Monday December 28th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This is from my final week before the holiday break. One of my little readers is proudly sharing poems from her poem book with an intent listener.

Monday December 28th, 2015

We have almost chosen our winners for our Mock Caldecott. But, not quite. It will be the first thing we do when we return. Final voting and tabulating results.

Monday December 28th, 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.


It’s been two weeks since I posted an #IMWAYR post so this post includes two weeks of reading.

And since I last posted, I blogged. A lot.

On the blog:

One of my favourite ever Top Ten Tuesday posts: Favourite Read Aloud Experiences

I celebrated after a busy last week of work: (Brief) Ramblings and the Happiness Train

I made some best on the blog lists:

Best of my Book Lists (2015)

A Year of Thinking (2015)

Celebration: Literacy to Fill the Year (2015)

For #nfpb2015, a collection of nonfiction titles I have been reading

Which ten titles would you like to find under the tree? I had a list of picture books

As I do every year, I compiled a favourites list. This year it includes 9 picture books and 6 novels.  Favourites of 2015

Books I loved:

Picture books:

Stella Brings the Family written by Miriam B. Schiffer and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

An inclusive solution to inviting “someone special” to a special day party.

Stella Brings the Family Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Winter is Coming written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Jim LaMarche

I reserve a really huge place of awe in my picture book heart for illustrator Jim LaMarche. This book is absolutely stunning. Ode to a season. Honouring nature. Celebrating quiet and focus and wonder. I had to buy this book.

Winter is Coming Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Wait by Antoinette Portis

The simplicity of stopping to “be” with all that is around us. So very lovely.

Wait Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Marguerite’s Christmas written by India Desjardins and illustrated by Pascal Blanchet

This was the one holiday book I purchased this Christmas. The illustrations are from another time and place. The story is about Marguerite and her quiet life that shifts a little one Christmas Eve. Loved this book.Marguerite's Christmas Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That


Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

Twelve year old Grayson is navigating middle grade friendships, the grief of losing his parents and the fact that, while born male, he feels female. A school play and an inspiring teacher provide opportunities for risk, change and understanding. A solid middle grade read.

Gracefully Grayson Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

 This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki with illustrations by Jillian Tamaki

A YA graphic novel about summer places, family changes and all of the awkward and in between of sliding into adolescence.

This One Summer Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The True Blue Scouts of SugarMan Swamp by Kathy Appelt

I will admit I worried as I began to read this title. Appelt’s The Underneath was just too mythical/magical/spirtual for me. So at certain early on points, I worried. But the balance between Chap’s story and the racoon scouts, soon pulled me in to this beautiful tale.

True Blue Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

I loved everything about Stella – her courage, her determination, her devotion to family and her journey as a writer. A book about some hard and ugly things (racism and prejudice) with lots of beautiful people to bring us hope.

Stella by Starlight Monday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Whoa. A start and don’t put down until done book. Dog as hero. Boy with the weight of the world. Honest truths are the hardest because we don’t often tell them. Beautifully told. Absolutely gripping.

Honest-TruthMonday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I love historical fiction when it is really well done – when the story is enhanced by a time and a setting that literally transports you. In this book, well done is left in the dust. This is excellent writing, an incredible story rich with complex characters living in challenging circumstances. This novel twists from the ugly cruelty of abuse to the powerful healing of connection. It offers up hope and courage mixed with lots of pain. One of the best novels I have read in some time.

The War That Saved my LifeMonday December 28th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 70/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 447/415 books read COMPLETE! 

#MustReadin2015: 18/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 78/100 titles

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

This is the final #IMWAYR posts of 2015. Happy New Year and Happy Reading to this wonderfully generous community of book lovers. Like many of you, I will miss the participation of the passionate reader, educator and blogger Debbie Alvarez (Styling Librarian) who passed away last week after a three year battle with cancer. Debbie was one of the first bloggers to welcome me when I dove into sharing my reading life in the blogging world. I learned much by sharing with her and I will miss our book conversations.

Celebration: Nerding out

Oh there has been a whole lot of amazing bookish things in this week. If there is a land of Nerdy-book-club-ish-ness, well, I have been wandering about within it. Quite happily. Actually wandering is not the word. Leaping. Whirling. Rejoicing. These words better capture it.

It began a week ago with the amazing Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference and it kept going until today at the eerie and exceptional Serendipity conference here in Vancouver.

I have been so blessed to hear brilliant and passionate words (and have many books signed by . . .  ) from Kate DiCamillo, Yuyi Morales, Joyce Sidman and Matt de la Peña (all in Bellingham) and Molly Idle, Holly Black, Andrew Smith and Mariko Tamaki (here in Vancouver).

I also got to attend the first EVER nErDCamp Bellingham last Sunday!

And then of course, all kinds of #booklove happened in my classroom all week.

I have too many words but can’t seem to settle them. So much of this will be in pictures.

The Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference was so amazing!

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I learned a lot from each presenter. One (or two) line take aways

Matt de la Peña: “You can’t be a great writer until first you are a great reader.”

Yuyi Morales: “At the library, there are books with art in them like in an art gallery. Some of them were made for people like me and my story.”

Kate DiCamillo: “It is a privilege to have anything at all to do with books. Words matter. Words don’t fail.”

Joyce Sidman: “Why share poetry with children? Poems can never be wrong. Some might be more powerful. They can express our “souls””

And Sunday was all about nErDcamp in the gorgeous Whatcom Middle School Library:

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I spent some time twisting and turning trying to see this gorgeous space from every angle

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Loved meeting with friends old and new and learning together 🙂

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Thank you to the awesome Adam Shaffer for his Nerdy vision!

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I loved bringing Viva Frida back for Miriam and watching her share it with little listeners

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Today at the Vancouver Children’s Literacy Roundtable’s Serendipity, more wonderful words and many laughs. Many of the gems are too – let’s call them – “too YA” to share.

From Andrew Smith: “My code is the English language. Like a wizard I can put words together and make poetry. It is powerful.”

From Mariko Tamaki: “There is a third writer in a comic book – the author, the illustrator and the person who puts it all together. The collaboration is important.”

From Molly Idle and Kelly Chipponeri (Editorial Director, Children’s Books at Chronicle Books in San Fransisco): “The process of putting together a book and doing what is best for the book is about kind, creative and supportive communication.”

From Holly Black: “It is intensely personal and strange to write a book. Writing is often answering the questions that we come across.”

I loved the chance to talk education with Andrew Smith and to share the sunshine with Molly and Kelly and hear more about their collaboration.

A gorgeous day all around.

My students adore Molly Idle‘s Flora so they will be thrilled that I got our classroom copies signed!

IMG_2144 And yes, I love all of this – the authors, the illustrators and the literacy love. But why do I love it so much? Because I can share it with my students.

Their book love is my book love.

Our passion for literacy is always, I hope, transformative.


Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. Read all of the celebrations by following the links shared here.