Monday December 2nd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read! This is always my favourite way to discover what to read next.

I read many picture books this week – many aloud to my own children, all to make up for not getting to read as much as I wanted to last week while writing report cards.

I selected my ten favourites to feature here:

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

Just perfectly delightful. A book about a problem that needs solving and having wonderfully, persistently, kind intentions. Sweet. Honest. So engaging. And did I mention wordless. . . ?

Hank finds an Egg #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

No Bears written by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge

A wonderful book for inspiring story writing. Meet Ella, a little girl who loves a creative story but doesn’t love bears. She thinks there are far too many of them in stories today. So Ella is creating a story that will have absolutely no bears. Not a one! But is seems her story is getting a little assistance from a furry creature on the sidelines . . .

No Bears #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Dirty Cowboy written by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Adam Rex

“Wow Mom, that illustrator did a really good job keeping all the privates private!” remarked my son after we read this book. My daughter said, “Disgusting!” a lot. What an amusing story of a very dirty (filthy, with his fair share of critters crawling just about everywhere) cowboy who decided to take a bath in the river. What happens when his loyal dog doesn’t recognize his clean scent? VERY amusing.

The dirty cowboy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Busing Brewster written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by R.G. Roth

A picture book with many important themes: having a dream, the power of libraries to be transformative and what it was like to be black at an all white school. Set in the 1970s when integration was being “helped” along by forced busing – bringing black students into white schools, this story gives children a glimpse into the racial tensions of the time and the complexities of integration.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

Love the desert setting of this classic tale brought to new life by the brilliant Pinkney with an almost wordless title. I particularly enjoyed the last gestures of the hare – an interesting and surprising twist with an equally important message about competition.

The tortoise and the hare #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

I read this title to my children and they were absolutely fascinated by the population data conveyed through the concept in this book – imagine that the world’s population was contained in a village of 100 (each person represents millions). Facts that shocked them: how many people had some kind of faith or another, predicted population growth and the blatant inequity amongst people. Only 24 people in this representative village of 100 have enough to eat? Heart breaking message about our world.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mud written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Lauren Stringer

Oh the messy, gloopy, squishy joys of mud – this title captures it all through lyrical language and richly coloured illustrations. Perfect to practice visualizing.

Mud #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Full, Full, Full of Love written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Paul Howard

Loved the celebration of food, family and affection as Sunday dinner with his family is seen through Jay Jay’s eyes. Language ideal for preschool, early primary children. Happy, happy book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I Lost my Bear by Jules Feiffer

A humorous ode to the child who likes to collect. A bear is lost and it seems like all is lost as we follow this little one on a melodramatic, anxious search.

iIost my bear #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

Poor Billy Twitters, his parents threaten him with a blue whale if he doesn’t do his chores and keep his room clean. Of course, this is just a ridiculous threat, isn’t it? Well . . . no. And so Billy Twitters must now be in charge of a blue whale (have you noticed just how truly big they are??) and take it everywhere he goes. Eventually Billy Twitters discovers this “consequence” has an upside. Absurd and delightful, and it just so happens, the first picture book written by Mac Barnett.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I am terrible about being ahead of the game for the holidays in terms of shopping, baking, decorating, etc but we do own a beautiful collection of holiday books. I set out 24 to read next to the Advent calendars – one for each night (and there are plenty more on the shelf for when the evening calls for a few!) The one thing in the holidays I do do well – celebrate holiday stories! Tonight’s read was a new one for me

Winter’s Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan

A beautiful story of hope and all that is important in the holiday season as an old man faces his first Christmas alone.

 Winter's Gift #IMWAYR

I also finished The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Magical. Lyrical. Beautiful. Mysterious. What a vulnerable, strange (in the best of ways) and hopeful of stories. On one level, this story is a fantastical tale of magic, mystery and monsters. On another, it is all about the most human element in all of us – wanting to be safe and belong. All along, I felt the story was beautiful. But by the end, I was in awe.

The Real Boy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? A.S. King‘s Reality Boy. And plans for many more holiday stories . . .

Happy Reading everyone!

When is it brave . . . ?

We had an interesting discussion about courage today. Is it courageous to do something scary if it actually doesn’t scare you? Does being brave mean facing your fears? Is courage a personal thing depending on your own individual qualms? Hmm . . . We decided that we should start with figuring out and writing down some of our own fears. I started and shared some of mine – losing my children in a public place (the classic Mommy nightmare). Mice. In my house. Being in a small motorized boat on the open sea – the speed, what lurks in that deep dark water, being stranded far from land, ahhh! Scary!

Many students were able to share fears easily – fire, the dark, robbers, rats, dogs, getting lost, a family member getting sick. Lots of honesty, lots of discussion. Some students claimed they are not afraid of anything. At all. Not the dentist? Monsters? Talking in front of a crowd? Nope. Nothing. Interesting. This makes me wonder about the fear of admitting our fears and about the posturing denying it involves.

Are the bravest of us those who confess all of our fears readily? Are some of us truly fearless?

We read a book to remind us that there are all kinds of scary things.

Some Things are Scary (No Matter How Old You Are) written by Florence Parry Heide and illustrated by Jules Feiffer is full of examples of everyday potentially frightening things. Super easy to connect to – the class was full of “Eeews” and “Ahhs” and “Oh yeah, scary” as they listened.

From the story:

“Roller skating down hill when you haven’t figured out how to stop – is scary”

“Finding out your best friend has a best friend – who isn’t you – is scary.”

“Telling a lie – is scary.”

Heide’s simple statements and Feiffer’s delightful illustrations allow us to fill in the blanks and really imagine how scary some of these things might be. Yes, we are reminded of many fears but also reassured that we all have some. (Well, except, a few students of mine who are apparently fearless!)

The first of many books we will be reading on the theme of courage.