This was one of my leading up to Halloween reads. It isn’t new for me but I haven’t read it to a class for quite a few years. I love the rhythm of the story and can’t read it aloud without tapping my feet and getting very hungry for all of the imagined pumpkin treats that Granny might bake!

The Teeny Tiny Ghost written by Kay Winters and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger Another Halloween read with some great repetitive language for a “join in” feel to the read aloud. We also had an active discussion about whether it was possible for ghosts to really be scared. Since I don’t know any ghosts. . .

Little Beaver and the Big Front Tooth written by Sarah Fox and illustrated bySarah Fox-Davies The class really enjoyed this book read by our BLG reading volunteer this week. I will be sharing the student’s reactions on the blog this week. Poor little beaver has a loose tooth and begins to doubt he really is a beaver because isn’t it those big teeth that make a beaver a beaver? As he searches for his answer we meet many other forest animals. Adorable.

Other picture books I enjoyed this week:

Don’t Worry Bear by Greg Foley Bear worries as caterpillar builds a cocoon. He worries at night, in the wind, in the rain and when it snows. He especially worries when caterpillar seems to be gone. But a beautiful silk moth flutters by and lets Bear know that his friend is right there with him. Simple text and illustrations leave lots of room for questions and discussion.

The Butterfly House by Eve Bunting, illustrations by Greg Shed. I love the lyrical text and the glowing illustrations in this book. Most of all I love how it asks us to mix up science and what seems to be magic, to suspend our disbelief and trust that a butterflies’ migratory instinct might extend to an individual person. As I love to plant flowers in my garden that are supposed to attract butterflies, I am very intrigued by the suggestions in this story. Every time a monarch lands on a flower, I believe in magic and wonder and the beauty of nature. This book celebrates just that. Now I want my own copy!

And speaking of magic . . . 

I finished The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater This is definitely a young adult read. This book was so full of magic and mystery, I kind of believe that it conjured up a bad flu to send me to bed to make sure I would have hours to just read and fall into the world of prophecy, desperate searches for magic, a place of real and unreal and twists and turns every few pages. And the characters. . . Wow. So happy this is a trilogy so I don’t have to say goodbye to these characters yet. Adding myself to the impatient group waiting for Book 2.

Last night I started Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys So far? Unputdownable