Year End Update: #MustReadin2016

In January, I had 30 titles on my #MustReadin2016 list and the best of reading intentions. Learning from other years, I also had a healthy realistic attitude. I knew that life and distractions would get in the way of reading some of these books.

#MustReadin2016

Making a list like this is about being enthused about a year of reading ahead. It is also about building community. 28 other bloggers joined me in making #MustReadin2016 lists of their own. Many people remained connected all year, posting (purely optional always) updates. Of course, in reading other lists and other reading philosophies, our own lists grew. Not a bad problem to have!

MustReadin2016challenge

My plan was to try and read at least 20, maybe even 25 titles on this list and be proud to have read most of a list I remain excited about. And . . . I did it! 25 books read! And more importantly, enjoyed!

I have posted updates all year so will include just a few words about the last books on this list that I finished.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Every time I talk about this book I wonder the same thing: How can a story about a robot be so tender? Peter Brown includes frequent illustrations which only helps to engage more readers. I want my own copy to include in my class collection. If I teach a younger grade in the future, I would read this aloud in a heart beat.

wildrobotcover

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

I was thrilled to see this in January’s Scholastic flyer because as soon as I read this book I knew it HAD to go into my collection. A must have in any middle grade classroom.

SeventhWish_r6-2-199x300

Red: The true story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

I love spending time in Liesl Shurtliff‘s fairy tale world! Was excited to finally read Red’s story.

Red

The Odds of Getting Even  by Sheila Turnage

I just keep getting more attached to these characters! Tupelo Landing seems like a great place to be – lots of drama and mystery but also good friends, tasty and creative diner food and lots to laugh about.

The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Oh, the drama, the mystery, the magic. This is a book that truly does pull you in which considering the subject matter, becomes quite creepy. I read the final pages in a public place just to feel safer and connected to reality.

The Raven King

As I did last year, I want to highlight some favourite characters I met during this year of reading.

But first to honour some characters I was thrilled to meet again in sequels: Blue and Gansey in The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Ryan Dean West in Standoff by Andrew Smith, Mo and Dale from The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage and Red from Red: The true story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff.

If you haven’t read the following titles, I highly recommend each of them so that you can meet . . .

Perry T. Cook from All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor. Perry is a noble guy. His quest to learn about himself and to uncover the stories of the people in his “family” is not to be missed.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

Timothy from House Arrest by K.A. Holt is one of the most vulnerable, honest and brave characters I have ever read.

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Every character in Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. This book has not let me go.

Salt to the sea

Want to know more about #MustReadin2016? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read in 2016 lists.

Thinking about joining us for 2017? Please do! Make a list and read some, none or all of the titles on it. Reading is amazing but reading plans are pretty wonderful too! Just reading all of the lists is a great reason to pour a big cup of coffee and do some book dreaming!

We will be sharing lists beginning January 5th 2017! Please join in using the twitter hashtag #mustreadin2017 or by leaving me a comment on this blog and I will add your list.

Here is the image URL code for #Mustreadin2017: (image below) https://thereisabookforthat.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/mustreadin2017.jpg

mustreadin2017

Happy reading! Happy planning. Happy celebrating.

 

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have!

An early intermediate library is such fun to build. Students are ready for longer chapter books with more complex and compelling story lines but they still adore silly and engaging stories that some early graphics and picture books might offer them. Picture books can be clever and witty and nonfiction can be managed quite independently. So many possibilities!

What twenty titles from 2016 do I think are must have books in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom library?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

This book love is inspired by my students’ reading passions and my own reading journey as I source books for them.

Listed alphabetically by author:

Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol

Kids this age are beginning to understand that alone time is precious and sometimes hard to achieve. This is wonderfully humorous!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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. Themes of compassion, kindness and connection.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Achy and real. This book will squeeze you heart. A beautiful, teary emotional ride. But full of hope, not sad. At least not too much sad. The hope wins.

Counting Thyme Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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 Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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

Just pure poetry perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This is the read aloud I am starting with in January.

Some Kind of Courage Monday Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

This book! Ben Hatke is a super hero in my classroom. This will become the “it” book in the room. Prepare to never see it again except when a child holds it wailing, “When does the next one come out?” (Fall of 2017) Relatable and fantastical all at once.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

There are so many reasons to share this story with children. It is a story of hope, of change, of perseverance, of the power of music and the beauty of community. A story of transformation.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

A book to explore endlessly. Infographics are an incredible source of information. Use this book to teach how to access this information correctly.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

This title features a number of “pink” creatures from around the world and shares some of the wild and wacky facts about each one. Every page also includes specific information under these headings: Name, Species name, Size, Diet, Habitat, Predators and threats. 

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

Learn about the different kinds of teeth you have in your mouth: incisors, canines and molars. Find out how other mammals use their teeth and why they are different sizes and shapes. How are human teeth similar and different compared to other mammals? How do the teeth of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores differ?

Tooth by Tooth Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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

Big emotions is a tiny book. Necessary for young readers. All about the challenging process of saying goodbye.

Ida, Always Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Who would think that ice fishing, Irish dancing, magical elements and heroin addiction could be combined to create a story that is impossible both to put down and then impossible to keep from immediately recommending? I have much gratitude to Kate Messner for writing this book.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Readers will fall hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. This would be a fantastic read aloud or an engaging read alone.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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! This book continues to be read and reread in my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

CaveBoy Dave: More Scrawny than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew

Highly appealing. A relatable underdog main character. Lots of poop. Again, the poop! Prehistoric creatures. Action. Adventure. Humour. And . . . a series! What more could kids want?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

Because fairy tales can be incredible. Reimagined and retold can go wrong but Shurtliff always gets it right (add Rump and Jack to your collection too!)

Red Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh

A gorgeous book – Tonatiuh gives us an interpretation of the Mexican legend how the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl came to be.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Ravi has just moved from India. Joe has been here for what seems forever. They share a few things in common – a relationship with a bully and the daily classroom and lunch room experiences of middle school. Alternately narrated by both characters, this book reminds us that it is challenging for all kids to fit in, to find your way and to be noticed for who you are.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Willems is more than brilliant and doesn’t disappoint in any way in this last Elephant and Piggie title. Students this age have had Willems as a staple of their reading lives. This book is a must have. They will grieve that there will be no more Elephant & Piggie and then get back to celebrating all the ways Elephant & Piggie are part of who they are!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Intermediate libraries? They need a mix of everything!

Love books. Give your students lots of time to read. Let them choose books so they can read widely and obsessively. Read aloud daily. Share often. Gush and be ridiculously demonstrative with your book love!

Build your library.

Invest in your readers.

They matter.

Happy Reading!

 

Monday October 3rd, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Teaching in a new to me school has kept me very busy. I didn’t get to post last week so am sharing reading highlights from the past 2 weeks.

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. My students have fallen deep into the land of graphic novels. Ben Hatke‘s Little Robot is a favourite.

Monday October 3rd, 2016

This student is showing me that 2017 is not “coming soon” in terms of the next Hilo instalment. When you are an impatient fan, time moves too slowly.

Monday October 3rd, 2016We have continued to love exploring theme for our #classroombookaday titles. What theme is explored with these titles?

Monday October 3rd, 2016

And these?

Monday October 3rd, 2016

Student voice is beginning to inform our reading community. Some of the wisdom posted up through Reader’s Statements.

Monday October 3rd, 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:

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

Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear by Mônica Carnesi

This book is just plain adorable. What do you do if your very good friend Bear hibernates and sleeps away winter?

beatrice-and-bear

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson and illustrated by David Shannon

The story of the Peacemaker and his message of peace and unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. An important lesson about democracy.

hiawatha-and-the-peacemaker

I loved both of these Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! titles.

We are Growing! by Laurie Keller

A humorous account of grass growing.

we-are-growing

The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

Amusing. Full of cookie crumbs and math learning.

the-cookie-fiasco

Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

A perfect beginning graphic series: funny, amusing and wonderfully quirky.

 Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea

A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova

What a gorgeous graphic memoir. A year in the life of the author when her mother leaves her in Russia with her Grandparents to travel to America for a year. Visually stunning.

a-year-without-mom

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Oh, this book.Who would think that ice fishing, Irish dancing, magical elements and heroin addiction could be combined to create a story that is impossible both to put down and then to keep from immediately passing on. I have much gratitude to Kate Messner for writing this book.

SeventhWish_r6-2-199x300

Rescued by Elliot Schrefer

A hard book to read. There is so much injustice here for Raja, an orangutan brought to the states to be a pet/brother for a young boy. As time passes, it becomes even more wrong. Is there a way to make things right?

rescued

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 43/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 262/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Monday August 8th, 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. Moving spaces and grade levels and sourcing bookshelves has been a lot of work!

So basically going from this (the classroom collection of books sat in these boxes until the floors were done and I could completely unpack).

Monday August 8th, 2016 There's a Book for That

To the beginning of unpacking and organizing . . .

Monday August 8th, 2016 There's a Book for That

One shelf all ready for books – this will be where nonfiction titles end up.

Monday August 8th, 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

On the Blog:

For Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Titles I would buy right this second

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Cloth Lullaby

Books I enjoyed:

Return by Aaron Becker

This trilogy is very special. I love each book for particular reasons. This title must be experienced so that you can see how it continues the stories started in the first two titles. I think this cover image is my favourite of the three.

Return

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

This has a Blueberries for Sal vibe to it. Since that was my favourite book from my childhood, I will say I loved many elements in this title!

Explorers of the Wild

 The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora

Non-book-appreciating monsters do not make for a peaceful reading environment. Let’s just say that all works out in the end and that there is a lot of book love in this book!

The Not So Quiet Library

Tidy by Emily Gravett

Now, I must admit, I do appreciated tidy and neat environments. But, I can also be productive with mess all around me. This title shows us what happens when we want the wrong locations to be too neat and clean.

Tidy

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

When a little one hates reading because reading does not come easily . . . When there is an opportunity to read aloud to a dog . . . Lots can shift with the right opportunities.

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

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

The Toad by Elise Gravel

The seventh in the Disgusting Critters collection – I was thrilled to find this at the bookstore the other day!

The Toad by Elise Gravel

Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets! by Kate Messner

I think I might like this Marty McGuire title best of all. Marty is so earnest and often has the worst luck but I sure appreciate her spirit. A wonderful series of early middle grade novels.

Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!2

Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

I featured this title for nonfiction Wednesday – see the link above. Just stunning.

Cloth Lullaby

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda  by Tom Angleberger  

Okay, yes, it’s true. I had never read this book. I own two copies. My children have read this book. But me, nope! And then I picked it up and didn’t put it down. I have a class of grade 4/5s this fall and want to make sure I am up to date on many middle grade titles. This is middle grade perfection.

Strange Case

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds 

Jason Reynolds writes incredible characters. Unforgettable believable characters. In this middle grade title, he delivers characters and relationships in a rich, quietly humorous story full of questions, wisdom and love.

As Brave as You

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 31/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 213/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 31/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am reading a number of titles including Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Monday December 14th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Often two. So why not three? Sometimes, the mood hits. Finally, finally, our Reading Workshop is consistently working! So I have to share!

Here are my students singing and reciting poems together at the end of Reading Workshop this week. Completely unexpected and spontaneous. A beautiful thing.

There's a Book for That

Book sharing circles are the best. 90 seconds. Two books. Pass them on. We have 3 circles at a time going on like this every Wednesday morning.

There's a Book for That Book Sharing Circles

And then we share our might be favourites.

There's a Book for That

We have continued to read #MockCaldecott titles for #classroombookaday

Mock Caldecott titles 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:

Gift Books: 25 picture books to give this season

Gift Books 2015

Books I loved:

Bird by Beatriz Martin Vidal

This is a wordless wow and then some. Absolutely beautiful. I don’t even want to write anything to spoil the experience. This is a book to sit with and savour.

Bird

What Forest Knows written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by August Hall

Ah. This book is meant for me. The forest is my favourite place. With lyrical language, with wanderings through season, travelling through trees, just beautiful. Captures the mysteries and the wonder of the forest.

What Forest Knows

The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr

Yes. This book. It hits everything about grief in the most true and genuine ways. Todd Parr, I am impressed.

The Goodbye Book

A Chicken Followed me Home! by Robin Page

Fantastic nonfiction title to explore the lifecycle of a chicken. Will be using in January with my class. Great for a primary classroom!

A Chicken Followed Me Home

I Don’t Like Snakes by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Luciano Lozano

So wonderfully clever! Numerous snake facts interspersed with the story of a little girl who wants you to know that she REALLY does not like snakes. Snakes are slithery, slimy, with eyes that hold you in a stare. Or is there more to these creatures? LOVE these illustrations by Lozano!

I Don't Like Snakes

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond

Based on a true story, this title goes back to Ontario forests of 1914. It is a memory, a story. And what a story. How incredible to think about this experience where a fire caused humans and animals to connect in an incredibly quiet, necessary way. The illustrations here are stunning. I read this book just this weekend and placed it on my gift book list for 2015. It captures a powerful story in its 32 pages. History. Nostalgia. Amazing.

Out of the Woods

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner and illustrated by Mark Siegel

So, this is the best “how to” book ever. Enough said.

How to Read a Story

Job Wanted written by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Chris Sheban

Absolutely charming. Persistence. Creativity. Diligence. You need to meet this dog.

Job Wanted

Winter’s Child written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Grahame Baker Smith

This book arrived in my room via a guest reader. The children were fascinated by the fantastical storyline of Winter’s child preventing Spring from arriving because he wants to play with a human boy. Some gorgeous illustrations.

Winter's Child

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

From the first line, I was hooked. This novel explores grief, loyalty, redemption and friendships. I loved Arthur. I loved his vulnerability, his mistakes, his raw emotions. This is a beautiful book with numerous surprises. Hope it begins to get lots of buzz. It is a book to seek out.

The Seventh Most Important Thing

Up next? My #MustReadin2015 list is calling and I have started with The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt in the attempt to get the last eight titles read before 2016 rolls in. Stranger things have happened . . .

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 63/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 424/415 books read COMPLETE! 

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 74/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 48/50 books read

Gift Books 2015: 25 picture books to give this season

Making a picture book list to give is becoming one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014. This year 25 made the list. Why not? There are a lot of books to love!

Gift Books 2015: 25 books to give this season

Of course, I have not read every book out there. But I believe in picture books for every reason and so, I have read a lot! A lot, a lot. Some have stood out. Some I must insist upon. Going picture book shopping? Here is my list of 25 titles that I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. Fantastic titles in both fiction and nonfiction. My criteria? 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? Laughing, I always think, is very underrated.

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond

I was smitten just with the end pages. Based on a true story, this title goes back to Ontario forests of 1914. It is a memory, a story. And what a story. How incredible to think about this experience where a fire caused humans and animals to connect in an incredibly quiet, necessary way. The illustrations here are stunning.

Out of the Woods 2015 Gift Books

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

This book. It speaks to wild wishes, big possibility and the amazing of the simple and natural. Love, love, love.

Something Extraordinary 2015 Gift Books

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street 2015 Gift Books

Wolfie the Bunnie written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Charming, humorous and sweet This book has much to offer. Sibling dynamics. The brilliance of children. Humour, giggles, and wows.

Wolfie the Bunny 2015 Gift Books

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López

Gorgeous. Inspiring. Saturated colours and beautiful art. The true story of one girl’s dream to drum.

Drum Girl Dreaming

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

One sweet book. About the quest to belong and have friends. Some serious perseverance here.

Elwood Bigfoot 2015 Gift Books

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder

I don’t even have words. A must own. Really, truly beautiful. This title makes me cry and sigh and sit in absolute awe. I refuse to even write about the plot. Just trust me and go buy this book.

The Bear Report 2015 Gift Books

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

It’s lush and moody and at the same time sweet and hopeful. I had all kinds of wishes. I wanted to shrink down and wander about this little garden. I wanted the book to be quilted so I could gift it as a “stuffie” type treasure to little ones to snuggle with. I wanted each image, framed, to hang on my wall. This is a book to love.

The Little Gardener 2015 Gift books

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim

This book is magical. The text suggests all kinds of connections between ours and the animal world. Talk about perseverance, creativity and inspiration. Or, just get lost in the illustrations.

Wild Ideas 2015 Gift Books

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. So she ventures out to make her own difference.

Marilyn's Monster

Bright Sky Starry City written by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro

A beautiful story of father and daughter, of a curious girl wondering about space and astronomy, of a glorious sky full of stars and constellations.

Bright Sky, Starry City 2015 Gift Books

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Wordless perfection. I love everything about this book. How it is about little things, being in the moment, noticing, kindness . . .

Sidewalk Flowers 2015 Gift Books

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

Gorgeous. Wordless. Two children dive deep and meet under a bunch of swimmers and floaters in a busy pool. What do they find there? A fantastical world. The colours, the negative space, the whimsy.

Pool 2015 Gift Books

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

This book is absolutely adorable. The perfect book for reading aloud at a story time for younger listeners. The perfect bedtime book to remind all soon to be sleepers that they are brave.

Night Animals 2015 Gift Books

Toad Weather written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Rich messages beyond a fascinating story. I love that it reminds us to notice and experience the natural world no matter what the weather, no matter what our mood.

Toad Weather Gift Books 2015

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

For inspiring gardeners. For nature explorers. Spans generations and seasons.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt 2015 gift Books

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

This is a wonderful title. Such creative twists on Little Red Riding Hood – crafted into quite a different tale. Mysterious. Unusual. Magical. The perfect read aloud for a cozy winter’s day.

The Tea Party in the Woods

Float by Daniel Miyares

Children approach rain in the best of ways. All in. Rubber boots, puddle jumping, sailing of boats! And after the rain, there is sunshine and new possibilities. Wordless and wonderful.

Float 2015 Gift Books

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

I always say there is power in the pencil (or pen, or marker, etc) – this book celebrates the creativity on the page. But on the page is so much more. I want to share it with each group of children I teach for forever . . .

My Pen 2015 Gift Books

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

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto. Creative, inspired, endearing. Her story is a delight to read aloud. Morstad’s images are “ooh” and “ahh” and “wow” inducing. The combination is pure read aloud perfection.

This is Sadie 2015 Gift Books

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Lyrical and lovely. And illustrations to knock you over. Takes you through the seasons, the water cycle, childhood experiences. A must own.

Water is Water 2015 Gift Books

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Beautiful. Special. And inspirational. For little dancers to be. For those with big hearts who know what it is to share.

swan the life and dance of anna pavlova 2015 Gift Books

Lenny and Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Moody. Lonely. Emotional. Sweet. Lovely. A favourite in my room. Children responded to this gentle story of needing to feel secure.

Lenny & Lucy 2015 Gift Books

Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl

Try and get past the cover with the greens, the lush, the rich and deep. Sigh. A story about nature, responsibility and hope.

Sonya's Chickens 2015 Gift Books

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

I am not sure I have words for just how breathtaking I find this title. It is a book lover’s dream. Seriously. Stop dead illustrations. Of course, I had to own this one. And ahem, you should too . . .

The Whisper 2015 Gift Books

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

I went beyond not clicking with characters. I decided to focus on parents in MG and YA books that upset me. Yes, some had mental health issues or other things going on. But their actions or in some case, inaction, activated my Mama Bear self. I felt protective, seriously protective of their children. I looked deep into my self to make sure I was in no way the kind of parent that they were. Parenting is hard, hard work. The hardest.

In some ways, I wanted to yell at these moms and dads. In some ways I hurt for them. Life is a journey. We all make lots of mistakes. It’s just extra upsetting when our mistakes impact our children.

And to be perfectly clear, I LOVE each of these books. They are well written, must read stories. Many of them are included on my favourites lists. But these parents, oh, sigh.

Albie‘s Dad in Absolutely Almost written by Lisa Graff

“Notice him. Pay attention!” I wanted to say.

Absolutely Almost Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Tommy‘s mother in The Paper Cowboy written by Kristin Levine

The unpredictable rage, often directed at Tommy was so hard.

The Paper Cowboy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Rose‘s father in Rain Reign written by Ann M. Martin

Rose’s father own anger and pain don’t leave much room for his daughter.

Rain Reign Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Flora‘s mother in Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate DiCamillo 

Quirky and interesting? Yes. Tuned in to her daughter? No.

flora and ulysses Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Astrid‘s parents in Ask the Passengers written by A.S. King

Judgemental. Oblivious. These parents made me so frustrated.

Ask the Passengers Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Moon‘s father in Alabama Moon by Watt Key

This father’s choices made his son too vulnerable.

alabama moon Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Theodore Finch’s mother in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

So much pain and this Mom (dealing with her own pain) just didn’t see it.

All the Bright Places Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Gerald‘s parents in Reality Boy by A.S. King

When cameras come into the home . . .

reality boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Jaden‘s father in Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

A talented scientist, yes. Ethical? Hmm. . . not so much

 Eye of the Storm Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Liberty and Billie‘s Dad in Survival Stories of the Almost Brave by Jen White

Clearly, this father had his own demons and was NOT ready to parent.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Are there some parent characters in books you have read that give you that same feeling?