Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove

This week a treasure of a book arrived at my house.

The Good Little Book written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Marian Arbona

 The Good Little Book Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

This title perfectly captures true #booklove and the notion that books must be shared. What a perfect book to get us thinking about heading back into classrooms and reading to children or snuggling up for a cozy family story time with your own little ones. Books about loving books are especially special. They celebrate the wonder and magic of reading. This title by Maclear reminds us that our attachments to certain stories can be passionate and run deep.

This book is unique. It doesn’t have a jacket (significant later in the story) and its end pages are some of the most exquisite I have ever seen. Vibrant red flowers, quirky doodles and a name plate that makes us think about a very important question: Does a book truly belong to any one person? 

This book is about a boy and his book. His love for the book grows slowly. It comforts him. It transports him to new places and inspires him to experience a myriad of emotions. Soon, he is most definitely attached. And then one day, his book is missing. He worries. He searches. He mourns.

It might be that he does come across this book again. But our boy is now a reader and he knows, most certainly, that a book is a gift. A gift to be shared.

Such a gem. This good little book 🙂

This week I celebrate The Good Little Book and all of the #booklove it will conjure up in its readers.

I have also shared some of my other favourite titles that honour books, literacy and reading.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

 The Fantasict Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Library written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

 The Library  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small

 That Book Woman  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

Mr. George Baker  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty.

The Snatchabook  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

 The Bee Tree  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Best Book in the World by Rilla 

the best book in the world  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.

celebrate-link-up

Happy Reading! 

Thank you to Pamela at Penguin Random House Canada for providing the copy of The Good Little Book for review!

My Picture Book 10 for 10 for 2013

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

I am thrilled to be participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event for the second time. This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. What are the picture books that you just can not live without?

pb 10 for 10

Last year I shared many of my all time favourite picture books. This year, I thought I would focus on what has become a beloved theme: picture books that feature a connection between generations – whether it is a child and a grandparent or a child and a grandparent like figure.

These stories remind us that time is a gift, memories have big meaning and wisdom shared always enhances what we know.

My top ten favourites on this theme: Connections across the generations

Mr. Zinger’s Hat written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic

A wonderful story about the power of storytelling and how it meanders this way and that between the narrator and the “creatively involved” listener. Young Leo and Mr. Zinger  collectively “create” a story. And then the storytelling continues once Leo has been “bit” by the writing/narrating bug. Just lovely.

Mr Zinger's Hat: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Friend written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

A beautiful friendship and love exist between little Belle and her devoted housekeeper Beatrice. Bea is little Belle’s daily companion as her parents race off here and there, too “busy” to give their child time. Reminds us that spending time with a child is everything even when doing the most mundane chores. Connection, warmth, love . . . What makes this story even more special is that it is inspired by a similar relationship in the author’s childhood. I wish I owned this book but sadly it is out of print. As always Small and Stewart create a treasured story together.

The Friend: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Imaginary Garden written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

The Imaginary Garden tells a story of grandfather and granddaughter who paint a lush garden mural when a real garden is no longer possible in Poppa’s new apartment. I used this book as inspiration for some beautiful garden art with my students.

 The Imaginary Garden: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Frank Show, a David Mackintosh title

This title is all about a young boy who thinks his Grandad Frank is not going to be an interesting share at Show and Tell. But, watch out for the older generation! Boy do they pull out all the stops. A great book to share to highlight how wonderful it is to get to know our grandparents. (My own Dad who happens to be a “Papa Frank” loved this title and read it to my nieces :-))

The Frank Show: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Oma’s Quilt written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Emily’s Oma (grandmother) has to move to a retirement home and she is very reluctant to do so.  What about her precious things? Her neighbours? Cooking apple strudel? Even the bowling alley at the home doesn’t change her mind (smelly shoes!) While Emily and her mother are sorting through Oma’s possessions, Emily has a wonderful idea. Why not make a memory quilt for Oma!?

Oma's Quilt: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith 

This book has so much of what I love- adoration for a Grandfather (a Great Grandfather in this case!), nostalgia for sick days and lots of reading, gardens, and the love of family history shared between generations. Exquisite!

Grandpa Green: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

What a special story that celebrates friendship, literacy and the sentiment that it is never too late to learn something new. Young Harry waits for the school bus every morning with his friend and neighbour Mr. George Baker. Mr. Baker, a spry and charming man is a hundred years old and has never learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says George. Lyrical. Simple. Inspirational. A book to share with new learners of every age.

Mr. George Baker: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Wednesday Surprise written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Donald Carrick

Anna spends every evening with her Grandma. After dinner and dishes, Grandma and Anna work on a surprise for Dad’s birthday. The surprise is all about books and reading and it makes me cry no matter how many times I read this story. Special. Special. Special.

The Wednesday Surprise: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

When Mary Ellen confesses that she is tired of reading, Grandpa leads her (and half the community!) on an adventure that involves racing over fields and country roads in search of a bee tree. Along with the reward of baking powder biscuits and sweet honey, Mary Ellen receives some of Grandpa’s wisdom:

“There is sweetness inside of that book too! Such things . . . adventure, knowledge and wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them.”

The Bee Tree: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

William’s Doll written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois

A classic and consistently important story that shakes up thinking that is based in stereotypes. Brothers, neighbours and Dad send William the message that wanting a doll is wrong, something for a “sissy” and certainly not for a boy. But Grandma arrives, and in her wise and quiet way manages to get William the doll he covets and give the message to Dad that William wants a doll to love, but also to “play” at being a father – learning to do all of the things he will need to do one day for his own child. More than forty years old, this book is still relevant. I used it with a class last year and it was powerful.

William's Doll: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Last year, my list featured two more favourites on this theme. Stories that remain favourites.

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

(Knew I would find a way to “be creative” (a.k.a. cheat) with the 10 book guideline :-))

Not only do I love books that celebrate connections between the generations, I also love the magic that happens when books are shared during reading experiences. I shared that in this post: The Grandparent Effect

Please share if you have other titles that fit with this theme of connections across generations.

Happy Reading!

Monday August 5th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads!

I had an amazing week for picture books. Amazing. I am pretty sure I met some of the picture books that will make my favourites of the year list.

Here are the books I’ve been raving about this week:

Building our House by Jonathan Bean This book had special meaning for me because a few years ago we renovated our house. By we, I mean our contractors, but we spent many days wandering around the construction site that once was and would again be, our home. We climbed up ladders and visualized stairs and walls and rooms and life. I love how the illustrations in this book document a story as much as the text does. And the author’s note in the back with photographs of Jonathan Bean’s own history of a childhood spent amongst foundation and fields and beams made this story all the more special. Head over to Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast to see more:  sketches, storyboards and photographs. Amazing!

Building our House #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov I saw the cover of this book and had to have it. I loved what it hinted at: creativity, focus, absurdity, inventiveness . . . I was not disappointed. The language is fun. The entire family is involved and Papa models the curiousity and persistence of an inventor. This book is “almost true” based on the life of Lodner Phillips who really did build The Whitefish, an actual functioning submarine.

Papa's Mechanical Fish #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Once Upon a Northern Night written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault One of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time. Lyrical, soothing and visually beautiful. Let the text lull you to sleep with dreams of the magic and quiet of winter. Arsenault’s illustrations are exquisite.

Once upon a northern night #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Mighty Lalouche written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. I found this story absolutely delightful! The illustrations are stunning and add much to an already engaging story. The messages here are important: perseverance, being true to yourself, finding happiness . . . But there are also levels to this story that are just going to engage children in the joy and humour of boxing adventures and the triumph of the underdog. I cannot wait to read this aloud to my class!

The Mighty Lalouche #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mama, is it Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure A simple but gorgeous story about the waiting for summer through the seasons. Celebrates the joy of outdoors, the changing seasons and the wonder of nature.

Mama, Is it Summer yet? #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco There is so much I love about this story. I love that Grandpa is actively involved (leading in fact) the adventure of racing over fields and country roads in search of a bee tree. I love the spirit of community. And of course, that it ends with a message about the wonder of books and reading . . . Well! 🙂

The Bee Tree #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman  A story of friendship, of adventure and of bravery. My favourite page is snail looking over the page and down, down, down . . . just before he considers leaping. It’s really a fantastic reminder that courage is not in the doing but in the moments of contemplation leading up to the decision.

 The Story of Fish and Snail #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah Ohora So many books try to capture the essence of the preschool age child and they don’t come close to doing any justice. They have too much sweet. Or too much whiny. Or precociousness that isn’t cute. Only some nail the tantrum and the moments leading up to it with any sort of sense of realism. This book is divine. It really reveals what it is like to be a small being and have to navigate the world while attempting to contain emotional highs and lows. Absolutely adorable. I think this might be my new “must have it” gift for new parents. Captures the preschool mind, heart and will beautifully.

 No Fits, Nilson! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Some nonfiction titles I loved:

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham Wow. This is a fascinating biography that not only makes math seem absolutely engrossing but gives us a glimpse into a mind that was truly one track. A beautiful balance between the mathematical life and the other life of Paul Erdos. Accessible and intriguing for younger readers/listeners. A definite book to be explored multiple times.

The Boy who loved math #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Healthy Kids (A Global Fund for Children book) by Maya Ajmera, Victoria Dunning and Cynthia Pon I shared this title (and other related books) on my Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday post.

Healthy Kids #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

 I also finished two novels.

Maggot Moon written by Sally Gardner Sigh. This YA read was not an easy one. It literally made my skin crawl. Part of me wanted to shake this book off – it is full of horror and upset and pain. If the text and happenings weren’t enough to make the reader tremble, the black and white illustrations lining the bottom of pages serve to ensure that one is always uncomfortable. This book is a mystery. It is set in an alternative history – tells us a powerful dystopian fable. But it is also about courage and the power of friendship. I have really never read anything quite like this story – even though it has clear parallels and not so subtle nuances that speak to our own recent and atrocious history of war, oppression and brutality. Clearly young adult, fully compelling, this story is not one I will soon forget. Gardner delivers a very important story. Highly recommended.

Maggot Moon #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

After Ever After written by Jordan Sonnenblick I read (and loved) Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to read this companion book. It made me cry. And laugh. And appreciate life. What more does one need from a story? I am fast becoming a huge Sonnenblick fan.

After ever After #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am starting Sold by Patricia McCormick 

What are you reading this week?

Monday July 29th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

IMWAYR

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads! These #IMWAYR posts are a great place to “shop” for new titles.

Favourite picture books from the week:

The Hueys in It Wasn’t Me by Oliver Jeffers The second title in The Hueys books by Jeffers. Sometimes an argument becomes bigger than the original source of conflict. This simple little picture book highlights exactly this phenomenon. For anyone who spends anytime with children, this story rings very true!

 It Wasn't Me There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco An emotional historical fiction title set during the American civil war. Touches on themes of war, slavery, racism and survival. Definitely for older readers.

Pink and Say There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Carmine – A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet An extremely clever alphabetical retelling/fractured tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Wander through bolded words in ABC order and Sweet’s signature artistic style – part collage, part detailed panels and so expressive. Loved the vocabulary and the fresh approach to this classic tale.

Carmine A Little More Red There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

A House is a House for Me written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Betty Fraser I simply adore Mary Ann Hoberman and her gift for rhyme. And Fraser’s illustrations make me nostalgic for childhood ease. First published in 1978, this title is one long poem about everything that can be a house. All about homes/houses for just about everything. My favourite was no surprise: A book is a house for a story.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

The Night Riders by Matt Furie One of my newest favourite wordless titles. This is some kind of adventure into the world of real and fantastical nocturnal creatures and amazing things that happen beneath the light of the moon. One of the best things about the book? The jacket unfolds into a double sided poster of images from the story. Here is a link to Matt Furie’s interview with The Beat (the daily news blog of comics news, reviews, and information) about this, his first book. 

Looking for more wordless titles? I just created a Pinterest board with all of my favourites.

Night Riders There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bruno Munari’s ABC First published in 1960, a wonderful graphic ABC book.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Flora McDonnell’s ABC Bright, bold and beautiful. This has inspired some art project ideas . . . A study in letters, opposites and clever pairings. Each page has 2 objects beginning with a specific letter. Some of my favourites? The large giant with a tiny red glove perched on his thumb, a regal tiger with a teapot balanced on his head and a rhinoceros sniffing at a radish. So fun.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Anticipating fall book talks, I am trying to catch up on some graphic novels and early chapter book titles. This week I read two winners.

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat written by Anna Branford with illustrations by Ellana Allen Loved the nature/science/ecology connection. Perfect for my Grade 2/3/4 readers just beginning to read chapter books. And how delightful that Violet names her ladybug Small Gloria.

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Bird & Squirrel on the Run by James Burks What fun and absolutely full of silly escapades. Loved the contrast of the pessimistic and optimistic characters. Kids will love this!

Bird and squirrel There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

I also finished two novels

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater A friend passed on her ARC of this book to me. I had resigned myself to impatiently waiting for September but, I was so thrilled to read it now! Let’s just say this – I am fully just as hooked and intrigued by these Aglionby boys and the character of Blue. Intrigue, mystery, twists, upsets, revelations. This second title has it all. 

The Dream Thieves There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick Wow. This book subtly and not so subtly sneaks right up on you pretty quickly and holds fast. It is at times teary and heartbreaking, other times hilarious and witty and all the while, just plain good. A very human and honest look at a family hit hard by childhood illness and how they navigate the complicated business of hospitals, emotions and changing family dynamics. Stayed up half the night to finish this title. Now I get the Sonnenblick love. I’m in. Thank you to everyone who raved about this title to me. And yes, I am planning to read After Ever After – already requested from the library 🙂

There's a Book for That It's Monday What are you reading?

 

Next up? Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner and some more graphic novels in my pile!

Happy reading everyone!

Monday January 14th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Kellee and Jen’s meme to share all the reading you have done over the week – everything from picture books to young adult novels! Connecting with the #IMWAYR community is such a great way to hear about fantastic books “new to you.”

I read a lot of picture books this week. Here are my favourites:

Pecan Pie Baby by Jaqueline Woodson and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. A perceptive little story about a young girl who is anxious about a new baby coming and changing the connected relationship between her and her Mama. Love Sophie Blackall’s illustrations – all the tender snuggles between pregnant Mom and daughter.

pecan pie baby

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman I’ve read other Ladybug girl stories but not this original book and I like it best of all. Lovely illustrations and the highlights of outdoor pretend play.

Ladybug-Girl

Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood The best part of this story is the celebration of play through some very imaginative building with boxes. (Fantastic illustrations by Blackwood) Of course, it’s also a great book to touch on anxiety about moving somewhere new.

clancy and millie and the very fine house

C.R. Mudgeon by Leslie Muir and Julian Hector There is much to this little book. A tribute to friendship, a reminder to break out of your comfort zone and be ready for new things and the celebration of individuals who really truly grab on to the world and shake all there is to find within it out! Go read it . . . so worth it!

C.R. Mudgeon

Some Cat! This was a wonderful read aloud in my room. I shared my students’ reactions here.

some cat

Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein The pay it forward story line isn’t unique for a picture book but none of us can hear this message too often: kindness passed on grows and strengthens. Loved the illustrations. Beautifully colourful and whimsical. I read this to my class and it sparked a lovely brainstorming session on how we can create more kindness in our classroom.

because_amelia_smiled

Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Robertson A boy wants a dog. A dog wants a friend. Really, they need each other. If you just look at it in the right way . . . Touching story of the need for a companion and how far some might go to find that connection. Chapter format in a picture book.

wanted the perfect pet

Bullly by Patricia Polacco Handles middle school issues of cyber bullying, friendship and loyalty very well.

Bully-cover-web

I also read some fantastic nonfiction. Read this post for more details.

In novels . . . 

DivinersI finished The Diviners by Libba Bray. This was one of my must read in 2013 titles as I’m trying to read more fantasy novels.

Wow . . .this was some book! Dramatic. (I loved the 1920s setting and characters.) Funny. At times, absolutely scary. Eerie and shivery kind of scary. Horror. Paranormal activity. Special powers. It was the kind of read where it is necessary to say to yourself, “just a book, just a book . . . ” Some nights I would turn off my light and then haunted by worries about a specific character, turn the light back on and read on.

This is a long read (578 pages) but highly addictive. The ending definitely leaves many things unanswered (hooking readers for the next in the series . . .)

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

I also read How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.

I read this book quickly finding myself very attached to what might happen to all of the characters. The story is about two teenage girls (Jill and Mandy) who find their lives completely colliding when Jill’s Mom decides to adopt Mandy’s baby in an open adoption. Pregnant Mandy comes to live with Jill and her Mom and brings with her sadness, secrets and longing for a different life. Jill is still reeling from the recent death of her father and finds it difficult to be open to anyone. Somehow though these characters find a way to make sense to each other and the ending is . . . (I don’t want to spoil it but must say, it really touched me)

Currently, I’m reading The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver to my children and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (think this is the fourth time I’ve read this book!) with my student book club at school. We are really enjoying The Spindlers – it’s full of delightful and unique characters from “below” My son is finding the idea of spindlers a little spooky but every time I stop reading, he begs me to continue!

I am also reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver (the author that seems to be everywhere I look this week!)

Thunder Cake

I am a huge fan of author/illustrator Patricia Polacco. Her book Thunder Cake helped us continue our discussion about how to be courageous and how to manage our fears.

The little girl in this story is very afraid of thunderstorms – hide under the bed afraid. Grandma soothes her explaining that summer storms full of thunder and lightning are made for baking Thunder Cake. The mention of ThunderCake gets some attention and Grandma is able to explain how to count seconds when you see lightning and stop counting when you hear the thunder to help figure out how far away the storm is.

My students loved counting along and then laughing when I read out Polacco’s different versions of thunder:

“BAROOOOOOM”

“CRACKLE, CRACKLE BOOOOM, KA-BOOOM”

“KA-BANG BOOOOOOAROOOOM”

It was all very exciting and almost like a storm was descending on us as we read through the pages.

This whole Thunder Cake idea seemed quite intriguing. I asked what magical ingredient it might contain that would take away fear? We had watched our little character collect eggs from the mean Peck-Hen and milk from Kick Cow and then chocolate, sugar and flour from the dry shed. What was going to be the magic fear dissolver? Well, maybe it was something else entirely going on? It didn’t take long for someone to talk out their thoughts on this:

It is really just a normal cake but because she had to go get the ingredients from things that scared her (the hen and the cow) she started to realize that she is actually brave

“Yeah,” someone else agreed. “She is trusting herself to be brave.”

“The ingredients aren’t special! It is making the cake that helps her realize that thunder is just a sound because she stops worrying about it. She wants to ice the cake!”

We had a great discussion about how once we don’t hide from our fears, we can face them and realize they don’t have power over us. Sometimes being brave isn’t doing some amazingly courageous act. Sometimes being brave is just being calm and thinking about something else.

An ideal book to let us look at something that is often very scary and remove the “fear” by watching our character have success in celebrating her ability to be brave. And saying KABOOOOOOOOM in a really loud booming voice sure is satisfying!