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.

IMWAYR 2015

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 January 2nd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Here are some displays of previous Caldecott award winners set up to greet my students when they return from their break. We launch our Mock Caldecott unit on Tuesday! I am so excited!

Monday January 2nd, 2016 Monday January 2nd, 2016 Monday January 2nd, 2016

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 2015

On the blog:

Nonfiction favourites from 2016: 10 titles I loved

Year End Update for #Mustreadin2016

Want to join us in 2017? Check back on Thursday (the 5th) to connect to everyone making a #MustReadin2017 list

Celebration: Writing I celebrated a year of words and highlighted posts that told the story of my year.

Books I enjoyed:

We Sang You Home written by Richard Van Camp and illustrated by Julie Flett

This title is absolutely beautiful – lyrical and celebratory, it speaks to the joy and wonder of welcoming a new one into our lives. Of course, a perfect gift for new families.

we-sang-you-home

This is My Book! by Mark Pett

Just saying, I think Pett might have had a little help here. See for yourself! Would be an engaging read aloud!

this-is-my-book

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raúl Colón

Wow. I love when nonfiction is the perfect blend of incredible story and breathtaking pictures – increases the wonder factor exponentially! This biography of Marie Tharp is one I would like to own.

solving-the-puzzle-under-the-sea-marie-tharp-maps-the-ocean-floor

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

Truly a remarkable story. George Moses Horton loved words so much he was able to teach himself to read as a child when slaves were never permitted to learn to read and write. As a young man, George wrote such beautiful poems that he was able to earn enough money to temporarily “buy” permission from his owner to live in town and just write. This of course required that he paid for this “temporary” freedom. His master would not agree to allow George to completely buy his freedom though and it wasn’t until after the Civil War that he was finally free. Just an incredible read.

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The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford

This title tells the story of the invention of the slinky but also celebrates an entire journey of invention and its impact on a family. Really interesting!

the-marvelous-thing-that-came-from-a-spring-9781481450652_hr

Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle and Jason Adam Katzenstein

So what if you happen to board the wrong bus to camp and ended up at a camp where campers got to be their true selves at midnight but you had no true self to reveal because you were really human, not hiding in a human form? Yes, that is the storyline of this creepy little graphic novel that I am sure kids will just eat up.

campmidnight_gn

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

I must admit I had no idea how this story was supposed to work and wasn’t sure what exactly was going on or how I felt about some of it and then, wow, how this all comes together . . . Kind of brilliant.

american-born-chinese

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I don’t often read more than a few books in a series because I find typically, the story starts to disintegrate and each book can’t hold its own and at the same time, tie everything together. Not so here. I remained completely engaged right to the end of this fourth book in The Raven Cycle.

The Raven King

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel with illustrations by Jon Klassen

Although this book is absolutely frightening, it is also absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking. Highly, highly recommended.

the-nest

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

A novel in verse not to be missed. Celebrate as Garvey is able to find himself and move beyond the self-doubt, the teasing and bullying and the pressure of his father’s expectations.

garveys-choice

Reading Progress updates: I didn’t meet all of my goals for 2016 (but came very close) and I am letting that go . . .  Moving on to 2017!

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 2/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 2/365 books read

Progress on challenge: For today, ahead of the game!

#MustReadin2017: 1/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 0/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 1/50 books read

Gift Books 2016: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season

I love to book shop all year round. In the winter holiday season, I love to insist everyone else should partake. Making a picture book list to give is one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014.  Last year I bumped the list to 25 (2015). And this number seems to be the sweet spot. There are lots of books to love! It is a joy to recommend many of my favourites of the year!

Gift Books 2016: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Which books make the list? There are some things I think about. Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make its readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Does it freeze time? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh?

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

Simply the perfect mentor text for poetry writing. Enough said. Well, except to point out that the illustrations are especially swoon worthy.

Daniel Finds a Poem Monday April 11th, 2016

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato

I think this picture book has shades of pure perfection within it. A spotlight on the ridiculous “must be” wedding planning that occurs when love should just prevail. And please note, this is love for love’s sake. Not love that fits in any cookie cutter mold. How I adore this book.

WormLoves Worm

Where’s the Elephant? by Barroux

Beyond a search and find which it seems to be just a few pages in. Not at all. It is a statement about development encroaching on habitat. Of what this means to our world and the animals in it. Powerful. So, powerful. The perfect book to introduce environmental studies. To begin conversations. To worry about. And maybe to inspire change.

Wheres-the-Elephant Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

Return by Aaron Becker

The third book in a trilogy (give the entire collection!). I love each book for particular reasons. This title must be experienced so that you can see how it continues the stories started in Journey and Quest. I think this cover image is my favourite of the three.

Return

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown

I echo what so many others say – oh, if this book had only existed when my children were small. It has so much going on! Each page is full of details and yet a very lovely story of one family unfolds throughout. Spend ages on each page.

the-airport-book

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell with illustrations by Rafael López

This is such an inspiring book based on actual events in San Diego – how a neighborhood can be changed and strengthened by art. Illustrator Rafael López is more than the illustrator here – he is the inspiration for the character of the muralist.

Maybe Something Beautiful

It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton

This book is absolutely delightful. Since actual letters and personal mail is quite the novelty in this day and age, surprises arriving by post really are special. Maybe too much so . . .

It Came in the Mail

A Hungry Lion or a dwindling assortment of animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins

This book is very funny. Very, very funny. It requires that wonderful page flipping back and forth phenomenon – “Did that really happen?” I don’t want to give anything away but will say the surprises delighted me. Can’t wait to read this to a group of children.

a-hungry-lion-or-a-dwindling-assortment-of-animals Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Knowing Book written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich with illustrations by Matthew Cordell

When this book was first published, someone said it was my kind of book. It is most definitely my kind of book. I think it might also be your kind of book. Gently perfect.

The Knowing Book

The Night Gardener by the Fan brothers 

This is just a wow title. It has so much of what I love in a picture book – some surprises, a intergenerational connection, a sense of wonder, lots of creativity . . . Divine.

The Night Gardener Monday April 11th, 2016

Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

This book is so well done. Talking about the story is giving away the story. So I’ll just say this: clever, really funny, perfect read aloud to inspire much conversation about how to look at life.

Barnacle is Bored Monday August 15th, 2016 There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

This book of poetry is kind of pure perfection. Julie Morstad’s illustrations. Julie Fogliano‘s beautiful images. I can’t pick a favourite poem. But I have many a favourite line.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo

This book is just incredibly beautiful in its simplicity – the search for silence. One to share and share again. The illustrations are captivating.

the-sound-of-silence

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Full of all kinds of fabulous Hatke-esque characters and its star – the Goblin, is one to root for. This will be loved.

nobody-likes-a-goblin

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce just might be my favourite grump. Lots of giggles here.

hotel-bruce2

Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

Oh Flora, you sure can move. And this time with not one, but two, dancing partners. Stunning all around!

Flora and the Peacocks Monday May 30th, 2016 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Like many, I eagerly anticipated this title. Klassen is so unique. I love the subtle things here. The hints. The suggestions. The not neatly wrapped up ending. The room for readers to do some work.

We Found a Hat

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

This is a tender book about friendship and loss. Allows for conversations about preparing for a death and carrying on. A very special (fictional) story based on a real connection between two bears in New York’s Central Park Zoo.

Ida, Always Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Finding Wild written by Megan Wagner Lloyd and illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Where can you find wild? What is wild to you? Why do we need wild? How is wild beautiful and dangerous all at the same time. Just so full of wow.

Finding Wild Monday May 30th, 2016 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Listzs by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Júlia Sardà (coming in October)

Quirky with gorgeous illustrations and prompts wonderful list making. A great book to share with children who appreciate all the lovely language in the lists. Highly recommended.

the-liszts

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

So very clever. Literal twists and turns! Quite the reading experience exploring the feeling of time’s passage on a road trip.

Are we there Yet?

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Because picture books are especially treasured as they lull us to sleep.

twenty-yawns

 

The Water Princess by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

This might be my favourite title by this author/illustrator pairing. The illustrations here are incredible.

the-water-princess

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Brilliant. So rich with possibilities to share and talk about perspective, self and the world.

they-all-saw-a-cat

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

Well, I am absolutely smitten. This book speaks of friendship and individuality and acceptance and patience. I am kind of in love.

Be a Friend

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

Monday October 17th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This is a peek into my room first thing in the morning. What are my students doing as they wait for the day to begin? Reading. Always reading. Makes me beyond happy.

Monday October 17th, 2016

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. What theme do you see in these titles?

Monday October 17th, 2016

Here it is pretty obvious – biographies of interesting men – thinkers, artists, problem solvers and heroes. Of course, biographies featuring women will be on the horizon.

Monday October 17th, 2016

I didn’t post last week even though I was reading – I have a pretty beautiful excuse: a road trip into the B.C. mountains:

Monday October 17th, 2016

We celebrated my children’s 14th birthday with a weekend of hiking, train rides, rock hunting and family.

Monday October 17th, 2016

My sister and I on the banks of the Fraser River in Lillooet, BC. We lived here for about a year when we were children.

Monday October 17th, 2016

We got to hike in places like this – pretty spectacular scenery. Ah, the colours of fall!

Monday October 17th, 2016 Monday October 17th, 2016

Monday October 17th, 2016

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 2015

Books I enjoyed:

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

So very, very beautiful even though it is like this book is brewed in loneliness and solitude. There is sadness and hope. Quiet. Space. Mysteries.

the-uncorker-of-ocean-bottles

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce just might be my favourite grump.

hotel-bruce2

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Like many, I eagerly anticipated this title. Klassen is so unique. I love the subtle things here. The hints. The suggestions. The not neatly wrapped up ending. The room for readers to do some work.

We Found a Hat

 I Will Not Eat You written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Charming and sweet while still full of whimsy and fun.

i-will-not-eat-you

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

giant-squid

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Oh, the kid appeal! I chuckled through this and did a lot of head shaking. There is one scene that involves a pile of dog poop that I know I never would have thought of – thankfully! But I am sure this will become a favourite page for some of my readers. This book is flying through my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

dog-man-by-dav-pilkey

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

I adore Piper. She is one plucky kid whose energy makes her leap right off the page. Love that this series seems to stretch its appeal right into grade 4.

piper-green-and-the-fairy-tree-the-sea-pony-by-ellen-potter

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

The fantasy and magical realism in this title didn’t really shine for me. I have loved Raina’s expertise in wading around in the everyday real of young characters. This story had me too distracted. I have also read the questions and concerns surrounding this title and its depiction of the Day of the Dead celebrations at the missions.

ghosts-2

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

How a story about a robot can be so tender, I don’t know. Heavily illustrated which makes it wonderfully rich.

wildrobotcover

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

I suppose that yes, we can call this a sad book. A teacher who is ill. Students who adore and miss her. But this is mostly a human book full of connection, compassion and everyday adventure and humour.

ms-bixbys-last-day

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 278/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 22/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 37/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 32/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

I haven’t participated in this meme for almost a year but today’s topic of course called to me.

This week’s topic? Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

I would purchase a variety of titles – picture books and novels for my classroom. Some I would need to preorder.

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

I fell in love with this picture book this week. It surprised me in the best of ways and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Grandad's Island Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

This one is published in October of 2016 and I can’t wait. LOVE Klassen’s hat titles. They have the ideal amount of wit and dark charm in an engaging story.

We Found a Hat Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

I love everything that Jenkins and Page do and own most of their titles. This one was released in May and I would love to add it to my collection.

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohman

This one is released in September and it looks fantastic. Fleming does such interesting titles and paired with Eric Rohman? Can’t wait to see this book!

Giant Squid Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood with illustrations by Sally Wern Comport

I am so intrigued by everything I have heard about this book. I think it would make an ideal read aloud in an intermediate classroom.

ada's Violin Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

I read and loved this book in April. Thinking I would like to read it as a read aloud with my new class so would need to have my own copy.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I so loved reading the first two Dory titles aloud to my class. Can’t wait to see what she gets up to next. This book hits shelves September 20th!

Dory Dory Black Sheep Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

I have been waiting for another Barbara O’Connor title. Not always patiently. Because every book she writes is some kind of magic.  I am the starring member of my own O’Connor fan club. This spring I almost met her in person. One day . . . This title is released at the end of the summer.

wish Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

I heard Peter Brown talk about his first novel in February. I can’t wait to get my own copy!

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager

I read this earlier in the year from the library. It is one book I really think I need to own as I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

hour of the Bees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

What about you? Where would your book shopping lead you?

Monday July 25th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. My classroom is certainly not full of children and I have repacked many books so that floors can be waxed and shelves can be gathered. So it also looks like it is not full of books! This is what the stack of classroom collection titles looked like when I left them a week ago. Tomorrow I head in to put my read aloud titles (fiction and nonfiction) away in another area of the room where there are shelves and cupboards. Another stack of books in that area awaits me!!

Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

And here is my reading spot last week – out on the balcony with my morning coffee on Pender Island. Just beautiful.

Monday July 25th, 2016 #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 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 2015

On the Blog:

We spent the last week away and so not much blogging has happened. I did manage a few posts since my last #IMWAYR:

Still processing my move in this Slice of Life: Giving away the Guilt

A “listen along” review of Ah-Choo! written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams

Books I enjoyed:

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

I was lucky to have been passed an ARC of this lovely little title when I introduced Melissa Sweet in Bellingham in the spring at the Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference. I saved it (well, there was much peeking) until we went away this summer so I could read it in one sitting. It is fantastically good which, if you read the book is over the top wordy to just say what should be said in plain English: Go buy this book when it is released (October 4th, 2016) and then pass it on to everyone you know to read. That’s how good. As usual, Sweet knocked me over with her detailed illustrations and precisely chosen quotes and text.

Some Writer! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

I have wanted to read this book for a while but avoided it because I was afraid of the stress of experiencing this natural disaster through a young character’s experience. There were some difficult scenes, made especially hard because connecting to the characters happens quickly. A really well done title.

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit 

This is more of a YA novel even though the young main character of Anna begins the book at eleven years old. This book is philosophical and dark. Full of the challenges, violence  and absurdities of war but wrapped up in the story of only a few characters. As they travel over land, the reader travels in their heads. Such an introspective title. I quite enjoyed it.

Anna and the Swallow Man Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

This book is part fairy tale, part fantasy, part sadness, part mystery. Except not really. It might not be any of those things. It is a story of Finley Hart and one summer where she is sent to live with her extended family she doesn’t know. Captivating. Captured an endless summer feeling – with being at a home with cousins and grandparents and new found friends. Although, there are darker elements. Can see this being a fantastic book club title. Highly recommended.

Some Kind of Happiness Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Yes, really, as good as all of the raving. I fell hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Pax-Sara-Pennypacker Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some picture books:

Ah-Choo! is written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams with illustrations by Ken Min

I shared more details in my post a week or so ago. See link above.

 Ah-Choo! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

I love how this title celebrates style but also honours the joy of play. Especially wonderful? The characters are beautifully diverse! I loved the illustrations.  Even though this title plays with the Mary Had a Little lamb rhyme, it is the celebration of children that stands out to me here. I can see little ones adoring this book and wanting to hear it multiple times!

Mary Had a Little Glam Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Of course this inspires all kinds of imagining about potential art projects with found objects. for this reason, this title is relevant right into high school even though the story would best be shared during a story time session.

Rain Fish Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Dig In! by Cindy Jenson-Elliot with illustrations by Mary Peterson

Who doesn’t want to literally lay their hands in the dirt after experiencing this book? Perfect for a classroom of primary students to launch a gardening unit. Introduces the concept that there is much happening in the soil (insects, worms, seeds, etc. )

Dig In! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

 

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 28/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 191/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 27/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 25/50 books read

Up next? I am reading  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña

Top Ten Read Aloud Experiences (2015)

The #TopTenTuesday theme this week is the top ten best books read in 2015. How we interpret this theme? Up to us. I have some Best of Lists coming up on the blog so I decided to tackle this list a little differently.

My theme this week: Top Ten Read Aloud experiences of 2015.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

I am looking at the calendar year of 2015. From January to June I taught a Grade 3/4 class. Since September I have taught a Grade 2/3 class.

The Scar written by Charolette Moundlic and illustrated by Olivier Tallec

I happen to own a number of books that deal with grief. I always figured that when I needed them, I would have them. And so I keep them close. Now, I need them. Sharing this very emotionally challenging book about a little boy whose mother has died with a little one who needed to see herself in the pages of a book was a read aloud experience I will never forget. Ever. Watching her lighter afterwards made me so glad I have that important stack for when.

The Scar

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney

I appreciated all of the pre-book love this title got in my room. And so, of course, my students from last year had to come in during a recess to have me read this title aloud when Josh Funk sent it our way. This book will always represent serious reading community.

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

This was the first read aloud I attempted with my class this fall. I needed an all kinds of amazing title for a group of kids who had never experienced a chapter book read aloud before. This book delivered!

I was thrilled that Abby Hanlon shared our read aloud joy with this book on her blog.

Dory Fantasmagory

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

When students remain after the bell just to share impressions and reactions, you know you have a winner. I blogged about our beautiful read aloud experience here.

This is Sadie

Wish by Matthew Cordell 

This book means something to me on many, many levels. I read it aloud to my class of three years to send them off on our last day together with the very important message – they were everything I could have wished for and more . . .  And yes, I cried. Those joyous, emotional, meaningful tears.

Wish

Little Robot by Ben Hatke

I have never read aloud a graphic novel before. A graphic novel that is basically wordless but for a number of robot noises. This title held my class absolutely spell bound. And inspired!

Little Robot

Little Robot

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Shouting. Shouting. Shouting. This book will always be about the shouting audience. “No! They missed it again!” “Oh my God!” “Seriously?!” This book absolutely surpassed my read aloud expectations!

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by

There was some absolute blow me away kind of thinking around this book in my class. I recorded it here. Children’s compassion and wisdom is a beautiful thing.

A Boy and a Jaguar

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

Reading this title was definitely about watching a book be loved. It was also about watching fans be made. Loved every minute of it!

Ballet Cat

Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles

This is such an incredible title to read aloud. There are moments where the room fills with hold your breath hope that I might not ever forget. This title made funerals such a fascinating prospect that one student earnestly asked my parents (reading volunteers extraordinaire) if she could attend their funerals! I suppose when you spend all day with 8 year olds, the past 65 year olds who visit once a week seem like your best “might have a funeral” prospects. My parents have great senses of humour so recounting this request has been a constant source of amusement!

Each Little Bird That Sings

Do you have some unforgettable read aloud moments?