Monday April 1st, 2019

This time weeks have passed instead of months – still feels like too too long since I have posted but here is a post full of a huge variety of titles I am celebrating!

Lots of nonfiction reading aloud happening in the classroom!

Because we are readers, we are writers #kidsarereading So proud of the engagement I witness in my students.

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 read:

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan with illustrations by Lorraine Rocha

You might be able to guess what you should do with said lemon tree – yet the answer is all wrapped up in a charming little title about family, making a plan, taking good care and patiently working towards a goal. Love the emphasis away from the overly material and onto amazing nature.

Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

Oh community! Generosity. And some incredibly smelling stew. Loved this one.

We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Because, really could you imagine? This little dino really could. And did. Hilarious.

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

We are begiining a unit about water and will be talking everything from where we find it to where we don’t and why. This book will help us dive right in. Can’t wait.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

Wow. Described as a love letter to black live in the United States, this gorgeously illustrated book is magnificent.

The Monster Detector (Big and Little Foot #2) by Ellen Potter

A must have series in the upper primary classroom library. One young boy. One young Sasquatch. One mysterious mystery involving monsters.

The Storm Dragon (The Secret Rescuers #1) by Paula Harrison

A delightful little title about a storm dragon in need of rescuing. Sophy, a young maid at the castle is the perfect one to help.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Upper MG/YA graphic novel. A historical french setting. A prince who loves fancy dresses. A dressmaker trying to make it. Completely engaging.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

An emotional read – the complexity or families and the complications of friends. I love how Delsie figures things out in a highly relatable way. Hunt delivers, again. a title that needs to be in the hands of young readers.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus byAnn Braden 

Zoey Albro lives in rural Vermont. Her mother and three younger siblings count on her abusive and manipulative step father Lenny for a roof over their heads because mom’s waitressing job does not guarantee that they won’t be homeless. This title deals with poverty, the huge responsibilities of a young girl and deep commitment to family. While we witness Zoey’s middle grade stressors and dreams, we also view the struggles of poverty and abuse through her eyes. A powerful novel.

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

This title was a surprising favourite for me. Historical fiction and important magic. Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep who keeps beating the odds – surviving a daily dangerous job. How her story unfolds is quite incredible. An emotional beautiful read.

Up next? I am reading Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Monday March 30th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo was taken during Nonfiction Reading day in Reading Workshop. The adults in the room were circulating and listening as children read aloud from their nonfiction texts and posed questions about what they were reading. We are working at moving beyond commentary and connections to asking questions which extend our learning. Slowly but surely . . . I love the connection in this photo – it is so wonderful to have these few moments of one on one time with students. I try to bring in as many adults as possible during Reading Workshop time.

Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

This week has been about lots of literacy related things! We had Camp Read on Friday and I highlighted many of the amazing things we did here. Lots of reading and lots of yoga!

Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also got to go book shopping. Plan to share more about some of these books in the next few weeks.

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.


My favourite picture books of the week:

Marilyn’s Monster written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Matt Phelan

What do you do when everyone gets a monster and yours never arrives? Marilyn grows impatient with the endless waiting. This book wormed its way into my heart. I left it at the bookstore but it seems to be calling me. I may have to go back for it.

Marilyn's Monster Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Room for Bear by Ciara Gavin 

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. Sometimes finding where you are meant to be is starting with the who. Utterly sweet.

Room for Bear Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Where Bear? by Sophy Henn

Just where can this bear go to be “bearish and big”? Finding the perfect place is certainly not easy. Charming.

Where Bear? Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

How does Kadir Nelson make pictures like this? Saturated in colour and signs of spring, this story reveals many things about the amazing power of seeds to grow – vegetable seeds, seeds of generosity . . . .

If You Plant a Seed  Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien

Oh this Hoot Owl is one big talker. Hilarious. This would be a perfect read aloud. I can see the children shouting and shaking their heads even now. Little Hoot Owl, wannabe big hunter eventually finds the perfect prey.

Hoot Owl Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Fish Named Glub written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon

There are small questions and there are big questions. When a small fish poses the big ones, many people find some important answers.

A Fish Named Glub Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Library Lion written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes 

It turns out that this particular lion is perfectly suited to the library. Quiet, helpful and very, very needed. My students adored this title.

Library Lion Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

It is so easy to judge when we are looking through the incorrect lens. A beautiful book about identity, acceptance, self-expression and what a waste of everyone’s time labels really are.

Red A Crayon's Story Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

In other reading, I finished:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I don’t have a quick summary of this book but yet I am not ready to write on and on to include all that I am thinking. I will just say this: How the heck did Jennifer Niven fill up my heart and leave me feeling so light while at the same time, leading me through sadness I did not want to wade into? Somehow, she did just that.

All the Bright Places Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 15/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 124/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 7/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 12/50 books read

Up next? I continue reading We Were Here by Matt de la Peña and will be starting Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero next. This week I also started rereading Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick as it is our new title for my student book club. What a book this is!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four “finally found” titles

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014This week I want to share four titles that have nothing in common beyond their nonfiction status except that all four of them are books I have been dying to read and have, finally, FOUND!

If you haven’t discovered these titles yet, I pass on high recommendations! These are must reads.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth (published in 2013) Winner of the 2014 Sibert Medal

My local bookstore seemed to always be out of copies of this beautiful title but I finally found it at my local public library. Now I see not only why this was an award winning title, but also why so many raved about how amazing it is! Susan L. Roth‘s collage images are stunning and I love the alternate orientation of the book – it is shared vertically rather than horizontally. But, it is, of course, the story that is so important. So often when we hear about animals on the brink of extinction, there is no happy ending story to share. Here, we have a story of hope and promise. Through much hard work the endangered parrots of Puerto Rico are once again flying through the treetops. Both captive bred parrots and wild flocks are being supported by the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program.

This book has many extras in the final pages to support further learning:

  • an extensive Afterward with full colour photographs of the different birds discussed in this book and more information about the recovery program.
  • a timeline of important dates
  • a list of the author’s sources

 Parrots over Puerto Rico  NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson (published in 2013)

This cover has been staring at me from various book lists and blogs and finally, just recently, my requested copy arrived from the library! I immediately included it on this list of Swoon Worthy Nonfiction titles because the illustrations beautifully narrate a story all their own. Brief and lyrical text tells the story of Mandela’s life and his determination to see his people live in a free South Africa where apartheid was abolished. Kadir Nelson‘s back pages flush out details of the story he shared. A book guaranteed to get students talking about Mandela, his inspiration and his leadership.

Nelson Mandela NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers by Dianna Hutts Aston with collages by Susan L. Roth (published in 2011)

This book recently came onto my radar. This was a title by Dianna Aston that I didn’t know and art by Susan L. Roth? I had to find it. Luckily our public library had a copy for me to request! I knew nothing of this story of Simon Rodia (called Uncle Sam) and his big dream that resulted in the spectacular Watts Towers (up to 100 feet high in parts) in Los Angeles. Absolutely stunning folk art that you can’t imagine until you see it. More information can be found on this website. It’s worth taking a peek to see what the towers actually look like.

The end pages include close up photographs of tower sections. There is also an author’s note that gives more details about Simon Rodia and his work. Building these towers took thirty-four years and was done completely alone without even a ladder or any drawings/plans. There is also a step by step guide to creating your own Watts Towers for children to try.

Dream Something Big NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White (published in 2011)

Ape by this author/illustrator team is one of my all time favourite nonfiction read alouds. Next year, I am looping my Grade 2/3/4 class into a Grade 3/4 class and will have many of the same students. Students expressed a lot of curiosity and interest about endangered animals and threats to animal populations which is related to the habitat and communities strand of the Grade 4 Science curriculum.

This book by Jenkins and White introduces students to a huge variety of endangered and extinct animals. With some creatures, like the tiger, more details are provided about the animal including reasons for its vulnerable status. Definite themes come through about why certain populations are threatened: lack of space, destruction of habitat, invasive non-native predators, climate change and exposure to medicine administered to another species. Again, there is hope. Stories are shared of animals that were close to extinction and now have healthy populations – like the American bison. There is an index in the back and a list of online resources to find out more about what animals are endangered and what organizations exist that are trying to protect them.

This is a title I will be purchasing for our class collection.

Can we Save the Tiger? NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 87/65 complete! If I were counting (and I am), I would announce that that is 22 books over my goal and it’s still July!

This week, I have had some wonderful conversations via twitter with Alyson Beecher who blogs at Kid Lit Frenzy and author Melissa Stewart about sharing nonfiction with our students. This inspired me to write a series of posts sharing my passion for nonfiction books. The first two of three posts are complete and linked here if you haven’t had a chance to check them out. I would love any feedback from this #nfpb2014 community who shares such #NFbooklove!

Teaching with a passion for nonfiction picture books:

Part 1: Everywhere you look . . . let there be nonfiction!

Part 2: The importance of the nonfiction read aloud

Coming soon: Part 3: Interacting with nonfiction: getting students reading, thinking and talking together


Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books

I am a huge fan of nonfiction picture books in our Elementary classrooms. They are the jumping off point into deep, deep learning. But it is not just the learning that infuses these pages, it is also the beauty of the images that helps lure readers in.

Reasons for nonfiction read alouds? There are many: opportunity for rich discussion, shared learning experiences, new information conveyed, etc. But there is also the visual treat that so many titles provide. The inspiration to wonder, to marvel and to be in awe of our world.

For some students, just the lure of new knowledge is the gateway to reading fantastic nonfiction titles, others need a little nudge. Something beautiful . . .

I have a few students who resist picking up nonfiction titles without some persuasion. I try to entice them with the amazing facts that they might learn. Thinking of a few students in particular, I realize I have been approaching it all wrong. With these children, I should be starting with the images and let them work their magic. Many of our visual learners begin with the illustrations. They become lost in the pictures and then begin reading to answer the questions that start to form.

Do I have enough nonfiction picture books in my collection (or on my wish lists) for these readers?

I started a list. And then I thought I should share . . . .

Each of these titles has made me stop and stare.  Here are 25 of the most gorgeous nonfiction titles out there – absolutely swoon worthy, in my opinion 🙂

Learn more about the Natural World:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

An Egg is Quiet written by Dianna Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Over and Under the Snow written by the Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. (Note: This title is actually fiction but offers a beautiful invitation to begin learning more about the world under the snow)

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

Bird, Butterfly, Eel with story and paintings by James Prosek

The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

Nest by Jorey Hurley

Weeds Find a Way written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher 

Books about Creatures: Small to Gigantic, and all sizes in between:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins 

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

Mama Built a Little Nest written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

See What a Seal Can Do written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Kate Nelms

Information/Concept titles:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Swirl by Swirl (Spirals in Nature) written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Gravity by Jason Chin

Locomotive by Brian Floca 


 Biographies/Memoir Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill 

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully 

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

(I featured a few of these titles in this post last year: Wonder Inducing Nonfiction Read Alouds Some are clearly my favourites!)

What beautiful nonfiction picture books make you swoon? Please share them in the comments.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.

NFPB 2014

Monday June 16th, 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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

The picture books I enjoyed this week:

i carry your heart with me written by e.e. cummings and illustrated by Mati McDonough

This was a gift from Miriam (who works in the classroom with me) to our classroom. It is a beautiful little book featuring E. E. Cummings’ lovely poem. How many times do we reassure by reminding the children that they are with us in our hearts? Many. Many. This book is perfect. The cutest thing? When we first looked at the cover, one child quickly shouted out, “It’s Ruby! And Stella!” referring to the elephants on the front cover. Always thinking of Ivan!

Simple, sweet collage illustrations make this a must own.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Going Places by Peter H. and Paul Reynolds

I loved the creativity and the “out of the box” thinking celebrated when a class of children receive boxes of Go-kart kits. There is something to be said for following where your imagination might take you. And if you bring a friend along . . .

Going Places It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Rufus Goes to School written by Kim T Griswell and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev

Rufus wants to go to school because he desperately wants to learn to read. But pigs are not allowed at school and my oh my are there many reasons why! Rufus is persistent if nothing else and finally ends up just where he wants to be – enjoying read aloud sessions and really, truly attending school! Sweet. Would be perfect for story time.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

I’ll Save you Bobo by Eileen and Marc Rosenthal

Something about the beginning didn’t wow me but as the story continued I liked it more. Great for all of those creative writers who like to write or tell adventure stories.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream written by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Of course – these illustrations are just incredible. A great title for the picture book biography section of your library. All about a boy with lots of dreams. I think children will really relate to Michael’s dreams of wanting to grow taller and his anxiety that it was taking so long.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? by Steve Jenkins

Like any Jenkins title, this book is full of amazing things about the animal world. There have been some days in this last month where I wish I had some of the talents/attributes that these creatures have to avoid being noticed/harmed. The pangolin’s ability to roll into an armoured ball is pretty incredible.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

A featured read aloud:

Donovan’s Big Day written by Leslea Newman and illustrated by Mike Dutton

I love how this book is so much about anticipation. The children were very excited to guess what Donovan might be getting ready for and began guessing right from the cover: a wedding? a graduation? a play? a funeral? the opera? church? Many many guesses. As we read, it became obvious that Donovan was going to be the ring bearer at a wedding. We discover all at once that the wedding is for his Mommy and Mama. There were lots of reactions and only some of them were about the fact that this was a same sex marriage. Biggest wondering was who was actually the biological Mom and we had to look carefully at the pictures while the kids made their guesses.

“He gets to go to his Mom’s wedding?! I wasn’t even born when my Mom and Dad got married.”

“Not everyone even has to be married.”

“Which one is his real Mom?”

“That’s funny.”

“What if they don’t stay married? And one gets married to someone else? Will there be step kids and step parents?”

I explained when it came up that it was funny for two Moms to be married that same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for over 10 years and that while it may not be as common, it does happen and can happen. And isn’t it great that everyone who loves each other has the same rights to be married if they want to be? “Cool,” said one child and we went back to arguing about which Mom might really be Donovan’s Mom who “actually had him.” 🙂

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Where I would normally have finished a novel, I didn’t because I was reading many tweets on the #thisismystrikepay hashtag. I am hoping that by the time anyone reads this post, that B.C. teachers will be close to a deal and that we will not be going on a full scale strike on Tuesday. (Hoping, hoping, hoping!!) There has been much in the media about how our union has no more strike pay to provide for teachers. Teacher’s resolve is not about receiving strike pay or loss of wages . . .  and the viral #thisismystrikepay tweeting began. Follow the link for an explanation and a live twitter feed or check out the hashtag. I shared a few tweets as well and retweeted many many others.


All of this uncertainty has been very challenging and I desperately want to be back in the classroom with my students for the final two weeks of school. Participating in this #thisismystrikepay was therapeutic in many ways – a kind of vigil while negotiations are happening behind closed doors. A reminder of what is at stake and how important it all is.

I am about half way through and LOVING The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage Whoa can this lady write!

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 42/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 288/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 72/65 complete

Monday May 12th, 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. The best way to grow your TBR list!

Hoping all Moms had a lovely Mother’s Day yesterday! Here is one of the gorgeous bouquets that went home to Moms and Grandmas in my class:

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

My own children made me lovely cards. How well my son knows me! 🙂

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

I read a variety of picture books this week. Here are my favourites:

The Girl with the Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran written by Rita Jahanforuz and illustrated by Vali Mintzi 

Readers will notice similarities to well known folktales and fairytales. An important story that highlights how our true spirit shines through when we trust our heart. I imagine this story would be very popular in my classroom. Students love to learn from tales from around the world.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson

These illustrations are powerful – some pages almost overwhelming in their intensity. Baby Bear is lost and finds his way home through the wisdom of his fellow forest dwellers. Advice is soothing sometimes more than specifically helpful – “Hug a Tree” but Baby Bear manages to find his way.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Missuk’s Snow Geese written by Anne Renaud and illustrated by Genevieve Cote 

A beautiful story of a little girl who wants to be a carver like her father. When he is lost in a storm, it turns out that Missuk’s creations helped bring him home.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

A Packet of Seeds written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Bethanne Andersen 

Historical fiction with much melancholy. A family travels west to settle in a new place and new home on the prairie. This book highlights the physical and mental courage and energy it took to be able to make a home in a new place. The promise of a flower garden and the memories the blossoms might evoke makes all of the difference for one Mom.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

 The Apple Orchard Riddle written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

A riddle weaves its way through this story all about a visit to an apple orchard. Much to learn and much to wonder.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Every Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International 

This book is a photographic thank you letter to Malala Yousafzai for her courage and her determination to speak up for the rights of girls to have an education. Both text and photos (of girls all over the world) are powerful. I highlighted how I shared it in my class in this post

Every Day is Malala Day  #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

The Troll written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts

I love David Roberts as an illustrator. This story is very amusing. It mixes some pirates up with the Troll from the Billy Goat’s Gruff story in very delightful and silly ways. Comical and creative.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan 

I started to smile on the first page and I was more delighted and amused with each page I turned. Beautifully odd and quirky. Rich images. I am of course convinced that I must own this book. I want to make my way through the pages time and again.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

In other reading . . .

I am pages away from finishing Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

I adore being lost in the other worldly ways of this novel. Magical. Mystical. Mysterious.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy  #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That


Up next? I plan to start Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin 

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 239/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 61/65 complete

Monday February 4th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Kellee and Jen’s meme to share all the reading you have done over the week – everything from picture books to young adult novels! Connecting with the #IMWAYR community is such a great way to hear about fantastic books “new to you.”

I had a big weekend of reading. Part of it was that I fell into many books I just couldn’t put down so I was able to read more novels than usual in a work week.

The Spindlers written by Lauren Oliver This was a title I have been reading to my children as a nightly read aloud. An interesting fantasy title about the world Below – full of drama and action and slightly scary parts. Liza has to rescue her brother’s soul that has been stolen by the Spindlers and the rescue mission is full of risk and odd, magical creatures, many of them menacing. The idea that her little brother’s soul was stolen was creepy enough to warrant a request from my son not to read it right before bed. This lasted just a few nights until the adventure was too addictive and we had to read this book nightly! A really gripping fantasy story for the middle grade crowd.

The Spindlers

Glory Be written by Augusta Scattergood Set in Mississippi in 1964 in the heat of summer and the heat of the civil rights movement. This is a story of one strong girl, her family, her friendships and her drive to make sense of the prejudice and fear around her. The letter Glory sends to the local paper to question the town’s decision to close the pool is absolutely brilliant. What voice and what conviction in such a young girl. I had wanted to read this story for a long time and it is now in the hands of my ten year old daughter who is devouring it.

Glory Be

Dying to Know You written by Aidan Chambers I picked this book up and could not put it down. Yes, I was intrigued by the story and the characters but it was the style of writing and the fact that Chambers tells this story through the voice of a nameless 75 year old narrator that just held me. The narrator’s voice was so strong, so vulnerable, so lyrical – I just loved it. Of course, read this book because the storyline is very clever but the writing will wow you. A young adult realistic fiction title.

dying to know you

Ordinary Beauty written by Laura Wiess Not a book to dip your toe into – you need to jump right in and be with the character as she tells the story of her painful, abusive childhood full of neglect. Sayre’s mother is an addict and she is dying. Sayre’s life story is told alongside her present day dramatic struggle on a wintery night to reach her mother’s bedside and confront her feelings about what is happening. This story is extra raw for me as I have taught students whose lives have many similar elements to Sayre’s childhood – extreme poverty, horrible living conditions, exposure to things children should not even conceive of . . . A hard book to read but what a story . . .

ordinary beauty

Books I am starting this week: Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky is next up for our student book club. I haven’t read this title yet so will be reading along with the kids. With my own children, I have just started reading The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. This is a book I have wanted to read for a while so am excited to share it with my children. Next novel up for me? Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King – this just arrived for me at the public library. I requested it after loving King‘s Ask the Passengers.

Picture books I enjoyed this week included many nonfiction titles:

Hello Oscar! a Zoe and Beans story by Chloe and Mick Inkpen I keep seeing Zoe and Beans books at the public library and decided I should finally read one – very sweet little illustrations – lovely for story time with the younger set.


A Perfect Day by Carin Berger Perfectly depicts the wonder and magic of a snow day. Love this illustrator’s style.


Speaking of snow – I highlighted some nonfiction snow books on my Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday post, including this title, The Story of Snow. Read this post to hear more about these snow books.


Adopt a Glurb by Elise Gravel I really enjoy so many of these Balloon Toons titles! This one is especially quirky and hilarious. Can see this being hugely popular with my students.

adopt a glurb

I Have a Dream by Dr Martin Luther King Jr with paintings by Kadir Nelson. I shared this with my own children and we had very thoughtful discussions. Kadir Nelson’s beautiful art makes Dr. King’s words so accessible and powerful through the intimate experience a well done picture book can create.


Have a happy week of reading everyone!