2012 Favourites

What a wonderful year of books! Quickly before I change my mind, my twelve favourites of 2012 (I divided the love evenly between picture books and novels)

Yes, I am aware that Jon Klassen takes a starring role in this list ūüôā

My personal challenge here is to do no more than 12 words of raving about each book. Possible? Let’s see . . .

Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

A town styled out in multi-coloured knitwear. Justice and magic win out.

extra yarn 12 of 2012

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

Hat thievery in the big ocean. Much humour, little hope (sorry fish)

ThisIsNotMyHat 12 of 2012

House Held Up By Trees written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen

The trees are persistent and protective of life travelling on. Stunning illustrations.

househeldupbytrees 12 0f 2012

Virginia Wolf written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

A dark mood, a hopeful sibling, and the magic of imagination.

virginia wolf top 12 of 2012

Little Bird written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine

A book that celebrates finding joy in the smallest of things.

little-bird 12 for 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Become swept away and entangled in book love.

fantastic flying 12 for 2012

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Choosing a friend can be an incredible act of bravery.

lions-of-little-rock 12 for 2012

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Be kinder than is necessary; a story to remind us how.

wonder 12 for 2012

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The power of unconditional love, the magic of resiliency . . .

OnefortheMurphys12 for 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

A story of stories. Flies you through a myriad of emotions.

codenameverity12 for 12

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A world of prophecy, desperate searches for magic, the real and unreal.

raven-boys 12 for 2012

Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Funny. Brilliant. Sad. No sappy. All wit.

fault in our stars 12 for 2012

Please share your own favourites of the year . . . 

Monday August 27th, 2012

It‚Äôs Monday! What are you reading?¬†How I love sharing the books I’ve been reading by participating in¬†Kellee and Jen‚Äôs¬†meme (celebrating books read from picture books to young adult selections)! Such a great way to find out about different titles.

This past week was holiday time so I read lots of novels and only one picture book that I found book shopping at Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle. I’ve been collecting Caldecott medal and honour books for the classroom and this is one I didn’t have.

Sam, Bangs and Moonshine¬†by¬†Evaline Ness. The illustrations were lovely in this book that won the Caldecott medal in 1967. I liked the line drawings, the limited colours and the intense expressions on the character’s faces. I had a real soft spot for Sam whose overactive imagination was used to compensate for a mother who was not really a mermaid but who had died and a father who was busy fishing all day long. Her imagination leads to some scary situations but she doesn’t abandon the magical completely.

 I also read a number of middle grade and young adult novels and even one adult novel (a rarity lately!) Рan ARC called Three Graves Full.

Where Things Come Back¬†by¬†John Corey Whaley.¬†This was an intense read but I really enjoyed it. You don’t often find a sibling relationship based on a lot of respect and care and this book really showcased a lovely relationship between brothers. I’ve read some reviews that claim this book is too confusing and not connected but I thought it all tied together well in the end

Will Grayson, Will Grayson¬†written by John Green and David Levithan.¬†I have had a very John Green summer (reading An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in our Stars, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska)¬†so I had to end my summer with this title co-authored with David Levithan. This book was all about characters. Not that plot wasn’t important, but the characters were so large (yes, literally in Tiny’s case) that they just sang out of the book (yes, again literally, in Tiny’s case :-)). Days after finishing this book, I found my mind occupied by these characters. Funny. Edgy. Humble. Vulnerable. Powerful. Such a great read!

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. Wow. Such a get under your skin little book. Loved the honesty of the characters, the relevance of the story and the power in the words. Because it is told in verse, you can sit and finish this book in one sitting and then take the rest of the day just to digest it all.


Our family is one disc away from finishing the audio version of  The False Prince. Such a fantastic book!

Monday August 6th, 2012

It’s Monday What are you Reading? Celebrating books read and enjoyed from picture books to young adult reads. Link up with the meme sponsored by Kellee and Jen

I was on vacation this week so all of my reading was from the stack of books I brought with me except for two picture books I purchased at the Island bookstore.

Liu and The Bird: A Journey in Chinese Caligraphy Written and illustrated by Catherine Louis. Calligraphy by Feng Xiao Min. So many of my students every year attend Chinese language classes – this book will allow them to be the experts as everyone explores the calligraphy in this book. Illustrations are gorgeous!

Rain Rain Rivers written and illustrated by Uri Shulivitz. Loved the lyrical descriptive writing. In Vancouver, we had better celebrate rain! This book gets us started.

This week I finished a read aloud novel with my children: Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. A great adventure story that intrigued us all.


Hidden by Helen Frost. I found the format with the two perspectives told in different form very interesting. A quick read.

Having read both The Fault in our Stars and Paper Towns in the last few months, I continued with two more John Green novels.

Loved the characters in Looking for Alaska.

Looking For Alaska

An Abundance of Katherines had many funny passages but¬†probably my least favourite of Green’s novels so far. Colin, and his dependency and constant self doubt began to irk me. But loved the characters who resided in Gutshot.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater was my favourite read of the week. Finished it late last night and still digesting it. Dramatic. Haunting. Amazing.


I also read two professional books this week: Kelly Gallagher‘s Readicide and Tony Stead‘s Good Choice.

Happy Reading everyone!

Monday July 16th 2012

This is the first time I am officially participating in Kellee and Jen‘s meme It’s Monday What are you Reading? blog link up! Such a wonderful way to share books read over the past week and plans for future reading.

Three favourite picture books I read:

The Friend by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. I loved this book immediately because David Small is just so good. These pictures are gorgeous and depict the nuances and emotions that the book conveys. What a beautiful story about little Belle and Beatrice Smith, the housecleaner who adores her. Took me back to my own childhood of long summer days that start out with daily chores only I was lucky enough to be working side by side with my Mom.

the friend

Lola and Fred by Christoph Heuer. ¬†A delightful wordless book (How I love wordless books!) about a tortoise and a frog who want to fly. Just how will they make this happen? Imagine this would be a wonderfully loud “share aloud” with a primary class.

Two Bears and Joe by Penelope Lively and illustrated by Jan Ormond.¬†This book celebrates imagination, play and pretend. Love Ormond’s illustrations as always.

I also read a number of Early Chapter, Middle Grade and Young Adult novels this past week.

Early Chapter:

Heidi Heckelbeck and the Cookie Contest by Wanda Coven

Piper Reed Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt I bought the first four titles in this series and plan to introduce it to some of my new students who are ready for a chapter book that is just a little bit longer. Love the school themes and the true to life family dynamics in the Reed family.

Middle Grade:

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead. The children’s librarian at the Vancouver Public Library branch we frequent has started a Middle Grade ARC club allowing readers to “borrow” the ARCs, bring them home to read, write comments in if they so choose and share reviews. My nine year olds and I were vey excited and joined. I did a little leap when I saw this title on the shelf. ¬†Fantastic!

Young Adult:

Paper Towns by John Green. 

Pearl by Jo Knowles The characters in this story nestle up beside you as you read this book and when you are done, they are not gone. I adored Pearl (Bean) and Henry.

Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

** I am also really enjoying Journey to the River Sea, the novel I’m reading aloud to my children.