Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Picture Books about Love

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

This week’s theme? All about Romance – I am going to take liberties with this theme and stretch it and shape it to be all about love. Love as in romantic love or connection love. Deep friendship. True devotion. Care, concern, warmth.

10-picture-books-about-love

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage written by Selina Alko and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

A nonfiction title about Richard and Mildred Loving whose marriage and love were questioned because of their race. A story of determination, persistence and the power of love and family.

The Case for Loving- The Fight for Interracial Marriage

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato

Love, love, love, love! Love because it’s love, not because it is celebrated in any particular way.

WormLoves Worm

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

This book celebrates love in the happiest and most joyful of ways. But it doesn’t scrimp on the realities of love: loss, pain, frustration, forgiveness, sacrifice. Love is all of it and this book delivers. It takes you on a journey sailing through a myriad of emotions and delivers you on the other side, changed. Better. Brighter. Exhausted.

I often tell people that yes, I have a picture book favourite even though I LOVE many books. This is it. This one here. How I adore this book!

pete-and-pickles

The Day I Became a Bird by Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi

I am utterly enamoured by the illustrations in this book about a boy willing to be a bird to attract the attention of the girl he swoons over.

the-day-i-became-a-bird

Hunwick’s Egg written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts

Hunwick’s egg never hatched although it provided him with companionship, faith and an important secret. Yes, he realized his egg was not an egg at all but a perfectly shaped stone and he loved it all the more.

Hunwick's Egg

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

Pancakes. Jacques Cousteau. Jazz tunes. The joy and the solitude of New York city. Finding someone who gets you and shares your quirky tastes. It all comes together in this delightful story.

herman-and-rosie-900x1024

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

A sweet tender story of loving and letting go.

Ida, Always

Pierre in Love written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Petra Mathers. 

A beautiful picture book about being in love and being brave enough to admit it.

pierre in love

Bear in Love written by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

Finally bear and bunny meet, convinced they have each found the perfect friend. For bear it is a cute little bear and bunny thinks he was found a lovely big strong bunny. Confusion aside, the two friends sit together and chat and sing as the sun goes down. A feel good book that made us all smile!

bear in love

City Dog Country Frog written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Jon J Muth

Willems’ simple text, pictures and words tell the tender story of  friendship, the passage of time, young curiosity and calm wisdom.

City-dog

Which book would you add to the list?

Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

It is November and that means it is Picture Book Month!

Time to read and celebrate all things picture book. For me, it’s the perfect excuse to generate lists!

This week’s list? Picture books that capture the essence of childhood. With actual children in them! When I started looking at some of my favourite picture books, I realized that many of them were actually not about children. Many feature animals (bears are strangely (or not) represented) or a lot of adults. Some are about children but feature animal characters. These can be fantastic and very easy for children to connect to (I’m thinking everything Kevin Henkes does). The ones with “real children” characters can sometimes have heavy themes or be a little too forced. They don’t all ring true. We can’t pluck a character off the page and believe that child could quickly leap into a playground full of children and completely blend in. Or beautifully stand out . . .

Move into chapter books and boom, there are the kids! Marty Macguire. Clementine. Billy Miller. Flora Belle Buckman. William Spiver. Dory Fantasmagory. Piper Green. Nate Foster. Popeye and Elvis. There are no shortage of children behaving like children.

Finding them in picture books? Not as easy. Hence, my list.

These 20 titles are all about kids and all that they are. Childhood and all of the quirky, all of the lovely, all of the human, all of the unique. Sometimes the messy and challenging. Sometimes the sweet and lovely. All of it absolutely honoured and celebrated. These 20 books all hold a special place in my heart.

I would love to know which books you would add to this list and why. Please share in the comments.

Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

On the list because? Children have some interesting, not always sensible, problem solving strategies.

 Stuck Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

The Frank Show by David Mackintosh

On the list because? Kids worry about not being the coolest, the best, the greatest. Even in the Grandparent department.

The Frank Show Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine, written by Allison Wortche and illustrated by Patrice Barton

On the list because? Primary students need to navigate a lot in a day – sometimes doing the most simple of things like growing seeds: envy, friendship, forgiveness, competition

 Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile

On the list because? Little ones have a hard time doing just nothing or even turning off their racing imaginations. Those busy brains are pure delight!

Let's Do nothing Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

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

On the list because? Children notice what we should. Especially the very beautiful and amazing things in the world.

The Man with the Violin Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies

On the list because? When given the chance to do the right thing, children usually will. Eventually.

Ben Rides on Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World

On the list because? Children love to embrace the wild and amazing energy of their heroes.

 Nino Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

On the list because? Being brave sometimes requires a little wisdom from someone who has been around for a while. Or a little magic.

Nana in the City Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas

On the list because? Childhood is about navigating the road between making memories and learning from the memories others share

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Blizzard by John Rocco

On the list because? Snow day after snow day after snow day and the chance to be a hero. Childhood magic!

Blizzard Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford

On the list because? Learning about forgiveness is one of childhood’s most powerful lessons. Often as adults, we still don’t have it figured out.

 Desmond Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Float by Daniel Miyares

On the list because? Children approach rain in the best of ways. All in. Rubber boots, puddle jumping, sailing of boats!

Float Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ask Me written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee

On the list because? Little ones have lots and lots of stories to tell. If you don’t ask, they will remind you to.

Ask Me Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

On the list because? Thee is something particularly magical about childhood faith and hope.

Sparky! Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

I’m Bored  written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

On the list because? “I’m Bored!” is a childhood theme song! But “Kids are boring.” Those are fighting words!

I'm Bored Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

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

On the list because? All children need to have a little piece of Sadie inside of them and have space to let it shine!

This is SadieTwenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild! written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Marla Frazee

On the list because? When you are little, it seems to be all too easy to make parents a little crazy.  Just like that. Pesky is too easy. But forgiving and hugs are part of it all too.

Harriet You'll Drive Me Wild Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. by John Burningham

On the list because? Everyday holds huge imaginative possibilities. Even if others don’t quite embrace our wild stories, we persist in telling them. And maybe they are true . . .

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning

On the list because? Sometimes when we discover new found ferocity, it takes a little while to tame. Inner strength and big doses of kindness, we need them both.

Millie Fierce Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward  and illustrated by Julie Morstad

On the list because? A lone walk through the woods is a journey of many small moments of bravery. Singing to combat the fear? A perfect strategy.

Singing Away the Dark Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

How I love sharing picture book lists during this month of picture book love!

Happy Picture Book Reading!

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Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Our children, our rights, our world

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014

There are many reasons that I have human rights and the rights of children on my mind right now. I recently read a number of books to my class including Who Says Women Can’t be Doctors and Donovan’s Big Day which led to discussions about everyone’s rights regardless of their gender or who they love, etc. We are also in the middle of an intense labour dispute between B.C teachers and the government. Rights are on my mind. The rights of children to an equitable, accessible excellent public education system are front and center. So I have been thinking books – and – here is where my thinking has led me . . .

We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures (with Amnesty International). (published 2008)

This book was published in association with Amnesty International to honour the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights. Each of the specific articles is illustrated by an international artist – most of them children’s book illustrators. Some of my favourite illustrators are featured including Peter Sis (who did the cover), Marie-Louise Gay, Polly Dunbar and John Burningham. 

I have used this book in the past to just talk about one specific article and illustration at a time to begin a discussion or introduce another book on the subject (like children’s rights to an education or not to work).

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Our children, our rights, our world There's a Book for That

I Have the Right to be a Child written by Alain Serres, illustrated by Aurelia Fronty (published 2012)

The afterward of this book explains that the rights outlined in the book were adapted from the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted in 1989 by the U.N. General Assembly.  Gorgeous illustrations and child friendly language make this a title that can be read and shared in one sitting. I love the page about education:

I have the right to go to school without having to pay, so that I can learn how birds or planes or poppy seeds fly.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Our children, our rights, our world There's a Book for That

Whoever You Are written by Mem Fox illustrated by Leslie Staub (published 1997)

Soothing and celebratory, this is one of my favourite titles to introduce diversity and sharing the most important thing about ourselves with everyone – our humanity.

I have used this title when talking about peace, about diversity, about community or just because. It reminds us with gentle, lyrical text that we are all the same in many ways no matter how we look or where we are from.

Joys are the same, and love is the same.

Pain is the same, and blood is the same.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Our children, our rights, our world There's a Book for That

A School Like Mine: A Unique Celebration of Schools Around the World (In Association with Unicef) (published 2007)

A book full of photographs and information about children going to school all over the world. Students love reading about classrooms and families and how they are different and similar from their own.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Our children, our rights, our world There's a Book for That

Every Human has Rights – A Photographic Declaration for Kids A National Geographic book with a forward by Mary Robinson. (published 2008)

What I particularly love about this title is the poetry that accompanies the list of rights. All written by children and teens. The photographs from around the world make the rights so much more powerful, real and worth defending. I would share this book with intermediate students over primary children because of the more mature message in the poems and some of the photos.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Our children, our rights, our world 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 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 73/65 complete!

 

Celebration: All is better with a little gold dust

celebrate link up

Celebration honoured. This is the loveliest of reasons to share. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week.

I had a fantastic week back with my students. I think all of us were thrilled to be together again after a two week break, learning and sharing. I have many things to celebrate this week!

1. I loved all of the #MustReadin2014 spring updates shared by a wonderfully keen reading community. The Must Read phenomenon was born out of an attempt to gain some control over unruly TBR lists that grow and grow! Check out my update and links to update posts here. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo is one of my favourite books read so far from this list. Maybe even more special because I read it aloud to my children and we all loved it.

 Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

2. I was thrilled to have a Nerdy Book Club post published this week. I saw a request from Colby Sharp for some retro review posts to be shared on twitter a few weeks ago. I have written some other Nerdy posts but never one in this category. I asked Colby if I could share something a little different instead of a review of one specific title. I wanted to go “retro” and look back at titles treasured with my children (now 11!) when they were preschool age. It was a nostalgic look back at books we adored. Read the post here.

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge  Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

3. I read the powerful picture book Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson illustrated by E.B.Lewis to my class this week.The reactions and comments were quite incredible. I think I might share some of their thinking and writing on our classroom blog. But the most interesting moment came with the ending. If you have read this book, you know that it ends with Chloe standing at the shore of the pond feeling a mix of regret, sadness and guilt. Her opportunity to offer kindness to Maya is gone. The story ends with these words:

“I watched the water ripple as the sun set through the maples and the chance of a kindness with Maya was becoming more and more forever gone.”

At first there was silence in the room and then one girl erupted, “What?! That’s terrible! It’s a terrible ending!” It’s not terrible. It’s just not happy so it’s confusing a bit,” someone else added. Another child piped up,”It makes you think about drama and saying sorry. It makes us think. It’s good.” As we were getting ready to move on to Reading Workshop, another child said, “I liked it. I have been waiting for a bad ending in a book. Not bad like not good but every ending shouldn’t be happy – that’s not how life is.” This little girl asked me to help her find a new novel and we kept talking about the story. I asked her if she wanted to put her thoughts into a reader’s statement (we have a huge wall of these posted on a bulletin board). She came up with something that I think is quite brilliant:

Readers can’t always expect a happy ending.

That books inspire discussions and thinking like this – this, I celebrate!

 Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

4. Ah . . . book love! My students were happy to be back to our classroom full of books. I sensed it on Monday morning when an instant hush fell upon the room when we started Reader’s Workshop. I did “book commercials” for new books all week and this generated lots of excitement.

I felt the book love when I saw “who reads it next” lists being created and stuck to new books.

 Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

I felt it as I observed the wonderful engagement of one to one time with various adults who listen to children read and talk about stories and thinking with the students.

 Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

I sensed it when listening to the the buzz around the book bins during buddy reading time with the K/1 class.

 Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

Ah .  . . book love!

5. If you have hung in reading this very long Celebration post (it was a wonderful week!), here is the pot of gold 🙂 One of our students makes a lot of paper objects and sculptures all throughout the day. It helps him to focus and listen. We started thinking . . . Wouldn’t it be great to showcase some of his work? Wouldn’t it be better if it was spray painted gold? Absolutely! Here is the young artist at work, gold paint in action!

 Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

And here is the installation. Thank you to the amazing Miriam (the Support Worker who I get to work with every day!) for her huge role in displaying and advertising the “piece.” There are flyers pasted up all over the school! When this boy’s Mom came in to see this art and got hugely proud and teary, we all got teary. It was a moment.

 Celebration: All is Better with a Little Gold Dust

I celebrate all the many ways this is golden . . .

What are you celebrating this week?

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Healthy Kids all over the world

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

Some of the most powerful books to share with kids are books featuring photographs of children doing everyday things around the world. There is a natural fascination to compare. What is different? What is the same? How are things done somewhere else? What does it look like? As children explore these photographs and accompanying text, the huge world seems a little bit smaller and we are happy we share it in such similar and diverse ways.

This week I came across Healthy Kids (A Global Fund for Children book) by Maya Ajmera, Victoria Dunning and Cynthia Pon (published in 2013). This book begins with a forward by Melinda French Gates reminding readers that all children have the right to be healthy .

Healthy Kids Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday There's a Book for That

The photographs in this book are lovely. Each full page spread features multiple photographs (each labelled by country) of children engaged in the activity described by the text. The book focuses on clean water, a healthy diet, medical and dental care and adequate exercise. A home that is clean and safe, immunizations and a hygenic place to go to the bathroom are explained as being an essential part of a healthy life.

Healthy Kids Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday There's a Book for That

Travel around the world and witness a young girl pumping water in India, a group of children brushing their teeth together in Tonga and children whizzing down a hill on toboggans in Greenland. Bike riding in Botswana is great exercise. In Nigeria, children sleep under mosquito nets. Children wash their hands at an outdoor sink in Guatelmala.

The last few pages of the book provide more information on each of the topics covered and also stresses that while healthy kids live all over the world, not all communities and countries have everything they need to ensure the health of their children and citizens. Some suggestions of ways to advocate for better health for children world wide are suggested.

Pair this title with other books – both fiction and nonfiction that celebrate children, their bodies, their feelings, their families, their happiness and their health. Here are just a few of my favourites:

The Best Part of Me: Children talk about their bodies in pictures and words by Wendy Ewald

A beautiful celebration of children’s thoughts and feelings about themselves shared in their writing about a part of their body. Photographs accompany each piece of writing. A beautiful line (there are many to choose from)

I like my hands because they turn the pages of a book slowly and magically. Reading makes me happy.

The Best Part of Me Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday There's a Book for That

Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly

In this book, people are not described by their skin colour but rather the shade they come in – creamy, coffee, copper, almond, rose, bronze, brown . . . My favourite lines:

Our skin is our covering, just like wrapping paper. And, you can’t tell what someone is like from the colour of their skin.

Shades of People Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday There's a Book for That

The Handiest Things in the World by Andrew Clements Photographs by Raquel Jarmillo 

While I like the photographs more than the text in this title, it is another beautiful book full of photographs of children doing everyday things. A celebration of all the things we use to make life easier even though our hands have many things all figured out!

The Handiest Things in the World Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday There's a Book for That

You and Me Together: Moms, Dads and Kids Around the World by Barbara Kerley

A wonderful collection of photos from all over the world of parents interacting with their children – doing the most natural of things – making a mess, telling a tale, taking a nap or catching a bus. Fun to guess where in the world the photograph might have been taken.

You and me together Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday There's a Book for That

Whoever You Are written by Mem Fox illustrated by Leslie Staub 

Soothing and celebratory, this is one of my favourite titles to introduce diversity and sharing the most important thing about ourselves with everyone – our humanity.

Their lives may be different from yours,

and their words may be very different from yours.

But inside, their hearts are just like yours,

whoever they are, wherever they are,

all over the world.

Whoever-you-are Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday There's a Book for That

My original goal was 60 nonfiction picture books for 2013. Progress: 37/60 complete

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2013!

NFPB2013leavesPlease share your favourite titles on this theme!

Monday December 10th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

trip inside

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme on Teach Mentor Texts to share your weekly reads from picture books to young adult novels. Especially with the holidays approaching, reading all of these blogs and book lists will help to build your lists of fantastic must read titles!

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I did a LOT of reading this week and had a hard time narrowing it down to which books I would share. So many fantastic titles – some brand new and others that have been around for some time. Finally, I picked my ten favourite picture book titles of the week and here they are . . .

Picture books I loved:

hello! hello! by Matthew Cordell A fantastic little book that highlights the wonder of nature and all that it has to offer if we can drag ourselves away from our devices . . . I think this is an ideal companion book to Blackout by John Rocco – another title that reminds us to be in the moment with our families. I loved that book as well and wrote a Picture Book Love post about it here.

hello! hello!

I saw A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva on a best of 2012 list somewhere. Having a kind of thing for Antartica, I was intrigued. I ordered it on a whim thinking my class would enjoy it as we are learning about continents and they are fascinated by the thought of exploring that frozen land down at the bottom of the globe. This is a Toon Book and so comes in a lovely tiny size. Great colours, graphics and relevant images (my favourite is the spread of four types of penguins). Perfect for younger readers to read independently and for more accomplished readers just to savour.

Trip to the Bottom of the World

I realized I hadn’t explored Frank Viva’s other title Along a Long Road and picked it up at my public library. Again, wow! I love the colours with large amounts of solid black on a page. I kind of wish I was at school and could grab one of our little K buddies to share this with. I would love to watch a young child follow this tempting yellow road as it winds through the pages. Only problem with this book? Now I want to own it too.

Along-a-long-road-cover

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning This book explores finding an inner strength in a very honest way. It is not a simple thing to go from quiet to confident and the transformation is not always smooth. I have had students who when they finally shed their shy personas need some guidance about being polite and not hurtful with their words. Sometimes the words come before the social filters kick in. I thought of those children as I read this book about Millie. Millie doesn’t want to be ignored, she is tired of being “barely there” and unnoticed. So she becomes fierce. As she tries on this new found ferocity, she certainly gets noticed. But nobody wants to be with a Millie that puts getting noticed above being considerate or properly behaved. She even realizes that being fierce can be cruel. Finally Millie understands that she can be noticed for her kindness and consideration. This kind of attention is what feels right to her. I think this book could be quite powerful shared with a class and I look forward to the discussions that it might prompt.

Millie Fierce

A Balloon for Isabel written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Laura Rankin I have seen this on many Monday reads posts in the last few weeks and so was delighted when I found it in my school library. How can little Isabel the porcupine get a balloon for graduation? Obviously giving a balloon to a prickly porcupine is just asking for trouble. And so the rule at her school is no balloons for porcupines. But Isabel demonstrates some extremely creative problem solving and we all celebrate her perseverance and optimistic spirit. A sweet little book.

Isabel

Z is for Moose written by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky I have seen this book on so many latest and greatest lists and have just not sat down and read it. This week I did and also shared it with my class. Sometimes a book’s gift is just that it can’t help but make you laugh. This is one of those books. I now see the reason for all of the hype. A book to share with children (and adults) of all ages when you need a smile and a tiny dose of kind.

z-is-for-moose

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold Wow! What an amazing title to help explore fear and courage. A black dog is spotted outside the window of the Hope family residence. As it is described and worried about, it “becomes” larger than life – the size of a tiger. . . no, an elephant . . . maybe a T-rex? These illustrations are beautifully odd. But in the best of ways. From the full page spreads with the huge menacing dog to the little sepia coloured boxes surrounding the text that reveal close ups and clues from the story. I am nowhere near finished exploring these images and I have read this book countless times. But back to the storyline . . . Small (the littlest Hope) finally braves the outdoors to confront this creature. What ensues is absolutely delightful – a visual treat to tickle our imaginations. Small becomes large and large, small. Fear and courage intermix into teasing and challenge and joy. This is a book to gift to adults who may have forgotten the magic of the picture book. The wonder of this book seems impossible to resist.

black dog

Atlantic written by G. Brian Karas I found this book at my children’s school library while I was waiting for my daughter to finish her library monitor shift. Lyrical text, and narrated by the ocean itself, it gives the reader an interesting perspective on the ocean’s vastness. A book to use in a lesson about oceans. Not sure if children would pick up everything independently but as a read aloud with discussion, this is a wonderful way to add wonder to a geography lesson.

atlantic-by-g-brian-karas

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead What a wonderful story about friendship, persistance and devotion. Vernon, the toad never gives up trying to find his new strange friend, Bird, a home. Yet, all along the way, there is no guidance or help from Bird himself. When he finally discovers where Bird belongs it is . . . just as it should be :-)This would be great to share along with Mem Fox‘s Hunwick’s Egg (one of my favourites that I rave about in this post) – another story of faith and commitment to a silent friend.

home for bird

Bear has a Story to Tell written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead. Text and illustrations that match perfectly to create a quiet and calm book about the change of seasons and a small group of friends. There is so much space in this book to question and reflect. It begs to have its pages turned slowly and to just revel in each scene. On some pages it was the phrasing, others the muted colours of a forest sky that asked to be enjoyed before moving on.  It isn’t possible to move quickly through this book just as we have no power over the pace the seasons come at us. Beautiful.

Bear has a story to tell

An exciting accomplishment this week – I met my personal reading goal of 75 new to me novels (not including adult reads which I do occasionally fit in) for 2012. My list, with covers and ratings, is here. Last week I met my Goodreads goal of 500 books so I am on a bit of a roll!

Novel #75 was Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor

An emotional read. I always love books with friendships that span generations and this books delivers relationships in a big way. Raine and her mother, her grandfather, the new people she meets at Sparrow Road, someone she was meant to meet . . . Love and sorrow and art and long summer days all tangle up into a story that had me in tears through the last few chapters. But peaceful tears.

SparrowRoad_PBlarge

My next read? Ask the Passengers by A. S. King.  And of course a towering pile of picture books that I plan to dive into!

Monday November 12th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Join Kellee and Jen’s meme to share all of your reading from picture books to young adult selections! It is always a wonderful way to learn about new titles!

In this past week, I read a number of books on the theme of war and peace. Some I shared with my class as read alouds. Others I read as I worked on a book recommendations page on this theme (peace and war).

When I grow Up, I will win the Nobel Peace Prize by Isabel Pin

A very interesting read. The message is very clear: peace begins with each tiny step that is right in front of us and around us always. The time to begin is now if we are really going to change the world.

The Silver Path by Christine Harris and illustrated by Helen Ong

This book is written as a letter from Niko to his penpal Penny. Niko tells Penny about what is going on in his world after he has fled his village in an unidentified land from a conflict not named.  A very powerful little story that reminds us that children in many parts of the world do not experience peace like children somewhere else might. Lots of unanswered questions make it an ideal story to discuss. A springboard to talk about what war steals from children: their families, their security, their right to play and sometimes, their ability to go to school.

Feathers and Fools written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Nicholas Wilton

Really a book for older children but could be done with younger primary students with lots of guided discussion. Raises questions about how battles start and that the wish to hate and the feeling of being threatened is something that is created more than something that is natural. Rich colours in the illustrations and serious text.

The Conquerors by David McKee

This is a new favourite of mine. A modern fable that points to the ridiculous nature of war in the most clever of ways. A general marches his army about conquering every country around. Eventually, there is just one small country left. When the soldiers arrive to once again conquer a people, this little nation offers no resistance. They welcome the soldiers to their tables, to play their games, to sing their songs and to listen to their stories. When the soldiers return to their own ruling nation, they continue singing the songs, cooking the food and telling the stories of this little nation. Just who had conquered who?

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos

Is it possible for a child to achieve world peace? Yes, if he realizes his world is all around him and simply starts to perform acts of kindness both random/deliberate and simple or creative. Imagine if everyone set out each day to be kind, compassionate and loving? We can all model peaceful ways and make a difference. I love the idea of this book more than the book itself. When I read it aloud I found the casualness of some of the humour took away slightly from the book’s message. Still, I like the discussions it sparks.

Other picture books I enjoyed this week:

Frank ‘n’ Stan by M.P. Robertson

I think books by M.P. Robertson are brilliant often just because of the detailed and creative illustrations. This title has more humour than his usual titles and when it was shared in my class by a guest reader, the children were hooked. Frank wishes for a sibling and when it seems like there will be no little brother or sister in his near future, he sets out to build one. Stan is a robot: huge, helpful and lots of fun. Children loved how he had to plug in and get his oil topped up frequently. When a new little sister really does come on the scene, Stan begins to feel unloved and leaves. The rescue scene when Stan is found in the freezing snow, uncharged and alone is both touching and exhilarating (imagine travelling down snowy hills on a robot’s shoulder). One of the most unique new sibling stories out there – a touch of fantasy, humour, invention and robot building! This is going to be my new go to gift book for young children who love adventure.

The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska

I first heard about this book last week on another Monday Reads post and was thrilled to come across it. Gentle images of the holiday season full of all of the emotions children experience: anticipation, joy, excitement, wonder . . . Perfect for cozy reads in front of a fireplace surrounded by family and happiness. I want my own copy of this book for our holiday collection.

I did not get a lot of time to read any novels this week but am about a third of the way into Sharon Creech‘s The Great Unexpected. Oh, this book. So many wonderful words and quirky characters. A book to slowly savour except you cannot help rushing through it. Perhaps a future read aloud . . . I think reading a lot of the names of people and places aloud would tickle my tongue. Really enjoying this story.