Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017

Picture book 10 for 10 is here! This is one of the best days of the year to increase your knowledge of amazing picture books. It may also be a tad expensive . . . You’ve been warned!

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my sixth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. In 2014, I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness. In 2015. I highlighted favourite historical fiction titles. Last year I chose books that may inspire philosophical discussion

This year’s theme is the theme I chose for #classroombookaday with my Grade 4 and 5 class during the last week of school. I told them I was going to read books that were beautifully quirky and that I wanted to be sure I shared with them before our year together ended. Beautifully quirky is a great category. These books lead to awe and wonder. Questions and discussions. And many rereads.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

These books are wonderfully odd. My kind of odd. I hope your kind of odd. Books that leave you thinking. That awe you with the wild and the beautiful and the unexpected or unexplained.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (2014)

This book will always be about the shouting audience. “No! They missed it again!” “Oh my God!” “Seriously?!” This book is all about theories. Digging in, around and but never really out is highly satisfying.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket with illustrations by Lisa Brown (2017)

This book really is about a goldfish ghost who travels around in search of a place to belong. Quietly clever and speaks to some important themes: the cycle of life, belonging and companionship.

Goldfish Ghost Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for ThatNot Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima (2017)

Kelp was born in the ocean and raised by narwhals. Something has always seemed not quite right. Then one night, he discovers unicorns. Is this the answer to everything? Or just some things. Who we are, where we belong, how big all of this can be. Lovely little book.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken (2017)

This book begins with an eye that was drawn too large. Where it ends up? Oh my! A creative and inspiring journey.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Snurtch written by Sean Ferrell with illustrations by Charles Santoso (2016)

Well, if we all have a Snurtch – and I suppose we do – I would hope that mine is this cute. A charming story that reminds us of all the emotions and moods inside of us. Because, oh yes, it isn’t all happy happy joy joy.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Day I Became a Bird by Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi (2016)

I am utterly enamoured by the illustrations in this book about a boy willing to be a bird to attract the attention of the girl he swoons over.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis  (2016)

Invented language. Over the top stunning illustrations. This book invites the reader to climb inside and help tell the story over and over again.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Liszits written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Júlia Sardà (2016)

I use the word quirky every time I pick this book up. It is absolutely captivating. The story. The lists. The illustrations. I can’t share this with anyone without reading them the entire book and then we both just sit back in awe. Inspired.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming with illustrations by Boris Kulikov (2013)

Creativity. Focus. Absurdity. Inventiveness. The language is fun. The entire family is involved and Papa models the curiosity and persistence of an inventor. This book is “almost true” based on the life of Lodner Phillips who really did build The Whitefish, an actual functioning submarine.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt (2015)

Who better to introduce children to the stages of grief than a bug swallowed up in a vacuum? Right? Huh? Love this book! Students do too.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10

pb-10-for-10What titles would make your beautifully quirky list? 

Happy picture book reading!  

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.


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.


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.


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.


Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

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


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.


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.



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.


They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

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


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 September 19th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Here is the first reading photo of students in my new room! This group loves to read and they literally perch all around the room and get lost in their books.

Monday September 19th, 2016 IMWAYR

For our first #classroombookaday titles, I chose a theme around self. Students described this theme in a variety of ways: “Be who you are.” “Be you.” “Don’t be afraid to be your true self.”

Monday September 19th, 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.


On the blog:

Slice of Life: Knowing and Not Knowing (Written the night before my first day of school)

Celebration: Week One in the Land of the New

Books I enjoyed:

The Whale by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow

Such an interesting concept for a picture book – the story is revealed through a combination of dense, dark wordless pages (absolutely stunning) and details and further elements to the story shared through newspaper clippings at either end of the book. Quite the experience. I was fascinated.


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

I used this book on the first teaching day with the students I taught before we switched classes. It’s quirky with gorgeous illustrations and prompts wonderful list making (which we spent the morning doing). A great book to share with intermediate students who appreciate all the lovely language in the lists. Highly recommended.


The Menino: A Story Based on Real Events by Isol (translated by Elisa Amado)

Oh this book. Life with a baby and life as a baby revealed in this wonderful book. Captures how little ones transform and enchant.


Leaping Lemmings! written by John Biggs and illustrated by Nicola Slater

So if you were a lemming and all of the lemmings were going to jump off a cliff, it would be the thing to do, yes? Yes! Well, actually, no. Hold on! Lemmings all act and think alike. But is there another way? I loved all of the speech bubbles and the interesting illustrations in this title. Larry the lemming is a hero of sorts.


Even Superheroes Have Bad Days written by Shelly Becker and illustrated by Eda Kaban

We all need to use our powers for good and a bad day or a bad mood is not an excuse to do otherwise. This is a fun rhyming book about managing big emotions. Younger primary classes will relate to the message. Older groups will love the super hero antics!


Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg with illustrations by Matthew Cordell

First sleep away camp can be full of emotions. This little illustrated chapter book captures them so very well.


Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

So, well, I will start with a warning: Waiting for the sequel will feel unbearable! This book! Ben Hatke just keeps getting better. I haven’t seen this book since I brought it into my classroom. It is currently the “it” book in my room and for good reason. Relatable and fantastical all at once.


Saving the Whole Wide World (Hilo 2) by Judd Winick

I love these titles and so do my students. Funny, quirky and action packed!


Legends of Zita the Space Girl by Ben Hatke

Zita is another favourite character! This book is nonstop action. I was exhausted keeping up but thoroughly entertained.


Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 40/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 253/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 30/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (so good) and have a number of other titles on the go.