Monday July 23rd, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. So here is a photo of the lending library I just set up in my cloakroom for previous students to access.

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

Books I loved

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Oh, this book. It is a must have for primary teachers. There are a myriad of emotions explored here. And a lot of advice. Sometimes, though, it is all about being heard.

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi

This title explores conflict, cooperative play and creative solutions. Wordless.

Trees by Lemniscates

A beautiful exploration of trees and seasons.

Vivid: Poems & Notes about Color by Julie Paschkis

This one is released later this month. A gorgeous exploration of colours – from the factual to the imaginative. Absolutely wonderful.

Bugs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick with illustrations by Kwanchai Moriya

I am very excited about this nonfiction titles as an inspiration for our own writing. An ideal mentor text. Part of a series by Kids Can Press. Guess and check and lots more.

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock with illustrations by Claire A. Nivola 

This story fascinated me. I can’t wait to share it with students and to use it as a source of inspiration for creativity and imagining with loose parts.

Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter

A new series by Ellen Potter that I will be adding to our classroom library. Boy and Sasquatch become unlikely friends. Many adventures await, I am sure. A wonderful book about noticing and managing differences in a world of assumptions.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed 

Completely engaging. What a wonderful choice for the Global Read Aloud. Amal is an incredibly courageous and compassionate character.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Truly haunting. A story of ghosts – dead black boys who have been killed in ridiculously unnecessary ways. Blurs history with fiction. Such a read. Would make an incredible read aloud in a middle school classroom.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Sweet and endearing. Loved this title full of magic and affection.

Up next? The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 9/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 131/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 35 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 22/40 books read

Wrapped up in shades of black and grey

It is November and that means it is Picture Book Month!

Here in B.C. we have been experiencing some dark, rainy days. Daylight savings means we just found an extra hour of light in the morning but our afternoons disappear into evening black far too soon. Yet darkness is not all about doom and gloom. It also means cozy, long stretches to read or bustle about inside. Darkness can pull us together for seasons of celebration and special events or provide us with solitude for introspection and calm. Bright is beautiful but so is dark. Whether we seek out the mystery and unexpected or the opportunity to settle into the quiet.

All of the dark has got me thinking about picture book covers. I started a list to see if I could come up with a number of titles that come specially wrapped in blacks and greys. My list ran off the page and I realized that many of my favourite books reside here. Is it just me or is there a certain elegance to these titles?

When you need a break from the bright, pick up one of these beautiful books.

25 titles to swoon over.

Wrapped up in Shades of Black and Grey There's a Book for That

Listed alphabetically by author.

Leo a Ghost Story written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Gleam and Glow written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Peter Sylvada

A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper

The Black Book of Colors written by Menana Cottin and illustrated by Rosana Faría

Nighttime Ninja written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young

Willaboughy and the Moon by Greg Foley

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

I Know a Bear by Mariana Ruiz Johnson

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

In the Tree House written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Our King has Horns! written by Richard Pevear and illustrated by Robert Rayevsky

Big Bad Bubble written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Swan written by Laurel Synder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

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

Friends by Mies van Hout 

Happy by Mies van Hout

Surprise by Mies van Hout 

Ten Birds by Cybele Young

How I love sharing picture book lists during this month of picture book love!

Happy Picture Book Reading!

pb month logo

#1 (One) and One = 2 books (called One)

What happens when you read 2 books called One? A few things . . .

It seems to me that when a book is called One, there must be something within in it that offers us some simplicity – that by the time you are finished reading it, you can clearly articulate at least one thing you learned.  Often with simplicity is weight. A simple message with some power behind it. So let’s see – I tried out two books titled One with my class this morning.

We started with #1 (one) by V. Radunsky: A nice story about an awful braggart. This story is about one of ten little armadillos who is actually called Six but is convinced he is #1. The strongest! The smartest! The bravest! The best! #1! #1! #1! He boasts about his inventions, his height, his speed  . . . He gets the best presents. What does he want? He has a big list including: Three cats plus one more cat. Five altogether. If you aren’t convinced, he will help you by explaining all of the reasons why he is #1. My favourite? His story of why he is the strongest: I saved this horse the other day. Twenty grown armadillos couldn’t even lift this horse but I did. Because I’m #1. The horse was so grateful.

In the end, everyone in his family completely agrees. Yes, # 1 they say. Definitely.

You are the #1 clown, show off, chatterbox, storyteller, dreamer! You are our # !!

Maybe not the reaction this little pink armadillo was looking for, but definitely recognition!

Reactions from my class?

Ricky: “He’s lying about everything. He can’t be that smart or that strong. He can’t be an inventor. Duh.”

Eddy: ” You have to be in college or even higher when you want to invent something.”

Scott: “He’s just dreaming.”

Miami: “He just thinks about himself.”

Alyson: “Selfish.”

I clarified that we actually call this “self-centered.”

Ricky: “He can’t go to college anyway cuz 3 + 1 = 4, not 5.” (remember the cat comment?)

We then read One by Kathyrn Otoshi. This amazing book explores what happens when someone is picked on and nobody steps in to say that it is not okay. All of the colours are in the shadow of the hot-head Red who grows bigger and bigger as he continues to be mean, unchallenged by the other colours. Then One comes on the scene and shows all of the colours how to stand up and count!

We had a lot of reactions to this book as it fits right in with the books we have been reading about bullies, the bullied and the bystander.

Ricky: “The colours are too scared.”

Hands shot in the air. “Oh! Oh! Oooh!”

“They’re like bystanders!”

A collective hands down. Many of us were just about to say the same thing.

Interesting perspectives came next.

Alyson: “If they all teamed up together, they might be bigger than red.” (work together against the bully)

Jena: “Maybe red is mean because no one is his friend.” (show some empathy towards the bully)

Hajhare: “Maybe there’s bigger guys – like brown and black?” (overpower the bully)

Otoshi offers us another perspective. Everyone stands up to be counted and says, “No!” when Red tries again to roll over Blue. Red, seeing the others standing tall, shrinks and is about to roll away when One points out that “Red can count too.” Red becomes Seven, and joins in the fun. Sometimes it just takes One ends the story.

Jena: “If one person stands up, everyone else might join.”

I asked the students. “So how are these two books different?”

Kevin: “One book is teaching and the other is just a story.”

Miami: “No. All are teaching a lesson.”

“Really?” I asked. “What lessons did we learn from this book?” (I held up the Radunsky book)

“#1 wanted to be # 1 but being Six was special.”

“Don’t get your hopes too high.”

“Just be yourself.”

“Don’t be a show off!”

“And this one?” I held up Otoshi‘s One.

“Stand up.”

“Don’t be a bully. It makes it all worse.”

“It just takes one person to make everyone be a community.” (Officially the beautiful comment of the day!)

So there you have it. Read one book (x 2) and savour the learning and thinking it inspires

Our reading of 2 books called One was certainly worth more than one + one is two 🙂

A visit to the public library uncovers. . .

I went to the library and what did I find?  Some “new to me books”! Exactly why public libraries are such lovely places.  You can walk in empty handed and walk out with a bag bursting full of undiscovered treasures.  For free!  At least that’s what happens to me.

Some books I found today that I have to share – first here and then this week, in the classroom! Excited at the possibilities . . . These will need to be more than book talks – all are simple and quick to read – but like a lovely sweet treat – something to savour for some time afterwards . . .

In Leaf by Stephen Michael King, a little boy escapes his Mom’s intentions to give his hair a trim.  While hiding out with his his adorable little dog, a bird drops a seed on his head. A shoot pops up and grows a leaf. Now he needs to carefully tend to this living thing on top of his head. Simple, sweet, endearing. The best thing about this book? It is nearly wordless – the only text  – sound effects – Whooosh, Boing, Sploosh, Glurg glurg . . .

Kathryn Otoshi has created a wonderful book called Zero all about finding value in yourself. I can see this book fitting in wonderfully with extension lessons with the Mindup curriculum where we explore looking at things from a different perspective. Is Zero empty inside?  Or is she open and full of possibilities?

This book is pretty funny,” announces my son. And it is but also a little bit more . . . Penguin by Polly Dunbar lets us look at a child’s frustration when he can’t communicate in the way he wants to with a new friend. And my, my, the things we tend to do as we get frustrated!

Happy Reading!