Mock Caldecott 2015

While every year I celebrate Caldecott winners with my students, this is the first year we are having our own Mock Caldecott competition. After perusing numerous other Mock Caldecott lists and lists of Caldecott predictions, I narrowed it down to eleven titles to share with my class. There was a LOT of rethinking and eliminating titles. In the end, I tried to choose a varied list that conveyed different moods, feelings and responses.

Mock Caldecott Choices 2015 There's a Book for That

Here are the books we are sharing, reading and swooning over – shared alphabetically by illustrator:

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Quest by Aaron Becker

The Promise written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin

Draw! by Raúl Colón

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Hi, Koo! by Jon J Muth

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

Our process is simple. We read and talk about each book individually, enjoying the interactive read aloud experience. Then, I hide the book away until we bring them all out again and spend some time looking closer at each title with Caldecott criteria in mind.

Like others who are running a Mock Caldecott with their classrooms, I adapted the criteria into a child friendly rubric.

Each child will have an opportunity to rate each book using a 1 – 5 scale (with 1 being not at all to 5 being agree absolutely) responding to these three statements:

This book is a book kids will really appreciate. 

The illustrations in this book are excellent in quality.

The illustrations are a great fit for the story being told. 

An opportunity to comment on favourites will also be available.

By next week, we should have shared all of the titles and will be prepared to rate each book. We will do this over a morning where we can reread, look more closely at the actual criteria and have lots of discussions with other students and the adults we have invited to participate in this process with us. More details on our class blog: Curiosity Racers.

We will then announce our medal winner and 3 honour titles.

I am not sure if it is the children or the adults who are more excited but our room is buzzing even more with picture book love. At times I am sure I can hear the hum 🙂

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fourteen favourites of 2014 (Part 2)

I am thrilled to share my favourite fourteen nonfiction titles of 2014!

2014 Nonfiction Picture Books

I love books. As in absolutely adore, frequently gush over, make piles, make lists, always reading kind of #booklove devotion. If you had asked me to talk favourites a few years ago, a nonfiction title would have made it on the list here and there. I have always appreciated the power of the nonfiction read aloud but . . . it wasn’t until I began participating in the nonfiction picture book challenges organized by Alyson Beecher (from Kid Lit Frenzy) that I have become absolutely smitten with nonfiction titles.

I have been busily tweeting about this as of late . . .

I am thrilled to renew my commitment to nonfiction reading by participating in the #nfpb2015 challenge! The more nonfiction I read, the more I learn and the more my students ultimately benefit.

#nfpb2015

More about my favourites of 2014. If these titles are not on your already read and loved or must read radar, consider adding them to the list!

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

ivan

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

The Right Word

Gravity by Jason Chin

gravity_chin

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

tiny-creatures

Weeds Find a Way written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher

weeds-find-a-way

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

shackletons-journey

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins 

eye-to-eye

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

creature-features-coversmall

Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and their Parents by Lita Judge

Born in the Wild

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

boyandajaguarcover

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy 

neighborhood-sharks

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

winter bees

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

star stuff

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

feathers

I have included picture books here but must also note that Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop was an absolute favourite of the year.

cheetahs

I am also pleased to report that I more than met my goal of reading 65 nonfiction picture books this year. Grand total: 144 titles! 🙂

What are your favourites of the year?

Monday September 8th, 2014

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I read a real range of titles this week. My favourites:

Everybody Bonjours! written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Sarah McMenemy

A simple little picture book that is a great reminder about how important it is to learn a few words of the language when one goes to visit a new country. Being able to greet people with a hello and a big smile goes a long way.

Everybody Bonjours! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid

Perfect for those readers just beginning chapter books. Judy Moody helps her friend solve a mystery. Well sort of . . . A wonderful surprise at the end. I bought a handful of copies of this book and in the spring my students held a little reading club to read this title together. Hope more in the series are on their way.

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission written by Judith Viorst tand illustrated by Kevin Cornell

I adore Lulu. I love her cheeky nature, her creativity, her misbehaviour and her unintended failures. Of course, Viorst writes with such voice. Another delightful book in this series!

Lulu's Mysterious Mission #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez

I learned so much from reading this book: how inspirational and transformative Tesla was with not only his invention of electricity but also how much his inventions have shaped modern life as we know it. I also had no idea about his rivalry with Thomas Edison and how Edison treated Tesla who had viewed him as a hero. Fantastic scientific notes in the back of the book give so many more details for the eager reader. Perfect title for intermediate students.

Electrical Wizard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

I am very excited to share this book with my students. It is the perfect introduction to microbes – making sense of a confusing concept in a way that allows students to understand aspects of the microscopic world. Wonderful illustrations by Sutton compliment the engaging style Davies writes in.

Tiny Creatures #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Yikes, I am slipping on my reading goals. One would think being on strike would afford me a lot of time. Unfortunately, I use up a lot of time reading articles, blog posts and twitter communications about B.C. Education trying to figure out what the heck is happening. Not sure why I bother sometimes. The constant and unchanging news? We are on strike. Yes, there is lots of drama and mud slinging, but in the end, I spend too much time walking circles on a sidewalk.

I am however almost finished Revolution by Deborah Wiles. It is so very, very good.

Hoping for more reading time next week. My mind needs distraction!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 411/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 106/65 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2)

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

This is Week 2 of 3 where I will be sharing thirty titles (ten at a time) of my favourite nonfiction books for older readers. The first ten are here.

My post last week goes into more detail of why I wanted to put together these three lists. Basically, I had just written a number of blog posts featuring titles for younger readers (like this one) and had received a comment about older students losing their passion for nonfiction titles. I wanted to share some of my favourite titles that I have read with my own children or on my own that I think will appeal to these intermediate/middle school readers. I hope something catches your eye!

The second ten:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins (published 1999)

The Top of the World Climbing Mount Everst Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Poop – A Natural History of the Unmentionable written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Neal Layton (published 2004)

Poop Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Predator Showdown (30 Unbelievably Awesome Predator vs. Predator Face-offs!) by Lee Martin (published 2011)

Predator-Showdown Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Let’s Talk About Race written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Karen Barbour (published 2005)

Let's Talk about Race Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Helen’s Big World The Life of Helen Keller written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares (published 2012)

 Helen's Big World Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Meadowlands – A Wetlands Survival Story by Thomas F Yezerski (published 2011)

Meadowlands Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Bugged: How Insects Changed History written by Sarah Albee and illustrated by Robert Leighton (published 2014)

Bugged Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) 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)

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate (published 2013)

Look up! Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) There's a Book for That

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth written by Rochelle Strauss and illustrated by Rosemary Woods (published 2007)

One Well Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 2) 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 books you need to read!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 102/65 complete!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books

I am a huge fan of nonfiction picture books in our Elementary classrooms. They are the jumping off point into deep, deep learning. But it is not just the learning that infuses these pages, it is also the beauty of the images that helps lure readers in.

Reasons for nonfiction read alouds? There are many: opportunity for rich discussion, shared learning experiences, new information conveyed, etc. But there is also the visual treat that so many titles provide. The inspiration to wonder, to marvel and to be in awe of our world.

For some students, just the lure of new knowledge is the gateway to reading fantastic nonfiction titles, others need a little nudge. Something beautiful . . .

I have a few students who resist picking up nonfiction titles without some persuasion. I try to entice them with the amazing facts that they might learn. Thinking of a few students in particular, I realize I have been approaching it all wrong. With these children, I should be starting with the images and let them work their magic. Many of our visual learners begin with the illustrations. They become lost in the pictures and then begin reading to answer the questions that start to form.

Do I have enough nonfiction picture books in my collection (or on my wish lists) for these readers?

I started a list. And then I thought I should share . . . .

Each of these titles has made me stop and stare.  Here are 25 of the most gorgeous nonfiction titles out there – absolutely swoon worthy, in my opinion 🙂

Learn more about the Natural World:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

An Egg is Quiet written by Dianna Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Over and Under the Snow written by the Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. (Note: This title is actually fiction but offers a beautiful invitation to begin learning more about the world under the snow)

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

Bird, Butterfly, Eel with story and paintings by James Prosek

The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

Nest by Jorey Hurley

Weeds Find a Way written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher 

Books about Creatures: Small to Gigantic, and all sizes in between:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins 

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

Mama Built a Little Nest written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

See What a Seal Can Do written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Kate Nelms

Information/Concept titles:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Swirl by Swirl (Spirals in Nature) written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Gravity by Jason Chin

Locomotive by Brian Floca 

Biographies/Memoir:

 Biographies/Memoir Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill 

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully 

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

(I featured a few of these titles in this post last year: Wonder Inducing Nonfiction Read Alouds Some are clearly my favourites!)

What beautiful nonfiction picture books make you swoon? Please share them in the comments.

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.

NFPB 2014

Monday April 28th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

Because last Monday I was away (and technology free) reading and walking the beach with my family, I am sharing two weeks of reading in this post. Warning: it’s a little long!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

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. The best way to grow your TBR list!

I read some fantastic picture books, both fiction and nonfiction. Here are my favourites:

Nassredine written by Odile Weulersse and illustrated by Rébecca Dautremer

What an important story to share with children to illustrate so perfectly the message that we can’t please everyone and in fact, there is often someone, no matter what, who will be critical of what we do. So much to this story: patience of a wise father, sensitivity in young Nasreddine and the gossipy judgement of “others.” Even though this tale is set in another place and time, it is very relevant to children today. The illustrations are absolutely stunning.

Nasreddine #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell

Enter the beautiful undersea world of little Minnow, one of King Neptune’s fifty daughters. Minnow, unlike her sisters, seems not to have a special gift or talent.  But her persistence and curiosity allow her to discover the story behind the strange and wonderful object that she found and to share it with all who want to find out more. A longer story, perfect for children who love fairy tales and fantasy elements.

The Mermaid and the Shoe #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola 

This beautiful book tells the story of Nivola’s visits to Orani, the tiny Sardinian village where her father was born. A special place – full of memories, community, simplicity. A gorgeous celebration of family history. The author’s note in the back is well worth reading.

Orani #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Highest Number in the World written by Roy MacGregor and illustrated by Geneviève Després

One of my students says it best: “This is a really good book because Gabe’s grandmother saved the day. She did this by convincing Gabe that she was lucky.” Hockey, wise grandmothers and sports heroes. Quite the book. My students have written reviews of this title that I hope to blog soon. It was very popular with boys and girls alike but I really liked that our little hockey loving heroine was a girl!

 the highest number in the world Roy MacGregor

Flight of the HoneyBee by Raymond Huber and illustrated by Brian Lovelock

A fantastic introduction to bees – told as one scout’s story. The pages are incredibly illustrated – the bees look like they are dusted in gold dust. Learn about pollination, how bees dance, life in the hive, etc. Gorgeous nonfiction title for the elementary classroom.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

All about the blue whale. As always, Nicola Davies manages to deliver a lot of information in such lyrical text. The illustrations by Maland are really interesting and add to the feel of the book. Such majestic creatures, blue whales.

big blue whale #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Jazz Baby written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by R Gregory Christie

What fun this would be to read aloud with little ones. Music sings out via the rhythm of the words. Energy, movement, fun!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dog Loves Counting by Louise Yates

Just so much fun. Help a little dog who can’t sleep count things – like three toed sloths and five-lined skinks and the seven stripes on the racoon’s tail. Playful, clever and sweet. Would make a very interactive story time for little ones or be the perfect book for buddy reading with Kindergartens.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings (young MG)

One of the most entertaining “wants a dog, parent says no” books out there. And Fido is certainly some pet. Hilarious. Spirited. Perfect for those students ready to handle longer chapter books. I am reading this with my Jr. Book Club (Grades 2 and 3).

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo (MG)

I read this book in one early morning sitting with some strong coffee and lots of tears. It has so much that I love – true humanity, history, truth and sentimental simplicity. Not is any sappy or overly dramatic way. Just a true story told. Good people are sometimes hard to find. This book has a collection

with a name like love #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer (YA)

Wow. Hard to find words to describe the intensity and interesting aspects of this story. Set in the jungles of Gabon, this novel is about a boy and his relationships with chimpanzees. No doubt, there are messages of conservation that come through loud and clear. But this book is also about being alone, finding connection, chasing dreams and finding home. Days after I finished reading this book, I wanted a chance just to peek again at the characters – human and chimp to see how they were faring. It was that real to me.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Golden by Jessi Kirby (YA)

I often see books categorized as a “coming of age” story and this truly is that. What is it like to be on the brink of your future? How do our choices define what lies ahead and how connected are we to where we come from? This book has a lot to it – mystery, soul searching, family and friendship connections. Much of it bittersweet.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos (YA)

An interesting title – one that deals with mental health issues, abusive families and an amusing look at teenage life. More about character than plot. The search for self and meaning through the muddy waters of family dysfunction and depression. Complex. Painful. Well done.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA)

This book has been sitting on my shelf for ages and so I put it on my #MustReadin2014 list. What took me so long to pick it up? It was all kinds of amazing. I loved pretty much everything about it. The characters. The honesty and vulnerability of the narrator. The family dynamics. The truths. The humour. Wow, wow, wow. READ this book, if you haven’t already!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Countdown by Deborah Wiles (MG)

I am more and more impressed with Wiles with every title I read. This is the first novel in her Sixties trilogy and it is fantastic. It is everything a middle grade novel should be. Preteen  everyday issues (family and friendship drama) in the context of this time in history – the Cuban Missile Crisis. So well written and full of nonfiction elements – songs, ads, headlines, photographs. The reader steps right into the life and times of these characters and lives their fear over world events and conflict. Highly recommended. My eleven year old daughter is now reading this book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I continue reading Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood to my own children. I am starting All That’s Missing by Sarah Sullivan and have a number of nonfiction titles I picked up from the library that I’m eager to read.

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 35/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 213/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 56/65 complete

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: In “the middle of” books

I had grand plans to review a number of books for Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday. But I can’t. A lot if this is the fault of Alyson Beecher (of Kid Lit Frenzy). And, actually, the rest of the #nfpb2014 bloggers can be blamed as well.

I can’t review even one nonfiction book because I am in the middle of reading six of them.

And why?

Because there is just so much great nonfiction out there and I keep reading about more and more titles on all of the blogs participating in Alyson’s Nonfiction Picture Book challenge/celebration each week. So I buy a book. Or borrow a book. Then I start reading “just a few pages” (usually aloud to my children) and then, next thing I know, I have nonfiction titles half read all over the house.

What am I (often we) reading right now?

Sisters & Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (published 2008)

I am a total Steve Jenkins fan but haven’t read this one yet. My son and I started reading some of these pages and were intrigued! Did you know that nine banded armadillos are always born as identical quadruplets? Perfect clones of each other. And Gould’s long-eared bats are almost always born as twins. Multiple births are particularly interesting in my house since my children are twins and their aunts (my sisters) are identical twins.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: In "the middle of" books

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2009)

I am reading a few chapters of this Scientist in the Field book with my children every week. We are almost done. We have been as fascinated by the country of Mongolia as we have been with the elusive snow leopards. Amazing photographs by Bishop.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: In "the middle of" books

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland (published 1997)

I just bought this at the book store because I am reading everything ocean with my class. The next sea creature we are learning about is whales and . . . how I love Nicola Davies. I started reading this last night and want to finish it later tonight. Blue whales are the biggest creature to ever live on Earth! Majestic and amazing.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: In "the middle of" books

Flight of the HoneyBee by Raymond Huber and illustrated by Brian Lovelock (published 2013)

Bees have hairy eyeballs! My son and I are reading this together and keep marvelling at this fact!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: In "the middle of" books

The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest – and Most Surprising – Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins (published 2013)

Slowly but surely, my children and I are enjoying this title together. So much to talk about and explore. It truly is a beautiful book to be on the family bookshelf.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: In "the middle of" books

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (published 2014)

I had to own this book. Exploration. Adventure. Peril. Antarctica. That covers the subject but then there is the way this book is designed . . . Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. I have hooked my children with just a few pages. And as a result  . . . another nonfiction read aloud on the go!

Shackleton's Journey Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: In "the middle of" books

Oh how I love nonfiction! There is nothing better than learning more about the world through a beautiful book.

NFPB 2014

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: 47/65 complete! (this is no more than 2 weeks ago because I have so many titles on the go!)

Monday March 24th, 2014

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

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

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Okay, Wow. This book is so absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow – yes, like a sloth. There are giggle worthy images – like the sloth in a box having just arrived by Express Mail. Or when we see that Sparky (the sloth) can win at a game – if it is Statue where you need to stand very still.  It is about our desires and vulnerabilities. Why else post a sign about a Trained Sloth Extravaganza where you plan to prove that your pet sloth is really quite amazing? And spend days teaching him tricks . . . ? If you make it through the book and aren’t sold, the last page will get you. And then you like me, will have to buy this book or . . . send away for it to be delivered by Express Mail.

Sparky! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Promise written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin

When I saw that Nicola Davies – my go to author for nonfiction titles had written a fiction title, I had to find it. And read it. And own it. I plan to read this book to my students along with The Curious Garden by Peter Brown and The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering. All three titles share similar messages – nature is essential, being part of a growing landscape is transformative and filling the world with more green can enrich our lives and build our communities. Only criticism – I love all of the images in the book, except the cover. Wish they had chosen a different illustration to feature. But peek under the book jacket for another gorgeous image.

The Promise #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett

I really wasn’t prepared for how funny I found this book. Funny as in completely amusing – it caught me off guard in the best of the ways. A little boy loses his airplane on the rooftop. He tries in vain to get it down. His eventual strategy works – but it might not be what we all might choose. Another title I now want to own for my wordless collection.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Soccer Star written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Renato Alarcão 

This book is set in Brazil and tells the story of young children living in poverty. Their days are full of work while their heads are full of dreams. Maybe they will be future soccer stars like Garrincha, Pelé and Ronaldo and find a way to lift their families out of poverty. The dreams give light and energy to the hardships of everyday and the evening soccer game is a treasured, shared time daily. I reviewed this book with my students responses in more detail here.

Soccer Star  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lila and the Secret of Rain written by David Conway and illustrated by Jude Daly

I am always on the lookout for folktales and stories set in other places. I am excited to add this to my classroom collection. Lila’s village in Kenya is experiencing drought. Her grandfather whispers the secret of rain to her. Lila sets out on a quest to bring rain to her village. She does this by sharing her sadness with the sky. A beautiful book.

Lila and the Secret of the Rain  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Letter Lunch by Elisa Gutierrez

Love the stores full of letters, letters scattered in plants, the bottles of vowels and the Z on the top of the mountain. The fact that it is wordless makes it even more powerful. Perfect for a reader who loves to get lost in the details. So much to explore in this book.

Letter Lunch #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Cave Baby written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Emily Gravett

A celebration of children’s art and colourful pictures. A rhyming read aloud title with the talented Gravett as illustrator. Can see this being a read and reread aloud for persistent toddlers who will be delighted by it!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Friends by Eric Carle

Lovely for story time. Reminiscent about a lost childhood friend, Carle celebrates a best friend and his imaginative search for her over time and distance after she moved away.

 Friends #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Eric the Boy who Lost his Gravity by Jenni Desmond

What happens when we get really angry? An interesting take on how it feels. Highlights the sibling wars of early childhood and the blame game of the parents. Interesting. Pair it with When Sophie gets Angry- Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang. Anger and managing our emotions are things we should be talking about with children. These books give us a jumping off point.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Running with the Horses by Alison Lester

What a book. This is a longer picture book set in WWII. Nina and her father must rescue Lipizzaner stallions that they look after at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses in Vienna. Nina rides Zelda, an older mare, who her father suspects is not up for the journey into the safety of the countryside. Courage. Adventure. History. Alison Lester has written and illustrated a beautiful book. She does note that while the story was inspired by the rescue of the Lipizzaner stallions, it is not meant to be a historically accurate account of the actual events.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Novels I finished (all on my #MustReadin2014 list):

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle

Add me to the long list of readers who has been utterly charmed by the character Nate Foster. I loved his small town inexperience. His candor. His charm. The fact that he talks about his parent’s marriage problems, personal problems and parenting problems. I love that he talks about not knowing who he might like in the future and that he hasn’t got a gender all picked out yet. I love his friendship with his best friend. And then there is his audition. Okay, I basically just loved all of it.

Better Nate than Ever #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

I sat down to read this book one evening during a “family read in” (fireplace on, everyone grab a book and snuggle on the couch) and I didn’t put it down until I finished it. Beautiful writing. Touching story. My heart ached and soared. I have been thinking about this book for days. For many reasons. One of which is that I have a student that would so benefit by being “found” and loved by John and Marta.

 The Boy on the Porch #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Allegiant by Veroncia Roth

I really hate writing negative reviews and I shouldn’t be because I should have abandoned the book but I didn’t for a few reasons 1) at about 200 pages in, I was getting into it 2) it was on my #MustReadin2014 list 3) I had to get to the controversial ending

But . . . Here is what irked me 1) Characters were constantly fiddling with the hem of their shirts. Huh? But everyone doing this often. 2) The writing just wasn’t good.  Biggest issue? The dual narration and not being able to remember who was telling the story at certain points. Don’t think Roth really delivered in Tobias’ voice 3) Reading should never feel like a chore and I had to force myself to sit and read both at the beginning and after about page 250.

Still I did finish. In the end, I enjoyed Divergent and should have just stopped there. Much preferred the Legend trilogy if anyone is in the mood for YA dystopia.

 Allegiant #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 23/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 147/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 42/65 complete

Speaking of #MustReadin2014 – for anyone participating in this challenge, we talked about sharing our progress at the end of March. I am planning to do a post for April 1st. Anyone else in? Doesn’t have to be huge and full of reviews, unless you want it to be. Maybe just a list of titles you’ve read so far. Highlighting some favourites? Ratings? I know this community will bring their own style and signature to it! I will start tweeting some reminders using the hashtag #MustReadin2014 over the next week.

Ocean wonders: twenty nonfiction picture books about sea life

My class and I have fallen into a theme of ocean and sea life without really knowing we were heading in that direction. And just like dipping your toe into the deep blue sea and being lured into the depths, we have found that everywhere we turn, there are more books on this theme for us to discover. Here are twenty nonfiction picture book titles – some we have read, some that are in the pile to share and some we might not get to this time around. I hope that some will be ones you want to share with the children in your lives.

Books with a theme of Exploration:

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins  

How can we not be intrigued at the idea that we may only have encountered half of the large animals living in the sea?

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Éric Puybaret

Cousteau was fascinated by a world that he couldn’t spend prolonged time in. Without being able to breather underwater, how could Cousteau explore its mysteries? Read a more detailed review here

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jaques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino

Another fantastic picture book biography sharing the life of the inspiring Jacques Cousteau.

Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester

This title is based on the author’s real experience of travelling to Antarctica. Full of all kinds of facts about icebergs, icebreakers, life in a research station. Read a more detailed review here.

 Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

Books with an Environment theme:

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A Nivola 

The depiction of Earle’s curious childhood in the water, descriptions of moments in her life that truly shaped and changed her, beautiful and enticing illustrations and this very important message: “You can’t care if you don’t know.”

Winston of Churchill by Jean Davies Okimoto

This book tells us about Winston, the bear from Churchill, Manitoba who decides to mobolize a group of polar bears to teach the tourists who come to see the polar bears about the effects of global warming on the melting ice in the Arctic.

Ice Bear (In the Steps of the Polar Bear) written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Gary Blythe 

Nicola Davies tells us how polar bears survive in the Northern landscape weaving facts on each page into the beautiful story she tells in lovely poetic text.

Read about how I used this title in my room to practice deep thinking questions here

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm 

Narrated by the sun. Learn about ocean’s life cycles and the importance of phytoplankton.

Environment  Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

Books about Specific Sea Creatures (one or many):

Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan

Through a story of a mother whale and her calf’s migratory journey, we are able to learn many things about humpback whales.

See What a Seal Can Do written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Kate Nelms

The reader is then invited into the world of seals. Learn all about gray seals – how they move, how they hunt and how their body is perfectly suited to their ocean home.

Read more about this book here.

One Tiny Turtle written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Jane Chapman

The amazing story of the lifecycle of the loggerhead turtle.

Surprising Sharks written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by James Croft

Learn lots about sharks including how humans pose many threats to their survival.

Bubble Homes and Fish farts written by Fiona Bayrock and illustrated by Carolyn Conahan 

How do animals use bubbles? In quite amazing ways! From the bubble nets of humpback whales to the bubbles sea otters use to stay extra warm in the cold ocean water.

In the Sea written by David Elliot and illustrated by Holly Meade

Poems about various sea creatures. Gorgeous illustrations.

Giant Squid: Searching for a Sea Monster by Mary M. Cerullo from the Smithsonian

Written like an active investigation. Just what is the giant squid? Why is it so elusive? How is it studied?

Shimmer & Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life by Jim Arnosky 

Learn about different fish and sea animals that live in the ocean. Amazing fold out pages.

Sea Creatures  Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

Books that begin on the Shore or wade into the Coral Reefs:

Coral Reefs by Jason Chin 

In this title, being lost in a book means getting lost in a completely different world – in this case the magical world of coral reefs.

Hello Ocean written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, with illustrations by Mark Estrella

Not exactly a nonfiction title but a poetic text that speaks to all of our senses close to the shore.

Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Joan Paley

The book itself reads like a story – we learn about how sea stars hunt for food, how they eat (by extending a stomach out through the mouth) and how they are vulnerable when the tide goes out to being eaten by seabirds

Looking Closely Along the Shore by Frank Serafini 

Look at the shore in ways you have never quite imagined it through the camera lens and close up shots of Frank Serafini.

 Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

 

NFPB 2014

I learn so much by reading all of the blog posts that link to the Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday event that KidLit Frenzy hostsVisit Alyson’s blog to see what books are shared this week.

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 42/65 complete!

Do you have favourite nonfiction titles on any of these themes? Please share in the comments!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Preschool animal discoveries

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

I am so excited about the number of nonfiction picture books being written ideal for younger readers – from preschool to early primary. Recently I was invited to John Oliver High School‘s Wonder of Reading Event. My task? To read to rotating groups of preschool age children and their parents/caregivers for ten minutes at a time over the morning. What fun! I decided that rather than picking a fiction story, I would bring in a number of nonfiction titles and a basket of animal stuffies and set myself up for an interactive reading experience adventure into the world of animals.

I shared a few pages of different books depending on where the mood took us and the interest level of the group. We ended up talking a lot about ostriches, monkeys and penguins and the fact that none of us had a tail. What was in my bin of books?

Let me share:

From the brilliant Nicola Davies – three titles illustrated by Marc Boutavant. All of these books have a lift the flap and find out component. In my class we have started calling these “flip flap” books inspired by one student who refers to them like this because it makes one smile just to say it! 🙂

Who’s Like Me? (published 2012)

“Who’s like me? Who’s furry and breathes air like me? Is it . . . ?” 

Who's like me? #nfpb2013 Preschool Nonfiction There's a Book for That

Who Lives Here?  (published 2012)

“Who lives here? Who lives in this still, cool pond? Is it . . . ?”

 #nfpb2013 Preschool Nonfiction There's a Book for That

What Happens Next?  (published 2012)

“Here’s a hungry chameleon. Here’s a juicy grasshopper. What happens next?”

What happens next?  #nfpb2013 Preschool Nonfiction There's a Book for That

And even though none of us could find a tail on ourselves, we were sure excited to guess which tail belonged to which animal in Laura Hulbert‘s Who Has This Tail? Illustrated by Erik Brooks (published 2012)

 #nfpb2013 Preschool Nonfiction There's a Book for That

Tushes & Tails! by Stephane Frattini (published 2012) Who belongs to which tush and/or tail? It is not as easy as it many seem to guess. This was a hit with the parents who were as curious as their little ones to find out about each mysterious bottom!

 #nfpb2013 Preschool Nonfiction There's a Book for That

My original goal was 60 nonfiction picture books for 2013. Progress: 56/60 complete!

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2013! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.

NFPB2013leaves