Monday August 6th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. So here are a few photos of my room, patiently waiting.When students arrive, this space transforms into a space for book love galore!

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

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James 

Wow. Ah yes, I see why this book has all of those stickers affixed to the cover. This is a stunner. Incredible celebration of the magic that happens in the barber’s chair.

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson with illustrations by Qin Leng

Inspiring biography for young writers. Leng’s illustrations are delightful.

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines written byJeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Beautifully illustrated title about Maya Lin, whose entry was chosen in a national (US) design contest for the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington. Some of these illustrations made me catch my breath.

On Our Street: Our First Talk about Poverty by Dr.Jillian Roberts and Jaime Casap with illustrations by Jane Heinrichs

One of those books you wish didn’t have to exist. But it does. And this book navigates first discussions of poverty with honesty, compassion and respect. I see that there will be more books in this series: The World Around Us by Orca Publishing and I will seek out upcoming titles.

Lion Lessons by Jon Agee

Sometimes you need a little bit of a nudge to be brave.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Strangely, I had a bit of a difficult time getting into this book and then I was fully, completely hooked. A mystery. A testament to a racist and troubled history. Family ties. Beginning friendships. Modern day mystery is woven through history. Absolutely fantastic.

Up next? I am reading Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 30/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 9/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 138/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 40 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 19/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 25/40 books read

Monday March 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. As we were off this past few weeks, I have a photo of a bookstore visit to the incredible Munro’s Books  in Victoria B.C. Here is part of the picture book display.

Monday March 27th, 2017

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.


With Spring Break and being away for a few days I missed last week’s IMWAYR so this post captures 2 weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Continued Slice of Life posts mean daily posting:

Missing Primary: Slice of Life #26 I love Grade 4 and 5 but I miss the little ones

Shopping: Slice of Life #25 I am not a good shopper

So far: Slice of Life #24 So far from a year ago

Rain: Slice of Life #23 Caught in a deluge

Quiet Things: Slice of Life #22 The quiet things I love

Chapter book Challenges: Slice of Life #21 How we support students moving into chapter books

Writing cheats: Slice of Life #20 Words still eluding me

Missing words: Slice of Life #19 Writing steals my reading time

Simply easier: Slice of Life #18 Preparing to write about teaching before? Maybe soon

Slightly Awkward: Slice of Life #17 Thinking about the work that change in our practice involves

Mud: Slice of Life #16 Nothing to write about

For nonfiction Wednesday, Nic Bishop’s newest: Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Penguin Day – A Family Story

Capturing play: Slice of Life #15 The importance of play

Sometimes Guilt: Slice of Life #14 Sometimes, thinking back to leaving my previous school  brings guilt.

The little girl I should have taught: Slice of Life #13 Thinking about a child who should have been in my class

Books I enjoyed:

Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Love the way these two partner up to make us smile and wonder and shake our heads. Little bits of sneaky. Lots of funny. And always, the stunning artwork from Klassen.

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Oh this book. Visually it is absolutely stunning. If this doesn’t make you want to wander through the woods and use every sense . . .

Shy by Deborah Freedman

Underneath a very sweet story is permission to be just who you are.

Rain by Sam Usher

Gorgeous rain. The pages seem slightly drowned. The images feel like they are full of puddles. And a lovely little story about a boy and his Grandpa.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

More than an “I want a pet” story. This is “I want a unicorn story” With big expectations come big disappointments. And then, big love.

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

Not really about Mars. More about set up and surprises and wanting something to be so. Really liked this one.

Dear Dragon written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Charming and full of all kinds of classroom possibilities. Writing to a pen pal becomes even more exciting when you begin to share more and more about yourself. What happens when the chance to meet in “person” happens? Told in rhyming letters, there is a lot to this little picture book.

Egg by Kevin Henkes

I have a thing about picture books where the egg plays a starring role. This one is especially wonderful.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins 

For years, I have made it clear that I do not like squirrels. At all. They steal my daffodil bulbs. They have tried to burrow into my house. They make feeding birds a battle. So, I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about a title devoted to these creatures. Must admit, I kind of loved it and I learned a lot. But, I still do not like squirrels.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong

This is a must experience it yourself nonfiction title. Really incredible illustrations. Would be a beautiful addition to any school or classroom library.

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

I have been putting off reading the final Clementine title because I didn’t want to say goodbye. We found Clementine as an audio book years ago when my children were smaller and went on to read all of the titles. In fact, I have read all but 2 titles aloud to my children. At 14, they weren’t going to sit through this one but I am excited to share it with students who I know have been Clementine fans.

Feathers  by Jacqueline Woodson 

A story of hope.Of family. Of observations. What a lovely read.

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart 

Dramatic and hard to put down. There were parts of this story I found absolutely creepy. Kids who love action driven books will love this story. I am a big fan of Gemeinhart. This is not my favourite of his three so far published titles. But definitely an action packed read.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together. This is what I loved about Counting by 7s – the diversity of characters who were in each other’s lives. In Short, it is all about friendships between generations. It’s also about a play and all of the wonderful behind the scenes preparations. I fell in love with the characters here. A must read middle grade novel!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 94/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 8/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Monday August 17th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer, I am not surrounded every day with little readers so . . . I am choosing moments from the year not previously shared. Always my favourite? Buddy reading laughter!

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

Monday August 17th, 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.


On the blog:

For Top Ten Tuesday: Ten MG and YA authors I read the most

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Natural Mysteries, Solved

A special Celebration post about updated allergy testing

Sunday Reflections: The power of observation

Books I read and loved:

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

This book is absolutely adorable. The perfect book for reading aloud at a story time for younger listeners. The perfect bedtime book to remind all soon to be sleepers that they are brave. A wonderful read aloud for any classroom to appreciate how clever and beautiful picture books can be.

Night Animals Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Bad Bye, Good Bye written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Oh how I was impressed with this book. The illustrations were incredible. Maybe my favourite so far from Bean. And the sparse text – full and powerful and conveying so much emotion. Moving is hard. Plain and simple. For kids, it’s a different kind of hard. As a child who moved 9 times before my 7th birthday, I get it. Would pair beautifully with Neville written by Norman Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Bad Bye, Good Bye Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee

Odd, quirky and “rhyme”y.

It's Only Stanley Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies

I LOVED Ben Rides On when it first came out. So I have been waiting for this title. And it didn’t disappoint. It captures the joy of drawing, the dynamics of worry and the power of being noticed.

Ben Draws Trouble Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree written by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

Well, I would like to start by saying that I want to go back in time and be Piper Green. I want to ride a boat to school. I want to eagerly anticipate fresh baking each morning. Quirky little brothers? Yes, please. And a teeny school, absolutely! And I could write paragraphs on how much I want a fairy tree. I am SO excited to share this title with my new class. I predict it will get a lot of love. The perfect early chapter book series. Well written with dynamic characters, gorgeous illustrations and just the right amount of text.

Piper Green

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley

I have actually been reading this book for over a year. I have read many parts multiple times. Finally, this summer, I sat down and read it cover it cover. Of course, there is much here that I celebrate. I also really appreciate how Donalyn is so honest about her journey as a teacher. I know there is more figuring things out to come and that we will all benefit. But what she has figured out already? So wise, so wonderful and so full of celebration of books and readers.

reading in the wild Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I can’t believe I had never read this book. Now, I see why so many insist it is an absolute must read title for high school classrooms. Brave. Upsetting. Necessary.

Speak Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 286/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 54/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Monday February 10th, 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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

Lots of reading this week. And some important writing:

  • I loved sharing the wonderful sentiments from my students shared in our weekly Gratitude Circle in my Celebration post this week.
  • I also wrote a post that has been brewing for a long time. Finally, I had the courage to  finish it and press publish: The Part that is True. And then, I burst into tears. Sigh. Sometimes, sharing is a big risk. I have so appreciated the supportive comments and feedback.

And on to the books I have loved! My favourite picture books of the week:

Orangutan Tongs: Poems to Tangle your Tongue by Jon Agee

These tongue twister poems are hilariously ridiculous. Many are battling it out to be my favourite. I will check back soon to see which has won! Sharing the one I plan to read first to my class – just because we have been talking about the courtesy of neat writing for the sake of the reader 🙂

Rotten Writing

Reading writing

When it’s written really rotten

Can cause your eyes and intellect to strain.

When it’s written really rotten,

Writing’s really rotten reading.

Yes, reading rotten written writing really is a pain.

Organgutan Tongs #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Scoot! by Cathryn Falwell

I adored the celebration of nature and the liveliness of the rhyming text. In the final pages, Falwell explains some of her inspiration and how she made some of the collages using found objects from nature. A sample of the text:

Hustle! Hover! Flitter! Flee! On every branch and shrub and tree!

Scoot! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman

A picture book that invites you into its pages where much is happening after a pot of blue paint is toppled by a chicken. I love the splashing, splattering and wading through the spilled paint. And then of course, the delightfully simple problem solving at the end of the story! Would be a perfect story time book for younger students!

Blue Chicken #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite written by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne

Titles that demand to be shaken, examined and rocked can’t miss! And then when there is a huge bite mark in the back cover . . . Yikes, beware! Lots of fun for an interactive story experience.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The World is Waiting for You by Barbara Kerley

Gorgeous photographs beckon you – get outside and explore something amazing! Star gaze, get your hands muddy or follow a path to anywhere. Back pages include details about some of the photographs and how the photographers managed to capture such images. Significant photos for me: Sylvia Earle swimming with dolphins, a cave of crystals (beams of selenite) in Mexico and a beautiful photograph of two children racing with a toy sailboat on the edge of a river. A National Geographic title.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I featured three amazing nonfiction books with an ocean theme on my Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday Post: Life in the Deep Blue Sea

Deep Blue Sea #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Slugs by Valerie Bodden

I picked up this title at a recent book store sale. It is the perfect level for my primary students and has been passed from child to child ever since I book talked it on Tuesday. Wonderful photographs and interesting text. And of course slug slime, slug eggs . . . Such fun! I plan to purchase more of these Creepy Creatures titles.

Slugs #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The New Girl . . . and Me written by Jacqui Robbins and illustrated by Matt Phelan

This is a must have for school library and classroom collections. Themes of friendship, kindness, being new and taking social risks. When Shakeeta shows up in Mia’s classroom, Mia sets out to discover just how she might make her feel at home even though she is not entirely sure what that means. Mia certainly doesn’t want to say anything that might make Shakeeta want to punch her in the head like she threatened to do to the boy making fun of her. Mia’s gestures are sweet, genuine and “iguana friendly.” The story ends with possible new beginnings. Lovely.

The New Girl and Me #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb

Such an inspiring story about Dorothy Thomas, an absolute book hero. Dorothy’s dreams of a fine brick building where she could be librarian never materialized. But her role in bringing books to a community was huge. True testament to how books change lives and connect community. This title is now part of my growing picture book biography collection.

Miss Dorothy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Champion written by Marie Lu

I have read the entire Legend trilogy in the last 5 weeks (around the reading of other novels) and I must admit I am sad to leave the world of June and Day. I don’t want to give anything away so I will just make two comments. One, the ending was not a disappointment. At all. Two, I might have enjoyed this third title in the trilogy most of all. Fantastic YA fiction: lots of action, drama, and intrigue.

Champion #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am currently reading Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. After this, I plan to read The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. My children and I are almost finished Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and we will be starting The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen next (a #MustReadin2014 title).

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 9/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 90/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/65 complete

Happy Reading everyone!

Monday October 8th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? On this Thanksgiving Day weekend I am especially thankful for extra reading time and the community of readers that participate in Jen and Kellee’s meme each week to share what they are reading from picture books to young adult reads. I always learn so much about fantastic books by hearing about what others are reading and sharing.

I read lots of fantastic picture books this week, many discovered at my local public library.

Pssst! by Adam Rex was a lovely surprise. Having just visited the Seattle Woodland Zoo this summer with my children, this book helped me deal a little bit with my zoo “thing.” While I love that people are able to get up close and personal with the animals and that it fosters understanding and inspires awareness about the plight of many endangered animals, I also am uncomfortable about these animals being in cages and stared at all day long. This book is about a little girl wandering from animal exhibit to animal exhibit hearing from each animal about something that they need. It’s everything from tires to flashlights to bicycle helmets. Luckily there is a store across from the zoo that happens to sell everything she needs to grant all of these wishes. What these animals do with all of these objects I will leave for you to discover. But as I say, it calmed my zoo “thing.”

Squid and Octopus Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu. This book contains four wonderful little stories in one picture book. Gorgeous colours – muted blues and greens mostly with some sunny orange and yellow here and there. There is a nice mix of humour and a theme of friendship and I love the commentary by all of the other creatures in the ocean that is spread across the pages.

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey by Mini Grey In this last year, I have developed quite the adoration for Mini Grey books. (Read more here.) The fabulous thing about the Traction Man titles is the focus on the celebration of play, the imagination and the just plain silly. This book is set at the beach and Traction Man has quite the adventure. One large wave draws him out to sea and he is eventually whooshed into a dark and scary cave. He is rescued by a young girl and brought to the Dollies’ Castle where he is decked out in a flowery ensemble and served raspberry ripple ice cream. How will he escape? Much of this humour may be more geared towards adults, but I think there is easily enough here to completely delight young readers as well!

The Retired Kid by Jon Agee Being a kid is sure hard work. Haven’t you heard? The child in this story heads to a retirement home, officially retiring from being a kid. At first all seems great. Lots of naps. Pool parties. Golf carts. Certainly better than spelling and violin practice. But soon aspects of retired life don’t seem so rosy. I love the image of the boy in Friday night swing dancing classes. Perhaps his kid life wasn’t so bad after all? A great book to illustrate the saying “The grass is always greener . . . “

Lines that Wiggle written by Candace Whitman and illustrated by Steve Wilson. This is a beautiful book celebrating the variety of lines that we come across in everyday life. Highlighted here in wonderful illustrations and raised off the page sparkly swirls that just begged to be traced with your finger, this book is a lot of fun to explore. Thinking of all kinds of art projects it might inspire . . .

Watch Me Throw the Ball by Mo Willems. I keep coming cross Elephant and Piggie titles that I haven’t read.  This one has the perfect message: bring fun to everything that you do! It’s all in the attitude!

The Red Tree by Shaun Tan We had friends come for dinner and one of them brought this to share as a read aloud for the adults while all of the kids (seven of them at best count) were running amuck. A beautiful story of hope reminding us to find beauty in the smallest of things. The illustrations could take one days to study. Simply so full of meaning.

I have also been reading and really enjoying Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day  George. In this busy fall, it has been more difficult to get time to read novels. This one was recommended to me by my daughter who loves George’s books. I hope to wake up early in the morning and finish it.