Monday May 13th, 2019

Trying to post at least once a month to be part of this amazing reading community and to share all the wonderful titles I have been reading.

A few #kidsarereading photos for inspiration. Our visit to the Vancouver Public Library. Everyone left with a book and a library card if they didn’t have one. Our arms full of books, our heads full of stories, we skipped all the way back to school. Summer reading – we are getting ready for you!

Love how my students want to read EVERYTHING. The size of the book box is never big enough.

Nothing is quite as lovely as buddy reading moments.

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 read:

Tomorrow Most Likely by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Lane Smith

What will tomorrow bring? A delightful and beautifully illustrated collection of possibilities.

Growing Season by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

A sweet little book about friendship, flowers and all kinds of growing.

Dog Vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson with art by Clayton Hanmer

So much in this book – having faith, wanting to matter – an emotional book wrapped up in super hero style and cute humour.

Our World is Relative written by Julia Sooy with illustrations by Molly Walsh

You know when you play 20 questions with a group of kids and they ask questions like, “Is it big?” or “Is it little?” and you keep trying to prompt, “Bigger than a . . . ” Well, this book would be perfect in times like this! My only complaint – that measurements are not in our Canadian metric system. Otherwise, so ideal! I will be sharing this one in the classroom often. Releases August 13th 2019

Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold

This character! Bat is beyond endearing. I absolutely adore him.

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Such an interesting subject for a novel. A former mill town needs to attract residents to keep its schools and town from completely shutting down. A number of homes are offered to families for just $1.00 if they meet criteria and comply with specific conditions over the next year. This is the perfect chance for Lowen and his family to have a new beginning and more opportunities. It’s also a way for Lowen to try to leave behind the memories of a young friend who was shot. Would be a fantastic middle grade read aloud.

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

There is always something remarkable about Ursu’s titles. Part magic, part harsh reality, unbelievable and completely relatable. Devastating and full of hope. Wow.

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

A rare adult read highly recommended by my sister. Rosie and Penn have 4 boys and then they have Claude. Another boy who actually wants to be a girl. And then everything becomes about how to best let this little human be who they are supposed to be. A truly must read novel.

Up next? I am reading The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

Monday April 1st, 2019

This time weeks have passed instead of months – still feels like too too long since I have posted but here is a post full of a huge variety of titles I am celebrating!

Lots of nonfiction reading aloud happening in the classroom!

Because we are readers, we are writers #kidsarereading So proud of the engagement I witness in my students.

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 read:

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan with illustrations by Lorraine Rocha

You might be able to guess what you should do with said lemon tree – yet the answer is all wrapped up in a charming little title about family, making a plan, taking good care and patiently working towards a goal. Love the emphasis away from the overly material and onto amazing nature.

Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

Oh community! Generosity. And some incredibly smelling stew. Loved this one.

We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Because, really could you imagine? This little dino really could. And did. Hilarious.

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

We are begiining a unit about water and will be talking everything from where we find it to where we don’t and why. This book will help us dive right in. Can’t wait.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

Wow. Described as a love letter to black live in the United States, this gorgeously illustrated book is magnificent.

The Monster Detector (Big and Little Foot #2) by Ellen Potter

A must have series in the upper primary classroom library. One young boy. One young Sasquatch. One mysterious mystery involving monsters.

The Storm Dragon (The Secret Rescuers #1) by Paula Harrison

A delightful little title about a storm dragon in need of rescuing. Sophy, a young maid at the castle is the perfect one to help.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Upper MG/YA graphic novel. A historical french setting. A prince who loves fancy dresses. A dressmaker trying to make it. Completely engaging.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

An emotional read – the complexity or families and the complications of friends. I love how Delsie figures things out in a highly relatable way. Hunt delivers, again. a title that needs to be in the hands of young readers.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus byAnn Braden 

Zoey Albro lives in rural Vermont. Her mother and three younger siblings count on her abusive and manipulative step father Lenny for a roof over their heads because mom’s waitressing job does not guarantee that they won’t be homeless. This title deals with poverty, the huge responsibilities of a young girl and deep commitment to family. While we witness Zoey’s middle grade stressors and dreams, we also view the struggles of poverty and abuse through her eyes. A powerful novel.

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

This title was a surprising favourite for me. Historical fiction and important magic. Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep who keeps beating the odds – surviving a daily dangerous job. How her story unfolds is quite incredible. An emotional beautiful read.

Up next? I am reading Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Monday November 19th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Some reading photos to share:

This one is of a very devoted little reader who had a captive audience well before 9 a.m.

Love that the books being shared during buddy reading were books our class had written!

#classroombookaday titles from the last month have included many themes.

Gardens.

Spooky stories.

Talking about peace and the impact of war.

Refugees and seeking peace and a new home.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

Some highlights from our last month of learning:

We have loved learning about the brain and each drew a labelled diagram.

Busy drawing in the Art and Discovery studio after we finished our prints.

The printmaking process was incredible and the insect prints turned out to be truly amazing!

Story Workshop continues to be a highlight of our week with so many incredible stories being shared!

A large part of math exploring has been around larger numbers – building and stretching numbers into the hundreds.

We are well on our way to creating our second “published” books – monster handbooks called The Monstore. Some incredible monsters are on display inside these pages!

Students have been discussing, drawing about and writing about peace.

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 read:

I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds

Another incredible collaboration between Verde and Reynolds. I love the emphasis on compassion, celebrating mistakes and being wonderfully imperfect.

Carmela Full of Wishes written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Carmella wants to be big enough to follow her big brother on his daily errands and chores. Finally she is! A story of siblings family and community. Quite lovely.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson with illustrations by Rafael López

Ah this book! The power of our differences and individuality and the worry that we aren’t going to be included when we feel different from others. All of these feelings are celebrated, honoured and explored in this title.

Boo Who? by Ben Clanton

Awfully cute for Halloween.

Misunderstood Shark written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Wonderfully amusing! Prepare for lots of giggles.

Polar Bear Island written by Lindsay Bonilla and illustrated by Cinta Villalobos

What happens when a little penguin arrives on an island exclusive to polar bears? A cute little story celebrating new friendships.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Just a beautiful, heart wrenching title. Written as a diary to a mother that died in childbirth. A must read title.

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

A tough story about a young girl trying to manage at home with a tiresome but loveable little sibling, a father overwhelmed by a failing farm in a hot, dry summer and a mother with mental illness that is getting worse and nowhere close to better. Della’s feelings of responsibility make it all too much. An amazing read for middle grade students.

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

In this beautifully written story find hope, courage and an important reminder of what it is to be a citizen of the world . Highly recommended. An absolutely incredible read. I cried through the last 20 minutes of reading this book.

Up next? I am reading Sunny by Jason Reynolds

Monday October 22nd 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I haven’t posted for 3 weeks so have many reading photos to share! Narrowed it to 3. Here is a keen little reader who has discovered Robert Munsch books for himself as an independent reader! He couldn’t stop reading all day!

“This book is really long and really hard and I can read it!”

Ah the joy of buddy reading!

#classroombookaday titles have included themes of stories, characters creatively solving problems and interacting with monsters.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

We have been diving into the Story Workshop experience on Tuesday afternoons creating stories with loose parts and natural objects and then drawing, documenting and writing about these stories. Often stories are also shared orally between students. Want to know more about Story Workshop? Look up Opal School in Portland, Oregon.

In the Art and Discovery studio with Maggie, we have begun to explore and create imaginative creatures that might live in the garden.

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 loved:

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Wow. Wow and more wow. Such an incredible story and that cover! A fantastic biography of a wonderfully creative individual and how she perceived the world.

I Lost My Tooth! by Mo Willems

So I read this and liked it. But I knew that kid testing was going to be the true measure. My students ADORED this one. It’s a delightful read aloud experience and students have been continuously picking it up to read on their own. Their only complaint? Where are the rest of the titles? These children are used to a full shelf of Elephant and Piggie and can’t fathom waiting and waiting as the next titles in this series are published!

Up the Mountain Path by Marianne Dubuc

Oh what a delightful little title that teaches the love of nature and the cycles of life. Follow along as old Mrs. Badger takes a weekly journey up to the top of Sugarloaf Peak.The illustrations!

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie

Very adorable. Sterling sends himself out to a family’s home as part of a new cutlery shipment and tries to be the best fork ever! Of course, his fork like abilities are limited. But his dog nature is a lot more valued than he ever thought possible.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It written by JoAnne Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley

This is the BEST book for classroom teachers teaching about growth mindset! I am using this title to support our understanding of the brain as part of the Mind Up curriculum.

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci and her older brother are scholarship students at a private school in Florida. Her busy family life full of hard work, shared family responsibilities and grandparents, aunts and annoying younger cousins feels dramatically different than the lives her classmates seem to lead. Merci struggles to understand the changes in her beloved Lolo as he begins to act more and more strangely and seems to forget things all the time. A powerful middle grade novel about growing up, family and figuring out it all out.

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves  (MG) by Liesl Shurtliff

I was so very pleasantly surprised that I was able to fall into this story so fully and be transported to the imaginative fairy tale world that Shurtliff can build so wonderfully. I still love Rump the best, but this title is a close second. Can’t wait to see where Liesl Shurtliff goes next!

Tilly by Moniqu Gray Smith

This novel is really about what it says on the cover – hope and resistance. Based on the author’s own life, this is the story of a young Indigenous woman growing up in the 70s and 80s in British Columbia. I learned a lot.

Up next? I am reading The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

 

Monday August 27th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. But here is a pile of books, now sorted and back on the shelves waiting for a new room full of readers.

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.

Loved participating in #pb10for10 in early August with a list of titles to inspire world citizens.

pb10for102018

Books I loved

The Haunted House Next Door (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol, #1) by Andres Miedosa

I have purchased the first few titles in this transitional chapter series and now would like to expand the collection. Spooky, scary adventure – ideal for young chapter book readers.

The Haunted House Next Door (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol, #1)

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen  by Debbi Michiko Florence

This title is fantastic and I am excited that I have all four titles that have been published in this series. Excellent transitional chapter book series focussing on family dynamics, Japanese culture and being eight.

Lulu is Getting a Sister by Judith Viorst 

In order to prepare a reluctant Lulu for a new sibling, her parents send her to a camp to learn how to be a big sister. You can just imagine how that goes. Hilarious, as always.

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

Friendship, or lack of it is such an issue for middle grade students. Loved how it was explored in this title.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Lots of important issues and cultural complexities and crimes explored in this young adult novel. I liked it but found I didn’t fully connect with the characters.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz 

This book! Would definitely choose to do this as a read aloud if I were teaching Grade 4 or 5. This will be one of my book club selections for this fall. I loved the advocacy and book love in this book. So relatable, hard to put down. Highly, highly recommended.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to theWorld by Ashley Herring Blake

A must have for an intermediate classroom library. Ivy’s family survives a hurricane but then she must navigate cramped family quarters, less attention from her busy Mom overwhelmed with caring for baby twins, feelings of love that are new and unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have quite the soft spot for Ivy.

Up next? I am reading Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 34/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 12/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 148/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 47 books behind schedule (Kind of hopeless progress . . . )

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 19/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 28/40 books read

Monday July 23rd, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. So here is a photo of the lending library I just set up in my cloakroom for previous students to access.

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 loved

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Oh, this book. It is a must have for primary teachers. There are a myriad of emotions explored here. And a lot of advice. Sometimes, though, it is all about being heard.

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi

This title explores conflict, cooperative play and creative solutions. Wordless.

Trees by Lemniscates

A beautiful exploration of trees and seasons.

Vivid: Poems & Notes about Color by Julie Paschkis

This one is released later this month. A gorgeous exploration of colours – from the factual to the imaginative. Absolutely wonderful.

Bugs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick with illustrations by Kwanchai Moriya

I am very excited about this nonfiction titles as an inspiration for our own writing. An ideal mentor text. Part of a series by Kids Can Press. Guess and check and lots more.

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock with illustrations by Claire A. Nivola 

This story fascinated me. I can’t wait to share it with students and to use it as a source of inspiration for creativity and imagining with loose parts.

Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter

A new series by Ellen Potter that I will be adding to our classroom library. Boy and Sasquatch become unlikely friends. Many adventures await, I am sure. A wonderful book about noticing and managing differences in a world of assumptions.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed 

Completely engaging. What a wonderful choice for the Global Read Aloud. Amal is an incredibly courageous and compassionate character.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Truly haunting. A story of ghosts – dead black boys who have been killed in ridiculously unnecessary ways. Blurs history with fiction. Such a read. Would make an incredible read aloud in a middle school classroom.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Sweet and endearing. Loved this title full of magic and affection.

Up next? The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 9/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 131/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 35 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 22/40 books read

Monday May 28th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Here are a few.

Lone reader, lost in her book.

A Todd Parr reading binge.

The heart of Reading Workshop. Readers perched everywhere totally engaged in reading.

Student book talks are so very powerful!

Two weeks of #classroombookaday titles to share. Gorgeous titles about plants and gardens.

Books that help to transform our thinking.

Classroom Highlights 

During our recent Celebration of Learning, two boys delighted in reading aloud to a captive audience. Their choice? Naked! written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I loved watching students share student writing and voices about some of our recent read alouds.

Titles and student reactions on display for the Celebration of Learning.

Drawing our incredible structures created in the Art and Discovery studio.

Work on display during Celebration of Learning.
Last minute preparation before parents and caregivers are invited to explore our work.

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 loved

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

This is the latest book I cannot stop raving about and reading to anyone who happens to enter our classroom. Absolute picture book perfection. This title shows us “that anyone can be anything they want to be,” explained one of my students. It is about self expression. Dreams. The love of a grandparent. Creativity. The end pages are divine. This will be one of my Mock Caldecott selections for 2019.

A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker

More wordless amazing from Aaron Becker. This one is multi-layered and will require multiple rereads to absorb. An absolute stunner. Becker explores time, grief, history and chance in this beautiful book.

The book trailer gives a lovely sneak peek

A Seed Is the Start byMelissa Stewart

This book! You want this book! Primary teachers, this is the perfect title to share when discussing planting, seeds and gardens. Full of rich, descriptive language and incredible close up photography. Highly recommended!

But the Bear Came Back by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Dan Taylor

Adorable. No persistent bears allowed until said bear no longer shows up.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I sometimes do read adult novels – here is proof! Incredible writing. So very sad. Which is maybe why I don’t read a lot of adult novels.

Up next? I am reading The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens and Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 21/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 100/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 20 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 10/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 17/40 books read