Monday May 13th, 2019

Trying to post at least once a month to be part of this amazing reading community and to share all the wonderful titles I have been reading.

A few #kidsarereading photos for inspiration. Our visit to the Vancouver Public Library. Everyone left with a book and a library card if they didn’t have one. Our arms full of books, our heads full of stories, we skipped all the way back to school. Summer reading – we are getting ready for you!

Love how my students want to read EVERYTHING. The size of the book box is never big enough.

Nothing is quite as lovely as buddy reading moments.

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 read:

Tomorrow Most Likely by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Lane Smith

What will tomorrow bring? A delightful and beautifully illustrated collection of possibilities.

Growing Season by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

A sweet little book about friendship, flowers and all kinds of growing.

Dog Vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson with art by Clayton Hanmer

So much in this book – having faith, wanting to matter – an emotional book wrapped up in super hero style and cute humour.

Our World is Relative written by Julia Sooy with illustrations by Molly Walsh

You know when you play 20 questions with a group of kids and they ask questions like, “Is it big?” or “Is it little?” and you keep trying to prompt, “Bigger than a . . . ” Well, this book would be perfect in times like this! My only complaint – that measurements are not in our Canadian metric system. Otherwise, so ideal! I will be sharing this one in the classroom often. Releases August 13th 2019

Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold

This character! Bat is beyond endearing. I absolutely adore him.

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Such an interesting subject for a novel. A former mill town needs to attract residents to keep its schools and town from completely shutting down. A number of homes are offered to families for just $1.00 if they meet criteria and comply with specific conditions over the next year. This is the perfect chance for Lowen and his family to have a new beginning and more opportunities. It’s also a way for Lowen to try to leave behind the memories of a young friend who was shot. Would be a fantastic middle grade read aloud.

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

There is always something remarkable about Ursu’s titles. Part magic, part harsh reality, unbelievable and completely relatable. Devastating and full of hope. Wow.

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

A rare adult read highly recommended by my sister. Rosie and Penn have 4 boys and then they have Claude. Another boy who actually wants to be a girl. And then everything becomes about how to best let this little human be who they are supposed to be. A truly must read novel.

Up next? I am reading The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

My Must Read Titles for 2019

For those readers and list makers, nothing is more exciting than January! The time to make an amazing list of books to read for the year!

Where will our reading lives take us? What adventures and emotions will we experience through the books we read? Always, there are endless possibilities.

So many books. Limited time.

New books to distract us from other books.

A must read list ensures not all are forgotten!

#MustReadin2019

Join the #MustReadin2019 community!

To read more about the challenge and add your list, read here.

MustReadnovels

Here are the 30 titles I am going to try and read over this year. As always these titles will represent only a portion of my reading. My goal? To read most of these. I use this list like a road map of where to turn next when I come to a pause in my reading choices. It is always waiting to guide me. But it also waits patiently when I am distracted by new books. Often, I am.

Making a list like this – a To Read list – also allows us to reflect on the reading that we want to do. I know I want to emphasize middle grade novels. I didn’t read as much as I usually do in 2018 so my list has more titles that are published in 2018 or earlier (19 titles) and fewer 2019 releases (11 titles).

Here is my list:

Published in 2018 or earlier

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

After Zero by Christina Collins

After Zero

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Read April 7th 2019 5 stars

Hey, Kiddo

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Read April 19th 2019 5 stars

The Dollar Kids

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson Read January 6th 2019 5 stars

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena  Read February 11th 2019 4 stars

A Girl Like That

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway Read February 17th 2019 5 stars

Far from the Tree

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden  Read March 19th 2019 5 stars

The Benefits of Being an Octopus

Lu by Jason Reynolds

Lu

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan Read January 22nd 2019 4 stars

All that I can fix, chan

From You to Me by K.A. Holt

Girl sitting on pier and lookingat the river

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier  Read March 24th 2019 5 stars

Sweep

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Tight

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart Read January 29th 2019 5 stars

Wild Blues

(Time Castaways #1) The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

The Mona lisa key

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang  Read March 2nd 2019 5 stars

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Published in 2019 

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Padma Venkatraman The Bridge Home

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu Read May 12th 2019 5 stars

The Lost Girl

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Dig by A.S. King

Dig, King

Song for A Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for A Whale

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Read March 7th 2019 4 stars

Shouting at the Rain

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

OtherWordsHome

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Where the Heart is by Jo Knowles

Where the Heart is

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James by Ashley Herring Blake

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James

What novels are at the top of your TBR list? Please share! 

 

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

I read a lot. As in hundreds and hundreds of books a year. Many, yes, are picture books. But many are novels. 95% of these are middle grade and young adult novels. So, in some ways, I can say I “meet” a lot of young people. Some make me cry. Some leave me laughing. Some inspire. I have a myriad of emotions as I read about each of these young fictional lives: confusion, hope, worry, relief, upset, happiness . . .

These characters often stay with me. And because they do, I want to honour them here. These boys*, in the pages of the books where they live, impressed me in notable ways. I admire so many of them for their honesty, their growth, their vulnerability, their hard choices, their loyalty, their mistakes, their learning and their endurance.

In their own way, each is brave and real. Meeting them will enrich every reader.

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

Doug Swieteck in Okay for Now written by Gary D. Schmidt

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

Miguel in We Were Here written by Matt de la Peña

We Were Here  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Nate Foster in Better Nate than Ever written by Tim Federle

Better Nate than Ever  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That,

Jack in Dead End in Norvelt written by Jack Gantos

 Dead End in Norvelt  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ben in Half Brother written by Kenneth Oppel

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

Travis in Blue Fish written by Pat Schmatz

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

Fadi in Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai

Shooting-Kabul-Senzai  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Matt in The Boy in the Black Suit written by Jason Reynolds

boy in the black suit  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moon in Alabama Moon written by Watt Key

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

Holling Hoodhood in The Wednesday Wars written by Gary D. Schmidt

 The Wednesday Wars  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucky Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants written by A.S. King

 Everybody Sees the Ants  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Oscar in The Real Boy written by Anne Ursu

 The Real Boy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moses in Crow written by Barbara Wright

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

 Victor (a.k.a. “Little Man”) in Paperboy by Vince Vawter

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

Julian in Twerp written by Mark Goldblatt

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

Josh in Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

 Living with Jackie Chan  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for ThatJoey in Nest written by Esther Ehrlich

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

Ali in When I Was the Greatest written by Jason Reynolds 

when I was the greatest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albert in Fish in a Tree written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albie in Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

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

Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie

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

Jack in Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson 

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

Ryan Dean West in Winger written by Andrew Smith

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

Peter Stone in Wish Girl written by Nikki Loftin

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

Steven in Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie written by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

*Coming soon: In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Monday May 18th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo perfectly captures what happens when a new, impatiently waited for title arrives in our classroom library! An instant list posted to the cover and a happy little smirk for the first reader!

Monday May18th, 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

I wasn’t able to post a #IMWAYR post last week so this post captures two weeks of reading.

Favourite picture books (fiction and nonfiction)

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach 

One of those read alouds that must begin again as soon as it ends – this isn’t the story it first appears to be. Adorable, hilarious and full of delight.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Have You Seen my Monster? by Steve Light

There are monsters everywhere – look very closely. You might also find a triangle, a circle and a quatrefoil. Yes, really.

Have You Seen my Monster? Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

A chicken. With arms. Wings? Nope, none of those. Henny learns to embrace her unique possibilities. Quirky but sweet.

Henny Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I Don’t Like Koala written by Sean Ferrell and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Is your stuffed animal watching you? This little koala just might be. An odd little book about a stuffed creature that is not beloved but is everywhere.

I Don't Like Koala Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I, Fly The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Jennifer Plecas

Wow, such learning happens when a fly arrives to plead his interest quotient to a bunch of children studying butterflies. Such voice! I can’t wait to share this with a class.

I, Fly Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Outstanding in the Rain by Frank Viva

So very, very clever.

Outstanding in the Rain Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

This book does so much. As we travel through time with a recipe for a simple summer dessert, we are treated to a history lesson that is much more than how kitchen utensils and appliances have changed. I am in more than a little bit of awe.

A Fine Dessert Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Emu written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne. Papa Emu plays a starring role in this nonfiction title. Read my review here.

Emu Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites by Kellen Hatanaka

There is a commercial I have seen a few times that celebrates a driving experience that has the children in the back seat fully plugged into their devices while the parents sit peacefully in the front seat pleased as can be to be avoiding noise, arguments, etc. from their children. While I will admit to ordering my children at times to “Be quiet!” I don’t want them zoned out on a device while we are in the car. I would prefer that they are watching the passing scenery, drawing or listening to an audio book. Even, oh my goodness, using the time to think and be. So I love this book that honours the view out the window and connection to the world as we travel through it. Tuned out to be tuned in is not my idea of the way things should be. Look out the window and notice! This book gives one a great starting point for lots of examples.

Drive- A Look at Roadside Opposites Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

In novels, I read . . .

A graphic title

Zita The Space Girl by Ben Hatke

I don’t always love graphic novels with lots of adventure and action. But this one? It’s a keeper! I now want all three titles for my classroom collection.

Zita The Space Girl Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Yes, it is really as good as you’ve heard. Beautifully written, beautifully imagined. An absolute must, must read!

Echo Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard

I read this in almost one sitting. One family, almost completely cut off from the rest of the world have their lives shaped and controlled by a step-father’s prophecies about the future. What happens when the one who protects might also put you at risk? How can one boy live a double life? Haunting. Upsetting. Utterly addictive.

Watch the Sky Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

A story about family and connection, grief and moving on. Ari and her older brother Gage are basically homeless – couch surfing and staying in shelters while trying to turn their lives into something stable with a real future. The secrets, the instability, the worries are huge. Can they keep their little family together and still hope for the future? I couldn’t put this one down.

 Paper Things Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Shadowhand Convenant by Brian Farrey

I read this title aloud to my children. We read the first in the trilogy about a year ago and were completely captured by these unique characters in such a fresh fantasy story. This story continued to keep us guessing right until the last pages.

Shadowhand Covenant Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 25/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 188/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 10/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 40/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 18/50 books read

Up Next? Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin My children and I waited (and waited and waited some more) for the 3rd title in The Books of Beginning trilogy to be released. Finally, it is here and so we are happily reading The Black Reckoning by John Stephens. The Emerald Atlas was published in 2011 and The Fire Chronicle published in 2012 so as you can see, our wait was long!

Monday July 15th, 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! Checking out all of the blogs that link up is a wonderful way to discover new titles.

I just realized that about a year ago today July 16th, 2012 was the first time I participated in the It’s Monday What are you Reading? meme. I have learned so much in this year of being part of the #IMWAYR community. My Mondays would not be the same without sharing my reading from the week and learning about great titles from others who participate.

This week we were away on an almost week long family trip so most of my reading was novel reading. But here are three picture books that were new to me:

Dot written and illustrated by Patricia Intriago There is a lot to this book revealed through much simplicity. Concepts and opposites are covered and much is left for thought and imagining. This book will make its new home in my buddy reading bin – what a wonderful title to share.

Dot 2

The Red Book written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman I loved the magical and fantasy elements to this wordless book. The connection between characters and the book (as a real part of this very book) was intriguing.

the red book

Phooey! written and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal Many details to explore in this book with such old fashioned feel. The message is a simple one – you will find boredom if you are convinced it is following you. There is so much happening via the illustrations in this story it is difficult to summarize. My favourite detail – a sign at the fruit stand that reads: Navel Oranges: Extra Bouncy. Fantastic sound effect noises: boing, whoop. zip, ploink, klump, etc.

phoeey!

I also finished a number of MG and YA novels:

Doll Bones by Holly Black This might have been my favourite novel this week. I cannot wait for it to come out in paperback so we can purchase multiple copies for our student book club. So much to wonder about, question and reflect upon. Even though I was prepared for creepy (and creepy was delivered) I would also describe this book as tender and vulnerable. It is an adventure novel full of mystery, intrigue and hauntings but it is also a story of friendship and a story of the journey from childhood to the beginning of young adulthood. What lies ahead and what is left behind? Absolutely captivating.

Doll Bones 2

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Challenging circumstances for a young boy left at a campsite by his mother. He experiences much confusion over doing what he needs to do to keep himself safe and protecting his life with his mother. I found Jack’s turmoil very believable. His loyalty to his Mom and their life was always front and center despite the fear and obstacles he faced. A compelling story that I read in one sitting. 

Small_as_an_Elephant

Almost Home by Joan Bauer I so wanted to love this book and I just didn’t. I found the character of Sugar just too sweet. But I seem to be in the minority. My ten year old daughter read it and loved it and I see on Goodreads that this book has a number of excellent reviews. Something about this title just didn’t ring true for me. And I didn’t love the poetry . . . Not all titles are a match despite one’s positive anticipation.

almost-home

Torn Away by James Heneghan This was the most recent story I read aloud to my children. Published in 1996, this novel details a young boy’s grief and anger after his Mother and young sister are killed in a bombing while celebrating a birthday lunch in Belfast. He is sent (without any degree of willingness) to Canada to live with his Aunt and Uncle and he rebels against the idea of settling with a family, determined to return to Ireland to join the IRA and seek revenge for the murders of his family. Forces readers to explore the importance of family and connection. An emotional read.

torn away

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn I saw this title on Sarah’s (from YA Love) blog post about favourite titles and it caught my eye. It is a very upsetting story about an abusive relationship between two teenagers told through the diary of Nick who realizes with his first romantic relationship, that he has been influenced by his father’s violence in ways he wasn’t expecting. This is a story of aggression and ugly controlling actions. Important that the reader can experience the point of view of the abuser but yet the role is never romanticized. Definitely see this as an important book for high school students to read and discuss.

breathing_underwater

What’s up next in my reading life?

I am almost finished Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Tonight I begin a new read aloud with my children –  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Next up for me: P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-GarciaA Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean and Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles