Monday October 1st, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. This week I am fully celebrating the joy of buddy reading with our younger K buddies.

#classroombookaday titles from 2 weeks ago were all about the changing season.

Last week we read about kind acts and gestures. And going beyond because we want to be giving and caring.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

I had to share our completed dot art completed for International Dot Day.

I have already tweeted this but had to share here too. This was one of my favourite comments from last week – when we brainstormed what we noticed about all of these titles, someone shared, ” They have characters and creatures that are real if you believe in them.” Still smiling.

The incredible title Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak has inspired us to create our own mini books. Front and back covers are complete. Stay tuned for more.

In morning math explorations we investigated square tiles and pentominoes.

Days later this group requested to use the materials again during free choice time. 🙂

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:

Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

Reds, Yellows and Blues each think they are the best. But then, some mixing occurs and everyone gets a much brighter, more colourful perspective.

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh 

Papa Rabbit had to go North to find work when the rains didn’t come. A big party is organized for his return, but Papa still doesn’t come home. So Pancho Rabbit sets out to find his father. An allegorical tale that speaks to the challenges and struggles faced by families illegally crossing borders hoping for a better life for their families.

A House That Once Was written by Julie Fogliano with illustrations by Lane Smith

I can’t decide if the text or the illustrations are more beautiful here. Both are truly incredible. This will be part of our Mock Caldecott list – can’t wait to share it in January with my class.

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

I love everything about this book. I kind of want to carry it around and read it to everyone I meet. Imagine all the conversations that could be shared asking “Where did your name come from??

Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee with illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre

Oh this little book has a lot to say about how to be in the world.

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Love the illustrations – this crazy orange colour and those incredible snails. Essential themes for our times – looking closely, getting lost in nature, unstructured play, losing our devices (here, quite literally).
A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider–The Story of E. B. White by Barbara Herkert with illustrations by Lauren Castillo

Wow. A beautiful biography.

Older Not Wiser (Bad Nana) by Sophie Henn

An illustrated chapter book with lots of humour. The British expressions may require a little bit of assistance navigating but this one has high kid appeal.

Up next? I am still reading Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 14/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 168/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 55 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 31/40 books read

Monday December 19th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week I have two! Since I will be without students for a bit, I thought I should share an extra one.

This photo was taken about 20 minutes before school began on the last day before the break. Story time led by a Grade 6 student from next door. This scene brings me a lot of joy.

Monday December 19th, 2016

Could this face be any more serious? Which is wonderfully ironic as he had just told me:

“Oh I am just so happy. I finally learned how to speak Cave Man.”

Seriously, this kid! Made my whole day.

Monday December 19th, 2016

And one more self-portrait as I still haven’t recovered from how talented my students happen to be.

Monday December 19th, 2016

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. This week we read some of my favourite holiday/winter themed books.

Monday December 19th, 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

On the blog:

I shared the twenty 2016 titles I think a Grade 4 & 5 library must have here

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

Celebration: A special morning read aloud It’s taken a term and my new school is feeling like home!

Books I enjoyed:

 Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

A quietly comical tale of pessimism and getting back on track. Well at least mostly . . .

penguin-problem

The Cranky Ballerina by Elise Gravel

We all just need to find our thing. Charming.

the-cranky-ballerina

The Bossier Baby by Marla Frazee

What happens when baby number two comes on the scene? This. Exactly this.

the-bossier-baby

How This Book was Made written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

Incredibly clever and thoroughly informative. Learn all about book publishing while being completely entertained.

how-this-book-was-made

The Artist and Me written by Shane Peacock and illustrated by Sophie Casson

A serious story of how Van Gogh was perceived and treated in a small French town. This book just made me so sad. Would need to be unpacked with kids.

the-artist-and-me

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre

I am so happy I read this on a very snowy day – it made it all the more magical. And magical it is!

best-in-snow

Cleopatra in Space:Target Practice by Mike Maihack

I know this series is going to be very popular in my classroom when I introduce it in the new year. A graphic tale full of adventure, action and Cleopatra!

cleopatra-in-space

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

Full of delicious magic, sweet honey, the complications of friendship and the stories that weave all around us, this is part adventure, part fairy tale and part testament to the connections we have to each other over a lifetime. A special story, Ms. Shurtliff!

Red

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 63/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 334/400 books read

Progress on challenge: 51 books behind! Still can’t break that 50 mark!

#MustReadin2016: 23/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 45/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 47/50 books read

Up next? Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley

 

Monday June 27th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This will be one of my last ones from my current school so I will share two!

Here are a bunch of writers writing thank you cards to donors who donated books to our school library. Writing about the books prompted much rereading.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

I love this buddy reading photo with the little listener camped out in the box.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

For our #classroombookaday, I have 3 weeks to share.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

These titles “a boy and his bunny” etc. inspired many searches to figure out which book came first.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

And some art pieces!

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That Monday June 27th, 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

Life has been busy, busy, busy. Applying and interviewing for jobs. Accepting a new job. Packing up. Writing reports. My husband down for the count with a bad bout of bronchitis. Not much impacts my reading life but for the last few weeks, it was put on hold. Yet, I have a few titles to share.

On the Blog:

Celebration: The new – I did get a job!

Celebration: Going with it Packing, boxes and perspective

Books I enjoyed:

Bear and Bunny written by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

I recommend this title just for the napping illustrations. Adorable.

Bear and Bunny Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith

Dreamy. The illustrations here . . . it went instantly on to my Mock Caldecott 2017 list.

There is a Tribe of Kids

Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and her Flying Machine by Heather Lang and illustrated by Raúl Colón

Stunning illustrations and such a story of Ruth Law and her dream to break flight records. She had vision, perseverance and talent. An amazing biography to share.

Fearless Flyer

Oh, Brother!

A fantastic story to talk about blended families. A great find at my library.

Oh, Brother!

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Beautiful on so many levels. A story of grief, friendship and a transformative summer.

Summerlost

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 22/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 174/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 26/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 20/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

My Picture Book 10 for 10 for 2013

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

I am thrilled to be participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event for the second time. This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. What are the picture books that you just can not live without?

pb 10 for 10

Last year I shared many of my all time favourite picture books. This year, I thought I would focus on what has become a beloved theme: picture books that feature a connection between generations – whether it is a child and a grandparent or a child and a grandparent like figure.

These stories remind us that time is a gift, memories have big meaning and wisdom shared always enhances what we know.

My top ten favourites on this theme: Connections across the generations

Mr. Zinger’s Hat written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic

A wonderful story about the power of storytelling and how it meanders this way and that between the narrator and the “creatively involved” listener. Young Leo and Mr. Zinger  collectively “create” a story. And then the storytelling continues once Leo has been “bit” by the writing/narrating bug. Just lovely.

Mr Zinger's Hat: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Friend written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

A beautiful friendship and love exist between little Belle and her devoted housekeeper Beatrice. Bea is little Belle’s daily companion as her parents race off here and there, too “busy” to give their child time. Reminds us that spending time with a child is everything even when doing the most mundane chores. Connection, warmth, love . . . What makes this story even more special is that it is inspired by a similar relationship in the author’s childhood. I wish I owned this book but sadly it is out of print. As always Small and Stewart create a treasured story together.

The Friend: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Imaginary Garden written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

The Imaginary Garden tells a story of grandfather and granddaughter who paint a lush garden mural when a real garden is no longer possible in Poppa’s new apartment. I used this book as inspiration for some beautiful garden art with my students.

 The Imaginary Garden: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Frank Show, a David Mackintosh title

This title is all about a young boy who thinks his Grandad Frank is not going to be an interesting share at Show and Tell. But, watch out for the older generation! Boy do they pull out all the stops. A great book to share to highlight how wonderful it is to get to know our grandparents. (My own Dad who happens to be a “Papa Frank” loved this title and read it to my nieces :-))

The Frank Show: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Oma’s Quilt written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Emily’s Oma (grandmother) has to move to a retirement home and she is very reluctant to do so.  What about her precious things? Her neighbours? Cooking apple strudel? Even the bowling alley at the home doesn’t change her mind (smelly shoes!) While Emily and her mother are sorting through Oma’s possessions, Emily has a wonderful idea. Why not make a memory quilt for Oma!?

Oma's Quilt: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith 

This book has so much of what I love- adoration for a Grandfather (a Great Grandfather in this case!), nostalgia for sick days and lots of reading, gardens, and the love of family history shared between generations. Exquisite!

Grandpa Green: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

What a special story that celebrates friendship, literacy and the sentiment that it is never too late to learn something new. Young Harry waits for the school bus every morning with his friend and neighbour Mr. George Baker. Mr. Baker, a spry and charming man is a hundred years old and has never learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says George. Lyrical. Simple. Inspirational. A book to share with new learners of every age.

Mr. George Baker: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Wednesday Surprise written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Donald Carrick

Anna spends every evening with her Grandma. After dinner and dishes, Grandma and Anna work on a surprise for Dad’s birthday. The surprise is all about books and reading and it makes me cry no matter how many times I read this story. Special. Special. Special.

The Wednesday Surprise: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

When Mary Ellen confesses that she is tired of reading, Grandpa leads her (and half the community!) on an adventure that involves racing over fields and country roads in search of a bee tree. Along with the reward of baking powder biscuits and sweet honey, Mary Ellen receives some of Grandpa’s wisdom:

“There is sweetness inside of that book too! Such things . . . adventure, knowledge and wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them.”

The Bee Tree: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

William’s Doll written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois

A classic and consistently important story that shakes up thinking that is based in stereotypes. Brothers, neighbours and Dad send William the message that wanting a doll is wrong, something for a “sissy” and certainly not for a boy. But Grandma arrives, and in her wise and quiet way manages to get William the doll he covets and give the message to Dad that William wants a doll to love, but also to “play” at being a father – learning to do all of the things he will need to do one day for his own child. More than forty years old, this book is still relevant. I used it with a class last year and it was powerful.

William's Doll: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Last year, my list featured two more favourites on this theme. Stories that remain favourites.

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

(Knew I would find a way to “be creative” (a.k.a. cheat) with the 10 book guideline :-))

Not only do I love books that celebrate connections between the generations, I also love the magic that happens when books are shared during reading experiences. I shared that in this post: The Grandparent Effect

Please share if you have other titles that fit with this theme of connections across generations.

Happy Reading!

Monday January 28th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Link up to Jen and Kellee’s meme to share all of the great reading you have been doing from picture books to young adult novels.

I tried to limit my picture book list to my top 5 books of the week. That didn’t exactly work out . . . But I did keep it under 10!

The Beasties written by Jenny Nimmo and illustrated by Gwen Millward I found this book quite delightful and when I read it to my class, it cast a magical spell. All about how the story telling of the Beasties helps a little girl settle into her dreams each night in her new big bed in her new room. Eventually, she realized her own imagination can help soothe her into sleep.

The-Beasties

The Insomniacs written by Karina Wolf and illustrated by The Brothers Hilts What if you travelled many timezones away and your night and day became all mixed up? What does a life lived at night look like? In this story, it is full of beautiful night blooming cactuses, night beetles, astronomy and moonbathing . . . The perfect blend of a slightly absurd story and stunningly imagined illustrations make this a beautifully unique book. Might not appeal to everyone. I adore it and want my own copy.

insomniacs cover

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat This fractured fairy tale was a huge hit in my classroom. We loved the martial arts, the energetic rhyme and super pig power! Read more here.

3 ninja pigs (1)

Oh, No! written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann Finally, I got my hands on this title! A perfect book to use to highlight paying attention to the details in the pictures. Can see this being a very popular and requested story time book! I think I would have no problems reading it over and over!

Oh-no-cover

Charley’s First Night written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury A story of a little boy and his puppy’s first night at home. Absolutely sweet. This little Henry is the keenest, most attentive new puppy owner out there. Full of love and care.

Charely

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff Oh, this book is just so lovely! It celebrates colour, nature and the special bond between baby bear and Mama. This is a wonderful book to gift someone with a young child. A beautiful book to revisit often.

baby_bear_sees_blue

Oliver by Birgitta Sif Love these illustrations – they match a gentle story that celebrates a child who is really his own person. But sometimes, we are ready to share our world with someone else who moves through life with their own style.

oliver

I also read the fantastic Lulu Walks the Dogs written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith These Lulu books celebrate voice – Viorst is one funny narrator, Lulu is deliciously spunky and Lane Smith rounds everything out with his brilliant illustrations. I liked this book as much as the first Lulu and those were some big shoes . . .

lulu walks the dogs

I finished two novels this week. Both were on my must read list of 2013.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson Such a well written novel giving us an intimate view into a young woman’s courageous attempt at securing land in the unforgiving Montana prairie during 1918. Hattie reminds us that we discover what is big and grand inside of us by living the simple and often arduous day to day tasks amongst people who are doing the same. A book of relationships, challenges and beauty. While it certainly took me a while to get to this book (considering it was a Newbery honour book in 2007), at least it will be fresh in my mind when Hattie Ever After is released next month!


hattie-big-skyOn the Road to Mr.Mineo’s written by Barbara O’Connor I adore Barbara O’Connor. I smile when I pick up any of her books. Barbara O’Connor has a way of letting the world slow down. She tells us stories of people, long days, longing, fussing and forgiving where the journey is as important as the destination. As always, I love how her books highlight kid adventure and big personality in small place settings. Calm. Soothing. Happy. Who would think a one legged pigeon could cause such a fuss? Everyone wants him, some are convinced they need him and the chase is on. Reminded me of the feeling in Oliver Jeffers’ This Moose Belongs to Me of how an animal really belongs where it belongs, and not necessarily to anyone.

on the road to mr. mineos

Just started reading Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood, a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages so I am very excited!

Viorst and Smith bring much needed humour to our January!

Our latest read aloud is Lulu and The Brontosaurus written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith.

Why I know we are going to love this book?

# 1 I read it to my own children and it was a huge success Read my review here.

#2 Throw yourself on the floor tantrums, calling Lulu a pain in the . . . butt, snake squeezing, tiger taming What more could you ask for?

#3 There is a very catchy song repeated throughout:

I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, gonna get A bronto-bronto-bronto Brontosaurua for a pet. I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, gonna get A bronto-bronto-bronto Brontosaurua for a pet.

#4 Judith Viorst!

#5 Lane Smith!

Enough said, but in case you are not an absolute fan of either Viorst or Smith, let me help you out . . .

Who doesn’t love Viorst‘s Alexander’s Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day?

A book that is such a classic to teach connecting because it is so appealing and comforting for those of us that have days that could just be better.

I just read Lane Smith‘s Grandpa Green today.What an exquisite book!

The simple colour scheme – lush greens, black and white and speckled this and that hinted at here and there . . . Honouring gardens, a lifetime of memories shared across generations. Read and savour.

Last Night’s Story

You know a book is an ideal read aloud when the reactions to it are as amusing as the story itself. Last night I read my children (8 years old x 2) Lulu and the Brontosaurus written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith. They easily could have read this book themselves but this book shines as a shared read aloud experience.

Judith Viorst writes books where characters have a very appealing voice – connectable, frank, amusing. In this book, it is not the main character Lulu that has the powerful voice (although her screeches are pretty loud) but rather the narrator, Viorst herself. As author of the book, she has taken certain liberties – yes, she knows that Lulu, a human girl couldn’t possibly go out into the forest to find a dinosaur (especially a brontosaurus that technically didn’t even ever exist as it has been renamed the apatosarus) but this is her story, so that’s just how it is going to be. Lulu decides that she wants a brontosaurus and when her parents refuse to give in (a rarity in and of itself) to her tantrums and pleas, she marches into the forest, with her small suitcase to find one herself.

Accompanying her are her Don’t mess with me attitude and her theme song:

I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, gonna get A bronto-bronto-bronto Brontosaurua for a pet. I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, gonna get A bronto-bronto-bronto Brontosaurua for a pet.

I got it! A brontosaurus!

Lulu faces down huge snakes, ferocious tigers and grumpy bears. She is a girl on a mission. She is going to find a brontosaurus. She trudges on, frequently singing her song until sleep overtakes her. After hearing this song about three times, my children leaped out of bed, grabbed board games off the shelf as make shift suitcases and marched around the room chanting “I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, gonna get A bronto-bronto-bronto Brontosaurua for a pet. . . ” Maybe not the best book to be reading before bed? More inspiring than calming!

When Lulu awakes, it is to a tree trunk with toes. A brontosaurus! The answer to her dreams. But it turns out, actually not! This brontosaurus is not going to take no for an answer to his dream – He wants Lulu for his pet! Pages and pages pass. He is not changing his mind. Lulu has no choice – she runs away! She makes her way back through the forest, encountering those very same creatures she challenged along the way. Something in Lulu seems to have changed. She has new strategies. Gift giving. Complimenting. Saying please! Lulu?! I won’t give any more of the story away. It’s hard to tell it to its end anyway because there are actually three endings to choose from. Depending on your style and your story ending needs. (We were unanimous – ending three got our vote) Very considerate of Ms. Viorst!

Lulu encountered a snake

Lane Smith, is the author/illustrator or illustrator of many books. His art is unique. Quirky. Odd. Eerie. Hilarious. In this book, the drawings are done in pencil on pastel paper. Amazing shading. So much mood conveyed without a hint of colour. We loved Lulu in her stripy dress, her persnickety pout, her sleek little bob. . . This book is a visual treat, strangely shaped – long and narrow and polka dotted new chapter pages. Never too much text on a page. A book you want to own. And treasure.

When the book ended (at 113 pages, we were able to finish it in one sitting) My children were completely energized! “Awesome,” cried my daughter. “That book was all about friendship, good manners and how you don’t always get what you want.” “And Foo on you! ” squealed my son. (You will have to read the book to find out why this is absolutely hilarious to an eight year old!)

Love this book! Reading books by Judith Viorst is always a delightful experience.