Must Read in 2015: Summer Update

Summer reading is here! How have you been doing on your #MustReadin2015 list? Progress? Ready to dive back in this summer? it’s time to share!

Must Read 2015 logo

My #MustReadin2015 list has 24 titles on it and I have completed twelve. Exactly half and a summer of reading ahead! Numerous titles on my list are currently packed with me on a trip where I plan to read a lot! So I am hoping to complete two or three more titles from my list this week.

Sometimes I look at this list and worry that I won’t get to these titles but honestly, every time I complete a novel from this list I revisit my original reasons for including it back in December and am so glad these titles on my TBR list have that special Must Read status!

The novels I have read since our spring update:

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby 

There is reason for all of the raving about this YA title. The characters are so very unique – different, mysterious but so very appealing. The story is full of intrigue, suspense, mystery and magic. It is haunting and sad yet full of hope and transformation. It is one of those books that must be experienced and the less you read about it in advance, the better because each surprise, each “around the corner” is so delicious.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby Must Read in 2015 Summer Update There's a Book for That

Jack by Liesl Shurtliff

We finished this book on the very last day of school. The best response, “This book was so perfect because it had more than one happy ending!” We loved how Jack tied to Rump in such unexpected ways. Another fantastic read aloud by Shurtliff! Can’t wait for Red!

Jack by Liesl Shurtliff Must Read in 2015 Summer Update There's a Book for That

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

Whoa Maggie. What a girl you are. Voice bellows from the pages. What a family. So much that is challenging. Not much that is perfect. So very endearing. A fantastic book about family.

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern  Must Read in 2015 Summer Update There's a Book for That

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Early on I wasn’t so sure about this novel. There was nasty middle grade interactions that made me absolutely cringe. Cruelty, insensitivity, racism. Miserable stuff. But midway through, I began to love the friendship developing between Apple and Evan. Evan is a kid I wish existed in every school – so many young people need him to help navigate the social world that can be so cruel. He approaches it with wise perspective and personal strength. He’s just plain smart and really right on so many levels. I look forward to more books from this debut author.

Blackbird Fly

The Shadowhand Convenant by Brian Farrey

I read this title aloud to my children. We read the first in the trilogy about a year ago and were completely captured by these unique characters in such a fresh fantasy story. This story continued to keep us guessing right until the last pages.

Shadowhand Covenant Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2015 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2015 hashtag!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2015? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read in 2015 lists.

And now for a confession and an apology.

Confession: I have messed up a little with these update dates. Originally, I had planned 3 updates and somehow, I looked at 2014’s schedule and got back to four updates. Call it over eager. Mostly, it is about busy and not checking carefully and actually creating more posts not less! So I apologize if you weren’t planning to update until September. I will still host an update as originally planned on September 3rd. As always, update posts are purely optional – it is fun to see how people are doing with their lists and what books they are loving. Join in if you would like 🙂

Apology: I can’t create a link up for leaving post links below as I am away and staying at a hotel with terrible internet access that keeps kicking me off. Thankfully I had prewritten most of this post earlier! Please leave links below in the comment section

Happy Reading to everyone! Crossing titles off a list or making choices as the mood hits – it’s all reading! Enjoy!

 

 

 

Monday June 29th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo is special to me because it is my students at 2:30 p.m. on the last day of school – doing what they do best – reading! (and eating twizzlers, a special treat from our Teacher Librarian, Ms. S)

Monday June 29th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Here are our favourite picture books (fiction edition) read aloud in the 2014/2015 school year – all of these made it into the favourite read aloud bin over the year.

Monday June 29th, 2015 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

I read a lot of books that I really wanted to share with this group of students this week so not much new reading.

But some lovely reads were new to me:

Float by Daniel Miyares

Wordless and wonderful. Themes of discovery, persistence, problem solving and creative thinking. And simply beautiful.

Float Monday June 29th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Worst in Show written by William Bee and illustrated by Kate Hindley

Super silly. I have a thing for monsters so I found this book quite amusing.

 Worst in Show Monday June 29th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Soon written by Timothy Knapman and illustrated by Patrick Benson

Perfect for a story time with younger students. We love elephants in my classroom so this book is special.

 Soon Monday June 29th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Not my Girl written by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

This was the fourth picture book dealing with residential school experiences that I read with my students.  I am so grateful that books like this exist to enable us to talk about this time in history and its impact on Aboriginal children and families with school age children. We did incredibly rich writing with this book.

Not-My-Girl Monday June 29th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Jack by Liesl Shurtliff

We finished this book on the very last day of school. The best response, “This book was so perfect because it had more than one happy ending!” We loved how Jack tied to Rump in such unexpected ways. Another fantastic read aloud by Shurtliff! We can’t wait for Red!

Jack by Liesl Shurtliff Monday June 29th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 30/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 224/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 12/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 47/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 23/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley – and have this stack coming along with me for my week away – I may not get to all of them but hoping for at least 6 novels read!

Monday June 29th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Celebration: All things literacy

celebrate link up

I love ending each week thinking about all that I have to celebrate. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week. Thank you to Ruth for the inspiration.

What am I celebrating this week? All things literacy. Some conversations. Some great books. Celebrations of writing. Thinking. Sharing. Listening. Creating.

Celebrating . . .

1. A Skype visit with Liesl Shurtliff – author of Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin (one of the best read alouds out there!)

 Celebration: All things Literacy There's a Book for That

This was an absolute highlight of our week! I shared our experience on our classroom blog here (including how we prepared). This was our first author Skype so it was especially exciting! Liesl was so charming and the kids cannot stop talking about the day!

Students shared with Liesl that they had just had a book of stories published as well and that we had even had a publishing party. (Thanks Writer’s Exchange!) Such fun to find out that Liesl had brownies at her publishing party too! All about the treats!

Here is one of the many pixies that we shared with Liesl during our Skype. All of them can be seen at the link I shared above.

 Celebration: All things Literacy There's a Book for That

2. Friday afternoon in my class was hot. The air circulation is terrible. And yet, my classroom looked like this:

 Celebration: All things Literacy There's a Book for That

Recipe for such engagement? I asked the students to think about what their dream house would look like if they could design it, have it built (or build it themselves) and then live in it? We split into two groups and spent 15 minutes sharing our ideas. Ms. Wilks, our Project Teacher and I recorded all that was said on chart paper. Kids got totally excited just listening to what other people suggested. A few examples:

  • Gummy worm walls that grow new candy when you pull it off
  • Trampoline floors
  • An aquarium full of dolphins to swim with
  • Water slides leading to an outdoor pool
  • Chalkboard walls to draw on

I quickly showed them the end pages in Chris Van Dusen‘s If I Built a House as some added inspiration. (Next week we will do a related project in Art) We then passed out writing books and told everyone to go draw, sketch, label and write. Some kids were so into it, they continued working through their Choices time.

In the middle of the brainstorming, one student who had been listening from his desk sailed a paper airplane over to us. Written on the back? Be Smart! He thought we were being absolutely ridiculous in our dreaming, “No house could have all of that!” I loved his message system! Not every activity is going to speak to everyone!

 Celebration: All things Literacy There's a Book for That

It was so interesting to examine all of the different ideas and how they were represented.

 Celebration: All things Literacy There's a Book for That

This little house designer showed me that she would have a book gnome (bottom right corner) that would get you any book you wanted for your book shelf. 🙂 A little reader with big book dreams like mine!

 Celebration: All things Literacy There's a Book for That

3. Last week we celebrated publishing a class book of stories.

 Celebration: All things Literacy There's a Book for That

To thank the amazing Writers’ Exchange for working with my class, I have been working on a blog post with the children’s words and photographs. We wanted it to be a sent along to surprise all of the staff and mentors who worked with us. It’s supposed to be a surprise but these photos are just too cute. So I’ve had to share one . . . or two . . .  or . . . four. . . via twitter. It has been joyous both taking and sharing these photos (text comes from individual writing from each child). I’m hoping to have the post finished in the next few days.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Celebration: A rich reading life

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, we had a Professional Day in my District and I went to this event: Krashen Redux where I got to virtually watch a Steven Krashen talk and have numerous “discussion” breaks to talk about what we were thinking/learning in response. This was a fantastic morning with rich discussion about what the research reveals about free voluntary reading and what exactly makes a difference for children.

At our table, we talked about the importance of not just access to books and time to read them but also about how essential classroom climate is to help students become avid readers. High school teachers talked about reading when their students read to be models. When my students are reading, I am listening in and conferencing with different children. It is not about reading in front of my students that is the key piece – it is about the personal reading that I do at other times. I need to be a passionate reader who knows books so that I can book talk books, generate excitement and put the right book in the hands of the reader who needs it.  I also need to share my reading life. I tell my students about books I am reading to my children. I share with them about fantastic picture book discoveries I made at the library, books that followed me home from the bookstore and books that kept me up half the night. My students know I am a reader because I share this part of my life fully with them.

So today I am celebrating my rich reading life. Right now I am reading:

My current novel:  Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur

Listening for Lucca Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

The novel I am reading to my children: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The-Shadow-Throne Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

Nonfiction titles I am reading to my children: The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins and Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia  written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop.

The animal book Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

 Saving the Ghost of the Mountain Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

The novel I am reading to my students: Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

Rump Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

Nonfiction titles we have on the go in the classroom:

  • Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester 
  • Lifetime written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
  • Down, Down, Down by Steve Jenkins

Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

Lifetime Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

With my student book club (grades 4 to 7): Just starting Jinx by Sage Blackwood

 Jinx Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

With my Junior Book club (grades 2 and 3): Charlotte’s Web written by E.B. White

charlotte's web Celebration: A rich reading life There's a Book for That

And then of course there are the picture books that are everywhere. Titles I read at breakfast, while folding laundry, while waiting for my daughter at her class, while brushing my teeth, etc., etc., etc.,

So many books to celebrate! I feel lucky to have such a rich reading life and amazing reading communities to celebrate with like #IMWAYR,  #nfpb2014 and #nerdybookclub

Read anything great lately? Please share!

Celebrating Gratitude

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 want to celebrate the gratitude that happens in my classroom every week.

I teach a Grade 2/3/4 class of delightful and compassionate children. Here are some of them sending some PEACE to the world after their hip hop performance today.

 Celebrate Gratitude There's a Book for That

Every week, at least once, we have a Gratitude Circle and pass a special stone. On the first go around some children might not share (they can say “Pass”). But as the stone comes around again, everyone always takes a turn. We talk about how sharing your gratitude (big or small) is a gift and hearing other people’s gratitude lifts us up.

In our circle on Tuesday, one of our girls said:

“I am grateful for all of the gratefulness in the room.”

This statement stopped us in our tracks for a moment. What a profound observation. What a beautiful community we have created. Because it lifts me up every week, I am sharing some of the precious gratitude statements I got to hear this week here. What better thing to celebrate?

“I am grateful . . .

  • ” . . . for the new nonfiction books and all of the other books in our room.”
  • ” . . . because it is almost my Mom’s birthday.”
  • ” . . . for yoga because it calms us down.”
  • ” . . . because we are going to do a Hip Hop performance and we can Krump!”
  • ” . . . for the Rump book because we all love it and it is so fun.” (Oh how we love you, Liesl Shurtliff!)
  • ” . . . for people who can be kind to each other.”
  • ” . . . for my family.”
  • ” . . . for Valentines day and love.”
  • ” . . . for all the teachers and adults who help us at our school.”

Wishing everyone a week full of moments to stop and be grateful. Thank you for celebrating with me!

Celebrating readers and writers

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 my young readers and writers. They are learning to express opinions, celebrating writing they love and savouring reading experiences. Sharing a few moments here:

1. I am currently reading Rump by Liesl Shurtliff to my students. Students adore this book wholly and completely.

Proof #1: I have to reread parts aloud to students at recess, after school, during playtime, etc. if someone happened to be out of the room when we read aloud that day.

“I missed the last part of the chapter when my Mom picked me up early, can you read it to me this morning?”

Proof #2: I finished our chapter seconds before the 3:00 bell the other day and one child grabbed the book to her chest. “Please can I hug it now?!” she swooned.

Proof #3: Very little can cause silence in my classroom. When I start reading this book aloud, magical silence descends.

 Rump Celebrating Readers and Writers There's a Book for That

2. We often talk about what happens when we put the the right book in the hands of a reader. I realized this week that sometimes this magic also happens when we match the right readers together to share some great books. Every week, we have buddy reading with the K/1 class. While we assign buddies for the day, they might be different each week. This little moment captured in the photo below made me realize that sometimes, we can also find the right buddy match. I think I will be making this match again.

Celebrating Readers and Writers There's a Book for That

3. I often ask students for perspective statements when I know that anxiety might rise around regular things that happen throughout the day. Often when I booktalk new books, many children decide that their day will be ruined if they do not get to be the first one to read a particular book. When you are seven, eight and nine, big drama happens over many things. While I appreciate the book love, the upset does nothing for classroom climate or individual well being. So now I ask for perspective statements. It goes something like this.

Me: “Not everyone can be first to read these new books. Can anyone share a perspective statement?”

Student responses:

“Maybe you can be the one to read it next?”

“I can ask to read it after.”
“We have a room full of books.”

“We’ve got a whole year left to read everything we want.”

I smile with each little share. Students also do this to facilitate solving things:

Celebrating Readers and Writers There's a Book for That

4. I have a some major Shel Silverstein fans in my classroom. They have bookmarked favourite poems and read aloud to each other in Reading Workshop. I haven’t been sharing much poetry lately and certainly haven’t read Silverstein aloud more than twice all year. This is all about independently discovering great writing, being inspired and sharing the #booklove.

Celebrating Readers and Writers There's a Book for That

5. I read The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig to my class this week. I am working on a blog post to try and capture the insightful comments and the writing shared. It was a pretty powerful read aloud session. This picture below says a lot.

“Can I read it to myself now?”

Celebrating Readers and Writers There's a Book for That6. Every week we write book reviews for new books that weekly guest readers bring in to share with us. We rate the books out of 5 and share our thinking. One of my little writers gave a book a 2/5 and told me she didn’t have much to say. I asked her to explain her lower than average rating and she gave me a little look like I had just given her permission for something she thought she wasn’t allowed to do. Here is what she then added to her review:

It was nice but not that exciting. The problem is too easily solved. I would like to read a story with not a really happy ending sometimes.

I feel lucky every week to be in a room of readers and writers that are growing in amazing ways.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Monday December 30th, 2013

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!

Oh how I love, love, love the reading time the holidays afford! Doesn’t hurt that my #nerdlution goal is to read aloud daily to my children (from the novel we are reading). We just skipped Christmas day because I was ill and family events took up much of the day. Other days we made up for it and read in front of the fireplace for hours! We now begin our third novel since #nerdlution began, The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey.

I have made some “hang out and read picture books” visits to my local library with my daughter. My 10 favourites of the week:

Joone by Emily Kate Moon

I first heard of this title back during the picture book 10 for 10 event – some lovely fellow blogger recommended it to me as my list was all about books with a theme of connections across generations. This title is about Joone and days passed with her grandfather and her pet turtle, Dr. Chin.  Rock collecting, swimming in the pond, reading to Grandpa – a story of sweet little moments.

Joone #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ladder to the Moon written by Maya Soetoro-Ng and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Wow. An emotional, beautiful, significant read. A story of connection between female family members that spans generations and mortality. Images are stunning. The author’s and illustrator’s notes in the back reveal much more to this story.

Ladder to the moon #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wow! Ocean by Robert Neubecker

I wish I had this book before I took my children to Hawaii for the first time. Bright colourful ocean scenes for children to get lost in! So many pages that just really are WOW! moments. Like the jellyfish page. The pull out page on whales. A page of rays. And so many details not to miss – like the nurse’s cap on the nurse shark. I used an earlier Neubecker title Wow! City to inspire an art project – art ideas just leap off the page of this one too!

wow ocean #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Baby Bear Counts One by Ashley Wolff

Another must own title if you have little ones or grandchildren. A beautiful counting book about forest animals preparing for the winter. Colourful pages with perfect counting opportunities. One woodpecker. Two squirrels. Three beavers. Four . . .

baby bear #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Pig on the Hill by John Kelly

Two neighbours. One, stodgy and set in his ways. One, creative and expressive. Much humour as the story unveils.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lemonade in Winter written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

This has been on my “to read” list for ages and I loved it as much as I was anticipating. I am such a fan of G. Brian Karas and appreciated all of the muted shades of a snowy winter backdrop. Yes, I love the math connection (although not so good for me as all money pictured in back is American and Canadian money looks much different – we don’t even have dollar bills!) but I loved the story. An idea that grows between siblings and changes and adapts with the weather and various circumstances. Why not a lemonade stand in a snowstorm? Such fun!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

While We Were Out by Ho Baek Lee

A little rabbit sneaks through the house while the family is out. And of course, they will never know except for the little surprises he left everywhere. Can you guess what? Very sweet.

while we were out #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Crafty Chloe: Dress Up Mess Up written by Kelly Dipucchio and illustrated by Heather Ross

While I didn’t love this as much as the first Crafty Chloe, I did appreciate the very real struggle of trying to please more than one friend and staying true to yourself. And wow, some pretty creative costume ideas!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ike’s Incredible Ink by Brianne Farley

A great title for would be writers. No story ideas are coming for Ike. Maybe if he had the perfect ink? He sets out to make it using found ingredients like shadows and the dark side of the moon.

Ike's Incredible Ink

The Money we’ll Save by Brock Cole

This was another of our holiday reads. A hilarious story of a family who decides to save money by raising a turkey for Christmas dinner rather than purchasing one for the occasion. A turkey in a small apartment? You can imagine . . .

The Money we'll Save #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading:

Danny’s  Doodles: The Jellybean Experiment by David A. Adler

This is a chapter book for the younger/beginning reader. I am always on the lookout for titles in this category so was pleased that one, I liked the story and two, it is part of a new series! Humour and school day escapades but a little more depth than other novels in this category. Characters and emotions that are a little more interesting and not what is expected.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This book literally felt like it transported me elsewhere. I don’t typically read such high fantasy. At times, I would be reading and think, I don’t really know about this . . . But then I was hooked and completely held by the story until the end. Big drama. Other worlds. Battle scenes. Wild imagination. Compelling.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reached by Ally Condie

I really enjoyed reading this series – one book after the other. Definitely some new aspects to the dystopian love triangle theme. And not a disappointing ending which I often find with this genre.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

This was an absolutely delightful read aloud with my children. I will always look at this book and think of our cozy read aloud sessions by the fireplace – lots of giggles, both kids drawing and constant interruptions with connections and predictions. I now want to read this aloud to my students. Such an interesting twist on the fairytale we know (often twists are not interesting at all). I will definitely read all of the titles in this genre that Liesl Shurtliff writes.

Rump #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Happy reading in 2014 to all my fellow book loving friends!