Monday August 4th, 2014

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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I didn’t get as much reading finished this week, but books were certainly on my mind. Over the last week and a half, I have published a blog series about using more nonfiction books in the classroom called Teaching with a Passion for Nonfiction books. It is a four part series. This link takes you to the fourth post and if you are interested, you can follow the rest of the links there to visit the other posts. I teach a Grade 2/3/4 class so the book suggestions and strategies are geared toward a late primary classroom. If you are looking to add more nonfiction titles in your teaching, some of the ideas might be helpful. I welcome any feedback.

My favourite picture books of the week are a mixture of fiction and nonfiction titles.

Mogie: The heart of the house written by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal 

A very special book about a dog that is perfectly placed to connect to the children who need him most. This book is based on the real-life Mogie, a Labradoodle who lives at the Ronald McDonald House in Houston.

Mogie The heart of the house #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Naked! written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

If this book had existed when my children were younger, we would have had to read it over and over and over! Running around naked is pure joy for toddlers and this book perfectly captures the enthusiasm for the sensation of racing about the house without a thing on!. Delightful.

Naked!  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Following Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino 

Gorgeous whales. And I have a thing for beautifully done whales in picture books. Dreamy illustrations and a sweet story for younger listeners. I was so lost in the pictures, I had to go back and reread the story.

 Following Papa's Song  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley

I really like all of the titles Barbara Kerley has published through National Geographic – the photographs of people around the world are always spectacular. But I think this book is my absolute favourite. Maybe it is the simple aspect of showcasing the daily routines that many of us share – all a little different in different places but yet, so much the same. The back pages have additional information about each photograph. I can see sharing a photo a day with students. It would spark so much discussion and reflection.

One World, One Day  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Hello World! Greetings in 43 Languages by Manja Stojic

Illustrations with big kid appeal. Literally how to say “hello” in 43 languages – each page a smiling child and a greeting with a pronunciation guide. Of course, I tried them all!

Hello World  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Be My Neighbor by Maya Ajmera and John D Ivanko with words of wisdom from Fred Rogers

Another fascinating book full of photographs of children all over the world. This one focuses on the concept of neighbourhood and community. A map in the back lets children locate all of the places mentioned in the book.

Be-My-Neighbor  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Worm by Elise Gravel 

Another title in the Disgusting Critters series. Really silly. Very amusing. And full of information. Will lead children off to find out even more and then back to read and reread. And giggle.

The Worm  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

I read this book by the river after a long hike through the forest. All I could hear were shouts from my children and their friends as they played in the water and the sound of birds. Could it have been more perfect? Don’t think so. So much to learn in this book. Written in conversational, humorous style.

Look up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished

Winger written by Andrew Smith (YA)

This book was just so very good. Although, I finished it and couldn’t function properly for hours. Raw. Funny. Honest. Beautiful. Made me numb. Buying a copy for my son to read when he is a little older because I want him to meet Ryan Dean West. If this character instantly materialized in front of me, I would adopt him. What a kid. Such a story.

Winger #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up Next? I am reading Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 54/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 374/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 92/65 complete

Monday June 16th, 2014

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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

The picture books I enjoyed this week:

i carry your heart with me written by e.e. cummings and illustrated by Mati McDonough

This was a gift from Miriam (who works in the classroom with me) to our classroom. It is a beautiful little book featuring E. E. Cummings’ lovely poem. How many times do we reassure by reminding the children that they are with us in our hearts? Many. Many. This book is perfect. The cutest thing? When we first looked at the cover, one child quickly shouted out, “It’s Ruby! And Stella!” referring to the elephants on the front cover. Always thinking of Ivan!

Simple, sweet collage illustrations make this a must own.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Going Places by Peter H. and Paul Reynolds

I loved the creativity and the “out of the box” thinking celebrated when a class of children receive boxes of Go-kart kits. There is something to be said for following where your imagination might take you. And if you bring a friend along . . .

Going Places It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Rufus Goes to School written by Kim T Griswell and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev

Rufus wants to go to school because he desperately wants to learn to read. But pigs are not allowed at school and my oh my are there many reasons why! Rufus is persistent if nothing else and finally ends up just where he wants to be – enjoying read aloud sessions and really, truly attending school! Sweet. Would be perfect for story time.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

I’ll Save you Bobo by Eileen and Marc Rosenthal

Something about the beginning didn’t wow me but as the story continued I liked it more. Great for all of those creative writers who like to write or tell adventure stories.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream written by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Of course – these illustrations are just incredible. A great title for the picture book biography section of your library. All about a boy with lots of dreams. I think children will really relate to Michael’s dreams of wanting to grow taller and his anxiety that it was taking so long.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? by Steve Jenkins

Like any Jenkins title, this book is full of amazing things about the animal world. There have been some days in this last month where I wish I had some of the talents/attributes that these creatures have to avoid being noticed/harmed. The pangolin’s ability to roll into an armoured ball is pretty incredible.

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

A featured read aloud:

Donovan’s Big Day written by Leslea Newman and illustrated by Mike Dutton

I love how this book is so much about anticipation. The children were very excited to guess what Donovan might be getting ready for and began guessing right from the cover: a wedding? a graduation? a play? a funeral? the opera? church? Many many guesses. As we read, it became obvious that Donovan was going to be the ring bearer at a wedding. We discover all at once that the wedding is for his Mommy and Mama. There were lots of reactions and only some of them were about the fact that this was a same sex marriage. Biggest wondering was who was actually the biological Mom and we had to look carefully at the pictures while the kids made their guesses.

“He gets to go to his Mom’s wedding?! I wasn’t even born when my Mom and Dad got married.”

“Not everyone even has to be married.”

“Which one is his real Mom?”

“That’s funny.”

“What if they don’t stay married? And one gets married to someone else? Will there be step kids and step parents?”

I explained when it came up that it was funny for two Moms to be married that same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for over 10 years and that while it may not be as common, it does happen and can happen. And isn’t it great that everyone who loves each other has the same rights to be married if they want to be? “Cool,” said one child and we went back to arguing about which Mom might really be Donovan’s Mom who “actually had him.” 🙂

It's Monday What are you Reading? June 16th 2014 There's a Book for That

Where I would normally have finished a novel, I didn’t because I was reading many tweets on the #thisismystrikepay hashtag. I am hoping that by the time anyone reads this post, that B.C. teachers will be close to a deal and that we will not be going on a full scale strike on Tuesday. (Hoping, hoping, hoping!!) There has been much in the media about how our union has no more strike pay to provide for teachers. Teacher’s resolve is not about receiving strike pay or loss of wages . . .  and the viral #thisismystrikepay tweeting began. Follow the link for an explanation and a live twitter feed or check out the hashtag. I shared a few tweets as well and retweeted many many others.

 

All of this uncertainty has been very challenging and I desperately want to be back in the classroom with my students for the final two weeks of school. Participating in this #thisismystrikepay was therapeutic in many ways – a kind of vigil while negotiations are happening behind closed doors. A reminder of what is at stake and how important it all is.

I am about half way through and LOVING The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage Whoa can this lady write!

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 42/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 288/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 72/65 complete

Monday July 15th, 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 reads! Checking out all of the blogs that link up is a wonderful way to discover new titles.

I just realized that about a year ago today July 16th, 2012 was the first time I participated in the It’s Monday What are you Reading? meme. I have learned so much in this year of being part of the #IMWAYR community. My Mondays would not be the same without sharing my reading from the week and learning about great titles from others who participate.

This week we were away on an almost week long family trip so most of my reading was novel reading. But here are three picture books that were new to me:

Dot written and illustrated by Patricia Intriago There is a lot to this book revealed through much simplicity. Concepts and opposites are covered and much is left for thought and imagining. This book will make its new home in my buddy reading bin – what a wonderful title to share.

Dot 2

The Red Book written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman I loved the magical and fantasy elements to this wordless book. The connection between characters and the book (as a real part of this very book) was intriguing.

the red book

Phooey! written and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal Many details to explore in this book with such old fashioned feel. The message is a simple one – you will find boredom if you are convinced it is following you. There is so much happening via the illustrations in this story it is difficult to summarize. My favourite detail – a sign at the fruit stand that reads: Navel Oranges: Extra Bouncy. Fantastic sound effect noises: boing, whoop. zip, ploink, klump, etc.

phoeey!

I also finished a number of MG and YA novels:

Doll Bones by Holly Black This might have been my favourite novel this week. I cannot wait for it to come out in paperback so we can purchase multiple copies for our student book club. So much to wonder about, question and reflect upon. Even though I was prepared for creepy (and creepy was delivered) I would also describe this book as tender and vulnerable. It is an adventure novel full of mystery, intrigue and hauntings but it is also a story of friendship and a story of the journey from childhood to the beginning of young adulthood. What lies ahead and what is left behind? Absolutely captivating.

Doll Bones 2

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Challenging circumstances for a young boy left at a campsite by his mother. He experiences much confusion over doing what he needs to do to keep himself safe and protecting his life with his mother. I found Jack’s turmoil very believable. His loyalty to his Mom and their life was always front and center despite the fear and obstacles he faced. A compelling story that I read in one sitting. 

Small_as_an_Elephant

Almost Home by Joan Bauer I so wanted to love this book and I just didn’t. I found the character of Sugar just too sweet. But I seem to be in the minority. My ten year old daughter read it and loved it and I see on Goodreads that this book has a number of excellent reviews. Something about this title just didn’t ring true for me. And I didn’t love the poetry . . . Not all titles are a match despite one’s positive anticipation.

almost-home

Torn Away by James Heneghan This was the most recent story I read aloud to my children. Published in 1996, this novel details a young boy’s grief and anger after his Mother and young sister are killed in a bombing while celebrating a birthday lunch in Belfast. He is sent (without any degree of willingness) to Canada to live with his Aunt and Uncle and he rebels against the idea of settling with a family, determined to return to Ireland to join the IRA and seek revenge for the murders of his family. Forces readers to explore the importance of family and connection. An emotional read.

torn away

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn I saw this title on Sarah’s (from YA Love) blog post about favourite titles and it caught my eye. It is a very upsetting story about an abusive relationship between two teenagers told through the diary of Nick who realizes with his first romantic relationship, that he has been influenced by his father’s violence in ways he wasn’t expecting. This is a story of aggression and ugly controlling actions. Important that the reader can experience the point of view of the abuser but yet the role is never romanticized. Definitely see this as an important book for high school students to read and discuss.

breathing_underwater

What’s up next in my reading life?

I am almost finished Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Tonight I begin a new read aloud with my children –  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Next up for me: P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-GarciaA Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean and Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles