Monday December 22nd, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

My favourite reading photo of the week is this picture of two girls buddy reading together at the carpet. I loved watching them take turns reading pages and making predictions about the story.

Monday December 22nd, 2014 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.


Warning: This post contains a lot of picture books! I tried to only feature my favourites of the week. I had a lot of favourites! I will try to be very brief in my commentary.

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

Picture book perfection. LOVE this title and everything it says about home and family.

Nana in the City Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Blizzard by John Rocco

A title full of different things for different readers – nostalgia for a different, simpler time, adventure imagined, celebration of family and neighbourhood and just plain wow of winter and weather. Rocco is fast becoming one of my very favourite book creators.

Blizzard Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Lion vs Rabbit by Alex Latimer

Just saying, this is one clever rabbit. And he is more than he seems. Lots of layers to this story.

Lion vs Rabbit Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Songs of the Water Boatman written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange

Come to the pond and experience it like you have never imagined through vivid images, fascinating facts and gorgeous illustrations.

Songs of the Water Boatman Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Illustrations to get lost in, absolutely stunning. Fascinating to have a glimpse into the thinking and passions of Roget. Inspires list making of many kinds. Looking forward to sharing this with my students.

The Right Word Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The next four picture books were donated to Seymour School by author Hiromi Goto – I was able to take them home to read before they become part of our collection in January. Thank you Hiromi!

Wow Wow and Haw Haw George written by George Murray and illustrated by Michael Pittman

An adaptation of a Celtic legend. Enjoyed the colour palette, the connection to nature and the pacing of the story. I know this will be a hugely engaging read aloud.

Wow Wow and Haw Haw Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin 

I am a big fan of Godkin’s information story books. I always learn many new things and this book was no exception.

Skydiver- Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Tweedles Go Electric written by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Marie Lafrance 

Lots of fun with the energetic and charismatic Tweedles and their choices that were very much ahead of their time. History. “Green” priorities. Charming energy to this one!

The Tweedles Go Electric Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress written by Christine Baldacchino and illustrated by Isabelle Malefant 

A title about diversity and gender stereotypes. Perfect title to spark discussions about acceptance, individuality and classroom community.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Duck in the Fridge by Jeff Mack

Never expected a bed time story about the joy of the read aloud to begin with a duck in the fridge and end with a household full of animals and the power of a story!

Duck in the Fridge Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham

On route to visit his friend, mouse trades away all of the pieces of cake he was planning to deliver. No worries, some more trades can happen to find some ingredients to bake a new cake! Loved how the “offerings” on route back to make a cake were not the ones you would have suspected. Clever.

A Piece of Cake Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

this ORQ (he cave boy) written by David Elliot and illustrated by Lori Nichols 

A “child wants pet” “parent says no” story from “cave people time” Absolutely adorable.

this ORQ (He Cave Boy) Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Flat Rabbit by Bárður Oskarsson

You know, I like this book – almost gave it a higher rating but thought intended audiences – children-  might not know what to do with this title. Is that because we protect them from such subjects (death)? Not sure. There is something honest and real about this book. And the end, though abrupt on first read, is then somehow full of our fragility. Not many picture books allow the characters to just not really know. And leave it there . . .

The Flat Rabbit Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy 

Incredible. Sharks are probably the most terrifying of all creatures to me and yet I found myself fascinated and full of questions reading this book.

 Neighborhood Sharks Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

In other reading:

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman

Ideal to read and discuss a chapter at a time. Eastern philosophy bound up for the very young.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Super Lexi is not a Fan of Christmas by Emma Lesko

This series featuring Lexi by Emma Lesko is an important addition to our school and classroom libraries. Lexi reminds us that kids are unique, we can support them with flexibility and that we all have something to teach each other. I like how this story gives kids permission to find the holiday “hoopla” varying degrees of overwhelming! Realistic school setting and nice job with friendship dynamics.

Super Lexi is Not a Fan of Christmas Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

I have discovered so many beautiful novels in verse as of late. This title, by Engle, inspired by her Grandmother is full of courage, family and a rich history.

Wild Book Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

I finally picked this book up after weeks of setting it aside and enjoyed its conclusion. Quiet pace and some beautiful images – a story of a young boy and his strong connection to his grandfather.

The Turtle of Oman Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney Illustrated by Shane W. Evans 

A truly beautiful and important book. Highly recommended. Another novel in verse –  heavy in loss and anguish, light in hope and dreams of new possibilities.

the red pencil Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Next up? I am reading A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray I have a huge list beyond this! Likely after this I will be balancing thin with thick novels in my TBR pile trying to reach my goal of 100 novels by 2015! Hopelessly ambitious, that’s me!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 83/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 591/650 books read (41 books behind)

#MustReadin2014: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 136/65 complete


Monday October 28th, 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! Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read!

I read a really diverse selection of picture books this week. Sharing my favourites here:

Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales

Well, I know all of about three words in Spanish (in Canada, we learn French as a second language) so this was a huge adventure for me. The reader gets to follow Señor Calvera, the skeleton from Day of the Dead celebrations as he rides along to Grandma Beetle’s birthday celebration.  What gift is the perfect one? We get to sample possibilities from every letter of the Spanish alphabet. My favourite ideas? Una Escalera (a ladder to reach past the sky), Niebla (fog to play hide and seek in) and un Ombligo (a bread called belly button). What does he finally decide on? You must read to find out!

Just in Case #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt

Arranged in chapter book format, this title is an absolutely sought after commodity in my classroom. Only Scaredy Squirrel would need to prepare a “How to manage Halloween” manual. And he leaves nothing to chance! Loved the page on Getting to Know Your Halloween Candy!

Scaredy squirrel #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack

Nearly wordless – the entire story is told using “A” and “H” (Ha Ha, Ahh, Ah Ha, you get the picture) and a number of brilliant illustrations which call on young readers to predict, infer and smile their way to the end of the book. A little frog is chased through these pages by a young frog collector and a number of dangerous predators! Who will get the last HA?!

Ah Ha! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty

I think I want to give this gift to every new parent I know. It is a beautiful tribute to the important before bed read aloud experience shared together, snuggled close. What if you have nobody to read to you? What if you desperately wanted your own story time? Would you resort to being a book thief? This book explores these questions. Read my students’ reviews here.


The Snatchabook #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bee & Bird by Craig Frazier

If I could, I would make this suggestion for this wordless title. Go through it once and try to pay close attention. Go through it again and pay better attention. If things aren’t becoming clear, read it through again thinking “Is this what it seems?” Quite brilliant. Worthy of many reads and rereads as this little adventure of bee and bird is unveiled.

Bee & Bird #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

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

Wow! Wow and wow! I think this book leaped into my hands at the bookstore and called to me. It went something like this, “How will you enjoy me? Let me count the ways!” There is counting and estimating and wondering and a whole bunch of other mathematical applications – rounding, multiplying, dividing, adding, subtracting, using fractions, understanding averages thinking about mean and median. But, this book is also a nonfiction title that reveals fascinating animal facts like  – an alligator will lay over 550 eggs in one lifetime. Oh and  . . . . Christopher Silas Neal (of the amazing illustrations in Over and Under the Snow)? So are you sold yet? The back of the book has much more information about each animal depicted in the first section – information about lifespan and other details that allow you to do all of the amazing math that this book inspires.

This title also happens to be my 60th nonfiction picture book read in 2013 which was the goal I made back in January when I joined Alyson Beecher‘s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge! 

And, yes, I did take this book home. Don’t you . . .  when titles speak out so convincingly?

Lifetime #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein

Inspired by questions and wondering about the discovery of cave paintings 30,000 years old. Gerstein thought what if . . . ? and this book came to be. Captivating.

The First Drawing #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

In other reading . . .

I finished Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord

A quiet middle grade read that poses questions about family, belonging and finding home.

 Touch Blue #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Finished reading Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner to my class (read a selection of student reviews here). We are excited to begin a new chapter book read aloud this week.

I just began reading the short stories in The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg to my children even though we have another novel on the go and keep getting sidetracked by beautiful nonfiction titles I bring home.

Up next for me? I am reading Ivy & Bean #7 What’s the Big Idea so I can book talk it to students this week – it also has a saving the Earth theme like the Marty McGuire title. I am starting Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan tonight! Have been excited to read this title.

What are you reading?!

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!



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


Nonfiction titles:

Who’s Like me? Nicola Davies Marc Boutavant

who's like me

Who Has these Feet?


In other reading:


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.