Monday March 5th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. This week I have a few to celebrate.

This reader is checking out a student written book that is part of our collection. Writers and readers go hand in hand 🙂

I know Mock Caldecott is a special thing in our room when last year’s students pop in to find out who our winners were and then stay to read the books!

Here are my fairy tale fans all sitting at the same table reading the same series! Pretty cute!

Our #classroombookaday titles, as always, have been inspirational.

Art, words and discussions were incredible after these titles.

Again – the impact of these books is evident in comments and writing.

One child was very moved by the book Red: A Crayon’s Story. She writes:

“I really like this theme because it really pours our feelings out. It’s like you have a big bucket on your head and the theme walks to your head and your feelings swish around and you start to be emotional and I love that. The book is telling you to express yourself and be your own person or colour. Cause that’s what makes us unique.”


I haven’t posted in a while – some good excuses include – heading to Bellingham (on a very snowy Friday) to attend the Western Washington’s Children Literature Conference.

Amazing authors and illustrators included Kevin Henkes, Sophie BlackallPam Muñoz Ryan and Benjamin Alire Sáenz. They are all wearing tiaras here – for a you kind of had to be there – kind of a reason.

We also attended nErD Camp Bellingham on Sunday and it was a pleasure to spend the day with so many educators, librarians and literary wonders. We always love hanging out with nErD camp Bellingham founder Adam Shaffer.

Classroom Highlights 

There has been art with Maggie in the Art and Discovery studio.

Science with UBC students during UBC reading week. Students shared science and we shared favourite books of course!

Lots and lots of math thinking as we explore multiplication and division concepts.

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.

Books I loved:

There’s a lot of them . . . some not yet released so mark your calendars!

Hello Hello  by Brendan Wenzel (available March 20th, 2018)

Beyond wonderful. This title features numerous animals connected by sometimes simple and sometimes surprising common features. The author’s note explains that many of these creatures are in trouble and need human awareness and action to remove them from the endangered and critically threatened lists. Ideal for young young readers as well as school age children. Highly recommended.

Watch this amazing trailer – you’re going to want this book!

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World written by Susan Hood and illustrated by 13 extraordinary female illustrators

I fell in love with this book at the mere concept. It’s nonfiction perfection – inspired poetry, additional information and incredible illustrations by some of my favourite illustrators out there. Hood chose her subjects – often girls and young women – that might not yet be known or are not all know well in order to introduce readers to inspiring role models. Well known girls and young women like Ruby Bridges and Malala Yousafzai are also included.

Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?: The Story of Ada Lovelace written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

The same author illustrator team that brought us Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? is back! If you know this book, you are already sold!

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (released in June 2018)

Another inspiring woman who young readers will want to know more about. Add this one to your biography collections. Katherine Johnson is the mathematician who ensured that the Apollo 13 returned safely to Earth. Such a story! Written in an engaging style ideal for Elementary readers.

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter written by Mark Gonzales and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

A beautifully written letter from father to daughter, this book celebrates culture, identity and family roots. A celebration of diversity and self. Just gorgeous.

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini (released April 2018)

A must have for library and classroom collections – perfect title to complement our studies of shapes found in the world. Another beautifully illustrated title by Amini. This book is absolutely stunning. A celebration of both shapes and traditions. So pleased to include it in my classroom library.

The Boy and the Blue Moon written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Ashley Crowley

Blue like you haven’t quite imagined. Text and illustrations are the perfect complement. One part magic, another part imagination, a big splash of whimsy all seeped and soaked in the bluest of blues.

George the Hero Hound by Jeffrey Ebbeler (coming March 20, 2018)

Sometimes a farm comes with a dog. George knows his way around the farm but is under appreciated until he does something heroic. Charming and amusing.

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Celebrates the magical and beautiful way words can collide and come together.

Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay 

I love this entire series of Lulu books. Perfect for the Grade 2 to 4 classroom. Lulu’s patience and persistence is admirable and readers will be rooting for this dog from the sea!

Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess (Young Adult)

This truly is a story of rock and roll, fathers and sons, addictions and recoveries, loves and loss. A beautifully executed novel in verse.

Knock Out by K.A. Holt

House Arrest – this book’s companion novel- is a book I haven’t stopped raving about. Both titles are written in powerful and personal verse. I couldn’t put either one down. This is the story of little Levi – just a baby in House Arrest – now growing up and ready to have his own story. But when you have always been the one to protect, how do you find your way and engage with the world in big and brave ways?

Up next:The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 8/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 4/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 51/300 books read

Progress on challenge: on track

#MustReadin2018: 6/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 7/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 7/40 books read

Monday May 26th, 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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list! 

My favourite picture books of the week:

The Birdman written by Veronika Martenova Charles and illustrated by Annouchka Gravel Balouchko and Stephan Daigle

Based on a true story, The Birdman is a story seeped in grief and hope. A tailor in Calcutta loses his family in a tragic accident and his paralyzed by sadness and mourning. His heart begins to fill again with hope and lightness when he releases a small, caged bird he has bought at the market.  He begins to work again to earn money to buy more sick birds – for the sole purpose of nursing them back to health and setting them free. The afterward talks about the real tailor and how his story happened to be told in this uplifting picture book.

The BirdMan #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Hole by Øyvind Torseter

I am such a fan of quirky, kind of “out there” books that work. Not to say they have to absolutely make sense. They just have to delight. This book does that. There is quite literally a hole running from front to back cover. This hole is the source of confusion and many perplexing moments for the main character who discovers this hole in his new apartment. It seems to move about and not go where he thinks it might. Finally, he captures it and takes it to be tested. Does he get the answers he is looking for? Problem solved? Read and see what you think.

To peek at all of the wonder that is this book, read more about it here on Brain Pickings.

The Hole #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Cactus Soup written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Phil Huling

The classic Stone Soup tale – this time with some Mexican flavour. Set in the time of the Mexican Revolution, this cactus soup is flavoured and enhanced by tamales, chorizo and tortillas.

#IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Tiger in my Soup written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler

When a little brother wants a big sister to read his book to him, his imagination and passion for the story allows fantasy to mix with reality and lines blur between story and life. Tigers seem to be everywhere . . . I absolutely adored these illustrations.

#IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Xander’s Panda Party written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Matt Phelan

There is much that I love in this story – Phelan’s illustrations, the ever complicated process of planning a party that includes all, the learning about animal classification and symbiotic relationships . . . And in many ways I was charmed by the language. There is much that is delightful in many of the expressions and phrasing. It’s just the rhyme . .  Not sure if I can get past the rhyming – a personal thing – but what makes this a 4 instead of 5 stars for me.

Xander's Panda Party #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Running Shoes written by Fredrick Lipp and illustrated by Jason Gaillard

This isn’t the first time I have read this book. I read it a few years ago with a class. But I shared it with this group of children and we had some amazing conversations and the students did some insightful writing – all of which made this feel like a fresh read. When the “number man” (census counter) gives Sophy a pair of running shoes, she can finally make her dream come true and attend school. The shoes are her “ticket” to be able to manage an eight k.m. run to the closest school attended by all boys. A year later, when the “number man” returns, Sophy shares what she has learned and the dreams she has for her future. Set in a Cambodian village, this book is a testament to the importance of access to education for all children. Reading this story is the continuation of the conversations we have been having about access to education and further education for girls and boys alike.

Sharing a few written responses from my students. The provocative prompt I gave them (before we read this book) was: Only some children need an education. Not all children need to go to school.

I won’t learn and it will make me sad. I would learn from my brother secretly. I would be bored, lonely, sad and frustrated with no school. I would tell my brother “Share your thinking with me!”

I hope that the children will go to school in good luck. Or they won’t know stuff. The Mom and Dad is too busy to teach them.

I think if they don’t go to school, they don’t get smart. In school, it’s not just work. There is some playtime too. School helps your brain work. You get a smarter brain. School is fun!

It’s not fair if I didn’t go to school. I would be sad. I think that is wrong! If I didn’t go to school, I would not get an education and couldn’t be a doctor, that would be hard. School is ME! It helps me. School gives me life. I am happy to go to school to learn.

Running Shoes #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton

I celebrate any book that reminds us to honour gratitude  – from the big to the small!

Awesome book of thanks #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

How Many Jelly Beans? A Giant Book of Giant Numbers written by Andrea Menotti and illustrated by Yancey Labat

Huge in size and huge in fun – this book allows children to explore large numbers via imagined piles of candy! Planning both a math/art lesson with this book for later this week!

How Many Jelly Beans #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Tippy and the Night Parade by Lilli Carré

I am always so intrigued by the variety of stories and art shared in Toon Comics. This title tells the story of some pretty wonderful night time adventures. Love the dark hues of blues and blacks on these pages.

#IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

I also finished two novels:

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 

When my students write book reviews, they don’t stick to the rules of 5 stars. Sometimes they give the book 10 stars or even 1 000. So I am going to borrow from their rule book in rating this book. I give it a hundred stars. Because, yes, I loved it. Yes, it was beautifully written. Yes, it made me cry. All of those things that typically make me eagerly assign 5 stars to a story. But this book also was SO much more. A story that is fictional but not at all. Because Habo’s story could be, might be and in fact, is, playing itself out STILL in Tanzania for other albino citizens. This book speaks to everything both beautiful and horrific about humanity. This book had me – still teary eyed, begin to search the names and organizations that Tara Sullivan lists in the back of her book. Which did me in even further. More stars because of an author’s note that reminds us just how very true a story like this is – true in our world – NOW. A human rights crisis. One that needs attention. One that needs to stop. “Be that one person,” – the words Sullivan leaves us with in her author’s note. Read this book and remind yourself to be more human than less. A story that will never leave the reader. And never should.

goldenboy #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Body in the Woods by April Henry

I was in the mood for a fast paced mystery story – this did deliver. Was it good? Hmm, not so much.

#IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for ThatIn my class, we finished The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I shared our closure with this beautiful novel here: Ivan: One, Only, Ours.

 Ivan #IMWAYR May 26th, 2014 There's a Book for ThatNext up? I am reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and hope to get to The Girl who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 40/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 265/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 64/65 complete