Monday February 23rd, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This one was taken during a sharing time about what we noticed about the characters in the picture books we had been reading. I love the focus and the attention!

Monday February 22nd, 2015 #IMWAYR 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.


I am in the middle of report cards and was away for part of last week- hence, this post will be brief just sharing a few images of titles I read this week. I hope to have more to share next week when these reports are complete! My Saturday Celebration post highlights a little of my “busy” past week.

Something about a Bear by Jackie Morris

As always, the art . . . wow. Nonfiction title about various bears.

Something about a bear Monday February 22nd, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

In my Heart: A Book of Feelings written by Jo Witek and illustrated by Christine Roussey

The most special thing about this title? The cut out pages. Lovely exploration of feelings.

Monday February 22nd, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Perfect Man written by Troy Wilson and illustrated by Dean Griffiths 

All kinds of endearing.

Perfect Man Monday February 22nd, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

If: A Mind Bending Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers written by David J. Smith illustrated by Steve Adams

Some of these concepts will be beyond my students, some they will absolutely be able to grasp.

if . . . Monday February 22nd, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next? I continue to read The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds and then plan to start Arcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 8/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 66/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 5/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 5/50 books read

Monday December 8th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

My favourite reading photo of the week is another gem from buddy reading. I captured this little guy mid-point. I love how my students interact and have such fun with the K class. It is a highlight for all of us!

Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR 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.


Oh you should see my beautiful piles of books to read – they are spread out in multiple places around my house. I did dip my toe into reading some of them. But people in my house were sick and I wasn’t = lots more housework for me. Housework and soup making. People in my house needed to go to lots of dance rehearsals = less time for reading for me. It’s the way it goes! My reading plans are still all about meeting my goals for the year but the countdown to 2015 is certainly on . . .

I did manage to choose my must own/must share picture books for my Gift Books 2014 post. Check it out if you missed it and see if your favourites are there. Would love to hear which books would make your list if you would like to leave a comment. #Booklove shared is the very best kind!

Gift Books 2014

And I read some lovely books:

Haiti my country: Poems by Haitan Schoolchildren Illustrated by Rogé

This title is stunning. The portraits are incredible – full of joy, somber, movement and stories. And the poems . . . Written by Haitian teenagers – these poems celebrate nature. They touch all of your senses with the images of Haiti – pink flowers, ripe mango, dancing Haitian trees, humble little huts, a garden of gold . . . One of the New York Times Best Illustrated Books I had to purchase this title. I want to share it with my students and immerse them in the images these young poets create.

Haiti My Country Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade written by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson

I like how the power of observation and the eye for detail are honoured here. But not just of the external, extraneous details. Instead, details of our interactions and our intentions. One little girl misses nothing and reminds everyone about how we treat each other.

smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Are you a Ladybug? A Backyard Book by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries

I have many of these Backyard Book titles in my classroom collection and was happy to add this one. I posted about using these titles in my classroom here.

 Are you a Ladybug? Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I Loathe You by David Slonim

If you are a monster, you might express your deep feelings by substituting the word loathe for love. Fun to read aloud and giggle over. A perfect addition to my list of monster stories.

I loathe you Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lord of the Forest written by Caroline Pitcher and illustrated by Jackie Morris

Oh, trust me, this cover is a mere peek. Each illustration is absolutely this stunning throughout the entire book! Little tiger goes in search of the Lord of the Forest. When he is grown and has cubs of his own, the secret of who is Lord is revealed.

 Lord of the Forest Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Add me to the list of Albie fans. Being kind is still absolutely underrated which is ridiculous but true. Albie reminds us all of many things. Most of all – how very challenging it is to be true to yourself.

Absolutely Almost Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

This was a reread for me as I read it aloud to my children. Easily one of my favourite novels of all time. Both of my children loved it. Incredibly written. Doug Swieteck is our hero. If you have read this book, you are nodding your head. If you haven’t, go, find a copy and soon. Can’t recommend this book highly enough. Middle grade perfection.

Okay for Now Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

A novel in verse. Again, I will say, that novels with sparse words often haunt us with the most powerful images. This book made me very sad. Not quite ready to articulate the many reasons why. An important read.

 home of the Brave Monday December 8th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I have started I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. I am also still reading The Turtle of Oman: A Novel by Naomi Shihab Nye. With my children, I have begun Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 77/100 novels complete (yes, more than 20 to go! I have faith!)

Goodreads Challenge: 560/650 books read (48 books behind)

#MustReadin2014: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 128/65 complete

Monday February 24th, 2014

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

This week in my blogging world, I . . .

  • shared my ten favourite nonfiction picture book biographies featuring inspiring women for the #nf10for10 event. My post was called The Wonder of Women.  Check out all of the lists featured here.
  • celebrated my rich reading life for The Celebration Link Up hosted by Ruth Ayres

It is report card writing season so . . . I always feel like I don’t get the reading in that I want to 😦 But this week, I managed to read some wonderful picture books. Here are my favourites:

My Name is Blessing written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

This was quite the story – based on the author’s actual visit to Kenya in 2007 where he met the little boy this book is based upon. This little boy is raised by a Grandmother raising many of her grandchildren who are now orphans. They have little food and lack adequate shelter and sleeping space. Muthini (Grandmother) must make the best decision for her grandchild. This is the story of what this means for a special little boy eventually called Blessing.

My Name is Blessing #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What’s Your Favourite Animal? by Eric Carle and Friends

I was on the lookout for this title and when my Teacher Librarian and I went book shopping on Friday, it didn’t take much (she was as enchanted as I was!) to convince her we needed this title for our collection. In fact, I think every library must have this title! It celebrates art and illustration, story telling and the unique tastes and favourites of beloved picture book illustrators. Automatically, one is tempted to answer two questions. What’s my favourite animal? and Which favourite do I like best from this book? I am sure that my answers will change often but in this moment I am going with: The owl as my favourite (wise, secretive and majestic) and my favourite here? I’m with Jon Klassen, ducks.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Snow Leopard by Jackie Morris

How to describe this title? It is lyrical and full of myth, magic and enchantment. A story of a Guardian spirit who must pass into another world (the star filled sky) and so teaches a new Guardian to lead and watch – this one a child who takes the form of the beautiful and elusive snow leopard.

The Snow Leopard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bird Child written by Nan Forler and illustrated by Francois Thisdale

This isn’t a new read for me but I it feels fresh anytime I read it with a new group of children and it has been much on mind this week after sharing it with this current group. So I am sharing it here. This is one of the best books to illustrate the power of the bystander to stand up and not stand by. My students were so sympathetic to the character of Lainey who had been bullied.

“Maybe those bullies buried her smile when they buried her hat in the snow.”

“Those bullies undug the sadness in her.”

When Eliza stands up to the children who are bullying Lainey and others follow her lead, it is so powerful.

“One girl did it!”

“She is a leader and others are doing the right thing now too!”

Bird Child #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Quayside Cat written by Toby Forward and illustrated by Ruth Brown

This was our BLG book this week. I shared student reviews on my class blog. We loved getting lost in the illustrations that made us feel as if we were rolling about on the high seas. One cat with “sea legs” so to speak, leads another cat on an ocean adventure.

The Quayside Cat #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Coral Reefs by Jason Chin

Nobody depicts getting lost in a book quite like Jason Chin. But lost in a book means lost in a completely different world – in this case the magical world of coral reefs. Simply gorgeous. Worth reading and rereading to examine all of the clever details from beginning to end when our little reef explorer passes this book onto new readers and stands to watch – drip, drip, drip . . . My son was fascinated with locating the underwater creatures he had seen while snorkeling this past summer.

Coral Reefs #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter

Both Margie Myers-Culver and Linda Baie have raved about this book and for very good reason! Another title I would love to own and keep in my picture book biography collection. This book focuses on the time in Matisse’s life when he was too ill to paint and draw and discovered a new way of making art through paper cut outs. Beautifully told.

Henri's Scissors #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished one novel – Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur

This was a #Mustreadin2014 title for me. My daughter is a huge fan of LaFleur and I was lucky enough to win a copy of this title in a Goodreads giveaway – Suzanne signed the book to my daughter and I gave it to her at Christmas. She carried it with her on every holiday visit to show people and then finally sat down to read it. I “borrowed” it from its special place on her bookshelf. This is an ideal MG title – perfect for readers 10 and up who are beginning to be more independent in the social world but still remain very connected to family and home. There is plenty of introspection and soul searching in this book as we get to know Siena. But there is a whole lot more: ghosts, spirits, visions and mystery. Yet everything is very grounded in the story of a young girl growing up and searching for answers for herself and her family – from the typical questions of this age (Do people think I am strange?) to more complicated questions like why does three year old Lucca refuse to speak? I read this mostly in one early morning read and it was wonderful to be carried away to Maine beaches, old houses and the warmth of family connection.

Listening for Lucca  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next? I’m going to continue on with the theme of ghosts and channeling spirits and have begun Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy. My children and I are reading two nonfiction picture books and started The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen earlier in the week. How impatiently we had been waiting for this title!

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 12/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 108/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 7/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 36/65 complete

What are you reading? Wishing everyone some time to get lost in a book!

The Ice Bear

This past week, Bill read us The Ice Bear by Jackie Morris. The illustrations in this book beg to be looked at over and over. Absolutely gorgeous! When Bill showed the first picture there was a collective “Whoa!’ and Hajhare exclaimed, “Now that’s what you call Art!”

This book begins with a mother polar bear and her two cubs. They snuggle close to keep out the icy cold. Then trickster raven steals one cub and leaves him in a bundle of white fur for a hunter to find. When the hunter unwraps the bundle, he and his wife discover a baby boy. They were a childless couple who had longed for a baby and they treasured this child, a gift found in the snow. Raven always kept a close watch from above. At the end of the boy’s seventh year, he was lured away from home by a trail of shining amber in the snow. He thought the amber pieces were fallen stars and followed them until he was lost and alone. He was discovered by a group of polar bears who carried him to the mother bear who had once lost a cub. This boy was her stolen son. The curious idea of the boy/bear appealed to the students and they were hard pressed to think of where this boy should truly belong. A loved little boy with his heart pulled in two directions. In the end, he makes a decision that seems exactly right. Jackie Morris pulled us into this magical Arctic world – what a beautiful journey.

Student reviewers report:

Annie: It was sad when the baby bear got caught by the raven.

Hajhare: I like this book because it is interesting. This book is great! I like it because it is one of those books that are fantasy. I like fantasy books because they always have beautiful pictures.

Josiah: I liked this book and it was kind of an Aboriginal story. It was cool how the polar bear turned to a boy.

Scott: I have a question. How did the bear turn to a human? This book is the best. I love the drawings.