Monday July 24th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have been in my classrooms for a few hours here and there. Look at how lonely my empty bookshelves look. They are patiently waiting to be filled up as I begin reading with a new room of readers!

Scrolling back through photos from June 2016, I am reminded about how excited I am to work with primary students again.

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 enjoyed:

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Jason Chin is incredible. I believe that more and more with each book I read. Take a journey back and forth through time as you hike down, up and around the Grand Canyon.

Fabulous Frogs written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Tim Hopgood

These illustrations are absolutely fantastic! An ideal book to share in the primary classroom. Learn about the diversity of frogs and all kinds of cool and interesting facts.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

I immediately passed this book on to my husband because, quite simply, everyone should read it! These characters. This isolated setting. The mystery and intrigue and simplicity that makes a can’t put down story. Highly, highly recommended!

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

And such voice! Amina is an incredible middle grade character. This would have been a beloved title for my Grade 4 and 5 class this year. Amina struggles with family pressures and expectations, friendship dynamics and finding her confidence. So much to this novel.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 39/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 162/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 43 books behind schedule (Yikes!)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 23/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 28/50 books read

Up next? I am in the middle of many books and hope to be writing about them next week.

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit Collection

Last week Elisabeth Ellington put together this list: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction – one that was relevant from K-16 (as she teaches college)

From Elisabeth:

“What does a starter kit need? Representative titles that show the range and diversity of this genre. Books to read independently. Books to read together. Funny books. Serious books. A range of illustration styles. Books to teach writing. Books to teach research. Most of all, books to invite wonder and much more #booklove.”

She then wondered what we might include on our lists. I was so inspired I thought I would make my own. Which was much harder than it seemed. Elisabeth’s criteria made a lot of sense to me – especially thinking about books as invitations to wonder and to think about the world in new ways.

Finally, after a week of changing my mind, AND realizing that I couldn’t fit all of my favourites on one list, I chose ten incredible books.

Nonfiction a starter kit collection NFPB 2015 Ten titles for those new to nonfiction

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

The most special thing about this title is that it answers a question that few children might have imagined: How exactly do butterflies get to live exhibits in the north? Many children have been to Science Centres and Natural History Museums that might house live exhibits. Where do those butterflies come from? How do they get there? This title tells that story. Amazing photographs from Ellen Harasimowicz.

 Handle with Care Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

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

This is a fascinating biography that not only makes math seem absolutely engrossing but gives us a glimpse into a mind that was truly one track. A beautiful balance between the mathematical life and the other life of Paul Erdos. Accessible and intriguing for younger readers/listeners. A definite book to be explored multiple times. This book was absolutely fascinating to my students.

 Teh Boy who Loved Math Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

This book introduces students to a huge variety of endangered and extinct animals. With some creatures, like the tiger, more details are provided about the animal including reasons for its vulnerable status. Heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. And the illustrations are breathtaking.

can we Save the Tiger? Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Gravity by Jason Chin

Visual story telling, simple text explain a complex concept so that all readers can grasp it. Accessible for young readers and engaging for older readers.

 Gravity Nonfiction Picture Books Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

No Monkeys, No Chocolate written by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young with illustrations by Nicole Wong 

What a rich engaging information story book. The reader is quickly wooed by a page of delicious desserts and treats with chocolate as a main ingredient . . . but where does chocolate come from? We travel to the rainforests of Central and South America and learn the very complicated series of natural events that make it possible to harvest the cocoa bean. Little bookworms on each page extend the learning and provide some humourous commentary,

no-monkeys-no-chocolate Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page 

Learn about the unique symbiotic relationships between specific creatures. Jenkins is, of course, nonfiction royalty and incredibly prolific often creating books with his wife Robin Page. I learned so much in this book – the children I have shared it with have been completely captured by it.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2009)

How can a book about searching for snow leopards be so amazingly interesting when the snow leopards are never actually seen? Montgomery and Bishop tell an incredible tale about these magical and elusive creatures and their champion, scientist Tom McCarthy who has devoted his life’s work to their conservation.

 Saving the Ghost of the Mountain Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange 

Poet and artist celebrate nature’s successes. Who has been around for a long time and continues to thrive? Introduced in order of their evolutionary arrival, read poems and facts about such creatures as the squirrel, ants, geckos and diatoms. Fascinating and a lyrical experience all at once. Blending of art, poetry and nonfiction.

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Bright Sky Starry City written by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro tells the story of little Phoebe who helps her father set up telescopes outside of his shop to observe a special event in the night sky. Saturn and Mars are going to appear together in the sky. She fills the sidewalk with chalk drawings of the solar system and her mind fills with wonders and worries.

A beautiful story of father and daughter, of a curious girl wondering about space and astronomy, of a glorious sky full of stars and constellations. A mix of fiction and nonfiction with more information in the back matter detailing a number of the concepts from the story.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

Such a story of adventure, misadventure, perseverance and survival. This book is full of so many details to share – learn about exploration, polar landscapes, geography, history – all the while, being captured by one of the most incredible survival stories of our times.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

What books would you include in your starter kit?

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection

Many thanks to Alyson Beecher, Melissa Stewart and Margie Culvers who answered my call when I asked for favourite titles on the theme of endangered and extinct animals. Their suggestions helped me collect more books to share with my students. We have been reading through many of these titles and it has led to lots of writing, talk and rich questions.

I thought I would share my list with all of you here and welcome suggestions for more titles if you have some to add. Please share in the comments section. I chose 20 titles that I have, will or could share with a Grade 3/4 class.

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Almost Gone by Steve Jenkins

Almost Gone Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Abayomi The Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma- The True Story of an Orphaned cub Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

can we Save the Tiger? Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ape written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

 Ape Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Looking for Miza by Juliana Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff and Paula Kahumbu

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

SkyDiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin

Skydiver- Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Tale of a Great White Fish: A Stugeon Story by Maggie De Vries illustrated by Renné Benoit 

Tale of a Great White Fish Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart illustrated by Higgins Bond 

Place for Butterflies Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke

sloth Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ice Bear (In the Steps of the Polar Bear) written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Gary Blythe

ice bear Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan

here come the humpbacks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Wandering Whale Sharks by Susumu Shingu

Wandering Whale Sharks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Galapágos George written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Galapagos George Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Jimmy the Joey by Deborah Lee Rose and Susan Kelly

Jimmy the Joey Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! Written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Annie Patterson

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange  *creatures that are NOT endangered but survivors POEMS

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fourteen favourites (Part 1)

As 2014 comes to a close, avid book lovers and book bloggers start amassing favourites. As I looked over the close to 150 nonfiction picture book titles I have read this year, I realized that there are many to highlight. So, I have decided to do two top fourteen lists (in honour of 2014). This one contains my favourite titles read in 2014 but with a publication date of 2013 or earlier. Next week I will share my favourite fourteen titles published in 2014.

Favourite Nonfiction of 2014

Shared alphabetically by author:

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Éric Puybaret (published 2008)

A gorgeous introduction to Cousteau and his passion for the underwater world. I shared my students’ responses to this title here.

manfish

Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate (published 2013)

Written in conversational, humorous style, this title encourages us to pay a little more attention to the natural world in general and to the beauty of birds in particular.

look up!

Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb (published 2011)

An inspiring story about Dorothy Thomas, an absolute book hero. True testament to how books change lives and connect community.

miss dorothy

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White (published in 2011)

This book introduces students to a huge variety of endangered and extinct animals. With some creatures, like the tiger, more details are provided about the animal including reasons for its vulnerable status.

can we Save the Tiger?

How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge (published 2013)

Lita Judge’s illustrations are so rich. They inform. They amuse. And they delight. Each dinosaur featured here is drawn next to something that children already know to allow them to imagine the exact size of the dinosaur.

dinosaurs

One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley (published 2009)

Spectacular photographs showcasing the daily routines that many of us share – all a little different in different places but yet, so much the same.

one-world

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2009)

How can a book about searching for snow leopards be so amazingly interesting when the snow leopards are never actually seen? Montgomery and Bishop tell an incredible tale about these magical and elusive creatures and their champion, scientist Tom McCarthy who has devoted his life’s work to their conservation.

snow-leopard

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen (published 2013)

Jasper is a bear that was rescued by Jill Robinson (the author) and her Animals Asia team and brought to a sanctuary in China. Jill describes Jasper as courageous and loving; a symbol of forgiveness and hope.

jaspersstory

Volcano Rising written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Susan Swan (published 2013)

One of the very best, if not the best nonfiction picture book I have read on volcanoes. Two layers of text (one section with more details for those who want to read more information) and incredible illustrations.

Volcano Rising 2

Songs of the Water Boatman written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange (published 2005)

Come to the pond and experience it like you have never imagined through vivid images, fascinating facts and gorgeous illustrations.

Songs of the Waterboatman

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange (published 2010)

Poet and artist celebrate nature’s successes. Who has been around for a long time and continues to thrive?

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors

Under the Snow written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Constance R Bergum (published 2009)

Informative and beautifully illustrated. Feel like you are peeking into winter hiding places of animals and creatures that seemed to disappear.

Under the Snow

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman (published 2013)

This title inspired some amazing discussion in my classroom. An important biography about determination, changing general opinion and beliefs and following a dream.

WomenDoctors_cvr_lorez

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth (published in 2013) Winner of the 2014 Sibert Meda

So often when we hear about animals on the brink of extinction, there is no happy ending story to share. Here, we have a story of hope and promise. Through much hard work the endangered parrots of Puerto Rico are once again flying through the treetops.

parrots

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 142/65 complete!

Next week I will share my top nonfiction titles for 2014. 14 of them 🙂

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

So . . . I am back to teaching again! Finally! If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might notice that I have announced this frequently but considering we had job action disruption since May and more than 5 weeks of full scale strike action, I am celebrating in every moment that I am back to doing what I love.

My energy is “leapy” – which I am not sure is a word exactly but I’m translating it as: a feeling of great excitement; can result in jumping up and bouncing about in happiness. Often and without warning.

Sitting to write a blog post will be a little challenging. I decided to use this opportunity to celebrate nonfiction titles to share some books I am thinking of reading aloud to my students in the next few months and why. . .

The Rat by Elise Gravel (published 2014)

Our first read aloud of the year was The Fly by Gravel and it was a huge hit. Students are completely intrigued with this series and I can’t wait to share more titles with them. One child offered this description:

“great because it’s a graphic novel and it fills your head with knowledge and funny facts!”

The Rat Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Salmon Creek written by Annette LeBox and illustrated by Karen Reczuch (published 2002)

We are off on our first field trip of the year on Monday, heading up to Grouse Mountain to explore. Salmon Creek will give us an opportunity to read about B.C. wildlife and forest habitats.

Salmon Creek Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White (published in 2011)

I want to study endangered and extinct animals as we learn more about habitats, animal interactions and adaptations. This is one of the best nonfiction titles to introduce some of these concepts.

Can we Save the Tiger? Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth (published in 2013) Winner of the 2014 Sibert Medal

The perfect story about how human actions can begin to help rather than only interfere with an endangered species.

 Parrots over Puerto Rico Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry (published 2013)

I love sharing picture book biographies and this is a title I didn’t get to read aloud last year. I also have some incredible art projects in mind that I think this book will inspire.

 The Tree Lady Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen (published 2013)

Another title that illustrates how a species can become endangered because of human treatment and behaviour. I found this book this summer and knew it would be a book I had to share with my class.

 Jasper's Story Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen (published 2014)

I have a very interesting project in mind that this book will be a part of. There are a few other titles that will also be part of the inspiration. I don’t want to spoil anything but stay tuned . . .

Feathers Not Just for Flying Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins (published April 2014)

Every year I share bits of a Steve Jenkins book over the course of weeks or even months. A page or so a day. This is the Jenkins title I plan to begin with.

 Eye to Eye Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 107/65 complete!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four “finally found” titles

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014This week I want to share four titles that have nothing in common beyond their nonfiction status except that all four of them are books I have been dying to read and have, finally, FOUND!

If you haven’t discovered these titles yet, I pass on high recommendations! These are must reads.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth (published in 2013) Winner of the 2014 Sibert Medal

My local bookstore seemed to always be out of copies of this beautiful title but I finally found it at my local public library. Now I see not only why this was an award winning title, but also why so many raved about how amazing it is! Susan L. Roth‘s collage images are stunning and I love the alternate orientation of the book – it is shared vertically rather than horizontally. But, it is, of course, the story that is so important. So often when we hear about animals on the brink of extinction, there is no happy ending story to share. Here, we have a story of hope and promise. Through much hard work the endangered parrots of Puerto Rico are once again flying through the treetops. Both captive bred parrots and wild flocks are being supported by the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program.

This book has many extras in the final pages to support further learning:

  • an extensive Afterward with full colour photographs of the different birds discussed in this book and more information about the recovery program.
  • a timeline of important dates
  • a list of the author’s sources

 Parrots over Puerto Rico  NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson (published in 2013)

This cover has been staring at me from various book lists and blogs and finally, just recently, my requested copy arrived from the library! I immediately included it on this list of Swoon Worthy Nonfiction titles because the illustrations beautifully narrate a story all their own. Brief and lyrical text tells the story of Mandela’s life and his determination to see his people live in a free South Africa where apartheid was abolished. Kadir Nelson‘s back pages flush out details of the story he shared. A book guaranteed to get students talking about Mandela, his inspiration and his leadership.

Nelson Mandela NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers by Dianna Hutts Aston with collages by Susan L. Roth (published in 2011)

This book recently came onto my radar. This was a title by Dianna Aston that I didn’t know and art by Susan L. Roth? I had to find it. Luckily our public library had a copy for me to request! I knew nothing of this story of Simon Rodia (called Uncle Sam) and his big dream that resulted in the spectacular Watts Towers (up to 100 feet high in parts) in Los Angeles. Absolutely stunning folk art that you can’t imagine until you see it. More information can be found on this website. It’s worth taking a peek to see what the towers actually look like.

The end pages include close up photographs of tower sections. There is also an author’s note that gives more details about Simon Rodia and his work. Building these towers took thirty-four years and was done completely alone without even a ladder or any drawings/plans. There is also a step by step guide to creating your own Watts Towers for children to try.

Dream Something Big NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White (published in 2011)

Ape by this author/illustrator team is one of my all time favourite nonfiction read alouds. Next year, I am looping my Grade 2/3/4 class into a Grade 3/4 class and will have many of the same students. Students expressed a lot of curiosity and interest about endangered animals and threats to animal populations which is related to the habitat and communities strand of the Grade 4 Science curriculum.

This book by Jenkins and White introduces students to a huge variety of endangered and extinct animals. With some creatures, like the tiger, more details are provided about the animal including reasons for its vulnerable status. Definite themes come through about why certain populations are threatened: lack of space, destruction of habitat, invasive non-native predators, climate change and exposure to medicine administered to another species. Again, there is hope. Stories are shared of animals that were close to extinction and now have healthy populations – like the American bison. There is an index in the back and a list of online resources to find out more about what animals are endangered and what organizations exist that are trying to protect them.

This is a title I will be purchasing for our class collection.

Can we Save the Tiger? NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 87/65 complete! If I were counting (and I am), I would announce that that is 22 books over my goal and it’s still July!

This week, I have had some wonderful conversations via twitter with Alyson Beecher who blogs at Kid Lit Frenzy and author Melissa Stewart about sharing nonfiction with our students. This inspired me to write a series of posts sharing my passion for nonfiction books. The first two of three posts are complete and linked here if you haven’t had a chance to check them out. I would love any feedback from this #nfpb2014 community who shares such #NFbooklove!

Teaching with a passion for nonfiction picture books:

Part 1: Everywhere you look . . . let there be nonfiction!

Part 2: The importance of the nonfiction read aloud

Coming soon: Part 3: Interacting with nonfiction: getting students reading, thinking and talking together

 

Monday June 9th, 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.

Because last week I hadn’t finished any novels, I am starting with the fact that I managed to finish both titles I had on the go.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Illustrations by Jim Kay

Yes, I now see why people rave and rave about this book. Beautifully tragic. Grief. Anger. Pain. Necessary steps on a journey towards healing and acceptance. Unforgettable. And whoa, can we say Jim Kay? These drawings are spellbinding.

IMWAYR There's a Book for That June 9th 2014

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher 

I really liked Stolen by this author. This title just didn’t pull me in in the same kind of way. It was okay but . .  not great. An easy book to put down and some parts of the story just irritated me. Like the terrible grammar Damon used – but not consistently. I was expecting more . . .

IMWAYR There's a Book for That June 9th 2014

Picture books I enjoyed:

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

Wow. Wow. Wow. These illustrations are simply incredible! I read the story once and then just picture walked my way through it multiple times again. Gorgeous. Also important messages about inner peace and resolve. Big shoes to fill when Gandhi is your grandfather. But bigger lessons to learn. My only complaint – I wish more of Gandhi’s story was shared in the back of the book. Midway through reading this title to my own children, we stopped so I could give them more background info via the internet. I would need to develop background knowledge with my students for them to fully get everything from this story.

IMWAYR There's a Book for That June 9th 2014

Hansel and Gretel by Rachel Isadora

No surprises with the story line here – it’s the usual Hansel and Gretel story. But, the illustrations – wow! Set in the forest of Africa, this version is bright, colourful and features native animals and foliage. Gorgeous.

IMWAYR There's a Book for That June 9th 2014

The Fort that Jack Built written by Boni Ashburn and illustrated by Brett Helquist

Jack has built a fantastic fort. Piece by piece, his family reclaims portions of it and it slowly disappears. Rhyming. Repetition. Delightful for buddy choral reading.

IMWAYR There's a Book for That June 9th 2014

A featured read aloud:

 Ape written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

After finishing The One and Only Ivan, I knew I had to share this title with my students

Ape is a visually stunning book! A book to pore over again and again marvelling at the details – both visual and written. Vicky White’s close up portraits and lifelike illustrations fascinated us while Martin Jenkins’ text provided so much new information it was difficult to turn a page without endless questions and observations. We used this title to prompt “turn and talk” sessions and to do some summary writing responses.

The students had some great questions like:

  • How many hours in a day do baby bonobos stay attached to their mothers in a hug?
  • Just how viscous can chimp fights be?
  • How long does it take gorillas to build their nest each night?
  • Doesn’t the smell of durian fruit start to make orangutans ill?
  • Would any of these apes get along with other apes (like bonobos and gorillas?)
  • Which ape is most like us?

Ape IMWAYR There's a Book for That June 9th 2014

Up next?I have just started The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 42/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 281/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 69/65 complete