Monday August 7th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.

This week, I would like to instead share an article. I had the honour of sharing a student’s story –  first with author/illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo and then with writer Alexandra Alter about Suzanne’s incredible book My Beautiful Birds. Alexandra included this story in her New York Times article

Children’s Authors Take on the Refugee Crisis

It was an unforgettable experience to organize a Skype with Alexandra and Nour and listen as Nour told her story. It will be something that I think about forever – the resilience and hope and love in this young girl’s voice as she talked about everything that she’s lost and found.

I am sharing this here with the #IMWAYR community because I know all of you know the power of books to change lives. This book told Nour’s story and gave her truth voice and audience. So powerful.

If you haven’t yet read this book – buy it! It’s a must have for our school and classroom libraries.

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.

On the blog:

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 2: Weed

This is the second in a series of posts about working in the classroom library over the summer break.

Books I enjoyed:

I had a bookstore visit and read a lot of picture books and nonfiction titles this week. Some even followed me home. Surprise, surprise!

Some of my favourites:

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

This title is an incredible celebration of looking at “mistakes” as opportunities instead of something purely negative and wrong. A creative and inspiring journey. Such an important title to share in our classrooms.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist written by Jess Keating and illustrated my Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Eugenie Clark is some kind of incredible! A scientist. A risk taker. A creative thinker that allowed the world to look at sharks through a different lens. Jess Keating shares Eugenie’s story to honour and celebrate curiosity and perseverance. Lots of additional information in the back pages including a detailed time line of Clark’s life and accomplishments. Gorgeous end pages too!

Teacup written by Rebecca Young and illustrated by Matt Ottley

This is a somewhat haunting and extremely beautiful story about a boy who must leave his homeland in a boat clutching a teacup full of soil The ocean journey brings peace, drama and unexpected surprises as he sails in search of a new home.

Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead 

Gentle and sweet. A book about compassion and care.

Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

A lovely little wordless title with lots of room for talk and questions. What is community? Who should we care about? What matters?

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

A completely endearing title about one little boy’s route to being brave. Loved.

A Squiggly Story written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Mike Lowery

Perfect for writer’s workshop. Clearly sends the message that all writing is story telling – marks on the page, drawings, words (regardless of spelling). I I were a K or Grade 1 teacher, I would be snapping this one up. As a Grade 3 teacher, I am also pretty tempted.

Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler

Power plays on the playground have lots of dynamics. Creatively explored in this little gem.

This Beautiful Day written by Richard Jackson with illustrations by Suzy Lee

This beautiful book. Wow is Suzy Lee talented! A celebration of rainy days and optimistic attitudes. Lovely all around.

If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel by Elise Gravel

So I am calling this a favourite, fought over classroom book for 2017/2018. And I KNOW I am going to be right. This book will be inspiring some funky sketchbooks in my students’ futures. Again, guaranteed.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

So I kind of love everything about Clayton Byrd. And Williams-Garcia, whoa, can this woman write! A must read middle grade title.

Alvin Ho (Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things) by Lenore Look with illustrations by LeUyen Pham

I was pretty thrilled to find this title as I think it will be my first classroom read aloud in the fall. A lot of things in the world frighten and overwhelm Alvin including speaking out loud at school. So wonderfully portrayed in a humorous, relatable way by Look. I am buying the series!

Patina by Jason Reynolds

I share all of my book love for this title (released later this month) here.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 43/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 185/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 32 books behind schedule (ten better than last week!)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 25/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

Patina

I must admit that I am now somewhat fearful when I pick up a new Jason Reynolds novel. Mostly, the anticipatory joy takes over. But there is a little piece of worry. Everything he writes is just beyond beyond. What if this book isn’t?

Hah! It doesn’t ever happen. A few chapters in and the inkling of worry disappears and I begin to sail through his beautiful story. Gathering up characters to love. Rereading particular passages. Settling down into a time and place that he creates.

Patina, follows Ghost as the second title in ReynoldsTrack series.

From Goodreads:

Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this?

Patina By Jason Reynolds There's a Book for That

My thoughts:

You can lose a lot of things: luck, people, races, the social game of school. But these losses are temporary unless you let them take you down. At the same time, when you keep going – one powerful step in front of the other – you are collecting wins. Some days, you can look around and notice them all. Different things than what you lost. Maybe, somehow, more.

Patina is a story of survival. Of keeping on. Family. Connections. Amassing it all around you. Red beads in a multitude of braids. Finger nails painted in a hero’s style. The security in same old, same old turkey wings. Daily car rides filled with chitter chatter. Sunday visits.

Patina is a sister. A daughter. A niece. A teammate. A runner. A fast one. Sometimes, it seems that the races speed her away from everything. But each painful and powerful step counts. Each one gets her there.

When you are running for two people, it’s not about stamping out the rage. It’s about racing for the love.

Resilience. Community. Family. Strength. Power.

This book delivers.

Thank you to Jacquelynne from Simon and Schuster Canada for the review copy.

Releases August 29th, 2017

 

Favourites of 2016

Which books stand out from a year of reading? It’s a difficult list to make. The turmoil is sweet though as I get to revisit favourite books and the memories I have attached to them. I made this list quickly this year. No second guessing. Quick and determined. These books are especially wonderful from the list of many that I loved this year.

The 16 books that made the final cut? They showcased beautiful words and imagery. I got lost in the sounds, in the text, in the beauty of the language and in the wonder of the illustrations. These titles also spoke to my heart. All of the emotions are here. Especially hope. Hope feels particularly important this year.

16 books and no more than 16 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2015 (15 books, 15 words) In 2014, it was Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words) In 2013, it was Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

 Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

This year I chose 8 picture books and 8 novels. (Nonfiction favourites will be in another post)

First the picture books!

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

A sweet, colourful adventure that allows us to talk about loss in a gentle, imaginative way.

Grandad's Island Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Full of love. This book honours relationships and reveals all of the emotions in letting go.

Ida, Always  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell with illustrations by Rafael López

Art can change a neighbourhood and pull together community in some beautiful ways.

Maybe Something Beautiful  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

What is poetry? Open your eyes to the world and you will find it.

Daniel Finds a Poem  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato

Love is love. Love is love. Love is love.

Worm Loves Worm  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Poetry that lets us meander across the page picking words and images to celebrate. Perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo

The search for silence. Be in awe of the calm and simplicity.

The Sound of Silence  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

 Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

Follow a little penguin through a largely pessimistic day. Then some perspective happens (mostly) . . .

 A Penguin Problem  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

These novels completely absorbed me.

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

A lone bee buzzing in your ear. A story wrapped up in history and magic. Believe.

hour of the Bees  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

A title that celebrates family, community, resilience and strength of character. And one very amazing boy.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Captivating. Root for a kid that has much against him and can run like the wind.

ghost  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Hope wins. An emotional story of a family coping with cancer treatment and holding it together.

Counting Thyme  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

A 9/11 story. In the midst of loss, shock and pain is connection, hope and love.

 The Memory of Things  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

When Friendship Followed me Home by Paul Griffin

There will be tears. Sadness. Bits of your heart will break. Worth it. So worth it.

when-friendship-followed-me-home  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Full of adventure, wartime atrocities, human kindness and connection. Incredible historical fiction.

Salt to the sea  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Beautiful, emotional and raw. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Pax  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2017 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

Monday October 31st, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week I snapped a photo of brothers visiting my room in the morning before school and reading together. It doesn’t get much cuter than this.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. What theme do you see in these titles?

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

And these? Just in time for Halloween! (Sorry for the blurry image) #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I actually blogged this week! Sharing celebrations of my growing learning community here.

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

Books I enjoyed:

Dreams of Freedom in Words and Pictures by Amnesty International

I love the possibilities this book offers us in our potential conversations about human rights and freedom. Beautiful, beautiful illustrations.

dreams-of-freedom

Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer with illustrations by Frann Preston-Ganon

An acorn is the beginning. A story of the Earth, environment, nature and the possibility of a tree. Such beautiful art.

because-of-an-acorn

The Water Princess by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

This might be my favourite title by this author/illustrator pairing. I wish it had existed when I was studying water and access to water with my class last year as it would have been a wonderful complement to the titles I shared with the students. The illustrations here are incredible.

the-water-princess

The Storyteller by Evan Turk

Speaking of incredible illustrations – I don’t even have words. This will be part of my #MockCaldecott2017 list for sure. I am in absolute awe. Storytelling is the theme – told through stunning art, a visual journey and a tale that weaves into another tale into another . . .

the-storyteller-by-evan-turk

 The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson

A fun early graphic series. These little school pets have some big personalities.

the-great-pet-escape

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Impossible to put down. Impossible to not bemoan that the next title is not yet published. Impossible to not visit a myriad of emotions on every page. Absolutely one of my favourite middle grade titles of the year. Everything from Jason Reynolds is 5 glowing stars.

ghost

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

This was gifted to me by my mother in law and I was waiting for the right mood to hit so I could sit and savour this little book. For those that love nature, who believe in the power of deep thought and introspection, who realize that life and health is some kind of miracle, this book is a must read. A rare adult read for me. So very special.

the-sound-of-a-wild-snail-eating

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 48/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 283/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 22/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 37/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 33/50 books read

I am currently almost finished Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

 

Monday August 8th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. During the summer, these photos will be about getting my classroom library up and running for a room full of readers in September. Moving spaces and grade levels and sourcing bookshelves has been a lot of work!

So basically going from this (the classroom collection of books sat in these boxes until the floors were done and I could completely unpack).

Monday August 8th, 2016 There's a Book for That

To the beginning of unpacking and organizing . . .

Monday August 8th, 2016 There's a Book for That

One shelf all ready for books – this will be where nonfiction titles end up.

Monday August 8th, 2016 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

On the Blog:

For Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Titles I would buy right this second

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Cloth Lullaby

Books I enjoyed:

Return by Aaron Becker

This trilogy is very special. I love each book for particular reasons. This title must be experienced so that you can see how it continues the stories started in the first two titles. I think this cover image is my favourite of the three.

Return

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

This has a Blueberries for Sal vibe to it. Since that was my favourite book from my childhood, I will say I loved many elements in this title!

Explorers of the Wild

 The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora

Non-book-appreciating monsters do not make for a peaceful reading environment. Let’s just say that all works out in the end and that there is a lot of book love in this book!

The Not So Quiet Library

Tidy by Emily Gravett

Now, I must admit, I do appreciated tidy and neat environments. But, I can also be productive with mess all around me. This title shows us what happens when we want the wrong locations to be too neat and clean.

Tidy

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

When a little one hates reading because reading does not come easily . . . When there is an opportunity to read aloud to a dog . . . Lots can shift with the right opportunities.

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton

This book is absolutely delightful. Since actual letters and personal mail is quite the novelty in this day and age, surprises arriving by post really are special. Maybe too much so . . .

It Came in the Mail

The Toad by Elise Gravel

The seventh in the Disgusting Critters collection – I was thrilled to find this at the bookstore the other day!

The Toad by Elise Gravel

Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets! by Kate Messner

I think I might like this Marty McGuire title best of all. Marty is so earnest and often has the worst luck but I sure appreciate her spirit. A wonderful series of early middle grade novels.

Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!2

Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

I featured this title for nonfiction Wednesday – see the link above. Just stunning.

Cloth Lullaby

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda  by Tom Angleberger  

Okay, yes, it’s true. I had never read this book. I own two copies. My children have read this book. But me, nope! And then I picked it up and didn’t put it down. I have a class of grade 4/5s this fall and want to make sure I am up to date on many middle grade titles. This is middle grade perfection.

Strange Case

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds 

Jason Reynolds writes incredible characters. Unforgettable believable characters. In this middle grade title, he delivers characters and relationships in a rich, quietly humorous story full of questions, wisdom and love.

As Brave as You

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 31/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 213/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 31/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am reading a number of titles including Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Must Read in 2016 Spring update

It’s time for our first #MustReadin2016 update! How are you doing with your list? Making progress? Only read a few? Enjoying other titles? Please share!

MustReadin2016challenge

This is my list of 30 titles and my thinking back in January:

“My goal is to try and get to most of these. Including them here guarantees they remain on my radar because as I made this list, I had very good reason for placing them on it. If the reasons remain, the book will be read. That’s usually how it works.”

#MustReadin2016

I seem to be on a reading roll with this list so the reasons must have been excellent! I have read 12 titles so far, which is 40% of my list 4 months into the year. And . . . I am in the middle of 2 more of these books.

Titles I finished (listed in the order I read them):

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm 

Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo 

More Happy Than Not by  Adam Silvera

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Stand Off by Andrew Smith

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Paper Hearts by Meg Wivott   

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

I gave each of these titles a 4 or 5 stars and at this point, I can’t really pick a favourite. All of them are well worth reading. If I had to select a few to do a little extra raving about, it would be these titles:

Stand Off by Andrew Smith (YA)

The main character in this novel (sequel to Winger) is a character everyone needs to meet. I will always have such a soft spot in my heart for Ryan Dean West. Start with Winger if you haven’t read it!

Stand Off (Winger #2)

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (MG)

This really was some kind of courage depicted in this title. Full of adventure and still incredibly character driven. An excellent middle grade novel – wonderful as a read alone or a read aloud.

Some Kind of Courage

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart 9YA)

I adore Beth Kephart‘s writing. I truly get lost in her words and images and begin to view the world differently. More beautifully. If you have yet to read a Kephart novel, this is a lovely read.

This is the Story of You Beth Kephart

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (YA)

I read this aloud to my family (2 thirteen year olds and my husband). We all were hooked very quickly. I wept reading the final pages. A MUST for high school libraries.

All American Boys

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2016 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2016 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2016 bloggers/readers and get inspired! And of course, everyone loves comments to know that you have visited!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2016? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists.

Next update will be on September 1st 2016!

HAPPY READING

 

Monday March 28th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. I haven’t been teaching for the past two weeks (Spring Break) so I don’t have any reading photos from my classroom. Instead, I will share a view I had on holiday for a week. This was what I looked at when I sat in my reading and writing place. This is early morning after a night of rain.

Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

As we were away last week, I didn’t share a #IMWAYR post so this post includes 2 weeks of reading. Lots of novels!

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

On the blog:

I have written everyday for the Slice of Life challenge. All of these posts can be found here.

If you missed it, I celebrated our week long author/illustrator study of Melissa Sweet here: Riding Through an Artist’s Life

Books I enjoyed:

The Dead Bird written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Christian Robinson

This is the newly illustrated (2016) edition of Brown‘s 1938 title. I think it is beautiful. Perfectly captures children’s fascination with death and their gentle care. I purchased this one for my collection of books on death and grief.

The Dead Bird Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Spare Dog Parts written by Alison Hughes and illustrated by Ashley Spires

A little girl imagines how her dog must have come to be. Lots of charming in Spires’ illustrations.

Spare Dog Parts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

I shared lesson ideas for this title in my #nfpb2016 post this week. A must own.

 Pink is for Blobfish Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

The Princess in Black and the Angry Bunny Horde (Princess in Black #3) written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Seriously this is wacky. Purple bunnies that can destroy a landscape or worse in mere moments, on masse. But the best kind of wacky! Love this series for young readers!

Princess in Black #3 Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This would make the ideal middle grade read aloud or book club selection- truly something for everyone! One of the first books of 2016, I won’t stop talking about!

 

Some Kind of Courage Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Stand Off  (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West continues to be one of my all time favourite characters. The characters in this book . . . Just fantastic.

Stand Off (Winger #2) Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

 All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I read this aloud to my family – my 13 year old twins and my husband. Such a powerful story to share. We had moments of silence. On a few pages, I wept. It prompted many conversations. Incredible read.

All American Boys Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead 

This may be one of the all time most wise and wonderful book about preteen/young teen relationships ever. Friendships, choices, worries, decisions, forgiveness, care . . . Stead is an incredible writer.

Goodbye Stranger Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Paper Hearts  Meg Wivott   

A novel in verse based on the true story of a group of young women who were forced to work at the munitions factory in Auschwitz while they were imprisoned in the camps. A story of incredible courage, friendship and survival. I couldn’t put it down.

Paper-Hearts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

Someone passed an ARC on to me and I opened the book and never looked up. I love Kephart’s writing more with each book. Reading her words is like being immersed in something beautiful. Everywhere you look is an image you want to hold on to and savour. Released in April 2016. Highly recommended.

This is the Story of You Beth Kephart Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 14/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 84/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 15/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 9/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys Our family read aloud is Pax by Sara Pennypacker