Monday April 1st, 2019

This time weeks have passed instead of months – still feels like too too long since I have posted but here is a post full of a huge variety of titles I am celebrating!

Lots of nonfiction reading aloud happening in the classroom!

Because we are readers, we are writers #kidsarereading So proud of the engagement I witness in my students.

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.

Books I read:

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan with illustrations by Lorraine Rocha

You might be able to guess what you should do with said lemon tree – yet the answer is all wrapped up in a charming little title about family, making a plan, taking good care and patiently working towards a goal. Love the emphasis away from the overly material and onto amazing nature.

Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

Oh community! Generosity. And some incredibly smelling stew. Loved this one.

We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Because, really could you imagine? This little dino really could. And did. Hilarious.

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

We are begiining a unit about water and will be talking everything from where we find it to where we don’t and why. This book will help us dive right in. Can’t wait.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

Wow. Described as a love letter to black live in the United States, this gorgeously illustrated book is magnificent.

The Monster Detector (Big and Little Foot #2) by Ellen Potter

A must have series in the upper primary classroom library. One young boy. One young Sasquatch. One mysterious mystery involving monsters.

The Storm Dragon (The Secret Rescuers #1) by Paula Harrison

A delightful little title about a storm dragon in need of rescuing. Sophy, a young maid at the castle is the perfect one to help.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Upper MG/YA graphic novel. A historical french setting. A prince who loves fancy dresses. A dressmaker trying to make it. Completely engaging.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

An emotional read – the complexity or families and the complications of friends. I love how Delsie figures things out in a highly relatable way. Hunt delivers, again. a title that needs to be in the hands of young readers.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus byAnn Braden 

Zoey Albro lives in rural Vermont. Her mother and three younger siblings count on her abusive and manipulative step father Lenny for a roof over their heads because mom’s waitressing job does not guarantee that they won’t be homeless. This title deals with poverty, the huge responsibilities of a young girl and deep commitment to family. While we witness Zoey’s middle grade stressors and dreams, we also view the struggles of poverty and abuse through her eyes. A powerful novel.

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

This title was a surprising favourite for me. Historical fiction and important magic. Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep who keeps beating the odds – surviving a daily dangerous job. How her story unfolds is quite incredible. An emotional beautiful read.

Up next? I am reading Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

My Must Read Titles for 2019

For those readers and list makers, nothing is more exciting than January! The time to make an amazing list of books to read for the year!

Where will our reading lives take us? What adventures and emotions will we experience through the books we read? Always, there are endless possibilities.

So many books. Limited time.

New books to distract us from other books.

A must read list ensures not all are forgotten!

#MustReadin2019

Join the #MustReadin2019 community!

To read more about the challenge and add your list, read here.

MustReadnovels

Here are the 30 titles I am going to try and read over this year. As always these titles will represent only a portion of my reading. My goal? To read most of these. I use this list like a road map of where to turn next when I come to a pause in my reading choices. It is always waiting to guide me. But it also waits patiently when I am distracted by new books. Often, I am.

Making a list like this – a To Read list – also allows us to reflect on the reading that we want to do. I know I want to emphasize middle grade novels. I didn’t read as much as I usually do in 2018 so my list has more titles that are published in 2018 or earlier (19 titles) and fewer 2019 releases (11 titles).

Here is my list:

Published in 2018 or earlier

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

After Zero by Christina Collins

After Zero

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Read April 7th 2019 5 stars

Hey, Kiddo

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Read April 19th 2019 5 stars

The Dollar Kids

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson Read January 6th 2019 5 stars

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena  Read February 11th 2019 4 stars

A Girl Like That

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway Read February 17th 2019 5 stars

Far from the Tree

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden  Read March 19th 2019 5 stars

The Benefits of Being an Octopus

Lu by Jason Reynolds

Lu

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan Read January 22nd 2019 4 stars

All that I can fix, chan

From You to Me by K.A. Holt

Girl sitting on pier and lookingat the river

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier  Read March 24th 2019 5 stars

Sweep

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Tight

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart Read January 29th 2019 5 stars

Wild Blues

(Time Castaways #1) The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

The Mona lisa key

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang  Read March 2nd 2019 5 stars

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Published in 2019 

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman Read June 16th 2019 5 stars

Padma Venkatraman The Bridge Home

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu Read May 12th 2019 5 stars

The Lost Girl

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart  Read July 2nd 2019 5 stars

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Dig by A.S. King

Dig, King

Song for A Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for A Whale

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Read March 7th 2019 4 stars

Shouting at the Rain

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Wargather Read September 17th 2019 5 stars

 

OtherWordsHome

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith Read June 16th 2019 5 stars

Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Where the Heart is by Jo Knowles

Where the Heart is

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James by Ashley Herring Blake

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James

What novels are at the top of your TBR list? Please share! 

 

Must Read in 2015: Fall Update

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

Must Read 2015 logo

My #MustReadin2015 list has 24 titles on it and I have completed sixteen and have just started another title. So, slowly, but surely, making progress.  I often get distracted by other books but when I do read a title from this list, I am always reminded of all of the good reasons I placed it on the list in the first place.

Here are the titles I have completed since our last update:

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The courage of a student, the compassion of a teacher, the celebration of spirit. Loved this little gem of a book. And a big shout out to the character of Albert – you are my kind of super hero! How wonderful that this will be a Global Read Aloud selection this fall!

Fish In A Tree Must Read in 2015: Fall Update There's a Book for That

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

Reading about the Penderwicks is soothing. It’s celebratory. It is like coming home after a long trip and being absolutely charmed by the known, the ordinary, the nuances of family. I love every little detail on every page. If you too are a Penderwicks fan, then story details don’t matter, reuniting with these characters is as wonderful as you hoped it might be.

The Penderwicks in Spring Must Read in 2015: Fall Update There's a Book for That

Lost in the Sun written by Lisa Graff

What a concept for a book. What is life after you accidentally kill someone? (freak accident) Now there is a big question! Somehow, this title answers it. A book about a young boy lost. Dealing with family. Making friends. Being really angry. Moving on.

Lost in the Sun Must Read in 2015: Fall Update There's a Book for That

Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart

From the title and the cover, one would think this is a light hearted novel. There is humour but it is full of emotions. In fact, I woke up early one morning worried about the character and had to finish the book to make sure all was okay. What do you do when you are twelve, you have lost your Dad and money is an issue? This title explores this reality in creative, but always authentic and sensitive ways. Fantastic characters and family dynamics.

Death by Toilet Paper Must Read in 2015: Fall Update There's a Book for That

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2015 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2015 hashtag! I know we just shared in July – so if anyone just wants to check in via twitter, that’s wonderful!

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.

We will share our progress on our year with these lists around about December 31st.

Happy reading everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101

Friendships in MG Fiction 101 Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

I chose Friendships in MG Literature and focused in particular on friendships between male and female characters. Friendship dynamics are frequently explored in middle grade novels. Pre-teen and teen readers are all about looking outward, beginning to rely heavily on their peers and attempting to navigate the complexities of friendship dynamics. It’s developmental. It’s difficult. Mistakes are often made. What better way to develop a deeper understanding of friendships than in the pages of a book? I think these titles in particular feature wonderful relationships based on respect, acceptance, support and kindness. The friendships are not always perfect but these novels are perfectly suited to learning all about what it is to be a good friend.

Friendships worth reading about:

Chirp and Joey in Nest by Esther Erlich

Nest Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Ivy and Paul in The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

The Great Good Summer Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Albert and Ally in Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Felicity and Jonah in A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

a snicker of magic Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Circa and Miles in Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner

circa now Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Peter and Annie in Wish Girl written by Nikki Loftin

Wish Girl Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Apple and Evan in Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Blackbird Fly Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Will and Maren in The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

The Boundless Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

 Mo and Dale in The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

Ghosts of Tupelo Landing Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Sophie and Matteo in Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Can you think of another friendship pair that could be added to this list?

Well, I have done some more reading and I can!

Wren and Theo in Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder

Azalea and Billy in Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood

 Making Friends with Billy Wong Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

Cedar and Leo in Summerlost by Ally Condie

Summerlost Top Ten Tuesday: Titles that feature wonderful friendships in MG literature There's a Book for That

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

I am celebrating the characters in middle grade and young adult novels who make strong impressions. When you read a lot of novels, there is the wonderful opportunity to “meet” many incredible characters. First, it was these 25 boys that I wanted to highlight. Now, it’s time for the girls!

These are the female characters who have stayed with me. I sometimes worry about them. I stop and remember their actions. The big and bold things and the quietly brave. I admire their choices, the way they move on from mistakes, their soul searching. I honour these 25 girls who live beyond the pages of the books they live in.

In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Sophie in Endangered written by Eliot Schrefer

Endangered In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Francesca Schnell in The Summer of Letting Go written by Gae Polisner

The Summer of Letting Go In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Flora Belle Buckman in Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate DiCamillo

flora and ulysses In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Marlee in The Lions of Little Rock written by Kristin Levine

lions-of-little-rock  In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Jewel in Bird written by Crystal Chan

Bird In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Comfort Snowberger in Each Little Bird That Sings written by Deborah Wiles

each little bird In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Fern in See you at Harry’s written by Jo Knowles

 see You at Harry's In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Vera in Please Ignore Vera Dietz written by A.S. King

Please Ignore Vera Dietz In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Georgie Burkhardt in One Came Home written by Amy Timberlake

one came home In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

May in May B. written by Caroline Starr Rose

May-B In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Hattie Brooks in Hattie Big Sky written by Kirby Larson

hattie-big-sky In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Calpurnia Virginia Tate in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate written by Jacqueline Kelly

Evolution-of-Calpurnia-Tate In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucy in Half a Chance written by Cynthia Lord

Half a Chance In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Josie in Out of the Easy written by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Stargirl Caraway in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

stargirl In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Gloriana (Glory) June Hemphill in Glory Be written by Augusta Scattergood

Glory Be In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Gabi Hernandez in Gabi, A Girl in Pieces written by Isabel Quintero

Gabi A girl in pieces In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Turtle in Turtle in Paradise written by Jennifer L. Holm 

 Turtle in Paradise In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Liesel Meminger in The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak

book thief In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Georgina Hayes in How to Steal a Dog written by Barbara O’Connor

 how to Steal a Dog In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Hayley Kincain in The Impossible Knife of Memory written by Laurie Halse Anderson

impossible knife In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Rose in Rain Reign written by Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Carley Connors in One for the Murphys written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

OnefortheMurphys In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Piddy Sanchez in Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass written by Meg Medina

yaqui In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Willow Chance in  Counting by 7s written by Holly Goldberg Sloan

counting by 7s In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

I read a lot. As in hundreds and hundreds of books a year. Many, yes, are picture books. But many are novels. 95% of these are middle grade and young adult novels. So, in some ways, I can say I “meet” a lot of young people. Some make me cry. Some leave me laughing. Some inspire. I have a myriad of emotions as I read about each of these young fictional lives: confusion, hope, worry, relief, upset, happiness . . .

These characters often stay with me. And because they do, I want to honour them here. These boys*, in the pages of the books where they live, impressed me in notable ways. I admire so many of them for their honesty, their growth, their vulnerability, their hard choices, their loyalty, their mistakes, their learning and their endurance.

In their own way, each is brave and real. Meeting them will enrich every reader.

 In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Doug Swieteck in Okay for Now written by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Miguel in We Were Here written by Matt de la Peña

We Were Here  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Nate Foster in Better Nate than Ever written by Tim Federle

Better Nate than Ever  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That,

Jack in Dead End in Norvelt written by Jack Gantos

 Dead End in Norvelt  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ben in Half Brother written by Kenneth Oppel

 Half Brother  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Travis in Blue Fish written by Pat Schmatz

bluefish  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Fadi in Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai

Shooting-Kabul-Senzai  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Matt in The Boy in the Black Suit written by Jason Reynolds

boy in the black suit  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moon in Alabama Moon written by Watt Key

 Alabama Moon  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Holling Hoodhood in The Wednesday Wars written by Gary D. Schmidt

 The Wednesday Wars  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucky Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants written by A.S. King

 Everybody Sees the Ants  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Oscar in The Real Boy written by Anne Ursu

 The Real Boy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moses in Crow written by Barbara Wright

Crow  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

 Victor (a.k.a. “Little Man”) in Paperboy by Vince Vawter

 Paperboy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Julian in Twerp written by Mark Goldblatt

twerp  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Josh in Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

 Living with Jackie Chan  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for ThatJoey in Nest written by Esther Ehrlich

Nest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ali in When I Was the Greatest written by Jason Reynolds 

when I was the greatest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albert in Fish in a Tree written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albie in Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Jack in Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson 

Small_as_an_Elephant  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ryan Dean West in Winger written by Andrew Smith

Winger  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Peter Stone in Wish Girl written by Nikki Loftin

Wish Girl  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Steven in Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie written by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

*Coming soon: In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Monday July 6th 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer and I am not surrounded every day with little readers, what can I do? Choose favourite, not yet shared moments of course! From the classroom 2014/2015 archives: Mr. Putter and Tabby love shared 🙂 Because sometimes, life needs to be all about tea and neighbours and cozy cats.

Monday July 6th 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

This is my annual July novels only #IMWAYR post. Every summer, my family and I (sisters, husbands, parents, grandparents and children galore) travel a few hours out of the city and spend a week making kids happy. Lots of sorbet and gelato, swimming multiple times a day, lake appreciation, farms and goat cheese and quirky small town places. I also pack a pile of novels and try and read as much as possible. This week it was these titles, all 5 titles were 5 star books for me:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

How do you read a book like this and not be changed? I couldn’t put this book down. I felt like I may not have blinked. As I read this I was convinced that humanity is the most beautiful and the most horrible thing all at the same time. And when it felt the most horrible, this was a hard, hard read. I am grateful for Beah’s memory, his ability to tell his story, his sharing of hurt and pain and absolute mind numbing despair. A must read novel.

A Long Way Gone- Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

Well. Where to start? This book is about so many things. It is a love story. It is about racism and judgement. Prejudice and fear. It is about characters who you will root for in times that don’t support them. It’s about football. If you love the sport, you will appreciate it. If you aren’t that interested, it’s about these characters playing football. And you will read about these characters doing anything. Highly recommended.

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley  Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

Reading about the Penderwicks is soothing. It’s celebratory. It is like coming home after a long trip and being absolutely charmed by the known, the ordinary, the nuances of family. I love every little detail on every page. If you too are a Penderwicks fan, then story details don’t matter, reuniting with these characters is as wonderful as you hoped it might be.

The Penderwicks in Spring Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The courage of a student, the compassion of a teacher, the celebration of spirit. Loved this little gem of a book. And a big shout out to the character of Albert – you are my kind of super hero!

Fish In A Tree Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

I am such a fan of Beth Kephart’s writing. I get lost in her words. I reread for beauty, not clarity. I am okay with confusion. I am reminded that the world is a beautiful place, to be aware of all of my senses, to see what I might have been missing. This is a story of Nadia. A neurological disorder removes her from her own narrative. So she weaves (literally) stability and reality into nests, takes refuge (strangely) in stolen and beautiful things and races away from her own fear of what is happening to her. Set in Florence. Rain, blossoms, cups of tea. Gorgeous, gorgeous story telling.

One Thing Stolen Monday July 6th 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 35/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 229/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 14/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 47/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 25/50 books read

Up next? I spotted The Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine on Kellee’s #MustReadin2015 update last week and just picked it up at the library. Other titles in my “will be reading soon” pile include Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff and Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose (both on my #MustReadin2015 list)