Monday December 22nd, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

My favourite reading photo of the week is this picture of two girls buddy reading together at the carpet. I loved watching them take turns reading pages and making predictions about the story.

Monday December 22nd, 2014 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.


Warning: This post contains a lot of picture books! I tried to only feature my favourites of the week. I had a lot of favourites! I will try to be very brief in my commentary.

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

Picture book perfection. LOVE this title and everything it says about home and family.

Nana in the City Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Blizzard by John Rocco

A title full of different things for different readers – nostalgia for a different, simpler time, adventure imagined, celebration of family and neighbourhood and just plain wow of winter and weather. Rocco is fast becoming one of my very favourite book creators.

Blizzard Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Lion vs Rabbit by Alex Latimer

Just saying, this is one clever rabbit. And he is more than he seems. Lots of layers to this story.

Lion vs Rabbit Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Songs of the Water Boatman written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange

Come to the pond and experience it like you have never imagined through vivid images, fascinating facts and gorgeous illustrations.

Songs of the Water Boatman Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Illustrations to get lost in, absolutely stunning. Fascinating to have a glimpse into the thinking and passions of Roget. Inspires list making of many kinds. Looking forward to sharing this with my students.

The Right Word Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The next four picture books were donated to Seymour School by author Hiromi Goto – I was able to take them home to read before they become part of our collection in January. Thank you Hiromi!

Wow Wow and Haw Haw George written by George Murray and illustrated by Michael Pittman

An adaptation of a Celtic legend. Enjoyed the colour palette, the connection to nature and the pacing of the story. I know this will be a hugely engaging read aloud.

Wow Wow and Haw Haw Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin 

I am a big fan of Godkin’s information story books. I always learn many new things and this book was no exception.

Skydiver- Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Tweedles Go Electric written by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Marie Lafrance 

Lots of fun with the energetic and charismatic Tweedles and their choices that were very much ahead of their time. History. “Green” priorities. Charming energy to this one!

The Tweedles Go Electric Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress written by Christine Baldacchino and illustrated by Isabelle Malefant 

A title about diversity and gender stereotypes. Perfect title to spark discussions about acceptance, individuality and classroom community.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Duck in the Fridge by Jeff Mack

Never expected a bed time story about the joy of the read aloud to begin with a duck in the fridge and end with a household full of animals and the power of a story!

Duck in the Fridge Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham

On route to visit his friend, mouse trades away all of the pieces of cake he was planning to deliver. No worries, some more trades can happen to find some ingredients to bake a new cake! Loved how the “offerings” on route back to make a cake were not the ones you would have suspected. Clever.

A Piece of Cake Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

this ORQ (he cave boy) written by David Elliot and illustrated by Lori Nichols 

A “child wants pet” “parent says no” story from “cave people time” Absolutely adorable.

this ORQ (He Cave Boy) Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Flat Rabbit by Bárður Oskarsson

You know, I like this book – almost gave it a higher rating but thought intended audiences – children-  might not know what to do with this title. Is that because we protect them from such subjects (death)? Not sure. There is something honest and real about this book. And the end, though abrupt on first read, is then somehow full of our fragility. Not many picture books allow the characters to just not really know. And leave it there . . .

The Flat Rabbit Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy 

Incredible. Sharks are probably the most terrifying of all creatures to me and yet I found myself fascinated and full of questions reading this book.

 Neighborhood Sharks Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

In other reading:

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman

Ideal to read and discuss a chapter at a time. Eastern philosophy bound up for the very young.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Super Lexi is not a Fan of Christmas by Emma Lesko

This series featuring Lexi by Emma Lesko is an important addition to our school and classroom libraries. Lexi reminds us that kids are unique, we can support them with flexibility and that we all have something to teach each other. I like how this story gives kids permission to find the holiday “hoopla” varying degrees of overwhelming! Realistic school setting and nice job with friendship dynamics.

Super Lexi is Not a Fan of Christmas Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

I have discovered so many beautiful novels in verse as of late. This title, by Engle, inspired by her Grandmother is full of courage, family and a rich history.

Wild Book Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

I finally picked this book up after weeks of setting it aside and enjoyed its conclusion. Quiet pace and some beautiful images – a story of a young boy and his strong connection to his grandfather.

The Turtle of Oman Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney Illustrated by Shane W. Evans 

A truly beautiful and important book. Highly recommended. Another novel in verse –  heavy in loss and anguish, light in hope and dreams of new possibilities.

the red pencil Monday December 22nd, 2014 There's a Book for That

Next up? I am reading A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray I have a huge list beyond this! Likely after this I will be balancing thin with thick novels in my TBR pile trying to reach my goal of 100 novels by 2015! Hopelessly ambitious, that’s me!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 83/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 591/650 books read (41 books behind)

#MustReadin2014: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 136/65 complete


Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Well, it’s a new month. Teachers in B.C. still don’t have a contract. Not sure when a pay cheque with my name on it is ever coming my way again . . . Sigh.

So I am making another picture book wish list! (July’s version is here) It’s supposed to be helping me not want to buy books for my classroom. (It doesn’t!) It does help me stay convinced that picture books are one of the best things in life. They bring much joy. Joy that is multiplied with rereads.  🙂

So, this month’s picture book dreaming includes these ten titles (some not yet released)

Knock Knock My Dad’s Dream for Me written by Daniel Beaty with illustrations by Bryan Collier (December 2013)

Loss. Hope. Upset. Deep love. All in 32 beautiful pages. I can’t recover from this book. I think I need to own it. And read it to children and let their responses and observations work their magic.

Knock Knock My Dad's Dream for Me Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Flight School by Lita Judge (April 2014)

Seriously, I can’t get over how adorable this little penguin is – the turned in toes, the aviator glasses, the multi-coloured feathers (would be wings). And that he claims he has the soul of an eagle? Melt.

Flight School Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

The Grudge Keeper written by Mara Rockliff with illustrations by Eliza Wheeler (April 2014)

Work with seven, eight and nine year olds and you experience drama – small things can become big things quickly. We work to keep perspective. A book that allows us to think about holding on when we should be letting go, about forgiveness and the power of blame. Yes, please. One for us.

 The Grudge Keeper Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett (April 2014)

I am still in awe of just how brilliant The Boy and the Airplane was. Some say that they like this title more. And “well done wordless”? It is a weakness of mine . . .

The Girl and the Bicycle Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Julia, Child written by Kyo Maclear with illustrations by Julie Morstad  (July, 2014)

Read it. Loved it. Left it at the bookstore. Now I keep thinking about the potential as a read aloud. How it would inspire children to conjure up recipes and concoctions for helping adults stay true to what’s important. Can’t you just imagine? The writing. The list making. The art. Oh. Oh. I am so easily convinced.

Julia, Child Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

My Teacher is a Monster (No, I am Not) by Peter Brown (July 2014)

September is around the corner. We all need some laughs. And oh how I adore Peter Brown!

 My Teacher is a Monster Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo (September 2014)

My Mom is one funky, energetic Nini (what my children started calling her and it stuck) who adores her grandchildren. I love stories with relationships that span the generations. I love the spunk of those a little wiser and more experienced and the adventures they can invite little ones to join. I also love every illustration by Lauren Castillo. Clearly, this book is meant for me.

Nana in the City Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle (September 2014)

Because really – graceful penguins and Flora? We loved pink and flamingoes. Can’t wait for blues and a little ice.

Flora and the Penguin Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke (September 2014)

I just love how this sounds. Don’t you want to own a house by the sea and fill it with creatures when you need to spice up your world. Noisy, odd creatures? All the better!

 Julia's House for Lost Creatures Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

A Perfectly Messed up Story by Patrick McDonnell (October 2014)

Well, first, Patrick McDonnell is brilliant. Second, we all need to embrace mess a little more. Stories – the writing, the reading and the telling don’t always go as planned. That’s the beauty of them, after all.

A Perfectly Messed up Story Picture Book Wish List: August 2014


As I have said before, wish lists are a safe bet. They only become dangerous when we put them in our pocket. Which I am not going to do . . . Really.

What picture books are you dreaming about?








Monday February 18th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join up to Kellee and Jen’s meme and share what you have been reading from picture books to young adult novels.

I enjoyed many picture books this week. It seems many had a theme of friendship. Also dogs graced many a page and the name Hopper kept cropping up. Who knows why these things happen?

The Lonely Moose by John Segal Sometimes we think we don’t need friends. But once we’ve begun to enjoy the company of another, life can be pretty lonely once we are alone again. This is what this lovely little picture book explores.

the lonely moose

The Reader written by Amy Hest and illustrated by  Lauren Castillo I adore Castillo’s illustrations. Amy Hest never misses. Books, companionship and a snow day. This book is a wonderful nostalgic little read. The most clever thing of all? Calling the little boy the reader throughout the story. It just gives this story a whole other level.

the reader

Hopper and Wilson by Maria Van Lieshout I think there can never be too many picture books about friendship. So I was delighted to find another.


Harry and Hopper written by  Margaret Wild and illustrated by Freya Blackwood I am fast becoming a huge fan of Freya Blackwood’s illustrations. I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood she creates through shading and colour. This book tackles themes of grief and a pet dying. It is done in a gentle, sweet way that respects everyone’s process.

harry and hopper

Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates Great message – that art, doodling. drawing can tell a story, allow for creativity and challenge the imagination.

dog loves drawing

You by Stephen Michael King I have a soft spot for Stephen Michael King’s illustrations. (Leaf is one of my favourites) A book that celebrates all of us.


Mirror Mirror written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse Beyond clever. I have been sharing these poems with my reading group and we read each poem multiple times just being in awe how reversing words and changing phrasing alters everything.


Some nonfiction titles:

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by  Brian Selznick I read this title to my own children. We have all read all of Selznick’s books so were excited to see his illustrations here (Caldecott honour worthy and all!) We were intrigued by how Hawkins made models of dinosaurs without having all of the definitive details that would be later discovered. Part of a story about the quest to “recreate” dinosaurs that we just didn’t know.

Waterhouse Hawkins

How the Dinosaur got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland We actually read this before The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins – it gave us all of the vocabulary to understand what is involved in erecting a dinosaur skeleton. Fascinating! And time consuming! Reading it with my children, we turned it into a memory game 🙂 Each time I got to the by the _______, I would pause and see who remembered the title! An excerpt:

“chiseled from the stone by the EXCAVATORS,
authenticated by the PALEONTOLOGIST,
and searched for by the DINOSAUR HUNTER.”


I Have the Right to be a Child written by Alain Serres, illustrated by Aurelia Fronty Such an accessible book for children to learn about the rights of children everywhere. Gorgeously illustrated.

I have the right to be a child

I finished two novels this week:

Anything but Typical written by Nora Raleigh Baskin Is this cover not just absolutely stunning? Loved pausing in this book just to stare at it. A fantastic middle grade read narrated by a boy with autism. Themes of family, friendship and identity. So much to this story. Baskin weaves many stories into this one vulnerable tale. It is challenging enough to fit in as a preteen, what happens when you are autistic and your very reactions to the world guarantee you stand out?


Fourmile written by Watt Key This book manages to be both all about the characters and yet it doesn’t scrimp on action. There is always something going on – even under the surface of the simplest and mundane tasks like painting a fence. Sometimes the goings on are dramatic and frightening. Steeped in hurt, pain and longing, this story also reveals the vulnerability and strength in the characters. While, the main character is a twelve year old boy, some of the disturbing scenes might make this more of a young adult read. Or a middle grade . . .  with caution. I continue to love this author after first reading Alabama Moon and being blown away.


Next up? Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Monday July 30th, 2012

It’s Monday What are you Reading? Celebrating books read from picture books to young adult reads. Link up with the meme sponsored by Kellee and Jen!

I read some wonderful picture books this week!

Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey (who I happen to adore – read more here) There were lots of things I loved in this book – more in the pictures than in the storyline honestly. Love the oppositely stereotypical parents (Dad in apron and Mom with her circular saw). Loved the compost bin as play site. And what could be better than a search down the Grand Sofa Canyon? It did after all uncover a hairy sweet. This book reminds us germophobes not to come between a boy and his toy. Rescues into the slimy trash heap will be attempted!

Alfie Runs Away written by Kenneth M. Cadow and illustrated by Lauren Castillo.  Alfie is upset and decides to run away announcing it emphatically. His mother “helps” him get ready. Absolutely captures the sentiments of both mother and child. Love Castillo’s illustrations.

Pierre in Love written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Petra Mathers. A beautiful picture book about being in love and being brave enough to admit it.

The Gardener written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. I so love this author/illustrator team. And the book . . . We read it one night as a read aloud. Then the next day my daughter asked to read it again because she wanted to study the pictures. Lasting impressions – this book makes them! Love historical fiction delivered beautifully in a picture book!

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins. I read this with my children as one of our many nightly read alouds (we also have a novel and a book of fairy tales on the go) over a few evenings. We were fascinated, shocked and sometimes disgusted (in the best of ways) as we learned all about beetles. Plan to purchase my own copy of this book and share it in the classroom this fall! Think of the art it will inspire! And since one in four living things happen to be a beetle, they deserve some studious attention!

Middle Grade reads:

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

I am considering this for a book club pick for our student book club. Such an important time in history – would prompt a LOT of discussion. I adored this book!

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban. Now I understand why this is  such a beloved book for so many. There are so many students I know who need to read this book. They will find themselves and so much more.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm Okay, wow! I found one of the books I will read aloud to my new class this fall! Love the family dynamics between Turtle and the boy cousins. So much humour and yet lots of interesting things to discuss in terms of this time in history. Ideal read aloud for an upper primary classroom!