Monday January 2nd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Here are some displays of previous Caldecott award winners set up to greet my students when they return from their break. We launch our Mock Caldecott unit on Tuesday! I am so excited!

Monday January 2nd, 2016 Monday January 2nd, 2016 Monday January 2nd, 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:

Nonfiction favourites from 2016: 10 titles I loved

Year End Update for #Mustreadin2016

Want to join us in 2017? Check back on Thursday (the 5th) to connect to everyone making a #MustReadin2017 list

Celebration: Writing I celebrated a year of words and highlighted posts that told the story of my year.

Books I enjoyed:

We Sang You Home written by Richard Van Camp and illustrated by Julie Flett

This title is absolutely beautiful – lyrical and celebratory, it speaks to the joy and wonder of welcoming a new one into our lives. Of course, a perfect gift for new families.


This is My Book! by Mark Pett

Just saying, I think Pett might have had a little help here. See for yourself! Would be an engaging read aloud!


Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raúl Colón

Wow. I love when nonfiction is the perfect blend of incredible story and breathtaking pictures – increases the wonder factor exponentially! This biography of Marie Tharp is one I would like to own.


Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

Truly a remarkable story. George Moses Horton loved words so much he was able to teach himself to read as a child when slaves were never permitted to learn to read and write. As a young man, George wrote such beautiful poems that he was able to earn enough money to temporarily “buy” permission from his owner to live in town and just write. This of course required that he paid for this “temporary” freedom. His master would not agree to allow George to completely buy his freedom though and it wasn’t until after the Civil War that he was finally free. Just an incredible read.

Layout 1

The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford

This title tells the story of the invention of the slinky but also celebrates an entire journey of invention and its impact on a family. Really interesting!


Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle and Jason Adam Katzenstein

So what if you happen to board the wrong bus to camp and ended up at a camp where campers got to be their true selves at midnight but you had no true self to reveal because you were really human, not hiding in a human form? Yes, that is the storyline of this creepy little graphic novel that I am sure kids will just eat up.


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

I must admit I had no idea how this story was supposed to work and wasn’t sure what exactly was going on or how I felt about some of it and then, wow, how this all comes together . . . Kind of brilliant.


The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I don’t often read more than a few books in a series because I find typically, the story starts to disintegrate and each book can’t hold its own and at the same time, tie everything together. Not so here. I remained completely engaged right to the end of this fourth book in The Raven Cycle.

The Raven King

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel with illustrations by Jon Klassen

Although this book is absolutely frightening, it is also absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking. Highly, highly recommended.


Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

A novel in verse not to be missed. Celebrate as Garvey is able to find himself and move beyond the self-doubt, the teasing and bullying and the pressure of his father’s expectations.


Reading Progress updates: I didn’t meet all of my goals for 2016 (but came very close) and I am letting that go . . .  Moving on to 2017!

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 2/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 2/365 books read

Progress on challenge: For today, ahead of the game!

#MustReadin2017: 1/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 0/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 1/50 books read

Year End Update: #MustReadin2016

In January, I had 30 titles on my #MustReadin2016 list and the best of reading intentions. Learning from other years, I also had a healthy realistic attitude. I knew that life and distractions would get in the way of reading some of these books.


Making a list like this is about being enthused about a year of reading ahead. It is also about building community. 28 other bloggers joined me in making #MustReadin2016 lists of their own. Many people remained connected all year, posting (purely optional always) updates. Of course, in reading other lists and other reading philosophies, our own lists grew. Not a bad problem to have!


My plan was to try and read at least 20, maybe even 25 titles on this list and be proud to have read most of a list I remain excited about. And . . . I did it! 25 books read! And more importantly, enjoyed!

I have posted updates all year so will include just a few words about the last books on this list that I finished.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Every time I talk about this book I wonder the same thing: How can a story about a robot be so tender? Peter Brown includes frequent illustrations which only helps to engage more readers. I want my own copy to include in my class collection. If I teach a younger grade in the future, I would read this aloud in a heart beat.


The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

I was thrilled to see this in January’s Scholastic flyer because as soon as I read this book I knew it HAD to go into my collection. A must have in any middle grade classroom.


Red: The true story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

I love spending time in Liesl Shurtliff‘s fairy tale world! Was excited to finally read Red’s story.


The Odds of Getting Even  by Sheila Turnage

I just keep getting more attached to these characters! Tupelo Landing seems like a great place to be – lots of drama and mystery but also good friends, tasty and creative diner food and lots to laugh about.

The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Oh, the drama, the mystery, the magic. This is a book that truly does pull you in which considering the subject matter, becomes quite creepy. I read the final pages in a public place just to feel safer and connected to reality.

The Raven King

As I did last year, I want to highlight some favourite characters I met during this year of reading.

But first to honour some characters I was thrilled to meet again in sequels: Blue and Gansey in The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Ryan Dean West in Standoff by Andrew Smith, Mo and Dale from The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage and Red from Red: The true story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff.

If you haven’t read the following titles, I highly recommend each of them so that you can meet . . .

Perry T. Cook from All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor. Perry is a noble guy. His quest to learn about himself and to uncover the stories of the people in his “family” is not to be missed.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

Timothy from House Arrest by K.A. Holt is one of the most vulnerable, honest and brave characters I have ever read.

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Every character in Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. This book has not let me go.

Salt to the sea

Want to know more about #MustReadin2016? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read in 2016 lists.

Thinking about joining us for 2017? Please do! Make a list and read some, none or all of the titles on it. Reading is amazing but reading plans are pretty wonderful too! Just reading all of the lists is a great reason to pour a big cup of coffee and do some book dreaming!

We will be sharing lists beginning January 5th 2017! Please join in using the twitter hashtag #mustreadin2017 or by leaving me a comment on this blog and I will add your list.

Here is the image URL code for #Mustreadin2017: (image below)


Happy reading! Happy planning. Happy celebrating.


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from

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


This week’s topic? Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

I decided to stick to middle grade and young adult titles.  I chose authors where I have read three or more titles and who I can’t read to read more from.

 Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shared alphabetically by author and featuring one of my favourite titles from each:

Kate DiCamillo How to pick a favourite DiCamillo title? I have to choose Flora and Ulysses because it was pure pleasure to read this aloud to my class. Some sentences were better than the best chocolate in my mouth. And yes, there is that Newbery medal . . . 🙂

flora and ulysses  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Beth Kephart There is such a beautiful quality to Kephart‘s writing. I love many of her books but I think Going Over is my favourite.

Going Over Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shannon Hale I have read many, many Shannon Hale titles but I think the book that I would read again and again is Princess Academy. It is one title that every child I pass it to absolutely loves.

 Princess Academy  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

A.S. King I fell fast after I read my first A.S. King title. My favourite? Everybody Sees the Ants Lucky Linderman is unforgettable.

Everybody Sees the Ants  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Jo Knowles is another author that after reading one book, I went on to read every book. Which book hit me hardest? See You at Harry’s I was a weepy mess reading this beautiful book.

 See You at Harry's  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

It will be no surprise to Barbara O’Connor that she is on this list I am sure. She is probably the author I most often recommend to be read aloud in the classroom. But I think it is this book – Greetings from Nowhere that is most often on my mind as of late. I think it is calling me to reread it.

 Greetings from Nowhere  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Kenneth Oppel may be the author I have most often read aloud to my own children. But my favourite from him is one I read just on my own: Half Brother. I treasure my signed copy.

 Half Brother  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Andrew Smith seemed to write books faster than I could read them. After hearing him speak, I now know why this appeared to be the case.. I love the characters in Winger so much that this is my favourite title.

Winger  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Even though I am highly addicted to the Raven Boys titles, it is The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater that I love best.

 Scorpio Races  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Deborah Wiles – oh this author. Again, I am choosing a title that was such a delight to read aloud: Each Little Bird that Sings Such a beautiful book full of heartbreak and hope.

each little bird  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for ThatWhich authors have you read again and again?

Monday December 29th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a weekly reading photo of the week each week but because of winter break, I haven’t been with my students. So I decided to share a favourite from late spring during buddy reading time. How I love all of the reading that happens in my room.

 Monday December 29th, 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.


I did a lot of reading this week trying to meet my 2014 goals. Unfortunately, my plans have been sidelined by a very painful possible pinched nerve in my shoulder and an allergic reaction to medication. Not a lot of fun. I can read, but not as much and typing is many shades of excruciating. So I am trying a few minutes at a time to write this post today.

Here are my favourite picture book titles of the week – covers only. Can’t type the details.

Born in the Wild  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

shooting at the stars  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That Winter is for Snow  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That Mama  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Iridescence of Birds  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Kid Sheriff  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Lizzie Nonsense  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

big bug  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That Draw!  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That 100 Bears  Monday December 29th, 2014 There's a Book for That

In novels I finished:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray 

Unfortunately, not a fit for me. Too much paranormal not enough normal for my tastes.

A great and terrible beauty

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Again, Raina nails the teenage voice.


Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

Fantastic middle grade read. Made me smile and cry.


Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I am a huge fan of the Raven Cycle books.

Blue Lily There's a Book for That

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Absolutely incredible and completely heartbreaking.

Rose Under Fire

Next up? I have just started  Wake up Missing by Kate Messner. Then I am going to try and meet my Goodreads goal so lots of picture books and hopefully a few more novels before the 31st. Trying to reach 90 novels instead of 100.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 88/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 617/650 books read (26 books behind)

#MustReadin2014: 24/30 complete (finished 3 this week!)

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 143/65 complete



Favourites of 2013

So excited to share my favourites of 2013! I had a wonderful year of reading – thanks to the amazing authors and illustrators out there that enrich our lives in so many ways.

The best of the best (published in 2013) for me?

13 favourites and no more than 13 words of raving about each title. This was my challenge last year (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. This year I get one more book and one more word to play with!

I decided to split these titles into 4 categories of what I read most of – middle grade novels, young adult novels, picture books and nonfiction picture books. 4 x 3 titles each and one bonus book = 13 titles for 2013 🙂

Middle Grade Titles:

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Brilliant, unique characters who teach us what it means to have “people”

Counting by 7s Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Inclusion. Bullies. Women’s rights. Orphans. Magic. Love where it’s needed.

Beholding Bee Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

High drama, adventure and intrigue led by Jaron: loyal, brave and charmingly plucky.

The Runaway King Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Young Adult Titles:

Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

Teenage vulnerability and humility. Best kind of uncle. Two well written male characters.

Living with Jackie Chan Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Because teenage love stories don’t often look like this. Gets you but good.

Eleanor and Park Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Intrigue, mystery, twists, upsets, revelations. Oh these Aglionby boys. And Blue . . .

The Dream Thieves Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Picture Books (fiction):

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

Because we all need reminders to stop and honour the magic all around us.

The Man with the Violin Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Mighty Lalouche written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

The joy and humour of boxing adventures and the triumph of the underdog.

The Mighty Lalouche Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Wild Thing! I think we love you. Just divine. Swoon.

Mr Tiger goes Wild Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Picture Books (nonfiction):

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Mathtastic magic that inspires little thinkers. The wonders of number devotion.

 The Boy who Loved Math Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Wonder, curiosity and thinking outside of the box. Accessible Einstein!

 On a Beam of Light Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Math is all around us. Gorgeous illustrations. Fascinating animal facts.

Lifetime Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

And one more – published in North America in 2013. And in Australia in 2012.

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

Pancakes. Jacques Cousteau. Jazz tunes. New York City. Someone who gets you.

Herman and Rosie Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . . 

Monday July 29th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?


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 reads! These #IMWAYR posts are a great place to “shop” for new titles.

Favourite picture books from the week:

The Hueys in It Wasn’t Me by Oliver Jeffers The second title in The Hueys books by Jeffers. Sometimes an argument becomes bigger than the original source of conflict. This simple little picture book highlights exactly this phenomenon. For anyone who spends anytime with children, this story rings very true!

 It Wasn't Me There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco An emotional historical fiction title set during the American civil war. Touches on themes of war, slavery, racism and survival. Definitely for older readers.

Pink and Say There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Carmine – A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet An extremely clever alphabetical retelling/fractured tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Wander through bolded words in ABC order and Sweet’s signature artistic style – part collage, part detailed panels and so expressive. Loved the vocabulary and the fresh approach to this classic tale.

Carmine A Little More Red There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

A House is a House for Me written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Betty Fraser I simply adore Mary Ann Hoberman and her gift for rhyme. And Fraser’s illustrations make me nostalgic for childhood ease. First published in 1978, this title is one long poem about everything that can be a house. All about homes/houses for just about everything. My favourite was no surprise: A book is a house for a story.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

The Night Riders by Matt Furie One of my newest favourite wordless titles. This is some kind of adventure into the world of real and fantastical nocturnal creatures and amazing things that happen beneath the light of the moon. One of the best things about the book? The jacket unfolds into a double sided poster of images from the story. Here is a link to Matt Furie’s interview with The Beat (the daily news blog of comics news, reviews, and information) about this, his first book. 

Looking for more wordless titles? I just created a Pinterest board with all of my favourites.

Night Riders There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bruno Munari’s ABC First published in 1960, a wonderful graphic ABC book.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Flora McDonnell’s ABC Bright, bold and beautiful. This has inspired some art project ideas . . . A study in letters, opposites and clever pairings. Each page has 2 objects beginning with a specific letter. Some of my favourites? The large giant with a tiny red glove perched on his thumb, a regal tiger with a teapot balanced on his head and a rhinoceros sniffing at a radish. So fun.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Anticipating fall book talks, I am trying to catch up on some graphic novels and early chapter book titles. This week I read two winners.

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat written by Anna Branford with illustrations by Ellana Allen Loved the nature/science/ecology connection. Perfect for my Grade 2/3/4 readers just beginning to read chapter books. And how delightful that Violet names her ladybug Small Gloria.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bird & Squirrel on the Run by James Burks What fun and absolutely full of silly escapades. Loved the contrast of the pessimistic and optimistic characters. Kids will love this!

Bird and squirrel There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

I also finished two novels

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater A friend passed on her ARC of this book to me. I had resigned myself to impatiently waiting for September but, I was so thrilled to read it now! Let’s just say this – I am fully just as hooked and intrigued by these Aglionby boys and the character of Blue. Intrigue, mystery, twists, upsets, revelations. This second title has it all. 

The Dream Thieves There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick Wow. This book subtly and not so subtly sneaks right up on you pretty quickly and holds fast. It is at times teary and heartbreaking, other times hilarious and witty and all the while, just plain good. A very human and honest look at a family hit hard by childhood illness and how they navigate the complicated business of hospitals, emotions and changing family dynamics. Stayed up half the night to finish this title. Now I get the Sonnenblick love. I’m in. Thank you to everyone who raved about this title to me. And yes, I am planning to read After Ever After – already requested from the library 🙂

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?


Next up? Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner and some more graphic novels in my pile!

Happy reading everyone!

2012 Favourites

What a wonderful year of books! Quickly before I change my mind, my twelve favourites of 2012 (I divided the love evenly between picture books and novels)

Yes, I am aware that Jon Klassen takes a starring role in this list 🙂

My personal challenge here is to do no more than 12 words of raving about each book. Possible? Let’s see . . .

Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

A town styled out in multi-coloured knitwear. Justice and magic win out.

extra yarn 12 of 2012

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

Hat thievery in the big ocean. Much humour, little hope (sorry fish)

ThisIsNotMyHat 12 of 2012

House Held Up By Trees written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen

The trees are persistent and protective of life travelling on. Stunning illustrations.

househeldupbytrees 12 0f 2012

Virginia Wolf written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

A dark mood, a hopeful sibling, and the magic of imagination.

virginia wolf top 12 of 2012

Little Bird written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine

A book that celebrates finding joy in the smallest of things.

little-bird 12 for 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Become swept away and entangled in book love.

fantastic flying 12 for 2012

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Choosing a friend can be an incredible act of bravery.

lions-of-little-rock 12 for 2012

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Be kinder than is necessary; a story to remind us how.

wonder 12 for 2012

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The power of unconditional love, the magic of resiliency . . .

OnefortheMurphys12 for 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

A story of stories. Flies you through a myriad of emotions.

codenameverity12 for 12

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A world of prophecy, desperate searches for magic, the real and unreal.

raven-boys 12 for 2012

Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Funny. Brilliant. Sad. No sappy. All wit.

fault in our stars 12 for 2012

Please share your own favourites of the year . . . 

Monday October 29th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Join in with Kellee and Jen’s meme and share all the pages you have been turning in the past week in picture books through to young adult reads!

Fantastic Read alouds this week:

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino This is probably my favourite discovery of the week, I read this at our primary gathering to fifty plus little listeners and we were all delighted with it. The pictures are stunning and do things that illustrations typically don’t do like . . . suggest that they are leaving the Earth. Amazing. And fun to twist and turn the book around to see what is happening. Owl and Rabbit live next to each other atop a hill. Rabbit enjoys the sun to grow fresh vegetables. Owl likes the view to watch the forest. When rabbit’s vegetables begin to obstruct Owl’s view, their relationship gets inconsiderate and competitive as they race to build their houses ever taller than the other. Eventually they discover that when alone, they have nothing but together . . . Well read and find out but I bet you get the idea 🙂 Highly recommended!

The Runaway Pumpkin written by Kevin Lewis and illustrated by S.D. Schindler This was one of my leading up to Halloween reads. It isn’t new for me but I haven’t read it to a class for quite a few years. I love the rhythm of the story and can’t read it aloud without tapping my feet and getting very hungry for all of the imagined pumpkin treats that Granny might bake!

The Teeny Tiny Ghost written by Kay Winters and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger Another Halloween read with some great repetitive language for a “join in” feel to the read aloud. We also had an active discussion about whether it was possible for ghosts to really be scared. Since I don’t know any ghosts. . .

Little Beaver and the Big Front Tooth written by Sarah Fox and illustrated bySarah Fox-Davies The class really enjoyed this book read by our BLG reading volunteer this week. I will be sharing the student’s reactions on the blog this week. Poor little beaver has a loose tooth and begins to doubt he really is a beaver because isn’t it those big teeth that make a beaver a beaver? As he searches for his answer we meet many other forest animals. Adorable.

Other picture books I enjoyed this week:

Don’t Worry Bear by Greg Foley Bear worries as caterpillar builds a cocoon. He worries at night, in the wind, in the rain and when it snows. He especially worries when caterpillar seems to be gone. But a beautiful silk moth flutters by and lets Bear know that his friend is right there with him. Simple text and illustrations leave lots of room for questions and discussion.

The Butterfly House by Eve Bunting, illustrations by Greg Shed. I love the lyrical text and the glowing illustrations in this book. Most of all I love how it asks us to mix up science and what seems to be magic, to suspend our disbelief and trust that a butterflies’ migratory instinct might extend to an individual person. As I love to plant flowers in my garden that are supposed to attract butterflies, I am very intrigued by the suggestions in this story. Every time a monarch lands on a flower, I believe in magic and wonder and the beauty of nature. This book celebrates just that. Now I want my own copy!

And speaking of magic . . . 

I finished The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater This is definitely a young adult read. This book was so full of magic and mystery, I kind of believe that it conjured up a bad flu to send me to bed to make sure I would have hours to just read and fall into the world of prophecy, desperate searches for magic, a place of real and unreal and twists and turns every few pages. And the characters. . . Wow. So happy this is a trilogy so I don’t have to say goodbye to these characters yet. Adding myself to the impatient group waiting for Book 2.

Last night I started Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys So far? Unputdownable

Monday October 22nd, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Join in with Jen and Kellee’s meme and share what you are reading from picture books to young adult reads. Always an opportunity to learn about new titles!

I had huge amounts of picture book love this week! A large part of that was having tickets to go see Jon Klassen at Vancouver Kid’s Books. Wow! Such an interesting and engaging presentation. Jon is charming and then some.

And  . . . it gets better. I was able to take my class to the Vancouver Writer’s Festival to see Sheree Fitch and Kyo Maclear. Their event was called High and Low and All Around. All of these author and author/illustrators impressed me to no end. (Sheree Fitch can recite her poems at super sonic speed. She is spellbinding!) I was inspired to continue sharing the love of literature, the beauty of the written word, the magic of the clever illustration, and the images of joy via the wonder of picture books. One of my favourite moments was when Kyo Maclear talked about how she loves reading and one of my students whispered intently to me, “She’s just like you!” Phew! Six weeks in and I’ve conveyed my love of books. So many weeks still ahead to pass this love on to each child in my room! 🙂

So because this post is all about picture book gushing, I thought I would try to place these books loosely into categories to bring some kind of organization to this post . . . that way you can just locate a section you are interested in!

First up: Art and more:

This is Not my Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen Love this book. Doesn’t hurt that I got to hear it first read and explained by Jon Klassen himself all the while holding my signed copy in my bag! But I would have loved it anyway. I love the dark pages, the horizontal format, the mood conveyed by the eyes and all of the inferring this book begs you to do. The crab in this book is a fantastic supporting character. (He gets a starring role at the top of this post!) I find Klassen quietly brilliant.

Virginia Wolf written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. Kyo read this book to us in the presentation at the Writer’s Festival and when I returned to class, I read it aloud to the children again. They were completely delighted by the story and Arsenault’s stunning illustrations. As soon as it was quiet reading time, this book disappeared to be read again independently. A fantastic title about a dark mood, a hopeful sibling, the magic of imagination and the lightness when sadness lifts. This book can be read again and again and the reader will continue to discover new things.

I read this book last year to my Reading group and they adored it.

In the Wild is written by David Elliot and illustrated (gorgeous woodcuts) by Holly Meade Poems written by Elliot are lifted off the page by Meade’s striking and powerful woodcuts. My wish list now includes On the Farm a previous collaboration by these two.

A few books in the Rhyme and Repetition category:

A Gold Star for Zog written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Alex Sheffler This was our first BLG book of the year and we loved the language, the plot and the bright illustrations. Zog may not be the best at every task at Dragon School but he helps someone else find her way. For that, I think we can call him heroic.

Toot Toot Zoom written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Matthew Cordell This is a likeable little story about the search for friends. Many adventures and lots of delightful traffic noise fill the pages as Pierre the fox travels to the other side of the mountain.

Books full of humour:

The Younger Brother’s Survival Guide by Lisa Kopelke Supposedly, this book was written by “Matt” Kopelke’s younger brother who entertains the reader by his step by step guide on how to terrorize and torment your older sister (who remains all the while older and more clever).

Please is a good word to say written by Barbara Joose and illustrated by Jennifer Plecas I’ve read some reviews of this book that claim it is a simple, too cutesy book about manners. I found it quite wonderful really. It is definitely a child’s voice that comes through loud and clear as when and how to use polite phrases and expressions are explained. It is hardly simple to understand the proper placement of please so that it sounds polite and gracious vs. whiny and annoying. I can see this book making kids really think about how best to use manners and that it would prompt many conversations.

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas. I first heard about this book from my principal because her five year old daughter was raving about a hilarious book that her teacher had read to her and was insisting that they had to have this very book a.s.a.p. I am always intrigued by book passion so had kept this title in the “be on the lookout for” compartment of my brain. I found it this week at the public library and now see why this little kindergartener was so enthused about it. It is hilarious! Bright and colourful illustrations and a funny little plot. Oh beware the vacuum if you are a dust bunny! The bonus: it also lets the readers practice rhyming! What could be better? I want this book for my buddy reading bin! It is perfect for reading to our little kindergarten buddies.

And also this category: Nature

Mossy by Jan Brett. I have always loved Jan Brett. My children were fed Jan Brett books about as often as mashed carrots in their early years. Always her illustrations are exquisite. Most of the time her stories are good. Sometimes just okay. Sometimes great. This book falls into the great category. It examines a beautifully unique little creature and the human tendency to want to “have” that beauty at the expense of the happiness of the creature. In this case, Mossy is captured and placed in a museum until a young girl senses her unhappiness. Reminds me of the wonderful Melvin and the Boy by Lauren Castillo. In fact, I think I am going to read both books this week with my reading group and do some inspired writing.

That’s not a Daffodil by Elizabeth Honey. This book has many things in it that made it a quick favourite for me: an intergenerational relationship, a theme of nature and gardening and beautiful imaginative language and imagery. A perfect book to inspire looking at nature in creative ways and I can’t wait to share it with my students. It also heads into my school bag this week.

I am also smack dab in the middle of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and must finish it by Friday as it is requested and I can’t renew it at the library! Wish there was more time because I am really enjoying the story. Determined to squeeze in some late night or early morning reading sessions.

What are you reading? Please share!

Monday August 6th, 2012

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

I was on vacation this week so all of my reading was from the stack of books I brought with me except for two picture books I purchased at the Island bookstore.

Liu and The Bird: A Journey in Chinese Caligraphy Written and illustrated by Catherine Louis. Calligraphy by Feng Xiao Min. So many of my students every year attend Chinese language classes – this book will allow them to be the experts as everyone explores the calligraphy in this book. Illustrations are gorgeous!

Rain Rain Rivers written and illustrated by Uri Shulivitz. Loved the lyrical descriptive writing. In Vancouver, we had better celebrate rain! This book gets us started.

This week I finished a read aloud novel with my children: Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. A great adventure story that intrigued us all.


Hidden by Helen Frost. I found the format with the two perspectives told in different form very interesting. A quick read.

Having read both The Fault in our Stars and Paper Towns in the last few months, I continued with two more John Green novels.

Loved the characters in Looking for Alaska.

Looking For Alaska

An Abundance of Katherines had many funny passages but probably my least favourite of Green’s novels so far. Colin, and his dependency and constant self doubt began to irk me. But loved the characters who resided in Gutshot.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater was my favourite read of the week. Finished it late last night and still digesting it. Dramatic. Haunting. Amazing.


I also read two professional books this week: Kelly Gallagher‘s Readicide and Tony Stead‘s Good Choice.

Happy Reading everyone!