Some new wordless favourites

 Some New Wordless Favourites There's a Book for That

I am always pleased when I uncover new wordless (or nearly wordless) titles to share with my students. These books are ideal for allowing us to sit back and let our imagination follow the author/illustrator to wonderful places. I use wordless books to build storytelling skills, enhance visual literacy, practice inferring and asking questions and for amazing oral language opportunities.

This post elaborates on why I think wordless books are so important in the classroom and how I use them.

Here are a handful of words about some new wordless favourites:

The Night Riders by Matt Furie 

 An adventure with real and fantastical nocturnal creatures. Oh what can happen by the light of the moon!

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Making a friend, being both graceful and wonderfully clumsy. Perfectly not perfect.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Red Hat by Lita Judge What can we get up to with a knitted red hat? Playful. Full of joy.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Thunderstorm by Arthur Geisert Chase a storm through farm country and notice every little detail. Brilliant.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Kitty and Dino and Sara Richard What happens when the new pet is a dinosaur who has come to share the house with Kitty (who is really having none of it)? Wild antics.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus You upset me? I eat you! My students responded best: “This bear is ruled by his amygdala!”

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Unspoken by Henry Cole Haunting. Multi-layered. A springboard to discussions about slavery and the Underground Railroad.

Some wordless favourites: There's a Book for That

Monday July 8th, 2013

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 reads! The #IMWAYR community is a fantastic community of readers with many wonderful titles to share.

I found some wonderful picture books this week. Here are my favourites:

The #1 hit of the week in my house was definitely . . . 

Betty Bunny Didn’t Do it written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch I adore Jorisch’s work and loved the first Betty Bunny title so I was excited to read these other books in the collection. I “test read” these books out on my own children (10 years old x 2) Well . . . this book was SUCH a hit that my son talked about it for days – almost to the point of telling strangers about it. He didn’t go that far but he did tell people on the soccer field, our old neighbour and even his Grandma (after pulling the phone out of my hands and reading her the whole book over the phone). This book, he assured me, was a great book to read. I quote:

“Mom, this book has great morals. Well, maybe not for adults but for kids :-)”

Now I’m not sure what he means by morals . . . considering what my children seemed to learn from this book:

  • Telling very tall tales is charming and creative and not an avoidance of responsibility
  • Admitting that a statement is an honest lie is incredibly funny
  • Claiming that coming clean with the whole entire truth would hurt one’s feelings is a brilliant way to avoid telling the truth!

An interesting look at what it means to be honest. Much humour. Much charm. Much to repeat and relive!

betty bunny didn't do it

Betty Bunny Wants Everything written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch We liked this title as well although it doesn’t rate as high as the Betty Bunny story above. Betty Bunny is just a little too precocious. Seems like it was going to be a wonderful book to talk about consumerism and smart money strategies but it just . . . wasn’t. Still worth reading even to have those discussions of – does Betty Bunny take it too far? Does she really learn anything? Are characters always likeable? Even when you loved them in another story?

Betty Bunny eants Everything

Oliver and his Alligator written and illustrated by Paul Schmid What happens when you swallow all of your anxiety (well – have your alligator do it for you . . . )? Then there is nothing to be afraid of and things get a little dull! Deals with first day of school nerves in a very creative way!

oliver and his alligator

Tea Rex written and illustrated by Molly Idle A T rex for tea? Perfect! Thought the small talk was divine and the illustrations absolutely charming.

TeaREX

Can I play Too? written and illustrated by Mo Willems All Elephant and Piggie books are huge hits in my classroom. I still find some that I haven’t read and it is always such a pleasant surprise. This is one of my new favourites. Love the creative ways these characters try to be inclusive in their games. There is humour but also some pretty awesome modelling of how to play.

can-i-play-too

A Big Guy Took My Ball! written and illustrated by Mo Willems Again, Willems creates a winner.

A big guy took my ball

The Epiplectic Bicycle written and illustrated by Edward Gorey First published in 1969 but I just discovered it. Odd. Quirky. Many shades of absurd. Find it and experience a number of mysterious adventures.

Epiplectic Bicycle

More Bears written by Kenn Nesbitt  and illustrated by Troy Cummings Since I am always quite delighted when there is a bear (or two or three) in a story, I was particularly pleased that the narrator of this little tale was persistently encouraged to include more bears! Can see this being a very amusing read aloud.

More_Bears

My nonfiction reading was from the Amazing Animals series by Kate Riggs– I blogged about it here.

gorillas

In novels . . .

My Happy Life written by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Eriksson A special little read that tackles some big issues: friends moving away, grief, sadness . . . So often we don’t find issues like this handled in a beginning chapter book for young readers. I appreciated the fact that there was space for thinking and discussion (thinking this would be a great read aloud in a primary classroom) and that it breathed resiliency and learning life lessons. And I adore Eva Eriksson as an illustrator. 

my-happy-life2

The Center of Everything written by Linda Urban I just finished this book this morning and I feel like I should have cradled it under my arm all day. Sometimes a book is small but powerful. This book isn’t long. It takes place over the course of a day. But it is written in a way that it holds big space in your thoughts and your heart. Reminds us that all of the little moments make up our very large lives. You never know which moments will shape you. Such a beautiful middle grade read that I will be putting in the hands of many young readers. This book is sad but soothing. There is grief but yet, reading this book is kind of like healing. A snapshot into the life of Ruby Pepperdine that speaks to a part in all of us. A quiet WOW book.

center of everything

I also read 2 adult novels

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult Powerful.

the-storyteller-395

Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane Mystery. Detectives. Corruption. Grit. So not my usual read but was in the mood.

Gone Baby Gone cover

Next up? I am starting Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. My children and I are more than halfway through Torn Away by James Heneghan. A huge TBR pile stares at me but not sure what will be the other books of the week yet. It’s summer . . . and so hopefully it will be many of them!

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?