Monday October 22nd 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I haven’t posted for 3 weeks so have many reading photos to share! Narrowed it to 3. Here is a keen little reader who has discovered Robert Munsch books for himself as an independent reader! He couldn’t stop reading all day!

“This book is really long and really hard and I can read it!”

Ah the joy of buddy reading!

#classroombookaday titles have included themes of stories, characters creatively solving problems and interacting with monsters.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

We have been diving into the Story Workshop experience on Tuesday afternoons creating stories with loose parts and natural objects and then drawing, documenting and writing about these stories. Often stories are also shared orally between students. Want to know more about Story Workshop? Look up Opal School in Portland, Oregon.

In the Art and Discovery studio with Maggie, we have begun to explore and create imaginative creatures that might live in the garden.

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 loved:

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Wow. Wow and more wow. Such an incredible story and that cover! A fantastic biography of a wonderfully creative individual and how she perceived the world.

I Lost My Tooth! by Mo Willems

So I read this and liked it. But I knew that kid testing was going to be the true measure. My students ADORED this one. It’s a delightful read aloud experience and students have been continuously picking it up to read on their own. Their only complaint? Where are the rest of the titles? These children are used to a full shelf of Elephant and Piggie and can’t fathom waiting and waiting as the next titles in this series are published!

Up the Mountain Path by Marianne Dubuc

Oh what a delightful little title that teaches the love of nature and the cycles of life. Follow along as old Mrs. Badger takes a weekly journey up to the top of Sugarloaf Peak.The illustrations!

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie

Very adorable. Sterling sends himself out to a family’s home as part of a new cutlery shipment and tries to be the best fork ever! Of course, his fork like abilities are limited. But his dog nature is a lot more valued than he ever thought possible.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It written by JoAnne Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley

This is the BEST book for classroom teachers teaching about growth mindset! I am using this title to support our understanding of the brain as part of the Mind Up curriculum.

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci and her older brother are scholarship students at a private school in Florida. Her busy family life full of hard work, shared family responsibilities and grandparents, aunts and annoying younger cousins feels dramatically different than the lives her classmates seem to lead. Merci struggles to understand the changes in her beloved Lolo as he begins to act more and more strangely and seems to forget things all the time. A powerful middle grade novel about growing up, family and figuring out it all out.

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves  (MG) by Liesl Shurtliff

I was so very pleasantly surprised that I was able to fall into this story so fully and be transported to the imaginative fairy tale world that Shurtliff can build so wonderfully. I still love Rump the best, but this title is a close second. Can’t wait to see where Liesl Shurtliff goes next!

Tilly by Moniqu Gray Smith

This novel is really about what it says on the cover – hope and resistance. Based on the author’s own life, this is the story of a young Indigenous woman growing up in the 70s and 80s in British Columbia. I learned a lot.

Up next? I am reading The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani


Monday August 1st, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Summer = no classroom photos of engaged students so I am sharing a sliver of my read aloud shelf newly set up in my new classroom. This is a tall shelf full of fiction (at the top) and nonfiction (at the bottom) read alouds and it makes me very happy!

Monday August 1st, 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:

I still haven’t got my blogging momentum back so just this post from this week.

Celebration: Worries

Books I enjoyed:

Lots of wonderful picture books did make it into my week! Here are my favourites:

I want a Monster! by Elise Gravel

I have a thing for monsters. I find students love nothing more than creating, imagining and reading about monsters. This title is a must have for the primary classroom with a wonderful create your own monster step by step guide in the back – the perfect extension activity. Also great for a “pet” theme.

I want a Monster! by Elise Gravel Monday August 1st, 2016

Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Dylan Metrano

I love the language (poetry) and the illustrations (cut paper) in this title that highlights birds that children may see in their every day lives. More details about each bird are at the back of the book. What a lovely gift book this would make for little nature lovers. Of better yet for kids that NEED to get out into nature more.

Every Day Birds Monday August 1st, 2016

Follow Me! by Ellie Sandall

I loved the repetitive language and the adorable pictures. A lovely story time title that invites participation!

Follow Me! by Ellie Sandall Monday August 1st, 2016

When Dad Showed me the Universe written by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Eva Eriksson

I really liked this book – while it deals with huge – universe sized – concepts it is also grounded in family routines, real life and yucky things we might step in. Philosophical, beautiful, quiet. Would be a wonderful shared read aloud with one child at a time.

When Dad Showed me the Universe Monday August 1st, 2016

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc

If this book had existed when my own children were pre school age, I know we would have owned it. Illustrations to get lost in as we follow Mr. Postmouse on his route.

Mr. Postmouse's Rounds Monday August 1st, 2016

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies

This book. I am REALLY trying to not buy any new books until I figure out where to put all of my current books in my new classroom. But, this book . . . I think I need to own it. It is pretty precious and allows us to talk about loss in a gentle, imaginative way.

Grandad's Island Monday August 1st, 2016

Can I Tell you a Secret? by Anna Kang and Christophe Weyant

Why not get a little help from your readers if you are a picture book character that isn’t overly courageous?

Can I Tell you a Secret? Monday August 1st, 2016

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Absolutely delightful!! The language is fun – Eucalyptus is full of a lot of syllables and is more entertaining than one would think to say again and again! And these illustrations . . .

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree Monday August 1st, 2016

Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles

There are many things that make this an appealing and important middle grade read. Noah, the main character offers the reader humour, an honest voice and a glimpse into the challenges of middle school, friendship and identity. This part of the story is delivered with lots of humour, believable vulnerabilities and a realistic seventh grader voice. Noah’s life is about more than school and figuring out how to be a teenager. There are struggles at home as he and his parents dance around older sister Emma’s struggles with eating and control. Because this is Noah’s story and not Emma’s, the story line focuses on what it is like to face a health/mental health crisis in a family – an important perspective that Knowles lets us explore. Emma and Noah have a lovely sibling relationship but this is hardly perfect family life. Real, honest and sometimes heartbreaking. Highly recommended for readers 10 and up.
I was pleased to win an ARC of this novel in a Goodreads giveaway.

Still a Work in Progress Monday August 1st, 2016

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 201/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña. Our new family read aloud is Rescued by Eliot Schrefer.

Monday July 7th, 2014

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 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 noticed about a week ago that I was behind on my Goodreads goal by 16 books. I had a few picture book reading blitz days and am almost caught up So . . . catching up on my reading means that I have many picture books I could share here. I narrowed it to my ten favourites of the week. Sometimes, it really is about a week where picture books have a hugely starring role!

Emily’s Blue Period written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Lisa Brown

Cathleen Daly just kind of knocks me over. Her book Prudence wants a Pet is a “I want a pet book” done that much differently that it feels unique even though the story premise seems to have been told over and over. Here is a picture book that touches on the emotions and confusion of a family separated by divorce. Such a common lived experience for so many children – the unanswered questions, the frustration, the living between two homes – yet captured in a picture book? Not so often. More often these themes are tackled in novels for middle grade readers. Here, nothing feels off limits and we truly are privy to the raw and the difficult that is divorce through the eyes of young children. Throw in some cool references to Picasso and his Blue period and wow, what a picture book.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison

Sometimes, it is not a talent or exceptional skill that makes us special. Sometimes it is just enough, and even quite extraordinary, to be that one that offers connection and affection. A tribute to special pets but also to the virtues of kindness and companionship.

Extraordinary jane  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

The Day I Lost my Superpowers written by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

I found this book particularly charming. It is absolutely representative of the naturally egocentric nature of a preschool age child – who feels magical and mighty and all powerful. When the limits of their own power confront them, they are able to honour the power of those around them – like the super powers of Mom!

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna

Begin reading this book and be instantly surprised. It is wide and extra big and it opens bottom to top so you are flipping up instead of turning pages. Gorgeous illustrations in this tale set in Paris of a lion trying to find his “place” in this beautiful European city. Eventually, he finds a spot where he is meant to be. Unique. Much of the appeal of this book is the format and the Parisian vibe.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

Wow. This story is told through minimal text, beautiful illustrations, pauses and space. Sometimes what is held in the silence and few precious seconds of a blank page turned or a page that holds just one simple image has huge impact on the overall story. Just so very well done. Themes of friendship, kindness, hope and the passing of time. Did I say wow?

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman 

Please go read this book – there are so many reasons – a wonderful story about siblings and mistakes and owning up and doing what’s right. Some forgiveness thrown in. Can’t go wrong. But let me tell you about the right – just page through again and again and travel through illustrations that will knock you over, make your heart sing, force you to have too many favourite pictures so you just have to love and savour each page. Oh please, Mr. David Soman be working on a new book right now I just can’t wait!

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

Starring Me and You by Genevieve Cote

A sweet little title for younger readers learning how to navigate the world socially and with friends through compromise, patience and acceptance.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

Little Mouse by Alison Murray 

I can imagine that if this book had existed when my children were very small that we would have read it endlessly. Sometimes, an endearing name doesn’t seem to fit. Other times, it is perfect. Through a parade of animals, we learn about all the aspects of one little girl’s personality – she is brave like a lion, can stomp like a bear and be hungry like a horse. And of course, she can be quiet and cozy like a little mouse. Adorable.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

One is a Snail Ten is a Crab: A Counting Feet Book written by April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Saryre and illustrated by Randy Cecil 

This counting book is hugely entertaining. It allows children to think about numbers in a variety of ways. After learning about how many feet many different creatures possess, the reader is ready to think about larger numbers like – 60 – 60 is six crabs (6 groups of 10 feet) or 10 insects (10 groups of 6 feet). Playful, creative and wonderfully amusing.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors written by Helen Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

Stunning illustrations introduce young readers to the culture and beauty of Islam through descriptive pages about a variety of things representative of Muslim culture and religion. A glossary in the back helps for those not familiar with all of the things described in the book.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014

Thank you to everyone who has shared their #MustReadin2014 July updates. Many are linked here or shared through the #MustReadin2014 hashtag via twitter. So interesting to see what everyone has been reading and enjoying.

This week I finished one novel:

Cress by Marissa Meyer which was my 18th #mustreadin2014 title!

I am fully captivated by these Lunar Chronicles stories even though I never thought I was going to be. I read Cinder on a whim and was hooked. I particularly love how all of the characters from previous books still play starring roles in the ongoing storylines. Dramatic, suspenseful, interesting characters. Great YA fantasy!

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That July 7th 2014Next up? I am halfway through The Riverman by Aaron Starmer. What a book! Early in the week, I plan to read The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner, which is another #MustReadin2014 title for me.

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 327/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 79/65 complete


Monday, January 7th, 2013

It’s Monday!  What are you reading? 

orange pear spread

Join the #IMWAYR community participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme and share your reading from picture books to young adult novels.

Such a fantastic way to learn about “new to you” titles!

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I enjoyed a lot of picture books this week including some board books for the collection I am building for Wednesday buddy reading with the Kindergarten class.

Picture books I loved:

the bear in the book

The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. This book is so lovely. It’s a story within a story of sorts that captures the gentle quiet moments of bedtime story time between parent and child. As the mother and little boy settle into their bedtime routine, they read a story about little bear settling into his winter hibernation. Love how it portrays the intimacy of the mother/child interactions as they talk about the story, ask/answer questions, etc.

Duck Rabbit by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld Delightful!



Good News Bad News

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack Sparse in text but full of humour and lots of space to infer, discuss and wonder. A fantastic book to teach about perspective, optimism/pessimism and patience.

I cannot wait to share this with my class. I can imagine that it will be one of those stories where we can’t get through a page without everyone talking and then it will travel from book box to book box as it is read and reread.

Nighttime Ninja written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young Stunning illustrations by Young.

nighttime ninja

Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus I can see many thinking this book is either atrocious or hilarious. When animals keep stealing his teddy, this bear does the first thing he thinks of to do in his angst and frustration . . he gobbles them up. In the There was an Old Lady style of . . . wow, how can anything else fit in that tummy? Curious to see how children will respond. I have the feeling they will think it is very funny and it will certainly prompt many discussions about choices and managing our anger/frustration. A wordless book.

bear despair cover

Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc Fantastic for independent rereads or sharing during buddy reading. Silly, creative illustrations with lots of room for discussion/comments.

animal masquerade

Board Books I loved (and now own :-)):

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

orange pear

Thank you Bear by Greg Foley


Nonfiction titles:

Who’s Like me? Nicola Davies Marc Boutavant

who's like me

Who Has these Feet?


In other reading:


I finished Small Damages by Beth Kephart and absolutley adored it. The perfect first novel to complete in 2013.

Lyrical. Everything mixes up – the past, the present, the longing, the worry and the beautiful Spanish landscape and food. Slow and full – like a beautiful, well spiced meal over a long night. What was particularly lovely in this book was the strength of character and the wisdom in the main character. I also loved Kenzie’s relationship with Estela, the house cook who taught her much more than delicious Spanish cooking. Looking forward to reading more titles by Kephart.

wonder 12 for 2012

I finished reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio to my own children. Must admit I enjoyed this novel just as much if not more on a second read – perhaps because I was sharing it with my own children who are ten years old – the same age as many characters in the book. I was surprised at how often my voice broke when I read this aloud especially since the plot was not a surprise. My son who is typically a “fantasy or not interested” reader loved this book. Hoping that this opens him up to more realistic fiction. My daughter who reads everything snatched the book away as soon as we were finished to go reread her favourite parts!  Such a beautiful story about the power of human spirit.

I am currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray and just started The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver as the new read aloud with my children.