Fall update: #Mustreadin2018

It’s time for the fall #MustReadin2018 update!

How are you doing with your list? Which titles have been favourites? What other books might have distracted you? It’s time to share!

I have 30 titles on my list this year and my goal, like last year, is to read most of them. At least 20 and then, I feel like it is progress! At the spring update in April I had read 9 titles. Now I’ve completed 19! So I am well on my way.

Since April, I have completed these titles and am again sharing my brief thoughts and impressions:

Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore 

This is the one title I had to work hard to complete. I wanted to love this YA novel. And I really liked aspects of it. But, it was just not for me. Multiple possible endings. And realities? Just too much.I was such a Graceling fan so I was disappointed that I didn’t really enjoy this book.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Now this book! LOVED!! 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. I would instantly place this title in my classroom library if I was teaching Grade 5 or higher.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I finished this book more than a month ago and I still think of it every few days. 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.

In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Beautiful writing takes us through the hard and heartbreak of the grieving process – sometimes so muddy and muddled we need a lot of guidance getting through. Loved Klee and all of those guiding him through. Polisner is one of my favourite YA authors. I will read anything she writes!

Loser’s Bracket by Chris Crutcher 

This book I really liked. Such an exploration of family. If you love YA realistic fiction that is real and true and gritty, I highly recommend this one! I was waking up before 6 a.m. to sneak in pages.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Completely engaging. What a wonderful choice for the Global Read Aloud. Amal is an incredibly courageous and compassionate character. I couldn’t put this one down.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor 

Middle grade perfection. Connor just keeps getting better and better. I dare you not to want to root for Mason Buttle as every kind of grief soaked kind of bad luck gets thrown at him. This story has so many layers. Would be a fantastic read aloud in a middle grade classroom. (Grade 5 and up). A character I will not forget.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi 

This young adult novel does not shy away from any of the harrowing details that are part of a refugee’s journey. Follow Tareq and his family as he leaves Syria in search of safety and hope.

Escape from Aleppo by N. H. Senzai 

I learned so much about the Syrian crisis in this book about Nadia and her desperate search to become reunited with her family as her city is being bombed. This is a middle grade read.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead 

Sweet and endearing. Loved this title full of magic and affection. Sometimes weird books are just weird – this one is weirdly wonderful.

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2018 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2018 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2018 bloggers/readers to get inspired and leave a comment.

Want to know more about #MustReadin2018? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists. This is a community of inspiring readers!

Our year end update will be on December 27th 2018!

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!

Monday May 14th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

Nonfiction sharing circles to generate excitement about nonfiction reading!

Quiet moments during Reading Workshop.

This little Dory Fantasmagory fan can’t put this series down!

How I love independent reading time!

I need to play catch up with sharing #classroombookaday titles Here are the books we have been reading. See if you can guess each weekly theme.

Classroom Highlights 

Making mini homes in the Art and Discovery studio. These are just incredible!

Drawing our creations.

Nonfiction fact detectives.

Making nature art in the garden with fallen materials.

Gorgeous flower gardens painted for Mother’s Day cards.

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:

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët

This book is a must own, must share title. One of the loveliest titles to talk about what it is to stand up and stand with someone who has been bullied. Wordless and absolutely wonderful.

Yak and Dove written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Esmé Shapiro

I love the quirkiness of Maclear’s books – this one still has some eccentric elements but it is a wonderful collection of three friendship stories.

 One Family by George Shannon with illustrations by Blanca Gomez

One family might be so many things.

Albie Newton written by Josh Funk with illustrations by Ester Garay

Josh Funk introduces us to little Albie Newton, boy genius. Little Albie has concocted quite the plan to make some new friends. Will his classroom survive a day of his tinkering and imagining? Told in Funk’s signature rhyming style.

I’ve Got Feet!: Fantastical Feet of the Animal World by Julie Murphy with illustrations by Hannah Tolson

The perfect story time nonfiction read aloud for younger listeners. The unique feet animals have and how they use them.

Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder

Kind of brilliant. Tells a pet story like none I have ever read.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Middle grade perfection. Connor just keeps getting better and better. I dare you not to want to root for Mason Buttle as every kind of grief soaked kind of bad luck gets thrown at him. This story has so many layers. Would be a fantastic read aloud in a middle grade classroom. (Grade 5 and up)

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

This young adult novel does not shy away from any of the harrowing details that are part of a refugee’s journey. Follow Tareq and his family as he leaves Syria in search of safety and hope.

Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai 

I learned so much about the Syrian crisis in this book about Nadia and her desperate search to become reunited with her family as her city is being bombed. This is a middle grade read.

Up next? Think I will be picking up an adult novel – every so often, it happens!

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 20/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 8/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 95/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 14 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 9/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 16/40 books read

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

I read a lot. As in hundreds and hundreds of books a year. Many, yes, are picture books. But many are novels. 95% of these are middle grade and young adult novels. So, in some ways, I can say I “meet” a lot of young people. Some make me cry. Some leave me laughing. Some inspire. I have a myriad of emotions as I read about each of these young fictional lives: confusion, hope, worry, relief, upset, happiness . . .

These characters often stay with me. And because they do, I want to honour them here. These boys*, in the pages of the books where they live, impressed me in notable ways. I admire so many of them for their honesty, their growth, their vulnerability, their hard choices, their loyalty, their mistakes, their learning and their endurance.

In their own way, each is brave and real. Meeting them will enrich every reader.

 In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Doug Swieteck in Okay for Now written by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Miguel in We Were Here written by Matt de la Peña

We Were Here  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Nate Foster in Better Nate than Ever written by Tim Federle

Better Nate than Ever  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That,

Jack in Dead End in Norvelt written by Jack Gantos

 Dead End in Norvelt  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ben in Half Brother written by Kenneth Oppel

 Half Brother  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Travis in Blue Fish written by Pat Schmatz

bluefish  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Fadi in Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai

Shooting-Kabul-Senzai  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Matt in The Boy in the Black Suit written by Jason Reynolds

boy in the black suit  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moon in Alabama Moon written by Watt Key

 Alabama Moon  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Holling Hoodhood in The Wednesday Wars written by Gary D. Schmidt

 The Wednesday Wars  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucky Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants written by A.S. King

 Everybody Sees the Ants  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Oscar in The Real Boy written by Anne Ursu

 The Real Boy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moses in Crow written by Barbara Wright

Crow  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

 Victor (a.k.a. “Little Man”) in Paperboy by Vince Vawter

 Paperboy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Julian in Twerp written by Mark Goldblatt

twerp  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Josh in Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

 Living with Jackie Chan  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for ThatJoey in Nest written by Esther Ehrlich

Nest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ali in When I Was the Greatest written by Jason Reynolds 

when I was the greatest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albert in Fish in a Tree written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albie in Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Jack in Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson 

Small_as_an_Elephant  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ryan Dean West in Winger written by Andrew Smith

Winger  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Peter Stone in Wish Girl written by Nikki Loftin

Wish Girl  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Steven in Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie written by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

*Coming soon: In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Monday November 5th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? On Halloween night there was torrential rain in Vancouver that prevented a lovely tick or treat scene like this one below (from Muth‘s Zen Ghosts). Still it was a cozy week for lots of seasonal reads!

Join Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with their weekly meme that highlights what everyone has been reading from picture books to young adult novels. It is a fantastic way to learn about new books and share favourites with others.

In my reading world . . . 

New classroom picture books:

Night Song written by Ari Berk and illustrated by Loren Long. Long’s illustrations make this an absolutely stunning book about a little bat’s first solo journey. Guided by his “good sense” little Chiro is able to both explore the world and then find his way home. While this book does not use the word echolocation, this is clearly the good sense being referred to and there is lots of text that helps the reader to talk about the concept. I found children wanted to study the pictures individually after the story was read aloud because it was just so gorgeous with the black as pitch pages.

Chester the Brave written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson. This is another story in the Kissing Hand series that explores being brave and demonstrating courage. Sweet but I find I like the illustrations more than the story with these books.

Dog in Charge written by K.L. Going and illustrated by Dan Santat. I ordered this through Scholastic when I saw Santat‘s signature illustrations. It is a very funny little story about a dog left in charge of a bunch of cats that get into everything! When it all just seems like too much, Dog compulsively devours a bag of cat treats and takes a nap. The cats, who love Dog, decide to clean up their messes and the family are none the wiser when they return from their outing. So . . . I’m wondering where does one find housekeeper cats? Those are some pets I could have a lot of!

New to me Halloween Stories read to my class or my own children (often both): 

The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell I am a huge fan of Patrick McDonnell and found this story to be absolutely delightful. This was our BLG book of the week and you can read more on the blog here. The best part of this book is the quirky little wanna be monsters with some of the best character names I have seen in a while: Grouch, Grump and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom. The final scene on the beach is all about the little moments of happy we all need to savour. Highly recommended.

Zen Ghosts by Jon J. Muth For those who know Muth’s  Zen . . . stories, this is another that will quickly become a favourite. I love that it is a story within a story. After everyone goes trick or treating, Stillwater the Panda tells the children a story based on a koan from The Gateless Gate that forces the reader/listener to question what is real and not real. And then just to sit and be fine with not really being sure. So much to explore within this book makes it a story that children of many ages can investigate. The illustrations, as in all Muth books, are exquisite.

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown. I was very excited to get my hands on this book because I am such a Peter Brown fan. His illustrations are fantastic and accompany a story told by Reynolds that is actually quite sophisticated. This book on the surface is about a little rabbit being terrorized by some menacing carrots even thought nobody will believe him. What looks like a creepy carrot in the shadows of the night is often revealed to be something else entirely when a parent arrives and turns on a light. But are the creepy carrots really just a figment of Jasper, the rabbit’s overactive imagination? To be safe, Jasper builds a huge fence around the carrot patch to contain these orange vegetables that haunt him. In the end, the source of his fear is revealed. Do those creepy carrots really exist? Read this story that explores fear that just can’t be reasoned away in a totally clever and humorous manner. Loved this book!

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie by Denys Cazet This book has been in our library for a few years but I had yet to read it or share it with a class. Wow, had I been missing out!! This book is certainly a perfect spooky Halloween read featuring a ghost that rises out of the pumpkin patch threatening to haunt the residents of the nearby house if they don’t provide him with the perfect pumpkin pie. Yet while it seems like it might even be too scary for a primary read aloud, it is actually more full of humour, rhyme and pumpkin pie spices than anything else. And a very spunky Grandma who I adored. The illustrations are completely bizarre and unique to make this one of my new Halloween favourites.

Novels read:

Between Shades of Gray written by Ruta Sepetys This is a harrowing read. The images are disturbing and the violations against all basic human rights and human spirit are intense. In Lithuania, in June of 1941, fifteen year old Lina is forced from her home along with her Mother and younger brother by the Soviet Secret Police. They travel by train to a work camp in Siberia and eventually farther north to  the Arctic Circle. Survival is based on luck and perseverance that does not seem possible. Many, many die.  Lina is compelled to share her experiences through her art and her drawings recount terrible experiences suffered by her family and those of the other Lithuanian people around her. This story gives us a sense of the horror that happened to so many under Stalin’s rule. Many details were new to me. Ruta Sepetys brings voice to many who were completely silenced by death or extreme fear. A very important young adult read.

Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai. This book has been on my “to read” pile for  over a year and I found that once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in just over twenty-four hours. This book begins in Afghanistan in 2001 with a family fleeing across the border to Pakistan to then travel on to America. During the dramatic escape, six year old Mariam is left behind and her family is all tortured by their guilt and their extreme sadness at not being able to locate her from their new home in the U.S. Fadi, Mariam’s older brother hears about a photography contest that comes with a winner’s prize of a plane ticket to India. He becomes convinced that he can win and get back to Pakistan to rescue his younger sister. Meanwhile, the events of 9/11 happen and the family has to deal with racism, prejudice and attacks on their neighbours while they continue to grieve for their missing daughter. A book that speaks to the strength of family and of the faith of the Afghan people in a peace yet to come. Highly recommended.

Tonight I begin the novel Beneath my Mother’s Feet written by Amjed Qamer.