Monday March 31st, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

These are the the picture books I really enjoyed:

Some perfect for little readers or story time sessions:

Wait! Wait! written by Hatsue Nakawaki and illustrated by Komako Sakai

Perfectly captures the awkward and adorable exploration of a toddler out in nature.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I Love my New Toy! by Mo Willems

Always brilliant – Willems captures friendship dynamics like no other.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Somewhere in the World Right Now by Stacey Schuett

Set up like a soothing bed time story, this title could also be used in the classroom to inspire interest in geography and other cultures. The perfect text to practice visualization.The message is that all over the world, different things are happening. Some moments are full of busy city life while someplace else, everyone is quiet and asleep.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Mammoth in the Fridge written by Michaël Escoffier and illustrated by Matthieu Maudet

I am more and more charmed by the absurd humour of Escoffier (he wrote Brief Thief which is a favourite in my class). In this story, a mammoth turns up in the fridge. How on earth did he get in there? Pay close attention and it all comes clear 🙂

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dog and  Bear: Two Friends – Three Stories by Laura Vaccaro Seeger 

I had the pleasure of listening to Laura Vaccaro Seeger talk about her Dog and Bear titles at a recent conference. Reading this book, I could hear her voice. Simple, sweet stories of friendship.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Good Ship Crocodile written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Monique Felix

A crocodile helps many creatures cross the river when the water is high. His good deeds have a chance to be repaid when he needs help finding home. Beautiful illustrations and I enjoyed the African setting.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

Absolutely stunning images of dream like adventures. An ideal bed time book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Some titles for older readers and for discussion:

I dreamt . . . A book about Hope by Gabriela Olmos

What would a world look like without violence? This book imagines just that. All of the illustrations were created by Mexican artists. A powerful title to spark important discussions about children’s rights, about peace, about safety.

I dreamt a book about hope #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan written by Mary Williams and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Based on true events of the boys walking to safety and security in southern Sudan during civil war. I read this aloud to my own children and they had many questions. Imagining the role these boys had to play to support each other was heartbreaking.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished two novels:

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! written by Tim Federle

I loved jumping back into Nate’s life and his adventures on stage in New York. Nate is a character the middle grade fiction world needs.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Crooked Kind of Perfect written by Linda Urban

You could describe this book as: “It’s about a girl who plays the organ but really wants to play the piano.” But . . . then you would be missing the vulnerability, the complexity of family, the power of people in your corner and the pure brilliance Linda Urban has with words on a page. One of the best things about this title is how Urban handles the parents. So many authors write stories where parents are either absent, missing or have died. Other times they are just plain mean. In this book, Zoe’s parents are far from perfect but in the end, they are far more than just the source of her troubles. So well written.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 25/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 165/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 47/65 complete

Happy Reading to all of you!

* A reminder for anyone out there with a #MustReadin2014 list, think about sharing an update on your blog for April 1st, 2014. Share using the #MustReadin2014 hashtag. I plan to share a list of the titles I have read so far and a highlight of some of my favourites. So excited to see what everyone has been reading and loving.

 

 

Celebration: Bookish Things

celebrate link up

Celebration honoured. This is the loveliest of reasons to share. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week.

This week I am celebrating bookish things. Unfortunately, my family and I have been ill for much of the week – so my week started with a bang and ended much quieter. Book lovers know though that illness creates opportunity for much reading!

#1 Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend Western Washington’s Children Literature Conference (#wwuclc). What an absolutely fantastic and enlightening day!

First of all I was thrilled to meet #NerdybookClub members: L to R Lorna WheatonAdam Shaffer, me, and Shannon Houghton). I know all of these people through twitter and blogging but had never had the opportunity to meet in person. It is amazing how sharing love a love of literature and being passionate about sharing that #booklove has the power to connect. We had much to talk about and share! Hoping that we can all meet again at the next literacy conference in Washington (#wwuclc15)

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

I also did some book shopping. Surprise, surprise! But how could I resist? Our hotel was right across from Village Books and the very same Village Books was selling books by all of the author/photographer/illustrators at the conference.

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

I had wanted to share many things about this conference but being ill has sapped much of my energy. I will let these names speak for themselves: Jennifer Holm. Steve Sheinkin. Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Nic Bishop. I will say that I was completely engrossed in each presentation, in awe of the stories and the passion. I haven’t had such an inspiring or entertaining day for some time. 

I was also honoured to have the chance to introduce photographer/author Nic Bishop. I have been telling my students stories he shared in his presentation all week. My stomach hurt from laughing at his explanations for just how he has taken some of the pictures he has. Before this, I was as curious as my students. We had spent time with Nic Bishop books– many fun ones – Butterflies and Moths, Lizards, Spiders, Frogs, Snakes. I asked the children to explore the books with these questions in mind:

How were these photographs taken?

What skills (besides photography) would the photographer need?

What would be the rewards in this kind of work?

What would be the challenges?

Here are some samples of their questions and observations:

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

#2 Kirby Larson If you don’t know that Kirby Larson is pretty amazing, let me just remind you. Yes, because she writes some incredible books. But also because she sends some pretty significant mail. There is a story here that I can’t completely share. I will just say that this package contained a book that was for a child who needed it for many different reasons. Three adults were able to bear witness to the opening of this package. And . . . wow. Books are gifts. Which makes authors beyond the beyond. Thank you Kirby.

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

#3 Adrienne Gear is my very lovely book loving Vancouver friend who eats books and adores them as voraciously as I do. But she also shares her incredible teaching talent with others through her Reading Power books for teachers. Adrienne’s literacy workshops are some of the most inspiring and feel good (because she is so charming) workshops I have ever attended. This week, Vancouver Kidsbooks hosted a book launch for Adrienne’s fourth book: Nonfiction Writing Power. Check out Adrienne’s website. Buy her book. I happily have all four in my professional collection. Congratulations Adrienne!

Here is the invite from Kidsbooks for Adrienne’s launch and includes images of all of her books:

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

#4  Books, books, books! When life gives you time in bed, take time to read. I’m sure that’s a saying somewhere . . . Well time I had, so in two days of resting I finished one novel and read 5 more. What could be better than that? I will review these titles in my upcoming #IMWAYR post

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

Hoping all of you had much to celebrate this week!

Monday October 14th, 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

 

I read quite a variety of picture books this week. My favourites:

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Before reading this action packed colourful picture book, I had never heard of lucha libre – the theatrical professional wrestling popular in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. I was very pleased that Niño with his little white boxers and red face mask was the first hero of the lucha libre world for me. The fact that he outsmarts his opponents with moves like the Tickle Tackle and the Popsicle Slick make him even more endearing. I can see this being a favourite book of many a preschooler with some wild and crazy energy. What fun!

Nino Wrestles the World #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes 

The illustrations in this story made it quite special. It is a wonderful introduction to Hindu literature and mythology through a quite creative adaptation of how the poet Vyasa convinces Ganesha to scribe the epic poem, the Mahabharata. This story involves delicious sweets and a super jumbo jawbreaker. Part silly, part spectacular, this is a fun visual adventure.

Ganesha's Sweet Tooth  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Look, a Book! written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

The text of this title is simple – the premise simply – wow, look where a book might take you – on adventures and rides through imaginative landscapes. I am such a fan of illustrator Freya Blackwood and again, found her illustrations simply magic.

Look, a Book!  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Cat with Seven Names written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Christine Davenier

If you have ever had a pet that liked to share himself/herself with others very generously (and often motivated by food treats if truth be told) then this is a book to connect to. In this story, a cat wanders in and out of many different lives in a neighbourhood, eventually connecting the individuals into a community and being reunited with his owner who explains that this friendly feline will likely visit again. With themes of solitude and loneliness, this story has a happy feel good ending.

The Cat with the Seven Names  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Can I keep him? by Steven Kellogg

First published in 1971 – loved the older style drawings by Kellogg. A little boy tries to convince his mother that numerous animals would make the ideal pet. Finally he finds the perfect companion to keep him occupied as Mom is busy with her daily tasks. The fantasy element made this story lots of fun as a read aloud.

Can I keep him?  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Really? Really! Really, Seeger is just too clever. Her books never fail to delight, engage and entertain. Such a wonderful book to share with my class. They were all completely engrossed guessing what would happen as we flipped the page – what word would the cutout reveal? What image? Amazing!

One Boy  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Carnivores written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat

Oh so, so good. And it scored high on the giggle meter when I read it to my children. Such a clever premise – attempting to have us see these carnivores as well meaning with lots of self control. When true natures win out, Reynolds and Santat have us smiling a little guiltily as we root for these carnivorous characters who just can’t help themselves . . .

Carnivores  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I finished The Boy on the Wooden Box a memoir by Leon Leyson

An emotional read. Every story of the war speaks to our humanity – the cruelty and kindness of people, the devastation and hope in such horrific times. This is the story of Leon Leyson, one of the youngest members of Schindler’s list. It is the story of his childhood taken by war, his family and their love, of his time during Nazi occupation in the WWII and of his chance to actually have hope of a future. Highly recommended.

The Boy on the Wooden Box  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What’s up next? I just started reading The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Next on the list is Crazy by Han Nolan.

What are you reading this week?

 

 

Bully. Who, me?

Yesterday I read Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and just knew I had to share this book with my students. First thing this Monday morning we gathered together for a read aloud. What a powerful experience.

 Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger There's a Book for That Bully, Who me?

As always, I love that Seeger can say much with so few words. This story is conveyed through simple illustrations weighty with emotional expressions and speech bubbles that send big messages.

I read the story and said almost nothing else. Seeger’s story truly speaks for itself in a room full of children comfortable sharing their ideas and observations.

Joeli wrote a wonderful summary of the story:

There was a mean bull and another bull passed by the mean bull who said GO AWAY! Then that bull was mad and then rabbit came and asked, can I play with you and the bull said NO! The bull bullied every single animal. But the goat said “Bully” and the bull started to cry and he said sorry.

Very quickly the children realized that when something happens to us that hurts, it can start what one of them called “the on and on and on pattern of bullies.” They also had many text to text connections to Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford. We recently read this important book about forgiveness and it had made quite the impression. Ibtihal identified the feelings of the bull almost immediately. She shared, “I think that just like how Desmond felt guilty when he said a mean word, the Bull is starting to feel guilty too.”

The children were very intrigued by the changing shape of the Bull as he continued to be cruel. One keen child commented, “When he bullies he actually gets smaller but he feels bigger.”

Because I always believe that students say it best, some more student responses . . . 

Heman: I think the goat in the story is brave. Why did the Bull bully the chicken? At the end of the story it was nice and calm again. It was nice when the Bull made friends with the Turtle, Chicken and Rabbit.

Kelvin: I felt sad when Ms. Gelson read it. I give it a 5/5. It’s in my ten favourite books list. I wish that the bully felt sad for the bull at the start. I love when the bull came from a devil to like a god. I felt happy for the bull when he went from mean to nice. His heart was brave. He turned his heart upside down.

Soleen: When he bullies, he gets smaller but he feels bigger. The goat was brave enough to tell the Bull you are a bully!

Ibtihal: So every time when he says a mean word, he feels like growing bigger. Then he said “I am sorry Do you wanna play?” So they (the animals) said a nice word “yes” you can play with us.

Gracie: First, the Bull was bullied. And then he was a bully. When he was the bully he was getting smaller but he feels like he’s getting bigger. Maybe the bully who was bullying him got bullied? The goat was very brave. The goat changed the bull. The chicken, the turtle, the rabbit and the goat all got bullied. But they said yes to playing with the bull.

Powerful for young children and even for listeners right into middle school this is a jumping off point for many conversations and reflections. Highly recommended.

Monday September 30th, 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

I read some beautiful picture books this week and some very amusing Toon comics:

My absolute swoon book was . . .

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dusan Petricic with a postscript by Joshua Bell

This book is such an important experience that I want to say next to nothing yet I want to say almost everything. I LOVE, love, love and then love this book some more. It quickly shot to the top of my favourite lists for 2013. WOW! The first page spread is divine. It was a 5/5 book just because of those two sentences and the illustration. And then it just continued to get better. Read and treasure this title. Go, now! Find this book. Seriously.

The Man with the Violin #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also enjoyed . .

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse has edited a book of Beasts by Emily Gravett to make it less intimidating because you know, lions and rhinos and bears . . . oh, my! And snakes, crocodiles and wasps . . . the poison, the teeth, the stings! Terrible! Little Mouse has rewritten a book that is large on ingenuity. I know this will be an instant favourite in my room. There are lift the flaps, peer through holes in the pages, wadded up newspaper (really!) – so much fun!

 Little Mouse's Big Book of Beasts  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ten Things I Loved about You by Daniel Kirk

An adorable book about kindness and friendship but it has possibilities beyond just these themes. This title really explores finding the best in a friend and thinking about the positive qualities that are dear. Would be a great prompt for a writing activity.

Ten Things I Love about You  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I found this title simple but yet, powerful – Seeger trademarks. So much is told with limited text and accurate expressions of various feelings. Explores questions such as . . . What prompts mean/bully behaviour? How do we feel when we are called on our actions? What is the cause and effect relationship of bully dynamics?

Bully  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Yellow Moon,  Apple Moon written by Pamela Porter and illustrated by Matt James

Simple lyrical language. A beautifully illustrated bedtime poem. Translation of a New Mexican lullaby included in the back pages.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

LOVE the interactive aspect of this story. Barnett is a master at this (think Chloe and the Lion) I read it to myself and must admit was tempted to leap out of my chair a few times! I cannot even imagine the mad rumpus that will ensue when I share this with my class! Fun, more fun, and then even more!

Count the Monkeys  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Barry’s Best Buddy by Renee French

A cute little story line about what we do for our friends. Love the intrigue that the marching ants carrying all kinds of puzzling things inspires – just what are they up to?

Barry's Best Buddy  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Day in the Office of Doctor Bugspit by Elise Gravel

Wonderfully odd. Doctor Bugspit works in a medical clinic in outer space. Quickly readers will suspect that his medical training might have come from some strange location where standards  are not quite up to our Earthly expectations. Many strange ailments come into the clinic and the Doctor’s suggestions are even stranger!

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

With two presentations this week on top of teaching, I unfortunately missed out on big chunks of reading time so I am only half way through the novel I have been reading –  Jinx by Sage Blackwood. Finding it a fascinating read so far!

With our student book club we have started The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone. Check out our discussion here.

Next up, after I finish Jinx, I plan to read The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes and The Boy in the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson.

What are you reading? Happy reading to all!