Monday March 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. As we were off this past few weeks, I have a photo of a bookstore visit to the incredible Munro’s Books  in Victoria B.C. Here is part of the picture book display.

Monday March 27th, 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

With Spring Break and being away for a few days I missed last week’s IMWAYR so this post captures 2 weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Continued Slice of Life posts mean daily posting:

Missing Primary: Slice of Life #26 I love Grade 4 and 5 but I miss the little ones

Shopping: Slice of Life #25 I am not a good shopper

So far: Slice of Life #24 So far from a year ago

Rain: Slice of Life #23 Caught in a deluge

Quiet Things: Slice of Life #22 The quiet things I love

Chapter book Challenges: Slice of Life #21 How we support students moving into chapter books

Writing cheats: Slice of Life #20 Words still eluding me

Missing words: Slice of Life #19 Writing steals my reading time

Simply easier: Slice of Life #18 Preparing to write about teaching before? Maybe soon

Slightly Awkward: Slice of Life #17 Thinking about the work that change in our practice involves

Mud: Slice of Life #16 Nothing to write about

For nonfiction Wednesday, Nic Bishop’s newest: Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Penguin Day – A Family Story

Capturing play: Slice of Life #15 The importance of play

Sometimes Guilt: Slice of Life #14 Sometimes, thinking back to leaving my previous school  brings guilt.

The little girl I should have taught: Slice of Life #13 Thinking about a child who should have been in my class

Books I enjoyed:

Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Love the way these two partner up to make us smile and wonder and shake our heads. Little bits of sneaky. Lots of funny. And always, the stunning artwork from Klassen.

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Oh this book. Visually it is absolutely stunning. If this doesn’t make you want to wander through the woods and use every sense . . .

Shy by Deborah Freedman

Underneath a very sweet story is permission to be just who you are.

Rain by Sam Usher

Gorgeous rain. The pages seem slightly drowned. The images feel like they are full of puddles. And a lovely little story about a boy and his Grandpa.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

More than an “I want a pet” story. This is “I want a unicorn story” With big expectations come big disappointments. And then, big love.

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

Not really about Mars. More about set up and surprises and wanting something to be so. Really liked this one.

Dear Dragon written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Charming and full of all kinds of classroom possibilities. Writing to a pen pal becomes even more exciting when you begin to share more and more about yourself. What happens when the chance to meet in “person” happens? Told in rhyming letters, there is a lot to this little picture book.

Egg by Kevin Henkes

I have a thing about picture books where the egg plays a starring role. This one is especially wonderful.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins 

For years, I have made it clear that I do not like squirrels. At all. They steal my daffodil bulbs. They have tried to burrow into my house. They make feeding birds a battle. So, I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about a title devoted to these creatures. Must admit, I kind of loved it and I learned a lot. But, I still do not like squirrels.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong

This is a must experience it yourself nonfiction title. Really incredible illustrations. Would be a beautiful addition to any school or classroom library.

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

I have been putting off reading the final Clementine title because I didn’t want to say goodbye. We found Clementine as an audio book years ago when my children were smaller and went on to read all of the titles. In fact, I have read all but 2 titles aloud to my children. At 14, they weren’t going to sit through this one but I am excited to share it with students who I know have been Clementine fans.

Feathers  by Jacqueline Woodson 

A story of hope.Of family. Of observations. What a lovely read.

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart 

Dramatic and hard to put down. There were parts of this story I found absolutely creepy. Kids who love action driven books will love this story. I am a big fan of Gemeinhart. This is not my favourite of his three so far published titles. But definitely an action packed read.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together. This is what I loved about Counting by 7s – the diversity of characters who were in each other’s lives. In Short, it is all about friendships between generations. It’s also about a play and all of the wonderful behind the scenes preparations. I fell in love with the characters here. A must read middle grade novel!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 94/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 8/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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 🙂

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.

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

I am celebrating the characters in middle grade and young adult novels who make strong impressions. When you read a lot of novels, there is the wonderful opportunity to “meet” many incredible characters. First, it was these 25 boys that I wanted to highlight. Now, it’s time for the girls!

These are the female characters who have stayed with me. I sometimes worry about them. I stop and remember their actions. The big and bold things and the quietly brave. I admire their choices, the way they move on from mistakes, their soul searching. I honour these 25 girls who live beyond the pages of the books they live in.

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Sophie in Endangered written by Eliot Schrefer

Endangered In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Francesca Schnell in The Summer of Letting Go written by Gae Polisner

The Summer of Letting Go In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Flora Belle Buckman in Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate DiCamillo

flora and ulysses In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Marlee in The Lions of Little Rock written by Kristin Levine

lions-of-little-rock  In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Jewel in Bird written by Crystal Chan

Bird In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Comfort Snowberger in Each Little Bird That Sings written by Deborah Wiles

each little bird In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Fern in See you at Harry’s written by Jo Knowles

 see You at Harry's In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Vera in Please Ignore Vera Dietz written by A.S. King

Please Ignore Vera Dietz In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Georgie Burkhardt in One Came Home written by Amy Timberlake

one came home In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

May in May B. written by Caroline Starr Rose

May-B In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Hattie Brooks in Hattie Big Sky written by Kirby Larson

hattie-big-sky In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Calpurnia Virginia Tate in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate written by Jacqueline Kelly

Evolution-of-Calpurnia-Tate In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucy in Half a Chance written by Cynthia Lord

Half a Chance In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Josie in Out of the Easy written by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Stargirl Caraway in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

stargirl In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Gloriana (Glory) June Hemphill in Glory Be written by Augusta Scattergood

Glory Be In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Gabi Hernandez in Gabi, A Girl in Pieces written by Isabel Quintero

Gabi A girl in pieces In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Turtle in Turtle in Paradise written by Jennifer L. Holm 

 Turtle in Paradise In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Liesel Meminger in The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak

book thief In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Georgina Hayes in How to Steal a Dog written by Barbara O’Connor

 how to Steal a Dog In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Hayley Kincain in The Impossible Knife of Memory written by Laurie Halse Anderson

impossible knife In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Rose in Rain Reign written by Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Carley Connors in One for the Murphys written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

OnefortheMurphys In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Piddy Sanchez in Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass written by Meg Medina

yaqui In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Willow Chance in  Counting by 7s written by Holly Goldberg Sloan

counting by 7s In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

Favourites of 2013

So excited to share my favourites of 2013! I had a wonderful year of reading – thanks to the amazing authors and illustrators out there that enrich our lives in so many ways.

The best of the best (published in 2013) for me?

13 favourites and no more than 13 words of raving about each title. This was my challenge last year (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. This year I get one more book and one more word to play with!

I decided to split these titles into 4 categories of what I read most of – middle grade novels, young adult novels, picture books and nonfiction picture books. 4 x 3 titles each and one bonus book = 13 titles for 2013 🙂

Middle Grade Titles:

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Brilliant, unique characters who teach us what it means to have “people”

Counting by 7s Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Inclusion. Bullies. Women’s rights. Orphans. Magic. Love where it’s needed.

Beholding Bee Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

High drama, adventure and intrigue led by Jaron: loyal, brave and charmingly plucky.

The Runaway King Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Young Adult Titles:

Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

Teenage vulnerability and humility. Best kind of uncle. Two well written male characters.

Living with Jackie Chan Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Because teenage love stories don’t often look like this. Gets you but good.

Eleanor and Park Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Intrigue, mystery, twists, upsets, revelations. Oh these Aglionby boys. And Blue . . .

The Dream Thieves Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Picture Books (fiction):

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

Because we all need reminders to stop and honour the magic all around us.

The Man with the Violin Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Mighty Lalouche written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

The joy and humour of boxing adventures and the triumph of the underdog.

The Mighty Lalouche Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Wild Thing! I think we love you. Just divine. Swoon.

Mr Tiger goes Wild Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Picture Books (nonfiction):

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Mathtastic magic that inspires little thinkers. The wonders of number devotion.

 The Boy who Loved Math Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Wonder, curiosity and thinking outside of the box. Accessible Einstein!

 On a Beam of Light Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Math is all around us. Gorgeous illustrations. Fascinating animal facts.

Lifetime Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

And one more – published in North America in 2013. And in Australia in 2012.

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

Pancakes. Jacques Cousteau. Jazz tunes. New York City. Someone who gets you.

Herman and Rosie Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . . 

Monday November 4th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

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! Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read!

A book filled week to be certain! Some of it was spent reading books. Much of it was reading books to my students. And laughing and wondering and being in awe. Shared a lot of our reading week on our new classroom blog in a new feature called That’s a Wrap!.

Here are my favourite picture books of the week:

Anna May’s Cloak written by Christiane Cicioli and illustrated by Susan Pearson

Isn’t this cover absolutely divine? This is a beautifully illustrated book that spans generations and weaves the importance of a blue cloak into the love of a family. Reminiscent of Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman.

Anna May's Cloak #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Flood by Alvaro F. Villa 

A powerful wordless title that looks at how nature can change everything for a family when a storm causes floodwaters to threaten the safety of their home. Powerful images of worry, upset and hope.

Flood #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Chu’s Day written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex

I always appreciate Adam Rex’s illustrations always but these are particularly adorable. A simple and exaggerated story line of a powerful little sneezer. I found this charming as I once taught a student who sneezed (always in threes) so loudly that he could be heard in every classroom on the same floor. A sneeze can be quite the thing!

Chu's day #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 

This week some of my curious little students went exploring the Halloween display across the hall. The scattered candy proved too tempting and there was a little bit of tasting. Then there were rumours of the dangers of this oldish candy and oh, my, oh my! The anxiety set in and turned, for some, to full blown panic. We all calmed down, learned a lesson hopefully to not sample candy in a display but wow, did it prove that the worry of consuming something that maybe should not be consumed is a powerful stressor! This is the theme of this delightful little picture book told through sweet illustrations all pink, green and black and much humour. What happens when you swallow a seed? Will you end up as fruit salad? Sprouting vines?

Read and find out just what happens to this voracious watermelon muncher.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I know, I know. Everyone has read this book. And I just finally did. It wasn’t for lack of awareness! It just hadn’t happened. Love Jeffers. Love the voices. Fun all around. Mostly what I love is watching students sit and share this book together. One day last week, two girls chose reading this book (taking turns as different crayons) to a classroom volunteer over play time during choices. I think they might have had the most fun in the room!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

Gorgeously illustrated, this book conveys so much about the importance of sunlight and green plants to our life and survival. Nicely accessible for kids with lots of relevant and additional information in the back.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems

A purely whimsical celebration of pretend like only Elephant and Piggie can do it!

I'm a Frog #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading:

Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea (#7) written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Ivy + Bean titles are big in my classroom this year! I have a few girls who have made it a goal to read every title in the series! I must admit to being pretty partial to these energetic and interesting friends myself. This book explored the idea of saving the planet. What could two girls do that would make a difference? Turns out that after some very outlandish ideas like throwing ice cubes into the air to slow down global warming, Ivy and Bean happen upon an idea that might make a big difference in a small moment for the very people who might need it most.

What's the big idea? #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I’m going to start by saying that I think I might just have met some characters that could be the most memorable characters I have met in some time. I would like to have weekly check in sessions with them or at least regular emails/updates. These were characters that you would never put together but yet they turned out to be the perfect fit. Willow Chance inspired me to think about what it is to have “people” in your corner. She reminded me that growing anything in a garden has all kind of magic wrapped up within it. She also made me a little anxious about many things that she knew mostly everything about: the importance of staying hydrated, how essential regular flossing is and why we shouldn’t ignore any strange skin conditions. Willow Chance: brilliant, quirky, vulnerable and not nearly as enigmatic as she first appears. If you have read this title, I’m betting on the fact that you loved it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Counting by 7s #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am beginning the only title by Jo Knowles that I have yet to read! Living with Jackie Chan. I read Jumping off Swings earlier this year and have been eagerly anticipating this title! Knowles is one of my absolute favourite authors so I know I have many happy reading moments ahead.

My students and I are absolutely adoring The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor. Whoa can this lady pull kids in and quick? My students beg me to read more of this novel multiple times a day!