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.

IMWAYR 2015

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.

we-sang-you-home

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!

this-is-my-book

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.

solving-the-puzzle-under-the-sea-marie-tharp-maps-the-ocean-floor

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!

the-marvelous-thing-that-came-from-a-spring-9781481450652_hr

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.

campmidnight_gn

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.

american-born-chinese

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.

the-nest

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.

garveys-choice

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

Monday January 4th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. I haven’t been teaching for 2 weeks, so sharing from my house. This week I am sharing a photo of our Christmas book stack 🙂 Lots of reading in our house!

Monday January 4th, 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.

IMWAYR 2015

On the blog:

For #nfpb2015 I shared my 20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015

Our #MustReadin2015 community shared year end update posts

Please note: If you want to share a #MustReadin2016 list, we will begin sharing lists (connect here) January 6th, 2016

My Celebration this week was all about Simplicity

On the eve of back to school, I made some wishes. Sunday Reflections: Wolves and Wild Wishes This post is inspired by the novel The Wolf Wilder (discussed more below)

Books I loved:

I read a lot of picture books this week, I am going to share just my favourites of the bunch.

Picture books:

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail

A superb lesson in persuasion and just the right words for the argument you are trying to make. Also a “Can I get a pet?” story with so much new and amusing. Loved this title.

One Word from Sophia Monday January 4th, 2016

Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett

I always find Pett’s illustrations very, very charming and this book is no exception. When you find an egg and vow to look after the hatchling, you just never know. Lots of fun!

Lizard from the Park

Mother Bruce by Ryan T Higgins

Funny. Funny. Funny. I laughed out loud in the book store. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard. This is a serious charmer. The perfect combination of curmudgeonly and adorable characters.

Mother Bruce

The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have written by Edward van de Vendel and illustrated byAnton Van Hertbruggen

Something about this book. First of all, I would like to hang all of it on my walls. Each page. Blown up to huge proportions. And the story. . .  It is a little out there. It is about lonely and longing and then having and adjusting. And then wondering. I loved it. In fact, I gifted it to myself. Couldn’t resist.

Dog that nino didn't have

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

I confess that I just never thought about picking this book up. I saw great reviews but it just didn’t speak to me. Finally, I found it at the library and started reading. It is quite wonderful and yes, I was missing out. I can see that this would have pretty fantastic read aloud appeal.

the-princess-and-the-pony

Frances Dean who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif

The illustrations are completely divine. The story, pretty cute.

Frances Dean who Loved to Dance and Dance2

Puffling Patrol by Ted and Betsy Lewin (2012)

I learned so much in this nonfiction text. Absolutely fascinating account of a the authors’ visit to a town in Iceland during 2008 to watch how a community helps young pufflings confused by the town’s lights make their way to the sea.

Pufflng Patrol 2

 

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert

Bold, full of colour. Such a fantastic autobiography!

Scraps

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Such an interesting format. Really a lovely little book.

Finding Winnie

Novels:

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

This book. This book. This book! I fall more and more in love with Rundell’s writing with each novel I read. Part adventure. Part fairy tale. Many parts brave and wonderful. Russia. Winter. Snow. Wolves. And beautiful, bold children. A must, must read!

Monday January 4th, 2016 The Wolf Wilder

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

A novel in verse. Highly recommended. What is life like when you don’t look like everyone else and your dreams and aspirations are “not what we do here”? This book, set in 1969 Vermont, is an incredible story of one young girl. Courageous, vulnerable, amazing.

Full Cicada Moon Monday January 4th, 2016

Final updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 71/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 471/415 books read COMPLETE! 

#MustReadin2015: 18/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 95/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 52/50 books read COMPLETE! 

A WONDERFUL reading year – even though all of my goals weren’t met, they sure were inspiring!

And 2016 Reading Goals begin:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 1/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 5/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 1/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 1/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 2/50 books read

Next up? I am reading More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Auto-buy Authors But I kind of switched it up . . .

I approached this theme with some flexibility.  First, I only included picture books. Second, my list is all about illustrators, not authors (although some both illustrate and write their books). And top ten? Nope. I have twenty. But I split it into two lists of ten in order to kind of follow the rules. 🙂 10 + 10 = 20

My top ten lists this week are all about my auto-buy illustrators. These artists help make picture books that are irresistible.

I read a lot, a lot, a lot of picture books. Narrowing these lists down was a challenge!

When it became apparent that I couldn’t limit my list to just ten, I decided to make a list of female illustrators and a list of male illustrators. Both make the best books ever! I am so excited to honour them here. For each illustrator, I have included my favourite (or one of my favourite) books that they have illustrated.

My ten auto-buy female illustrators listed in alphabetical order:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Freya Blackwood illustrated Harry and Hopper I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood Blackwood creates through shading and colour.

harry and hopper Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Lauren Castillo wrote and illustrated Melvin and the Boy I love Nana and her wonderful cape and thought it was wonderfully Caldecott worthy, but I have such a soft spot for this sweet little book.

Melvin and the Boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Marla Frazee illustrated All the World It is so absolutely calming and charming and full of all the world’s memories.

All-the-World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Emily Hughes wrote and illustrated Wild which I am more than a little wild about

Wild Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Suzy Lee created the wordless treasure Wave I am quite sure these waves are moving across the pages here.

 Wave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Qin Leng illustrated Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – there is one page oh so very full of green that I fell in love with.

 Hana Hashimoto Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World I already loved this title but then I heard Yuyi read it aloud and I was even more smitten. Such joyous energy and escapades in this book!

Nino Wrestles the World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Julie Morstad’s illustrations in This is Sadie are swoon worthy. Seriously, this cover!

This is Sadie Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

LeUyen Phan absolutely blew me away with The Boy Who Loved Math

 The Boy Who Loved Math Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Erin E. Stead illustrated the stunning  If You Want to See a Whale If you follow this blog you know I have a serious thing for whales. The one in this book? I find it particularly captivating.

If you want to see a whale Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

My ten auto-buy male illustrators listed in alphabetical order

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jonathan Bean illustrated Bad Bye, Good Bye which I found wonderfully delightful. Look at the expressions conveyed just on the cover.

Bad Bye, Good Bye Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Peter Brown won me over with his book The Curious Garden that he wrote and illustrated. Doesn’t it make you want to go plant a seed or two or twelve in some unexpected places?

Curious Garden Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Oliver Jeffers just keeps making more books. Picking a favourite is challeging. I’m going with The Heart and the Bottle which will tug at your heart.

heart in the bottle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jon Klassen is the Caldecott King but it is his illustrations in House Held up by Trees that I find the most incredible.

househeldupbytrees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

E.B. Lewis has done so many titles that are powerful but his illustrations in My Best Friend might be my favourite.

 My Best Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are so whimsical and full of teeny tiny characters that are very large. South is gentle and lovely.

south Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Christopher Silas Neal’s books with Kate Messner are stunning but it is illustrations in Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives that I want to celebrate here.

 Lifetime Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Mark Pett won a special award in my room for The Girl and the Bicycle during our Mock Caldecott process He sent a very special gift for his number one fan (see below).

The Girl and the Bicycle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

John Rocco does many wonderful titles. He wrote and illustrated Blackout which is likely my favourite. The blues. The blacks. Wow. Wow. Wow.

 Blackout Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

David Small does the most delicate, detailed drawings for historical fiction titles. I couldn’t choose my favourite. So instead I picked One Cool Friend which I also love.

 One cool Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Who are your auto-buy illustrators? 

Could you choose ten? Or stop at twenty? It’s difficult!

Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection

There are so many beautiful picture books out there in the world.

Books make lovely gifts that become part of a family’s story world.

So how to choose?

Board books always make wonderful gifts but so do picture books that will be part of a child’s collection of read again and again stories. Not every book gift needs to be given thinking only about babyhood and the first few years. Give a book that can be grown into. A book that tells a story families will want to share repeatedly. Stories to be savoured and talked about and wondered about.

These suggestions have a definite theme of being in the moment and noticing the world – the big moments, the small things, the important feelings. Because childhood soars by. These titles remind us to experience it as fully as we can.

Here are 20 titles I would gift new parents and why they need to be on the family book shelf:

Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Listed in alphabetical order by author.

Yard Sale written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

No matter what the journey, no matter what is possessed along the way, family matters most of all.

 Yard Sale Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

Facing fears is a lot easier with a Nana by your side. I love what this book says about home, family and the wisdom of grandparents.

Nana in the City Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper

Simple and reassuring. The power of walking in the neighbourhood: being, noticing, connecting.

A Good Night Walk Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty

This book reminds us that everyone needs to be read to. A life with bedtime stories is rich indeed.

The Snatchabook Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

A book about a problem that needs solving and having wonderfully, persistently, kind intentions.

 Hank Finds an Egg Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

The ins and outs of waiting. And wondering. And hoping. Patience is underrated in life but celebrated in this beautiful little book.

If you want to see a whale Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

An opportunity to talk about cooking together over time. Tradition. Changes. Savouring of sweet treats.

A Fine Dessert Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

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

Read this book early and often and send the message – our life is going to be a life where we are surrounded by books and reading and all of the magic that will guarantee.

 The Fantastic Flying Books Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

What is at eye level for our little ones? Flowers and many other interesting things. Children notice many things and give so freely.

Sidewalk Flowers Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Wave by Suzy Lee

There is nothing like the joy of a big expanse of beach and the waves that roll in and out. This wordless book captures all of the all the excitement, fear and wonder of a child’s beachside experience.

 Wave Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Sleep Like a Tiger written by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski 

Such a beautiful book for those who appreciate the soothing power of bedtime books. Sleep is a wonderful thing!

Sleep Like a Tiger Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto. Wonderful connections to favourite book characters.

This is Sadie Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

There is kindness and then there is putting others’ happiness before your own. Kindness between siblings is very special.

 The Girl and the Bicycle Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

I Wish You More written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld 

This book captures hope and love in a sweet, endearing way.

I Wish You More Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Blackout by John Rocco

Time. Time together. Time together as a first priority. This book reminds us of how very important this is. Because everything can get in the way. But only if you let it . . .

 Blackout Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

All the World  written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee

Simple rhyming text pays tribute to the small simple things our world has to offer like a tomato blossom or a fire to take away a chill.

All-the-World Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman 

A wonderful story about siblings, mistakes, owning up and doing what’s right.

 Three Bears in a Boat Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

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

This is an important story of what we miss by not being in the moment. How many beautiful experiences are lost on us as we rush through our days?

The Man with the Violin Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Happy by Mies van Hout

What could be better than a bright and bold celebration of our emotions?

Happy Picture Books for New Parents: Building a beautiful collection There's a Book for That

Give books.

Read books.

Share books.

Often.

Celebration: Starts with the letter R

celebrate-link-up

Over on my class blog, Curiosity Racers, I shared what happened as a result of this tweet from author Aaron Becker.

It is worth checking out.

Really!

All of those delicious R words have inspired my celebration post today.

I celebrate:

REWARD

My children had a Professional Day on Monday so they came to my classroom with me. This was a wonderful experience all around. They were great helpers and my students loved to interact with them. All my most precious children in one room! Watching the students share their love of books with my children who have been raised on books was a most rewarding experience.

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That

RESTLESS

I love the restless energy of science experiments. Our favourite Let’s Talk Science volunteers came in on Thursday morning and led the students through some activities to learn about density. The excitement, the observing, the predicting, the confirming, the “Oh I get it now!” moments.

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That

RISK

In math, we are solving a variety of multi-step word problems involving multiplication and division. I have been modelling different choices around using manipulatives or 100 dot array charts to represent the thinking. Students have been working together to solve and write equations that represent their process. I love the confidence, the starting over, the talk, the thinking.

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That

REVEAL

Yes, the results of our #MockCaldecott are in! The winners are . . .

I hope to be posting more about this soon!

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That

RAGE

We have some very passionate readers in our room. When this title by Mark Pett wasn’t one of the winners (it was so very close!), one super fan gave it its own medal!

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That

And author/illustrator Mark Pett approved 🙂

RAVE

There was lots of gushing over favourite titles in this #MockCaldecott process. Everyone had a chance to write about the books they loved and why. Oh, the book love! Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That 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.

Mock Caldecott 2015

While every year I celebrate Caldecott winners with my students, this is the first year we are having our own Mock Caldecott competition. After perusing numerous other Mock Caldecott lists and lists of Caldecott predictions, I narrowed it down to eleven titles to share with my class. There was a LOT of rethinking and eliminating titles. In the end, I tried to choose a varied list that conveyed different moods, feelings and responses.

Mock Caldecott Choices 2015 There's a Book for That

Here are the books we are sharing, reading and swooning over – shared alphabetically by illustrator:

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Quest by Aaron Becker

The Promise written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin

Draw! by Raúl Colón

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Hi, Koo! by Jon J Muth

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

Our process is simple. We read and talk about each book individually, enjoying the interactive read aloud experience. Then, I hide the book away until we bring them all out again and spend some time looking closer at each title with Caldecott criteria in mind.

Like others who are running a Mock Caldecott with their classrooms, I adapted the criteria into a child friendly rubric.

Each child will have an opportunity to rate each book using a 1 – 5 scale (with 1 being not at all to 5 being agree absolutely) responding to these three statements:

This book is a book kids will really appreciate. 

The illustrations in this book are excellent in quality.

The illustrations are a great fit for the story being told. 

An opportunity to comment on favourites will also be available.

By next week, we should have shared all of the titles and will be prepared to rate each book. We will do this over a morning where we can reread, look more closely at the actual criteria and have lots of discussions with other students and the adults we have invited to participate in this process with us. More details on our class blog: Curiosity Racers.

We will then announce our medal winner and 3 honour titles.

I am not sure if it is the children or the adults who are more excited but our room is buzzing even more with picture book love. At times I am sure I can hear the hum 🙂

Favourites of 2014

Here are my favourite titles of 2014! Another wonderful year of reading – always in awe of the amazing authors and illustrators out there that give us the important gift of stories.

The best of the best (published in 2014) for me?

14 favourites and no more than 14 words of raving about each title. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. This year I get one more book and one more word to play with! 🙂

This year I chose to spread my book love evenly between picture books and novels. 7 and 7. I will be sharing my nonfiction favourites in a post of their own this week so I focussed a little more on fiction here.

In no particular order – my 7 favourite picture books of 2014:

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow – yes, like a sloth.

Sparky Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin written by Chieri Uegaki with illustrations by Qin Leng

A story of determination, perseverance and creativity. Dream. Be courageous. Such messages.

 Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Thanks To Katherine Applegate and all of those who have loved Ivan, we love Ivan too.

ivan Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

A cover that hints at mystery and strange happenings and . . . ? Tender. Sweet. Kind

 The Farmer and the Clown Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

Persistence and love wrapped in brown, green and a little brother’s smile.

 The Girl and the Bicycle Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay

A story starts with a blank white page . . .

 Any Questions Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Pulls you deep into a “theorizing hole.” Digging in, around and out is highly satisfying.

 sam and Dave Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

And the novels that touched me – often making me pause and just connect with the state of being and living and loving. Novels roll out stories that transform our thinking with beautiful words on a page – the characters in these books have stuck with me.

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

Vulnerability. A touching exploration of grief. Superb writing and of course, little Frankie Sky.

 The Summer of Letting Go Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Bird by Crystal Chan

One girl raised in grief and superstition chases living. Sad and spectacular imagery.

 Bird Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Friendship trials and celebrations. Growing up with hearing loss and super powers.

El Deafo Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Chirp. Joey. Solid but broken. Love their observations, their coping strategies, their complicated friendship.

Nest Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tears, faith, outrage, peace. What a story. Wiles pulls you right into 1964.

Revolution Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose does things differently. But much a lot more bravely. Such a read.

Rain Reign Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Full of raw mistakes and huge hopes. Energizing despite the grief and pain.

I'll Give you the sun Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .