Monday July 25th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. My classroom is certainly not full of children and I have repacked many books so that floors can be waxed and shelves can be gathered. So it also looks like it is not full of books! This is what the stack of classroom collection titles looked like when I left them a week ago. Tomorrow I head in to put my read aloud titles (fiction and nonfiction) away in another area of the room where there are shelves and cupboards. Another stack of books in that area awaits me!!

Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

And here is my reading spot last week – out on the balcony with my morning coffee on Pender Island. Just beautiful.

Monday July 25th, 2016 #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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.


On the Blog:

We spent the last week away and so not much blogging has happened. I did manage a few posts since my last #IMWAYR:

Still processing my move in this Slice of Life: Giving away the Guilt

A “listen along” review of Ah-Choo! written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams

Books I enjoyed:

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

I was lucky to have been passed an ARC of this lovely little title when I introduced Melissa Sweet in Bellingham in the spring at the Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference. I saved it (well, there was much peeking) until we went away this summer so I could read it in one sitting. It is fantastically good which, if you read the book is over the top wordy to just say what should be said in plain English: Go buy this book when it is released (October 4th, 2016) and then pass it on to everyone you know to read. That’s how good. As usual, Sweet knocked me over with her detailed illustrations and precisely chosen quotes and text.

Some Writer! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

I have wanted to read this book for a while but avoided it because I was afraid of the stress of experiencing this natural disaster through a young character’s experience. There were some difficult scenes, made especially hard because connecting to the characters happens quickly. A really well done title.

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit 

This is more of a YA novel even though the young main character of Anna begins the book at eleven years old. This book is philosophical and dark. Full of the challenges, violence  and absurdities of war but wrapped up in the story of only a few characters. As they travel over land, the reader travels in their heads. Such an introspective title. I quite enjoyed it.

Anna and the Swallow Man Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

This book is part fairy tale, part fantasy, part sadness, part mystery. Except not really. It might not be any of those things. It is a story of Finley Hart and one summer where she is sent to live with her extended family she doesn’t know. Captivating. Captured an endless summer feeling – with being at a home with cousins and grandparents and new found friends. Although, there are darker elements. Can see this being a fantastic book club title. Highly recommended.

Some Kind of Happiness Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

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.

Pax-Sara-Pennypacker Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some picture books:

Ah-Choo! is written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams with illustrations by Ken Min

I shared more details in my post a week or so ago. See link above.

 Ah-Choo! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

I love how this title celebrates style but also honours the joy of play. Especially wonderful? The characters are beautifully diverse! I loved the illustrations.  Even though this title plays with the Mary Had a Little lamb rhyme, it is the celebration of children that stands out to me here. I can see little ones adoring this book and wanting to hear it multiple times!

Mary Had a Little Glam Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Of course this inspires all kinds of imagining about potential art projects with found objects. for this reason, this title is relevant right into high school even though the story would best be shared during a story time session.

Rain Fish Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Dig In! by Cindy Jenson-Elliot with illustrations by Mary Peterson

Who doesn’t want to literally lay their hands in the dirt after experiencing this book? Perfect for a classroom of primary students to launch a gardening unit. Introduces the concept that there is much happening in the soil (insects, worms, seeds, etc. )

Dig In! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR


Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 28/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 191/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 27/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 25/50 books read

Up next? I am reading  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña

Monday January 4th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. I haven’t been teaching for 2 weeks, so sharing from my house. This week I am sharing a photo of our Christmas book stack 🙂 Lots of reading in our house!

Monday January 4th, 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.


On the blog:

For #nfpb2015 I shared my 20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015

Our #MustReadin2015 community shared year end update posts

Please note: If you want to share a #MustReadin2016 list, we will begin sharing lists (connect here) January 6th, 2016

My Celebration this week was all about Simplicity

On the eve of back to school, I made some wishes. Sunday Reflections: Wolves and Wild Wishes This post is inspired by the novel The Wolf Wilder (discussed more below)

Books I loved:

I read a lot of picture books this week, I am going to share just my favourites of the bunch.

Picture books:

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail

A superb lesson in persuasion and just the right words for the argument you are trying to make. Also a “Can I get a pet?” story with so much new and amusing. Loved this title.

One Word from Sophia Monday January 4th, 2016

Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett

I always find Pett’s illustrations very, very charming and this book is no exception. When you find an egg and vow to look after the hatchling, you just never know. Lots of fun!

Lizard from the Park

Mother Bruce by Ryan T Higgins

Funny. Funny. Funny. I laughed out loud in the book store. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard. This is a serious charmer. The perfect combination of curmudgeonly and adorable characters.

Mother Bruce

The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have written by Edward van de Vendel and illustrated byAnton Van Hertbruggen

Something about this book. First of all, I would like to hang all of it on my walls. Each page. Blown up to huge proportions. And the story. . .  It is a little out there. It is about lonely and longing and then having and adjusting. And then wondering. I loved it. In fact, I gifted it to myself. Couldn’t resist.

Dog that nino didn't have

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

I confess that I just never thought about picking this book up. I saw great reviews but it just didn’t speak to me. Finally, I found it at the library and started reading. It is quite wonderful and yes, I was missing out. I can see that this would have pretty fantastic read aloud appeal.


Frances Dean who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif

The illustrations are completely divine. The story, pretty cute.

Frances Dean who Loved to Dance and Dance2

Puffling Patrol by Ted and Betsy Lewin (2012)

I learned so much in this nonfiction text. Absolutely fascinating account of a the authors’ visit to a town in Iceland during 2008 to watch how a community helps young pufflings confused by the town’s lights make their way to the sea.

Pufflng Patrol 2


The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert

Bold, full of colour. Such a fantastic autobiography!


Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Such an interesting format. Really a lovely little book.

Finding Winnie


The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

This book. This book. This book! I fall more and more in love with Rundell’s writing with each novel I read. Part adventure. Part fairy tale. Many parts brave and wonderful. Russia. Winter. Snow. Wolves. And beautiful, bold children. A must, must read!

Monday January 4th, 2016 The Wolf Wilder

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

A novel in verse. Highly recommended. What is life like when you don’t look like everyone else and your dreams and aspirations are “not what we do here”? This book, set in 1969 Vermont, is an incredible story of one young girl. Courageous, vulnerable, amazing.

Full Cicada Moon Monday January 4th, 2016

Final updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 71/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 471/415 books read COMPLETE! 

#MustReadin2015: 18/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 95/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 52/50 books read COMPLETE! 

A WONDERFUL reading year – even though all of my goals weren’t met, they sure were inspiring!

And 2016 Reading Goals begin:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 1/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 5/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 1/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 1/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 2/50 books read

Next up? I am reading More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera


We imagined some gardens . . .

This gorgeous book written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher was our inspiration for some beautiful flower art. 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.

Just as little Theodora and Poppa created flowers from bright green stems and blobs of paint colour, the students used dabs of paint to create beautiful imagined gardens, each one unique.

Students began by adding dibs and dabs, blobs and swirls of bright coloured paint to their papers.

Adding the blooms

Some chose to make huge blooms. Others, a mixture of shapes and sizes.

Then with vibrant green paint, stems were added.

Carefully snaking the stems up to the flowers

We let our pictures dry overnight with plans to add details the next day with felt markers.

When we were ready to add more detail to the flowers on Day 2 we used two books by Lois Ehlert for inspiration.

Planting a Rainbow takes us on a garden tour colour by colour.

Waiting for Wings tells the story of butterflies flitting flower to flower in a garden in full bloom. Both books are gorgeous.

Each student approached this step very carefully creating a variety of interesting effects. Markers were used to add details to blossoms and stems.

Adding details

Finished pieces are stunning. Come check out our display in the hall and walk through an imaginary garden or two or three . . .

Can you pick a favourite flower?

We were so pleased with how these pieces turned out that our Mother’s Day cards are painted in the same style!

Another one just because they are that beautiful . . .

 Tempted to come visit our display yet? They really do look beautiful all together!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms, Grandmas and important women who love us!