Monday March 4th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Kellee and Jen’s meme to share what you are reading from picture books to young adult reads. Their blog is the perfect one stop shop to follow all of the links to book lovers’ and blogger’s weekly reads!

My favourite picture books of the week:

 Odd Velvet It's Monday!

Odd Velvet written by Mary Burg Whitcomb and illustrated by Tara Calahan King I shared this book with my reading group for Pink Day (Anti Bullying day).

We had some great conversations about diversity and celebrating what is unique about all of us. 

Student writing shows how powerful this little book can be when shared with a group of children.

 Odd Velvet It's Monday! What are you Reading?

Donovan’s Big Day written by Leslea Newman and illustrated by Mike Dutton This book was shared with me by the librarian at my children’s school. Her blog is a fantastic place for book lovers. Donovan is getting all ready for his very big day. He will be the ring bearer at a very important wedding. This book celebrates love, family and marriage and the right we all have to have all of those things.

donovan

Willow Finds a Way written by Lana Button illustrated by Tania Howells A really important read for primary students – one that explores how we treat each other, standing up for what we know is right, honouring our feelings . . . Children can so often be bossy and controlling and it is often difficult for other children to stand up and be assertive. This book explores how this might look beautifully.

Willow

Instructions written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess Oh how I adore this poem by Gaiman. Steeped in metaphors, wise words and subtle lessons and woven through a fairytale setting . . . Wonderful. A very adult children’s book.

instructions

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle My, my, my, my . . . do I need to own this book. All about making a friend. Being graceful and wonderfully clumsy. Being perfectly not perfect. And . . . if I can say it . . . finally a pink book that is perfectly pink and not really about pink at all – there just happens to be a pink flamingo 🙂

Flora-and-the-Flamingo

Some Dog written by Mary Casanova and illustrated by Ard Hoyt My class recently shared Some Cat by the same author/illustrator team. We adored the big personalities in the animals and this book (that was actually published first) delivers the same wonderful pets that manage to charm you through the pages. Fantastic book to talk about welcoming a new animal into the home.

some dog

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic by Monica Carnesi Love the illustrations and simple text that tell this story making it accessible even for independent reading for young readers. What a story!

little-dog-lost

Rabbit’s Snow Dance written by James and Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Jeff Newman I first heard about this book from Linda at Teacher Dance. It is a wonderful pourquoi tale that reveals why rabbits have their little cotton ball tails.  Delightful.

rabbit's snow dance

In novels . . . finishing reports and preparing for a big presentation on Wednesday has definitely cut into my reading this week. Hoping to have more time over this next week (as in any minute please – my bookstacks are calling . . . ) to read.

Finished Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver I enjoyed this just as much as Delerium even though I was initially devastated that Alex would not escape with Lena into the Wilds. I enjoyed the “Now” and “Then” format of the novel and found I couldn’t put this book down. And wow, does Oliver set us all up to be eagerly anticipating the final book in the triology. Even though I knew what was coming with the ending  . . . I’m hooked.

Pandemonium

I am happily devouring Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Loving this novel so far. Next up is Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool and Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. 

What are you reading this week?

Monday January 14th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Kellee and Jen’s meme to share all the reading you have done over the week – everything from picture books to young adult novels! Connecting with the #IMWAYR community is such a great way to hear about fantastic books “new to you.”

I read a lot of picture books this week. Here are my favourites:

Pecan Pie Baby by Jaqueline Woodson and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. A perceptive little story about a young girl who is anxious about a new baby coming and changing the connected relationship between her and her Mama. Love Sophie Blackall’s illustrations – all the tender snuggles between pregnant Mom and daughter.

pecan pie baby

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman I’ve read other Ladybug girl stories but not this original book and I like it best of all. Lovely illustrations and the highlights of outdoor pretend play.

Ladybug-Girl

Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood The best part of this story is the celebration of play through some very imaginative building with boxes. (Fantastic illustrations by Blackwood) Of course, it’s also a great book to touch on anxiety about moving somewhere new.

clancy and millie and the very fine house

C.R. Mudgeon by Leslie Muir and Julian Hector There is much to this little book. A tribute to friendship, a reminder to break out of your comfort zone and be ready for new things and the celebration of individuals who really truly grab on to the world and shake all there is to find within it out! Go read it . . . so worth it!

C.R. Mudgeon

Some Cat! This was a wonderful read aloud in my room. I shared my students’ reactions here.

some cat

Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein The pay it forward story line isn’t unique for a picture book but none of us can hear this message too often: kindness passed on grows and strengthens. Loved the illustrations. Beautifully colourful and whimsical. I read this to my class and it sparked a lovely brainstorming session on how we can create more kindness in our classroom.

because_amelia_smiled

Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Robertson A boy wants a dog. A dog wants a friend. Really, they need each other. If you just look at it in the right way . . . Touching story of the need for a companion and how far some might go to find that connection. Chapter format in a picture book.

wanted the perfect pet

Bullly by Patricia Polacco Handles middle school issues of cyber bullying, friendship and loyalty very well.

Bully-cover-web

I also read some fantastic nonfiction. Read this post for more details.

In novels . . . 

DivinersI finished The Diviners by Libba Bray. This was one of my must read in 2013 titles as I’m trying to read more fantasy novels.

Wow . . .this was some book! Dramatic. (I loved the 1920s setting and characters.) Funny. At times, absolutely scary. Eerie and shivery kind of scary. Horror. Paranormal activity. Special powers. It was the kind of read where it is necessary to say to yourself, “just a book, just a book . . . ” Some nights I would turn off my light and then haunted by worries about a specific character, turn the light back on and read on.

This is a long read (578 pages) but highly addictive. The ending definitely leaves many things unanswered (hooking readers for the next in the series . . .)

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

I also read How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.

I read this book quickly finding myself very attached to what might happen to all of the characters. The story is about two teenage girls (Jill and Mandy) who find their lives completely colliding when Jill’s Mom decides to adopt Mandy’s baby in an open adoption. Pregnant Mandy comes to live with Jill and her Mom and brings with her sadness, secrets and longing for a different life. Jill is still reeling from the recent death of her father and finds it difficult to be open to anyone. Somehow though these characters find a way to make sense to each other and the ending is . . . (I don’t want to spoil it but must say, it really touched me)

Currently, I’m reading The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver to my children and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (think this is the fourth time I’ve read this book!) with my student book club at school. We are really enjoying The Spindlers – it’s full of delightful and unique characters from “below” My son is finding the idea of spindlers a little spooky but every time I stop reading, he begs me to continue!

I am also reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver (the author that seems to be everywhere I look this week!)

Some Cat!

This week our BLG book was Some Cat! by Mary Casonova and illustrated by Ard Hoyt. Read (with some great cat sounds!) by Bill 🙂

some cat

We first encounter Violet at the shelter. She is sad and alone but still full of spunk and she lets anyone who comes too close know who is boss with a “Meowwww! Hissss! Spat!” Despite her growling and yowling, a couple decide to give her a home and bring her home to the house they share with . . . dogs! Again, Violet returns to her “cat against the world,” style to stay safe and in charge. The dogs in the house remain clear until they need to come to her rescue. In the end, Violet tucks in her claws and snuggles into her new home. Fantastically expressive language and illustrations made this a big hit!

Student reviewers respond:

Ava: My favourite part was that it reminded me of my cat at home.

Kassidy: My favourite part was when the cat sleep for a long time. I was listening and I thought she was running away from the dog. They adopted the kitten because they like the cat.

Kala: I liked the sound effects. I liked when Violet howled. I wish I was a cat!

Heman: It was funny when Violet jumped through the bird house. Violet was happy at the end. Violet reminds me of my friend’s dog. Violet used to be a stray cat then she was adopted by a family.

Kevin: My favourite part was when Violet was happy and she reminds me of my cat. The cat was in the cage and the boy got a dog. The cat said hiss scratch and spat. The boy said to stay away from that cat!

Vicky: My favourite part was when Violet hiss spat scratch. I noticed Violet was nice again. Why did Violet hiss at the dog?

Andrew: My favourite part was when all of them went fishing. I think Violet was a stray cat.

Arianne: My favourite part was when Violet was happy at the end of the story. I also liked when Violet was scared of the dogs.

Gracie: I liked at the end when the dogs and Violet sleeped all together. It was cute. And I liked when three other mean dogs came but the good dogs stood up for Violet. Violet is really cute. But why did the woman and man adopt her if no one liked her?

Ashely: It was funny. I liked the end. I like the cat Violet. The cat is nice to the mouse. Those dogs are BIG!