Monday August 7th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.

This week, I would like to instead share an article. I had the honour of sharing a student’s story –  first with author/illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo and then with writer Alexandra Alter about Suzanne’s incredible book My Beautiful Birds. Alexandra included this story in her New York Times article

Children’s Authors Take on the Refugee Crisis

It was an unforgettable experience to organize a Skype with Alexandra and Nour and listen as Nour told her story. It will be something that I think about forever – the resilience and hope and love in this young girl’s voice as she talked about everything that she’s lost and found.

I am sharing this here with the #IMWAYR community because I know all of you know the power of books to change lives. This book told Nour’s story and gave her truth voice and audience. So powerful.

If you haven’t yet read this book – buy it! It’s a must have for our school and classroom libraries.

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.

On the blog:

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 2: Weed

This is the second in a series of posts about working in the classroom library over the summer break.

Books I enjoyed:

I had a bookstore visit and read a lot of picture books and nonfiction titles this week. Some even followed me home. Surprise, surprise!

Some of my favourites:

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

This title is an incredible celebration of looking at “mistakes” as opportunities instead of something purely negative and wrong. A creative and inspiring journey. Such an important title to share in our classrooms.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist written by Jess Keating and illustrated my Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Eugenie Clark is some kind of incredible! A scientist. A risk taker. A creative thinker that allowed the world to look at sharks through a different lens. Jess Keating shares Eugenie’s story to honour and celebrate curiosity and perseverance. Lots of additional information in the back pages including a detailed time line of Clark’s life and accomplishments. Gorgeous end pages too!

Teacup written by Rebecca Young and illustrated by Matt Ottley

This is a somewhat haunting and extremely beautiful story about a boy who must leave his homeland in a boat clutching a teacup full of soil The ocean journey brings peace, drama and unexpected surprises as he sails in search of a new home.

Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead 

Gentle and sweet. A book about compassion and care.

Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

A lovely little wordless title with lots of room for talk and questions. What is community? Who should we care about? What matters?

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

A completely endearing title about one little boy’s route to being brave. Loved.

A Squiggly Story written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Mike Lowery

Perfect for writer’s workshop. Clearly sends the message that all writing is story telling – marks on the page, drawings, words (regardless of spelling). I I were a K or Grade 1 teacher, I would be snapping this one up. As a Grade 3 teacher, I am also pretty tempted.

Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler

Power plays on the playground have lots of dynamics. Creatively explored in this little gem.

This Beautiful Day written by Richard Jackson with illustrations by Suzy Lee

This beautiful book. Wow is Suzy Lee talented! A celebration of rainy days and optimistic attitudes. Lovely all around.

If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel by Elise Gravel

So I am calling this a favourite, fought over classroom book for 2017/2018. And I KNOW I am going to be right. This book will be inspiring some funky sketchbooks in my students’ futures. Again, guaranteed.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

So I kind of love everything about Clayton Byrd. And Williams-Garcia, whoa, can this woman write! A must read middle grade title.

Alvin Ho (Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things) by Lenore Look with illustrations by LeUyen Pham

I was pretty thrilled to find this title as I think it will be my first classroom read aloud in the fall. A lot of things in the world frighten and overwhelm Alvin including speaking out loud at school. So wonderfully portrayed in a humorous, relatable way by Look. I am buying the series!

Patina by Jason Reynolds

I share all of my book love for this title (released later this month) here.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 43/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 185/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 32 books behind schedule (ten better than last week!)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 25/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

Monday July 31st, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. Here is my classroom in its middle of the summer state – mid-organizing, mid-library redo, mid-sort-of-everything.

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.

On the blog:

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library: Step 1: Relocate 

This is the first post in a series. Next post will be later this week.

Books I read:

Waiting for High Tide by Nikki McClure

I will be honest – I am going to have to go back and reread this one. I was so enamoured with the illustrations of the Pacific Northwest shore line that I can’t remember the text. This book is a stunner.

Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the Cafeteria by John Grandits and illustrated by Michael Allen Austin

This has got to be one of the longest titles out there for a picture book! A fun look at being anxious beginning somewhere new. Such engaging and colourful illustrations.

Owl Diaries #1 Eva’s Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliot

In preparation for moving back to primary, I am reading a lot of transitional chapter book titles. This is a cute series in the Branches series from Scholastic. Very accessible for readers building their stamina for longer stories.

Anna,  Banana, and the Friendship Split by Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Meg Park

I really liked this title and purchased two more in the series for my classroom. A very realistic portrayal of friendship struggles and dynamics at this age.

The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper

Visually really fun. But must admit, for me, this book was just odd. Would like to kid test it.

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

A must read middle grade novel in verse about a young girl with Tourette syndrome.I learned so much. This is also a wonderful read about friendship, moving and complicated family dynamics. If I was still teaching Grade 4 and 5, I would be purchasing this one.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 40/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 168/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 42 books behind schedule (one better than last week)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 23/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 28/50 books read

Up next? I continue to have a few novels on the go.

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 classroom 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.

 

Monday July 17th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have none to share this week (no students until September!) so instead will share a few photos from our week long vacation to Pender Island (we’ve been home a week now) where I got lots of reading done AND lots of wandering through nature.

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:

Life! by Cynthia Rylant with illustrations by Brendan Wenzel

Well, wow. Reminds me a little of All the World by Liz Scanlon. Awe inspiring and soothing all at the same time. And Wenzel – whoa, this guy!

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Oh so clever! A very chatty conversation in the middle of a wordless book. A.k.a. a really hopeful wordless book interrupted by many words. Hilarious!

South by Daniel Duncan

When you find a little lost bird that needs your help, you had better sail south. Endearing.

Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano with illustrations by Laia Aguilar

Camille has a battle dress. Say no more!

Winter’s Coming written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon 

Almost nonfiction, this title teaches young learners about the seasons and how animals adapt and react to winter. A longer read aloud. I ordered a copy for my classroom.

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel

Wonderfully odd in Elise Gravel style. That little smelly thing is pretty darn cute. A graphic style novel that kids will love!

Lint Boy by Aileen Leijten

This is an almost there title. Quirky, clever and definitely odd. Elements of Coraline and a darker Toy Story. I think this will have huge appeal for some interesting readers – I am just not sure who they will be. I think my 4s and 5s of last year would have embraced this graphic novel. I am not sure if my new Grade 3s will manage it. The story line is somewhat confusing and it is dark, though wildly imagined.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 157/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule (Week 3 and this number hasn’t changed . . . )

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 27/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein because I have also started reading Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Monday July 10th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have no students to celebrate during the summer so I searched back through the archives to find a buddy reading moment. A room full of reading together is always my favourite!

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:

Little One by Jo Weaver

Gentle with amazing illustrations. A mama bear shows her cub the world and then they find their den to hibernate for the winter. Seasons. Nature. Connection.

World Pizza by Cece Meng with illustrations by Ellen Shi

Don’t wish for world peace when you might sneeze! What happens when everyone in the world shares the gift of food? (in the form of tasty pizza) Great conversation starter in the classroom. How do we connect? What makes us happy? How can we share?

The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid written by Kara Lareau and illustrated by Matt Myers

Perfect transitional reader. I want to get this series for my Grade 3 classroom this fall. Themes of friendship, bravery and taking responsibility.Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

This novel has so many elements I love – a connection between the generations, interesting family dynamics, introspective musings. Well written, emotional realistic fiction for MG readers.
The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats

Fantastic historical fiction set in the Pacific Northwest. The Mercer expedition brings war widows and young women west and Jane comes along with her father’s young widow and her younger brother. Washington is vastly different than what was expected. Adventure, a strong female character and lots of interesting history!

the-many-reflections-of-miss-jane-deming

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

Based on the author’s childhood. One of the best MG titles I have read this year! Ruthie Mizrahi and her family have come to New York from Cuba and slowly Ruthie is adjusting. Then a car accident lands her in a body cast and isolates her from her new world. Full of poetry, art and beautiful relationships.Highly recommended.

lucky-broken-girl

I read One Crazy Summer when it first came out and was delighted to read the next two books in the trilogy back to back. I adore Delphine, Vonetta and Fern and learning more about their family was an absolute treat. I loved both books!

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 150/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule (This hasn’t changed in a week! But it hasn’t got worse. All the novel reading means no picture books!)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 27/50 books read

Up next? I am reading What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein

Monday July 3rd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. Here are a few from the past week. This will be the last week of student photos for a few months as summer break has started.

This one was taken on the last day. This buddy reading duo migrated to the stairwell. I love the connection books foster.

Here is a student browsing the shelves to put together a list of recommended titles. I put all of these suggestions together here and will add some of my own as the summer progresses so my students have a central spot for book recommendations. We spoke a LOT about summer reading during the last few weeks of school.

#classroombookaday titles were books I wanted to ensure I had a chance to read aloud to this class. We had some fantastic discussions as I knew we would.

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:

If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

This is definitely a YA title. It has all of the themes of a romance themed teen novel: coming of age, rocky friendships, identity and self-esteem worries, family complexities and relationship highs and lows. It also has a main character who is a young trans woman who has just transitioned.  Hope that copies of this book are in high school libraries.

Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast

I read this charming little novel in one sitting this afternoon. Set in the downtown east side of Vancouver (where I taught for 21 years) and set in the early 1970s, this is historical fiction with some what-if elements. I loved the opportunity to wander through story, time and place

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Possibly one of my favourite novels in some time. Incredible. Powerful. Necessary reading for anyone who happens to currently be human. Some things I particularly loved: Starr’s strength and voice, the cast of supporting characters and the close love of family. A wow book, deserving of all the hype.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 32/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 143/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule Clearly, I need a picture book reading spree!

#MustReadin2017: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 25/50 books read

Up Next? I am reading Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Hotel by Kimberly Willis Holt

 

Monday June 26th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. Here are a few from the past week.

A row of readers.

Monday June 26th, 2017Getting comfy.Monday June 26th, 2017Pouring over I Yam a Donkey! during buddy reading.Monday June 26th, 2017#classroombookaday photos. I have a few to share! We have explored lots of themes in this last month!

So, I have been missing in action here for about a month. Lots of reasons – all about being busy, busy, busy. My daughter’s dance year end show and competitive season has been a very enjoyable full on commitment (involving many full weekends). Any extra time has been about the year end stuff – report cards, class organizations, supporting friends who are switching jobs. And . . . I have been filling my own fitness schedule with lots of dance – Zumba classes, an Adult Hip Hop and a month ago, I started Adult Tap. So much fun! I took years of tap dancing when I was a child and it is all coming back to me. I am looking forward to a summer full of dance, gardening and reading catch up. Hurrah for the #bookaday challenge.

Other relevant news – I am returning to my primary roots and will be teaching Grade 3 again in the fall. Very excited to transform my room from a Grade 4/5 class back to a primary room. Especially excited to once again, work on the classroom library!

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015Books I enjoyed:

Dragon was Terrible written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

Absolutely charming and ever so naughty, this dragon. I am now on the lookout for a classroom copy of this book. Who can tame this dragon? It is no easy feat. But the journey is beyond hysterical!

Give Me Back my Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long

Two friends argue over one green book. As their argument progresses, the reader learns all about the components of a book and enjoys some humorous twists. 

Goldfish Ghost written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Lisa Brown

This title might be passed over by some as a little too out there and dark. I think it is quietly clever and speaks to some important themes: the cycle of life, belonging and companionship. A Well Mannered Young Wolf written by Jean Leroy and illustrated by Matthieu Maudet

It seems that good manners do not serve wolves very well. Loved this one!

Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina

Oh, how I want this title for my Grade 3 classroom library this fall! Juana does NOT love learning English or a bunch of other things. But she also is very specific about what she does love. All is detailed in this wonderfully illustrated early chapter book. Hoping for more of Juana in the future!

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

How I adore Alex Petroski – an 11 year old who records his world on his iPod to sent into space to show what Earth is really like. His journey to capture the essence of Earth reveals all the details of his vulnerable and complicated existence. HIGHLY, highly recommended!

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

A young adult realistic fiction read. Two sisters. Two parents that haven’t delivered. A lot of pain, neglect and figuring it out. My fourteen year old loved this one.

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey

Shane has moved to a new city with his Mom and his classmates at his new school only know him as Shane, a baseball playing guy in middle school. But Shane’s past surfaces and how he navigates the upset and stressors of this is handled so believably. An important book for our school and classroom libraries – this one about a trans child transitioning from female to male.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 139/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 36 books behind schedule (yikes!)

#MustReadin2017: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 23/50 books read

Up Next? I have a stack of novels from the library and am part way through If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo