Monday September 17th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Now that we are back to school and I have my new class, I have some photos to share.

I love this one: “I found a big WOW!”

One reader with a big pile of books.

Reading is better with a friend.

Ks came to buddy read!

#classroombookaday titles on the theme of friendship. We learned that sometimes we find friends in unexpected ways.

Classroom Highlights 

Dot day art making was a lot of fun!

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:

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates, co written with Juniper Bates 

A big message – we all belong and there is room for all of us. Wow, is this one timely. Gorgeous.

Let Me Finish! written by Minh Lé and illustrated by Isabel Roxas

A clever way to send the message – don’t spoil the story! Would pair wonderfully with How to Read a Story and Interrupting Chicken. Excited to share this one with my class.

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre. 

A seasonal stunner. Going to be first up tomorrow and will lead the way for a number of other books celebrating autumn. Photographs and poetic text are purely spectacular.

Mission Defrostable (Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast #3) written by Josh Funk with illustrations byBrendan Kearney

Another rhyming escapade full of adventure in the fridge (and now freezer). This one has a whole lot of humour and some mysterious surprises.  Huge kid appeal.

The Itchy Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Like Reading book) by LeUyen Pham

Is it possible to read this book aloud and not get itchy? Not smirk if not out and out giggle? Nope.

A True Home (Heartwood Hotel #1) by Kallie George

I finally got to read the first book in this series (a little longer than many transitional chapter titles but still a lovely balance between text and illustrations). It is definitely sweet and engaging. Lots of adventure but also real character development. Can see young readers loving this one.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang 

I was kind of blown away by this one – partly because so many story events were based on Yang’s actual childhood. A book that examines immigration, the sacrifices of immigrant parents, poverty, discrimination and the incredible will and spirit of a pretty incredible character – Mia. I have been recommending this widely.

Lousiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

I read this in one sitting and I am in love. DiCamillo is some kind of writer. This story is  absolutely beautifully written. Take an emotional walk alongside Louisiana Elefante as she tells her story. What a story! I could listen to this girl all day. Especially if I won one of those deliciously described cakes in the betty Allen Cake Raffle. Chocolate marble please. Cake, coffee and this story. Perfection.

Up next? I am reading Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 13/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 159/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 53 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 20/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 29/40 books read

Monday May 14th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Here are a few.

Nonfiction sharing circles to generate excitement about nonfiction reading!

Quiet moments during Reading Workshop.

This little Dory Fantasmagory fan can’t put this series down!

How I love independent reading time!

I need to play catch up with sharing #classroombookaday titles Here are the books we have been reading. See if you can guess each weekly theme.

Classroom Highlights 

Making mini homes in the Art and Discovery studio. These are just incredible!

Drawing our creations.

Nonfiction fact detectives.

Making nature art in the garden with fallen materials.

Gorgeous flower gardens painted for Mother’s Day cards.

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:

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët

This book is a must own, must share title. One of the loveliest titles to talk about what it is to stand up and stand with someone who has been bullied. Wordless and absolutely wonderful.

Yak and Dove written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Esmé Shapiro

I love the quirkiness of Maclear’s books – this one still has some eccentric elements but it is a wonderful collection of three friendship stories.

 One Family by George Shannon with illustrations by Blanca Gomez

One family might be so many things.

Albie Newton written by Josh Funk with illustrations by Ester Garay

Josh Funk introduces us to little Albie Newton, boy genius. Little Albie has concocted quite the plan to make some new friends. Will his classroom survive a day of his tinkering and imagining? Told in Funk’s signature rhyming style.

I’ve Got Feet!: Fantastical Feet of the Animal World by Julie Murphy with illustrations by Hannah Tolson

The perfect story time nonfiction read aloud for younger listeners. The unique feet animals have and how they use them.

Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder

Kind of brilliant. Tells a pet story like none I have ever read.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Middle grade perfection. Connor just keeps getting better and better. I dare you not to want to root for Mason Buttle as every kind of grief soaked kind of bad luck gets thrown at him. This story has so many layers. Would be a fantastic read aloud in a middle grade classroom. (Grade 5 and up)

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

This young adult novel does not shy away from any of the harrowing details that are part of a refugee’s journey. Follow Tareq and his family as he leaves Syria in search of safety and hope.

Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai 

I learned so much about the Syrian crisis in this book about Nadia and her desperate search to become reunited with her family as her city is being bombed. This is a middle grade read.

Up next? Think I will be picking up an adult novel – every so often, it happens!

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 20/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 95/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 14 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 9/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 16/40 books read

Monday May 22nd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.  Or two 🙂

These two are pointing out that we just have the first six titles in this series and . . . don’t I feel like doing a little book shopping? Because there are more titles . . . Hint. Hint. How can I resist?

#IMWAYR

Kids and books are everywhere during buddy reading!

#IMWAYR

#classroombookaday photo We have been travelling the world learning about biomes, ecosystems, evolution, endangered animals, etc. Love nonfiction books!

#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

Books I enjoyed:

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle written by Jude Isabella and illustrated by Simone Shin

This Citizen Kid title would make an excellent read aloud in the classroom. One very special bicycle makes its way from North America to West Africa.

Melvis and Elvis written by Dennis Lee and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

My children were raised on Dennis Lee! I love sharing his work in the classroom too and this title will find a spot next to all of our other Dennis Lee titles in the poetry section on our shelves. Lots of silly here!

The Case of the Stinky Stench written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney

Another full out fridge adventure. Some suspicious stenches accompany Josh Funk’s delightful rhyming text. Another winner!

My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas by Katherine Dearlove and illustrated by Lori Joy Smith

Can’t wait to share this one in my classroom. Perfect title for students to navigate.

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

This might be my favourite title so far by Kelly. Four main characters and some delightful supporting roles (love Virgil’s Lola). Unique characters here. Individual. Lonely. Determined. A highly, highly recommended middle grade read.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 26/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 129/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2017: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 20/50 books read

Up next? I have a few titles on the go including Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt and See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Monday August 22nd, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. During the summer, these photos will be about getting my classroom library up and running for a room full of readers in September.

Here is my read aloud by theme collection nicely tucked into a cabinet.

Monday August 22nd, 2016 There's a Book for That

Nonfiction? Yes! One area (still missing labels) sorted and ready for readers. Working on another area tomorrow.

Monday August 22nd, 2016 There's a Book for That

This week, I started labelling spines by genre. Getting there literally one book at a time.

Monday August 22nd, 2016 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 2015

Books I enjoyed:

Pirasaurs written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Michael Slack

Huge kid appeal in this title. I featured it earlier this week here.

Pirasaurs JF

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. Gently perfect. I think I need to own it.

The Knowing Book

 A Beginner’s Guide To Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson with illustrations by David Roberts

This is funny – funny while all the while worried about a child actually getting mauled by a bear – funny. Very interesting to use as a mentor text for writing – how are facts and humour woven throughout? Would love to read this aloud to a group of students.

A Beginner's Guide To Bear Spotting

 

Ooko by Esmé Shapiro

The perfect kind of quirky, charming story line and illustrations. Lots of humour. And a dose of what to look for in a friend advice. Pay close attention.

Ooko

The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman with illustrations by David Roberts

How had I missed reading this one? Love David Roberts’ illustrations here. .

The Dunderheads

This is NOT a Cat! by David Larochelle with illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka

This would be a very fun and loud read aloud experience with little listeners who would soon become active participants. Such fun!

This is NOT a cat!

Clara Humble and the Not so Super Powers by Anna Humphrey with illustrations by Lisa Cinar

This is the first book in a new series perfectly suited to readers Grade 3 and up. Clara Humble is convinced that she has super powers. More and more things happen that make it seem perfectly plausible. And if you have super powers, you really should use them . . . Right? This title has much young reader appeal: interesting comic drawings featuring @Cat (Clara’s very own comic strip), an honest, mistake making character full of creative plans and imaginative thinking and a plot full of action, adventure and friendship mishaps. Like many chapter book series for younger readers, this title is fast paced and funny but it doesn’t shy away from allowing the reader to experience some of Clara’s challenges and blunders and what she needs to do to make things right. I look forward to introducing this series to my new class this fall.

Clara Humble and the Not so Super Powers

Nine, Ten: A September 11th Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Told from the perspective of four different young characters in the few days preceding September 11th, 2001, this novel weaves themes of human connection, vulnerabilities and emotions. Powerful, honest and important. Beautiful writing by Baskin.

Nine, Ten- A September 11th Story

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 34/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 231/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 29/50 books read

Up Next? I am reading The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Pirates? Dinosaurs? No! Pirasaurs!

If kids were in charge of the world, there would be a lot more french fries. And huge twisty slides everywhere. Trampolines. Swimming pools. Candy by the bucket. Rollercoasters in school playgrounds. You get the idea.

And the creatures! We’d have pet monsters. Frogs in our bathtubs. Ponies? One would arrive on everyone’s fifth birthday. Automatically. No wishing or pleading necessary. Dragons and unicorns would absolutely exist. And of course dinosaurs would not be extinct.

And all of those exciting characters you might want to spend time with? Magicians? Witches? Wizards? Pirates? Trolls? A sorceress or two? Robots who do chores and serve customized ice cream sundaes? Of course they would be around. They might even live next door.

There would be many an adventure. Like treasure hunting. Sword fights. Bewitching things. Time travel.

When books hold promise of all of this fun and adventure? When they make us giggle? When they are silly and full of hoped for possibility? Then they have big time kid appeal.

Big time kid appeal means children fall in love with a book because it has a whole bunch of things they adore all in one place. It’s meant just for them. When we read them these books aloud, big kinda surprised eyes look up at us like we have just granted permission to eat pizza and milkshakes while having a bubble bath with a new puppy. “Ah, you get it! Fun!”

Josh Funk gets fun. He gets kid appeal. He offers up some of those things children wish for. The adventure. The duelling. Finding treasure. And he makes up the best characters! First it was royal breakfast food who raced about in the fridge.

Now he has imagined pirate dinosaurs. Who hunt treasure and battle.

Kid appeal and then some.

Author Josh Funk gives a sneak peek:

We’re Pirasaurs! We’re Pirasaurs!

We grunt and roar and sneer!

We’ll steal your books with tails and hooks

And own the blogosphere!

We’re Pirasaurs! We’re Pirasaurs!

We pose a giant threat!

We’ll slash and duel and soon we’ll rule

The world-wide internet!

We’re Pirasaurs! We’re Pirasaurs!

Our story is fantastic!

This grand hardback by Funk & Slack

Is published by Scholastic!

… and will be available on August 30th wherever books are sold!

So be on the lookout! The Pirasaurs are arriving soon.

Hint, hint, that’s them rowing towards you! (Don’t claim you haven’t been warned!)

Pirosaurs! Josh Funk

Thanks to the creative energies of author Josh Funk and illustrator Michael Slack, there will be many a young reader asking for this book to be read aloud just once more!

I am thrilled to celebrate the happy anticipation of this new release!

Pirasaurs by Josh Funk

Don’t you wish you were a pirasaur?

Josh Funk

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?

Monday September 28th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This week I had to share a very special reading moment. This is one of many reading duos that happens during afternoon reading where a more confident reader spontaneously reads aloud to a growing reader who joins in when he or she can. It it a pretty delightful thing to watch.

Monday September 28th, 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 2015

I missed last week’s post due to a computer glitch so this is 2 weeks worth of updates. I narrowed it down to my favourite picture books to keep the list reasonable.

On the blog:

For Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG/YA fiction

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

An honest check in regarding the literacy in my new classroom: Celebration: From Here

Celebration: Little Sparks (a week later we are beginning to fan those little sparks)

Books I loved:

I am Yoga written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Gorgeous. It reads calm and pure just like its message.

I am yoga Monday September 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

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

I was so thrilled to share this title as a read aloud and am even more excited to invite my last year’s students to a recess read aloud later this week (we pre-loved this book back in June). So much silly, so much funny, rhymes that work and a trail of suspense as we move through a refrigerator adventure. We laughed a lot during this book but there was also lots of absolutely “captured” little faces waiting to discover what would happen next! Josh Funk managed to achieve an ideal balance between the silly and the adventure. I actually read this aloud to an adult after school on Thursday who was equally captivated. It’s that good that you immediately want to rush out and find a listener!

Some highlights of our read aloud experience:

  • Early on when Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast announced that they were going to race for the last drop of syrup, one little boy started to quietly chant, “Share it! Share it!” At the end, he shook his head. “See, they should have shared.”
  • On page four, one child leaned into another and announced: “I like this book already.”
  • During the bean avalanche, one little boy started shaking his head, “Oh oh. The beans are waking up and getting cranky.”
  • When BVW did his thing (avoiding a spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t read it), many children began a conversation that ended with general consensus that BVW should be eaten!
  • There was pure despair when the butter was going to be shared. “No, don’t let the butter die!”
  • During playtime, about 30 minutes after we finished the book, one little boy came up to me and said very seriously, “I’m voting for the waffle.”
  • This was our #classroombookaday book of the week with many many votes and a little note scrawled on the chalkboard that I discovered at the end of the day “+ 500 more”

Lady Pancake Monday September 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton and illustrated by Brian Deines

An important book that depicts how access to education is so very complicated. With a bicycle, a long arduous walk transforms into a manageable ride.

In A Cloud Of Dust Monday September 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Elwood Bigfoot: Wanted: Birdie Friends by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Nate Wragg

This is one sweet book. So lovely that I will soon be featuring it on the blog with student reactions (also very sweet). I am completely smitten with Elwood.

Elwood Bigfoot Monday September 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Water Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija

I adore all of these titles by Salas and Dabija but am perhaps most excited to share this one with my class when we begin our theme on water in a few weeks. Such an amazing book to allow students to think more broadly and creatively about something so much a part of their lives.

Water Can Be Monday September 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Hilo: The Boy who Crashed to the Earth by Judd Winick

Oh Hilo! Joy. Adventure. High degree of action. Engaging characters. An absolute winner in the graphic novel department.

Hilo Monday September 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens

It is totally cliche to talk of being completely lost in a book about being lost in the mountains. But, this book pulled me in and I had a really difficult time putting it down. Lori Lansens is one of my all time favourite writers so I couldn’t miss this title when I heard it was released. An incredible survival story that leads us nowhere safe through memories, dreams and visions. Wolf Truly sets off on his eighteenth birthday to jump to his death from a ridge overlooking Palm Springs. Up on the mountain he meets three women, three generations of one family who become stranded with Wolf. This is a story you won’t soon forget.

The Mountain Story Monday September 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 54/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 332/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 60/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 39/50 books read

Up next? I am reading a number of titles including Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ( a rare adult read)