Monday July 25th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. My classroom is certainly not full of children and I have repacked many books so that floors can be waxed and shelves can be gathered. So it also looks like it is not full of books! This is what the stack of classroom collection titles looked like when I left them a week ago. Tomorrow I head in to put my read aloud titles (fiction and nonfiction) away in another area of the room where there are shelves and cupboards. Another stack of books in that area awaits me!!

Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

And here is my reading spot last week – out on the balcony with my morning coffee on Pender Island. Just beautiful.

Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

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


On the Blog:

We spent the last week away and so not much blogging has happened. I did manage a few posts since my last #IMWAYR:

Still processing my move in this Slice of Life: Giving away the Guilt

A “listen along” review of Ah-Choo! written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams

Books I enjoyed:

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

I was lucky to have been passed an ARC of this lovely little title when I introduced Melissa Sweet in Bellingham in the spring at the Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference. I saved it (well, there was much peeking) until we went away this summer so I could read it in one sitting. It is fantastically good which, if you read the book is over the top wordy to just say what should be said in plain English: Go buy this book when it is released (October 4th, 2016) and then pass it on to everyone you know to read. That’s how good. As usual, Sweet knocked me over with her detailed illustrations and precisely chosen quotes and text.

Some Writer! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

I have wanted to read this book for a while but avoided it because I was afraid of the stress of experiencing this natural disaster through a young character’s experience. There were some difficult scenes, made especially hard because connecting to the characters happens quickly. A really well done title.

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit 

This is more of a YA novel even though the young main character of Anna begins the book at eleven years old. This book is philosophical and dark. Full of the challenges, violence  and absurdities of war but wrapped up in the story of only a few characters. As they travel over land, the reader travels in their heads. Such an introspective title. I quite enjoyed it.

Anna and the Swallow Man Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

This book is part fairy tale, part fantasy, part sadness, part mystery. Except not really. It might not be any of those things. It is a story of Finley Hart and one summer where she is sent to live with her extended family she doesn’t know. Captivating. Captured an endless summer feeling – with being at a home with cousins and grandparents and new found friends. Although, there are darker elements. Can see this being a fantastic book club title. Highly recommended.

Some Kind of Happiness Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Yes, really, as good as all of the raving. I fell hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Pax-Sara-Pennypacker Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some picture books:

Ah-Choo! is written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams with illustrations by Ken Min

I shared more details in my post a week or so ago. See link above.

 Ah-Choo! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

I love how this title celebrates style but also honours the joy of play. Especially wonderful? The characters are beautifully diverse! I loved the illustrations.  Even though this title plays with the Mary Had a Little lamb rhyme, it is the celebration of children that stands out to me here. I can see little ones adoring this book and wanting to hear it multiple times!

Mary Had a Little Glam Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Of course this inspires all kinds of imagining about potential art projects with found objects. for this reason, this title is relevant right into high school even though the story would best be shared during a story time session.

Rain Fish Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Dig In! by Cindy Jenson-Elliot with illustrations by Mary Peterson

Who doesn’t want to literally lay their hands in the dirt after experiencing this book? Perfect for a classroom of primary students to launch a gardening unit. Introduces the concept that there is much happening in the soil (insects, worms, seeds, etc. )

Dig In! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR


Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 28/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 191/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 27/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 25/50 books read

Up next? I am reading  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña

Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

Cover Ah-Choo! Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

I am delighted to share this rhyming ABC story about the search for the perfect pet – one that doesn’t cause a little sister to sneeze endlessly. A perfect story time title!

I had intended to have my students write reviews of this book but June got ahead of us and we ran out of time. So, next best thing? I recorded our read aloud experience and am sharing the highlights here. Listen in!

Kids: “The end pages are cool! Do you know who all of those footprints belong to?”

Text: “I asked my mom if I could have a pet, or even two. But every time I brought one home, my sister went . . .

Kids: “A-Choo! I know it’s A-Choo! Can we do all of the sneezes if there are lots of them?”

Kids: “Is the sneezing going to be loud? My Dad sneezes really loud.”

Kids: “Some people squeak when they sneeze.”

Kids: “Read more!”

Text  “ . . . . I tried a feathered Emu, plus a Ferret, Goose, and Hen. . . “

Kids: “Hey,  I know what the text is doing! It’s in order! Like the alphabet! ABC order.”

Kids: “And it rhymes. On every page.”

Kids: “Let’s guess the next animals. But what starts with an I . . . ”

Kids: “Igloo!”

Kids: “That’s not an animal! I don’t even know any . . .

Note: The authors introduce us to an Ibis which is a gorgeous long beaked black and white bird. We looked it up!

Kids: “Is the sister allergic? Is that why she sneezes?”

Kids: “Yes, that’s what the book is about.”

Kids: “Maybe she is just sick?

Kids: “No she’s allergic. But can you be allergic to everything like fur? hair? feathers? claws?”

Kids: “Not claws!”

Our conversation then took us on a tangent about what kids are allergic to with animals. Scales? Spit? Snot? Fleas? Sweat? A fascinating topic for 7 and 8 year olds!

Kids: “Can we read?”

Text: ” . . . . . . . Umbrellabirds, and Vultures’ wings caused one big . . . “

Kids: “There are so many birds! Hold on if there are vultures did something die?”

Kids: “Gross! What?”

Kids: “Just read!”

Text: “A Warthog, Weasel, and a Wolf, a Xantis I named Jack, a Yaffle and a Zebra too, I had to take them back.”

Kids: “I don’t even know what a Yaffle is! What is a yaffle?”

Note: A yaffle is a green European woodpecker. We looked that up too! And if you also didn’t know ( as we didn’t) a Xantis is a kind of yak!

We won’t spoil how this ends but suffice it to say this title has huge kid appeal – lots of joining in, lots of guessing and lots to talk about. I imagine this book would have been very popular for buddy reading if we had had extra time in the year! It will go in the buddy reading bin for September!

Ah-Choo! is written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams with illustrations by Ken Min (Sterling Children’s Books 2016)

Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

Thank you to Ardi from Sterling Publishing for a review copy of this title.

Looking for more pet books to share? Some books that would love to be read along side this title.

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail

One Word from Sophia

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King


Spare Dog Parts written by Alison Hughes and illustrated by Ashley Spires

Spare Dog Parts

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid

pet for petunia

If I Had a Gryphon written by Vicki VanSickle and illustrated by Cale Atkinson

If I Had a Gryphon

The Pet Project Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Zachoriah Ohora

The Pet Project Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses