Monday March 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. As we were off this past few weeks, I have a photo of a bookstore visit to the incredible Munro’s Books  in Victoria B.C. Here is part of the picture book display.

Monday March 27th, 2017

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

With Spring Break and being away for a few days I missed last week’s IMWAYR so this post captures 2 weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Continued Slice of Life posts mean daily posting:

Missing Primary: Slice of Life #26 I love Grade 4 and 5 but I miss the little ones

Shopping: Slice of Life #25 I am not a good shopper

So far: Slice of Life #24 So far from a year ago

Rain: Slice of Life #23 Caught in a deluge

Quiet Things: Slice of Life #22 The quiet things I love

Chapter book Challenges: Slice of Life #21 How we support students moving into chapter books

Writing cheats: Slice of Life #20 Words still eluding me

Missing words: Slice of Life #19 Writing steals my reading time

Simply easier: Slice of Life #18 Preparing to write about teaching before? Maybe soon

Slightly Awkward: Slice of Life #17 Thinking about the work that change in our practice involves

Mud: Slice of Life #16 Nothing to write about

For nonfiction Wednesday, Nic Bishop’s newest: Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Penguin Day – A Family Story

Capturing play: Slice of Life #15 The importance of play

Sometimes Guilt: Slice of Life #14 Sometimes, thinking back to leaving my previous school  brings guilt.

The little girl I should have taught: Slice of Life #13 Thinking about a child who should have been in my class

Books I enjoyed:

Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Love the way these two partner up to make us smile and wonder and shake our heads. Little bits of sneaky. Lots of funny. And always, the stunning artwork from Klassen.

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Oh this book. Visually it is absolutely stunning. If this doesn’t make you want to wander through the woods and use every sense . . .

Shy by Deborah Freedman

Underneath a very sweet story is permission to be just who you are.

Rain by Sam Usher

Gorgeous rain. The pages seem slightly drowned. The images feel like they are full of puddles. And a lovely little story about a boy and his Grandpa.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

More than an “I want a pet” story. This is “I want a unicorn story” With big expectations come big disappointments. And then, big love.

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

Not really about Mars. More about set up and surprises and wanting something to be so. Really liked this one.

Dear Dragon written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Charming and full of all kinds of classroom possibilities. Writing to a pen pal becomes even more exciting when you begin to share more and more about yourself. What happens when the chance to meet in “person” happens? Told in rhyming letters, there is a lot to this little picture book.

Egg by Kevin Henkes

I have a thing about picture books where the egg plays a starring role. This one is especially wonderful.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins 

For years, I have made it clear that I do not like squirrels. At all. They steal my daffodil bulbs. They have tried to burrow into my house. They make feeding birds a battle. So, I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about a title devoted to these creatures. Must admit, I kind of loved it and I learned a lot. But, I still do not like squirrels.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong

This is a must experience it yourself nonfiction title. Really incredible illustrations. Would be a beautiful addition to any school or classroom library.

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

I have been putting off reading the final Clementine title because I didn’t want to say goodbye. We found Clementine as an audio book years ago when my children were smaller and went on to read all of the titles. In fact, I have read all but 2 titles aloud to my children. At 14, they weren’t going to sit through this one but I am excited to share it with students who I know have been Clementine fans.

Feathers  by Jacqueline Woodson 

A story of hope.Of family. Of observations. What a lovely read.

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart 

Dramatic and hard to put down. There were parts of this story I found absolutely creepy. Kids who love action driven books will love this story. I am a big fan of Gemeinhart. This is not my favourite of his three so far published titles. But definitely an action packed read.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together. This is what I loved about Counting by 7s – the diversity of characters who were in each other’s lives. In Short, it is all about friendships between generations. It’s also about a play and all of the wonderful behind the scenes preparations. I fell in love with the characters here. A must read middle grade novel!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 94/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 8/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Monday February 15th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. That has grown to a few reading photos from the week . . .

We have continued to enjoy looking at nonfiction titles during our book sharing circles.

 There's a Book for That

I love the energy in each of these circles and how it spreads out around the room.

 There's a Book for That

This was taken during a read aloud of Orion and the Dark shared by a guest reader. The kids couldn’t get close enough!

 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:

My second Slice of Life: Bad Irony (I will admit that I find this writing kind of terrifying)

For Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The nonfiction effect Here, I talk about beginning to introduce more nonfiction titles to my current class.

My weekly Celebration post: Afternoons: the good, the not so great and the green

Books I enjoyed:

Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett

This book is all kinds of gorgeous. The story is delightful – forming a friendship with the very thing that scares you most and learning a new way to see the world in the process. But the illustrations and artistic choices, simply fabulous.

Orion and the Dark

Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea

Giggle. Giggle. Giggle. Can’t wait to read this aloud to a whole class. I started with one little guy not yet picked up in the office one afternoon and he thought it was pretty amusing. Well, very amusing. I asked him if he thought my class would listen without laughing. “No way, not possible,” he told me.

Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!

Strictly No Elephants written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

Kind of adorable. And a beautiful message of inclusivity.

Strictly No Elephants

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

Quiet. Gentle. Full. Loved this title. Think I will love it more and more as I read it and share it.

Waiting

Welcome, Precious written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier

An ideal new baby celebration book. Gift it to new parents – it celebrates all of the amazing of a baby joining the family.

Welcome Precious

Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng

This title is weighty in its simple, missing pieces kind of narration. Nothing is specifically clear but this is what I enjoyed about this title. Rich in emotion, its multitude of stories and our human need to find home and safe.

Two White Rabbits

Thank You and Goodnight by Patrick McDonnell

Perhaps the perfect bedtime book. I love the pure exhaustion that eventually triumphs.

Thank you and Good Night

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 6/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 45/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 11/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 8/50 books read

I continue reading (almost done) The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten and have just started All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely as a read aloud with my family.

Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

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

Time to read and celebrate all things picture book. For me, it’s the perfect excuse to generate lists!

This week’s list? Picture books that capture the essence of childhood. With actual children in them! When I started looking at some of my favourite picture books, I realized that many of them were actually not about children. Many feature animals (bears are strangely (or not) represented) or a lot of adults. Some are about children but feature animal characters. These can be fantastic and very easy for children to connect to (I’m thinking everything Kevin Henkes does). The ones with “real children” characters can sometimes have heavy themes or be a little too forced. They don’t all ring true. We can’t pluck a character off the page and believe that child could quickly leap into a playground full of children and completely blend in. Or beautifully stand out . . .

Move into chapter books and boom, there are the kids! Marty Macguire. Clementine. Billy Miller. Flora Belle Buckman. William Spiver. Dory Fantasmagory. Piper Green. Nate Foster. Popeye and Elvis. There are no shortage of children behaving like children.

Finding them in picture books? Not as easy. Hence, my list.

These 20 titles are all about kids and all that they are. Childhood and all of the quirky, all of the lovely, all of the human, all of the unique. Sometimes the messy and challenging. Sometimes the sweet and lovely. All of it absolutely honoured and celebrated. These 20 books all hold a special place in my heart.

I would love to know which books you would add to this list and why. Please share in the comments.

Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

On the list because? Children have some interesting, not always sensible, problem solving strategies.

 Stuck Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

The Frank Show by David Mackintosh

On the list because? Kids worry about not being the coolest, the best, the greatest. Even in the Grandparent department.

The Frank Show Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine, written by Allison Wortche and illustrated by Patrice Barton

On the list because? Primary students need to navigate a lot in a day – sometimes doing the most simple of things like growing seeds: envy, friendship, forgiveness, competition

 Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile

On the list because? Little ones have a hard time doing just nothing or even turning off their racing imaginations. Those busy brains are pure delight!

Let's Do nothing Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić

On the list because? Children notice what we should. Especially the very beautiful and amazing things in the world.

The Man with the Violin Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies

On the list because? When given the chance to do the right thing, children usually will. Eventually.

Ben Rides on Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World

On the list because? Children love to embrace the wild and amazing energy of their heroes.

 Nino Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

On the list because? Being brave sometimes requires a little wisdom from someone who has been around for a while. Or a little magic.

Nana in the City Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas

On the list because? Childhood is about navigating the road between making memories and learning from the memories others share

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Blizzard by John Rocco

On the list because? Snow day after snow day after snow day and the chance to be a hero. Childhood magic!

Blizzard Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford

On the list because? Learning about forgiveness is one of childhood’s most powerful lessons. Often as adults, we still don’t have it figured out.

 Desmond Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Float by Daniel Miyares

On the list because? Children approach rain in the best of ways. All in. Rubber boots, puddle jumping, sailing of boats!

Float Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ask Me written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee

On the list because? Little ones have lots and lots of stories to tell. If you don’t ask, they will remind you to.

Ask Me Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

On the list because? Thee is something particularly magical about childhood faith and hope.

Sparky! Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

I’m Bored  written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

On the list because? “I’m Bored!” is a childhood theme song! But “Kids are boring.” Those are fighting words!

I'm Bored Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

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

On the list because? All children need to have a little piece of Sadie inside of them and have space to let it shine!

This is SadieTwenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild! written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Marla Frazee

On the list because? When you are little, it seems to be all too easy to make parents a little crazy.  Just like that. Pesky is too easy. But forgiving and hugs are part of it all too.

Harriet You'll Drive Me Wild Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. by John Burningham

On the list because? Everyday holds huge imaginative possibilities. Even if others don’t quite embrace our wild stories, we persist in telling them. And maybe they are true . . .

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning

On the list because? Sometimes when we discover new found ferocity, it takes a little while to tame. Inner strength and big doses of kindness, we need them both.

Millie Fierce Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward  and illustrated by Julie Morstad

On the list because? A lone walk through the woods is a journey of many small moments of bravery. Singing to combat the fear? A perfect strategy.

Singing Away the Dark Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

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

Happy Picture Book Reading!

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Picture Books that celebrate courage

To celebrate Picture Book Month I have been sharing a variety of picture books and the conversations I am having about them with my students, my children and others. This post is a kind of conversation with my self. I am reading the novel Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt to my own children and it often comes up that Doug, the main character, has to be brave in so many ways.

How do picture books depict bravery? Courage? Conviction? Strength?

In, oh, so many ways . . .

Each of these titles features a character who comes face to face with fear, who takes a risk, who stands up or stands out. Each book is full of inspiration.

Ten of my favourites:

Picture Books that celebrate courage Twenty titles There's a Book for That

And ten more:

Picture Books that celebrate courage Twenty titles There's a Book for That

Twenty Picture Books that celebrate courage:

Those Shoes written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Ruby’s Wish written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Willow Finds a Way written by Lana Button illustrated by Tania Howells

Bird Child written by Nan Forler and illustrated by François Thisdale

The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

Sheila Rae, the Brave written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Spuds written by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Wendy Watson

Soccer Star written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Renato Alarcão 

Across the Alley written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Hello, my Name is Ruby by Phillip C Stead 

Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford

Suki’s Kimono written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward and illustrated by Julie Morstad

What picture book titles on this theme would you share? I would love to hear your favourites!

Happy Picture Book Month!

pb month logo

Monday October 7th, 2013

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 reads! The #IMWAYR crowd always has so many fantastic titles to share.

IMWAYR

The picture books I enjoyed this week:

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Nearly wordless and wonderfully odd and quirky. Mr. Wuffles is a cat who doesn’t move unless it’s for a very good reason and he certainly doesn’t move to chase after silly toys his owner buys him. So what is it about the teeny spaceship that has Mr. Wuffles racing all over the house? You must experience this title to truly understand what is happening. At the end of the week I told my students that I would be sharing a book with them this week that is part wordless, part English and part in a language I don’t understand. They are totally intrigued. Can’t wait to see what they make of this book!

 Mr. Wuffles #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Island by Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman

Another wordless title where the narrative isn’t necessarily even close to obvious. I suppose if this really bothers you, this book will be somewhat irritating. I love the illustrations and the suggestion of many story lines. My children and I shared this title over breakfast. Each of us was sort of sure we knew what was going on – all of us telling stories that went in quite different directions. Quite fun actually.

The Island #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Paper Dolls written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

Although this story is definitely for a younger audience (preschool to K/1 would be ideal) I found it absolutely lovely. A beautiful story celebrating mother daughter time, imagination and playtime adventure. A little girl and her five paper dolls – the names repeat in a poem (loved “Jimmy with two noses”) have many wonderful adventures. There is a moment of cruelty handled without much attention – it isn’t explored but rather gives the story another aspect – that when something is lost or destroyed it is not gone but enters the special world of memories. Would love to gift this to a family with young children. Can see it being a favourite. And of course it has Donaldson’s rhythm and flow.

The Paper Dolls #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

I Dare You Not to Yawn written by Helene Boudreau and illustrated by Serge Bloch

A cautionary tale about how to avoid yawns that will inevitably lead to being put to bed. And oh are there some cozy, soothing temptations. Yikes, just typing this and visualizing those pages, I yawned! Me: zero. Book: one.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry written by Samantha Berger  and illustrated by Bruce Whatley 

Sorry is such an interesting phenomenon. So often children are forced to say sorry and it has no meaning at all. Martha does not voice these words willingly. It is clearly a power thing. It’s not that she isn’t nice, she just won’t admit she’s wrong. When she does finally utter them, it really does feel meaningful. Well handled in a sweet little family story.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Unicorn Thinks he’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

I love that so many important themes are handled in a story that is full of silly, whimsy and all out bling. Themes such as jealousy, friendship, diversity, and accepting someone new. Read this book to laughter and smiles and then settle in for an interesting discussion about a whole lot of stuff. Most importantly of course: How do we get it to rain cupcakes?

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Give Up, Gecko! A Folktale from Uganda retold by Margaret Read MacDonald illustrated by Deborah Melmon

A fun little story highlighting the importance of persistence and the big meanings of what is fair. Silly, fun language and a lovely story all wrapped up in one.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

This week I also blogged about some great nonfiction titles I read recently –  perfect for preschool listeners right up to late primary.

In other reading, I finished Jinx by Sage Blackwood

I am so happy that I really liked this book. I really really wanted to like this book. I loved the cover, the author’s name and the promise of a storyline about wizards, witches, various kinds of magic, curses, secrets, adventure, mystery and listening trees. It might have gone the direction of not pulling it off because it seemed to promise so much. But no, it all comes together and I found myself wishing for more free time to just stay lost in this story. An excellent middle grade fantasy/adventure/mystery. Would be great for fans of The False Prince!

 Jinx #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

People seem to either love this title or they are kind of middle of the road on it. I am in the first camp. I finished it early this morning over my first cup of coffee and found myself crying twice in the last section. A really intimate little book that introduces us to Billy Miller, his family, his worries and his triumphs. A seven year old hero of the everyday. Love him. Love him. Love him.

 The Year of Billy Miller #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Next up?

The Boy on the Wooden Box A Memoir by Leon Leyson

Happy reading to everyone!

Monday June 10th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads! A fantastic way to learn about new titles.

It’s report card writing season so my reading has been interfered with . . . But I managed to sneak in some fantastic titles!

In picture books . . . .

I found three new lovely board books for my Kindergarten buddy reading collection:

Northwest Coast Native Animals by Kelly Robinson Students loved the gorgeous illustrations and many connected to art they have seen in their homes and relative’s communities up north. Bright, beautiful and perfect for sharing.

northwest coast native animals

Good Morning World by Paul Windsor A lovely board book that celebrates nature and the world around us. Students have loved sharing this title with their little buddies.

native_nw_morn

Old Bear by Kevin Henkes I was pleasantly surprised by the stunning colours of the seasons in this story. Such a gentle tale about an old bear dreaming about his days as a cub. Soothing and sweet.

old bear

Other picture books I enjoyed:

Ivy Loves to Give by Freya Blackwood I think Freya Blackwood is such a gifted illustrator. I adore her blog.  This is a picture book perfect for a story time setting about a little girl, Ivy, who loves to gift things she finds to whoever is near. Often, her gifts don’t quite match the needs of the recipient but her generosity is treasured.

ivy-loves-to-give

Museum Trip a wordless book by Barbara Lehman This book is about getting lost on many levels – but quite nicely not about lost and being scared. More of an adventure – getting lost in the pictures of mazes quite literally . . .

museum trip

My two favourite picture books of the week:

Big Wolf and Little Wolf: The Little Leaf that Wouldn’t Fall by Nadine Brun-Cosme and Olivier Tallec Oh how I am coming to adore these two long snouted wolves and their adventures through all that is friendship and nature and love. Devotion. Bravery. Patience. I don’t want to give anything away so I will just say that there is much that is simple and celebratory of the wonder and complexity of nature and near the end a moment of pure beautiful.

leaf that wouldn't fall

A Hen for Izzy Pippick written by Aubrey Davis and illustrated by Marie Lafrance I confess to falling for this book before I even read it. I loved everything about the cover – the greens, the pluck of the girl and hen marching across the page, the quirky title . . . So I could have been disappointed. But not even close. I adored this book through every page (and it is a longer picture book). This book celebrates what we don’t often encounter in a picture book: honesty and a fierce determination to simply do what is right. Yet, this story is not overly dramatic. It is actually quite amusing and whimsical. We meet Shaina who in protecting a hen that belongs to the illusive Izzy Pippik starts a bit of a chicken invasion in her small village. All the while waiting for the return of Izzy Pippik. This story is inspired by Jewish and Islamic traditional texts.

hen for izzy pippik

I also finished two novels:

Clementine and the Spring Trip written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Marla Frazee In my family, Clementine has reached a sort of cult status. Even though we read our first Clementine story way back (five years ago) when my chldren were five, they have not become too old for another Clementine story. Each time, a new book in the series is published, we need to read it! Immediately! We read this story in probably three sit down read aloud sessions and felt like we curled up with our old friend. Many giggles over the mystery of the very unpleasant odour of Bus #7. Can’t wait for the next one!

clementine

As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins I liked this book but I didn’t love it. I thought I should at least really like it. But it was simply just “like” Even though the writing is great. . .  The storyline is very interesting. The characters have some wonderfully odd elements to them. Yet, nothing pulled at me to keep reading this book. It was like being offered a very nice cup of tea. But I just don’t really like tea – I want my strong black coffee. Lots of adventure and some of it was very dramatic but I never felt on the edge of my seat. A story of a summer trip that goes sideways in every way.

s easy as

What is on my reading horizon? I just started Torn Away by James Heneghan as a read aloud to my children. I started reading Accomplice by  Eireann Corrigan – a young adult novel I knew very little about going in so we shall see . . . I have many books on hold at the library and looks like they might all arrive at once! So I had better get these report cards written!

Monday May 20th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of your reading from picture books to young adult reads! Such a fantastic way to learn about “new to you” titles by exploring all of the blog posts shared! Share your own reading on twitter via the hashtag #IMWAYR

This week has been a lot about books! A LOT of books! A lot of reading. Early morning reading. Reading over coffee. Reading while folding the laundry (I have this down to an art) Much browsing, some (well, a little more than some :-)) buying and many bookstore hours passed surrounded by . . . books! Is there any better way to spend one’s time?

For the second week in a row, I have narrowed my picture books down to my ten favourites of the week to share here:

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead I spent a week one summer in a house by the sea, wanting to see a whale. I never did. I think I needed this book to help me out. It reveals the ins and outs of waiting. And wondering. And hoping. And wow, is it gorgeous! This is my new go to gift book because adults and children alike will love it. (I might add that the first person I gifted it to was me!)

If you want to see a whale

Wilfred written and illustrated by Ryan Higgins Last week on my #IMWAYR journey through blog posts I happened upon this title on Nicole’s blog Bluestocking Thinking She called this book a “keeper” and I must agree. It is absolutely odd. Wilfred is a big hairy monster in a land of bald beings. But odd is wonderful. And this book is so much more – a story of kindness and friendship and of being compassionate. I loved this little story and cannot wait to share it with my students.

Wilfred

Line 135 written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine The previous book by these two – Little Bird was one of my favourite titles of 2012. In fact, it will likely be a favourite of all time. Line 135 has a very different feel. But it shares something that I love with Little Bird: it celebrates a beautiful sense of self and human connection. A picture book adults will love – themes of travel, wonder, being who you are. But, if shared right with a group of children – this could be magic.

Line 135

How to by Julie Morstad Morstad is a picture perfect picture book illustrator. She sends memories, dreams, wonder and magic from the page to her reader. Find this book. Buy it. Treasure it. Read it often and believe in everything.

morstad

Ben Rides On written and illustrated by Matt Davies I want to say everything about this book because I found it so wonderfully fun! And sweet. And funny . . . But I am going to try and say nothing more. This book needs to be experienced. Read it without expectation or bias and enjoy . . . 

ben rides on

Fantastic review of this book on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

A Stick is an Excellent Thing written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by LeUyen Pham A celebration of the outdoors and playful encounters! Should be read while lounging under a tree or marching through meadows.

A Stick is anExcellent Thing

The Secret Message written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Bruce Whatley Mina Javaherbin, with her wonderfully generous spirit, sent us this beautiful story and it was such a pleasure to share it with my class! We are currently creating art pieces in response and I hope to be able to share them later this week! A story about how precious freedom is! Shared by Mina from her childhood memories of being told this story (based on a poem by Rumi) by her father.

The Secret message

Kumak’s Fish written and illustrated by Michael Bania Some might know that fishing is a lot about patience and definitely something about luck. But how about cooperation? And hooking sticks? And an entire village? Much fun in this delightful story set in the Arctic.

Kumak's Fish

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes I bought this in board book version for our buddy reading with the Ks. Lilly has the best ideas about chocolate. Enough said.

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Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers written and illustrated by Calef Brown My class adored the humour in so many of these poems! Fun things to do? Count the cavities (and promise to be better about brushing!), debate the merits of raising fleas for income and explain how quickly you could catch that runaway waffle and gobble it up! With all Brown’s books, it is the illustrations that make them especially amazing!

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This was a special week for our class because Calef Brown (the real guy) came to visit our school! Kala, who has been a super fan of Brown’s whimsical words and quirky art kept a countdown sign outside of our classroom. Finally, it was zero more sleeps and truly – Calef Brown Day!

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Students were thrilled to show Calef the art we had done inspired by his book Pirateria! It doesn’t get any more special than being able to invite an author/illustrator to come and check out a bulletin board he inspired! Thank you Calef Brown!

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In other reading, I finished four novels: 

Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff Mystery. Fantasy. Magic. This book had it all! Requires the reader to remain completely alert to follow this story through its multiple narrators. Fun, certainly. Wonderful for middle grade readers.

A Tangle of Knots

Stolen written by Lucy Christopher This is the book that had the biggest impact on me this week. I started it early Friday morning and resented my errands of the day for intruding into my reading time. Don’t begin this book without some hours of uninterrupted reading time ahead. And be prepared for a tough read. This is a story of kidnapping and it has much good, bad and ugly yet by the end, nothing is clear. We know for certain that Gemma has been taken. We know she is in the middle of nowhere. We watch her attempts at escape, her terrifying interactions with the middle of the Australian desert (full of nothing and camels and red sand and poisonous everything) and settle into her memories and confusion. Her interactions with her abductor are psychologically intimate and raw. Yet her kidnapper is also the one who rescues her often. Is it care or control? Love or obsession? Nothing is black or white. Beautifully written. Haunting.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Yes, I am a Charlie fan. Yes, this is a must read book. Sad and funny and vulnerable and worrisome. Fantastic characters. Addictive.

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Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu This novel touched on a theme I have never read about in a middle grade or young adult novel – hoarding. Lucy is the youngest of three children and the only one still living with her mother, until she is old enough to move out. Her mother’s hoarding makes her home life basically unbearable and a desperate secret. The conditions she lives in are truly disgusting. She keeps going by holding on to dreams of a “normal” life two years away when she is old enough to leave home. But then something happens that changes all of her plans.

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Next up? I borrowed Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder from my daughter’s collection. And I plan on jumping in to a number of fairytales that I will then share with my reading group. We currently believe that fairy tales are the ultimate in drama and can’t get enough of them!