Favourites of 2016

Which books stand out from a year of reading? It’s a difficult list to make. The turmoil is sweet though as I get to revisit favourite books and the memories I have attached to them. I made this list quickly this year. No second guessing. Quick and determined. These books are especially wonderful from the list of many that I loved this year.

The 16 books that made the final cut? They showcased beautiful words and imagery. I got lost in the sounds, in the text, in the beauty of the language and in the wonder of the illustrations. These titles also spoke to my heart. All of the emotions are here. Especially hope. Hope feels particularly important this year.

16 books and no more than 16 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2015 (15 books, 15 words) In 2014, it was Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words) In 2013, it was Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

 Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

This year I chose 8 picture books and 8 novels. (Nonfiction favourites will be in another post)

First the picture books!

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

A sweet, colourful adventure that allows us to talk about loss in a gentle, imaginative way.

Grandad's Island Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Full of love. This book honours relationships and reveals all of the emotions in letting go.

Ida, Always  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell with illustrations by Rafael López

Art can change a neighbourhood and pull together community in some beautiful ways.

Maybe Something Beautiful  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

What is poetry? Open your eyes to the world and you will find it.

Daniel Finds a Poem  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato

Love is love. Love is love. Love is love.

Worm Loves Worm  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Poetry that lets us meander across the page picking words and images to celebrate. Perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo

The search for silence. Be in awe of the calm and simplicity.

The Sound of Silence  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

 Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

Follow a little penguin through a largely pessimistic day. Then some perspective happens (mostly) . . .

 A Penguin Problem  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

These novels completely absorbed me.

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

A lone bee buzzing in your ear. A story wrapped up in history and magic. Believe.

hour of the Bees  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

A title that celebrates family, community, resilience and strength of character. And one very amazing boy.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Captivating. Root for a kid that has much against him and can run like the wind.

ghost  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Hope wins. An emotional story of a family coping with cancer treatment and holding it together.

Counting Thyme  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

A 9/11 story. In the midst of loss, shock and pain is connection, hope and love.

 The Memory of Things  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

When Friendship Followed me Home by Paul Griffin

There will be tears. Sadness. Bits of your heart will break. Worth it. So worth it.

when-friendship-followed-me-home  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Full of adventure, wartime atrocities, human kindness and connection. Incredible historical fiction.

Salt to the sea  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Beautiful, emotional and raw. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Pax  Favourites of 2016 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2017 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

Fall update: #MustReadin2016

As we head into the fall, It’s time to update our progress with our #MustReadin2016 lists.  Making progress? Where has your reading life taken you? Please share!

MustReadin2016challenge

My original list had 30 titles on it. By April 1st, I had finished 12 novels from the list. Since then, I have completed 8 more.  I keep congratulating myself on choosing such fantastic reads. I also know this is much more than luck – I have a well-read reading community that helps guide my choices.

#MustReadin2016

Here are the titles I had finished at our Spring update.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm 

Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo 

More Happy Than Not by  Adam Silvera

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Stand Off by Andrew Smith

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Paper Hearts by Meg Wivott   

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

Since then, I have read the following titles (listed in the order I completed each novel). I loved all of these novels and so thought I would, very briefly, attempt to convince others why these titles truly are must read books!

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Full of adventure, wartime atrocities, human kindness and connection. It also tells the story of a real historical event that many of us know nothing about – the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the biggest and most tragic disaster in maritime history. Heartbreaking, compelling, an incredible read. And, very possibly, one of my all time favourite historical fiction titles.

Salt to the sea

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

Kind of a perfect middle grade read. A title that celebrates family, community, resilience and strength of character. I have plans to read this book aloud with my new class this fall.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Dramatic family relationships, young love, coming of age, and New York in 1977 and all that that means . . . the Son of Sam murders and the fear surrounding this time, fires, blackouts, financial hardships. I highly recommend this YA title.

Burn Baby Burn

Booked by Kwame Alexander

This novel in verse celebrates language, words and relationships. Throughout the book, all of these things are all wrapped up in each other in some pretty wonderful ways.

Booked

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

This book transports the reader to a time and a place and a family and a story that you want to walk around in and experience every tiny sensation – the smells of the Mexican cooking, the sound of a lone bee buzzing in your ear, the vastness of a desert ranch, the tingling feeling of a story that is wrapped up in history and magic. I don’t always love magical realism but in this story, it worked. I wanted to believe all of it. And maybe I should . . . One of my favourite middle-grade novels of the year.

hour of the Bees

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Just thinking about this book again and I start breathing deeply. Reading it was an emotional topsy-turvy ride. I recommend this book to everyone. It’s written in verse with words that grab tight. Released at the other end, one is transformed by incredible courage, honesty and humanity.

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

There is sadness here but it’s life sadness and the learning and the revelations in these characters make this such a rich MG read.

raymie nightingale (1)

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. Fantastic writing by Pennypacker.

Pax-Sara-Pennypacker

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2016 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2016 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2016 bloggers/readers and get inspired!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2016? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists.

Next update will be on December 31st,  2016!

I am travelling today so won’t be visiting posts until later this evening. Looking forward to reading about everyone’s progress and possibly starting a draft of my #MustReadin2017 list!

HAPPY READING!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

I haven’t participated in this meme for almost a year but today’s topic of course called to me.

This week’s topic? Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

I would purchase a variety of titles – picture books and novels for my classroom. Some I would need to preorder.

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

I fell in love with this picture book this week. It surprised me in the best of ways and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Grandad's Island Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

This one is published in October of 2016 and I can’t wait. LOVE Klassen’s hat titles. They have the ideal amount of wit and dark charm in an engaging story.

We Found a Hat Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

I love everything that Jenkins and Page do and own most of their titles. This one was released in May and I would love to add it to my collection.

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohman

This one is released in September and it looks fantastic. Fleming does such interesting titles and paired with Eric Rohman? Can’t wait to see this book!

Giant Squid Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood with illustrations by Sally Wern Comport

I am so intrigued by everything I have heard about this book. I think it would make an ideal read aloud in an intermediate classroom.

ada's Violin Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

I read and loved this book in April. Thinking I would like to read it as a read aloud with my new class so would need to have my own copy.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I so loved reading the first two Dory titles aloud to my class. Can’t wait to see what she gets up to next. This book hits shelves September 20th!

Dory Dory Black Sheep Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

I have been waiting for another Barbara O’Connor title. Not always patiently. Because every book she writes is some kind of magic.  I am the starring member of my own O’Connor fan club. This spring I almost met her in person. One day . . . This title is released at the end of the summer.

wish Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

I heard Peter Brown talk about his first novel in February. I can’t wait to get my own copy!

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager

I read this earlier in the year from the library. It is one book I really think I need to own as I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

hour of the Bees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

What about you? Where would your book shopping lead you?

Monday May 2nd, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Last week we did some buddy reading outside in the spring sunshine with the grade 3/4 class. It was delightful watching students so engaged in their books together.

 There's a Book for That  There's a Book for That  There's a Book for That

 There's a Book for That

For our #classroombookaday, we had a bit of a pet theme going on!

 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:

I have been a little absent from blogging. In two weeks, I just published this Slice of Life piece: I am every age

Books I enjoyed:

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by R. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell with illustrations by Rafael López

This is such an inspiring book based on actual events in San Diego – how a neighborhood can be changed and strengthened by art. Illustrator Rafael López is more than the illustrator here – he is the inspiration for the character of the muralist. I am so excited to share this title with my students – it was one I had to purchase.

Maybe Something Beautiful

The Storm by Akiko Miyakoshi

A storm can make an eagerly anticipated beach day seem impossible. But storms roll in and storms roll out . . .

The Storm [Akiko Miyakoshi]

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield

There is something especially charming and endearing about this title.

The Bear and the Piano

Fetch by Jorey Hurley

Hurley conveys so much with simple text and beautiful illustrations. A must have for dog lovers!

Fetch

 I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings with pictures by Shelagh McNicholas

I was excited to read this picture book about the real Jazz Jennings, trans teen and reality star. Very accessible for young children.

I-Am-Jazz-Jennings

On the Farm, At the Market by G. Brian Karas

From farm, to market, to table. Celebrates healthy eating and community.

On the Farm At the Market

Dorothea’s Eyes by Barb Rosenstock with illustrations by Gérard DuBois

This was a must have for my biography collection. A fantastic biography of photographer Dorothea Lange.

Dorothea's Eyes

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

A beautiful middle grade read, a title that celebrates family, community, resilience and strength of character. I didn’t want this book to end. Perry is a very memorable character. I would love to read this title aloud with a class of students (Grade 3/4 and up)

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 16/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 127/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 14/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 16/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Booked! by Kwame Alexander