Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017

Picture book 10 for 10 is here! This is one of the best days of the year to increase your knowledge of amazing picture books. It may also be a tad expensive . . . You’ve been warned!

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my sixth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. In 2014, I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness. In 2015. I highlighted favourite historical fiction titles. Last year I chose books that may inspire philosophical discussion

This year’s theme is the theme I chose for #classroombookaday with my Grade 4 and 5 class during the last week of school. I told them I was going to read books that were beautifully quirky and that I wanted to be sure I shared with them before our year together ended. Beautifully quirky is a great category. These books lead to awe and wonder. Questions and discussions. And many rereads.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

These books are wonderfully odd. My kind of odd. I hope your kind of odd. Books that leave you thinking. That awe you with the wild and the beautiful and the unexpected or unexplained.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (2014)

This book will always be about the shouting audience. “No! They missed it again!” “Oh my God!” “Seriously?!” This book is all about theories. Digging in, around and but never really out is highly satisfying.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket with illustrations by Lisa Brown (2017)

This book really is about a goldfish ghost who travels around in search of a place to belong. Quietly clever and speaks to some important themes: the cycle of life, belonging and companionship.

Goldfish Ghost Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for ThatNot Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima (2017)

Kelp was born in the ocean and raised by narwhals. Something has always seemed not quite right. Then one night, he discovers unicorns. Is this the answer to everything? Or just some things. Who we are, where we belong, how big all of this can be. Lovely little book.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken (2017)

This book begins with an eye that was drawn too large. Where it ends up? Oh my! A creative and inspiring journey.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Snurtch written by Sean Ferrell with illustrations by Charles Santoso (2016)

Well, if we all have a Snurtch – and I suppose we do – I would hope that mine is this cute. A charming story that reminds us of all the emotions and moods inside of us. Because, oh yes, it isn’t all happy happy joy joy.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Day I Became a Bird by Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi (2016)

I am utterly enamoured by the illustrations in this book about a boy willing to be a bird to attract the attention of the girl he swoons over.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis  (2016)

Invented language. Over the top stunning illustrations. This book invites the reader to climb inside and help tell the story over and over again.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Liszits written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Júlia Sardà (2016)

I use the word quirky every time I pick this book up. It is absolutely captivating. The story. The lists. The illustrations. I can’t share this with anyone without reading them the entire book and then we both just sit back in awe. Inspired.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming with illustrations by Boris Kulikov (2013)

Creativity. Focus. Absurdity. Inventiveness. The language is fun. The entire family is involved and Papa models the curiosity 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.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt (2015)

Who better to introduce children to the stages of grief than a bug swallowed up in a vacuum? Right? Huh? Love this book! Students do too.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10

pb-10-for-10What titles would make your beautifully quirky list? 

Happy picture book reading!  

Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016

Picture book 10 for 10 is here! Not many days can rival the picture book love shared on this day!

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my fifth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. In 2014, I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness. Last year I highlighted favourite historical fiction titles.

This year I chose books that may inspire philosophical discussion. BIG questions with no absolute answer. Questions about meaning. And truth. Knowledge and reality. Ethics and morals. Books that will allow readers to think critically. To reason. To argue. To listen. To take risks in understanding and meaning making. To stretch one question into deeper and more complex questions.

Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

For each title I have listed the initial questions I had after reading. Of course, in a room full of readers and thinkers, these questions would only grow!

Little Bird written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine

Little Bird Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Is a small thing insignificant? What state of being do we need to be in to notice small details?  How does this noticing change our reality?

You Call That Brave by Lorenz Pauli and Kathrin Schärer

You Call that Brave Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is courage? Is it an action or a decision? How do we determine what is bravery? Can a brave act for one be common place for another?

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

this moose belongs to me Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is ownership? Do we have the right to “own” something live? If yes, what responsibilities go along with this? Or is it even possible to own a living thing?

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell

The Gift of Nothing Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is nothing? Is it something? Does it have value? Significance? How do we measure the power or weight of nothing?

There by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

There Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Is there a place that brings bigger happiness? What are we searching for? Is it someplace we have been?  Or someplace we only imagine? Can we truly be in the moment or are we always thinking ahead or looking back?

Wild by Emily Hughes

Wild Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Can our true self be changed? What do we mean by the influence of nature or nurture? What is freedom? Can our spirit be contained? How much of our inner life is our own?

The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have written by Edward van de Vendel and illustrated by Anton Van Hertbruggen

The Dog that Nino didn't have Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Where is the place between imagination and reality? Can what we imagine make us truly happy? Which is superior – imagination or reality? In which circumstances?

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton,

Something Extraordinary Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is real? What is fuelled by imagination? How does that influence our reality? Is there beauty in simplicity? In the everyday? Does it count if we don’t notice it?

 My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown 

My Teacher is A Monster (No, I am Not!) Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What defines us? Who we are or how we are perceived? How does emotion affect perception? How does our reality change over time? How does experience alter reality?

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

Grandad's Island Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Is there life after death? What would it be like? Do those we love remain with us? How? Where?

Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10

pb-10-for-10

Happy picture book reading!  

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 2012

Picture Book Love!!

This is the first year I am participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

Any opportunity to celebrate a love for picture books, count me in!

Of course I could have listed hundreds but I tried to select the first ten that came to me. My list for 2012:

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed. Oh how I love this book that celebrates love! I gushed about it here. This book is quite possibly my favourite picture book ever. And that is really saying something!

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert. Geisert is a master at telling a beautiful and whimsical fantastical story through a wordless book.  How the pigs happen to be saved from volcanic disaster is a reason to share this story many times. Gorgeous.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. I really liked this book on first read. But after sharing it with my class I quickly grew to love it. My students went crazy for this book! Read more here. This book read aloud in a classroom of book lovers is a force to be reckoned with.

All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee. This book could be read daily and one would never tire of it. I have blogged about it before: “The images are comforting, saturated with details and evoke our own memories attached to the experiences suggested by each picture. These pictures are so easy to connect to, I felt like I had taken a journey through some of my own most happiest of memories.”

Hunwick’s Egg written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts. I have blogged about this book before as it is one of my favourites: “Hunwick’s egg never hatched although it provided him with companionship, faith and an important secret. Yes, he realized his egg was not an egg at all but a perfectly shaped stone and he loved it all the more. This book is beyond endearing and my heart lifts just pulling it off the shelf.”

The Gardener written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. It is wonderful to have historical fiction wrapped up so beautifully in this illustrated book. My own children wanted to study this book again and again.

House Held up by Trees written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This book celebrates the power of nature and how we are naturally drawn to it. Efforts to keep it at bay are often futile. Nature finds its way. This book is stunning.

Leaf by Stephen Michael King. A story of the friendship between a boy, a dog and a plant. Simple, sweet, endearing. The best thing about this book? It is nearly wordless – the only text  – sound effects – Whooosh, Boing, Sploosh, Glurg glurg .

Hello Goodbye Window written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka. The vibrant colours in this book are pure joy! I love the celebration of the relationship between grandchild and grandparents. “Hello World! What have you got for us today?” We still quote this line frequently in our house!

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas. A favourite of mine for years. Every time I read it aloud to a new group of students I sit back and enjoy their discussions of all the special kinds of memories. A book every house and classroom should own.

Stuck

Picture Book Love #5: Celebrating picture books that are just too good not to gush over.

“Ms. Gelson have you blogged about that book yet?” I am asked this question about six times a day. I have been asked this question since last week. I am asked this question everyday at least a half a dozen times because it is basically the class consensus that I am holding the book Stuck by Oliver Jeffers hostage. I have the book at home to blog about it and share how much we absolutely adored it. Therefore, I am preventing it from being on our “New Books” stand in the classroom where it could be fought over daily so that children could relive their joy independently or in small groups (I’m pretty sure this book is one of those books that has a child magnet in it – no child can be within 2 meters of it without being lured closer and closer). All of my excuses do not suffice. I have extreme guilt. I have been busy but I know that doesn’t count because this book needs to return to our classroom NOW so we can give it the love it deserves! So here we go:

WE LOVE THIS BOOK. LOVE OF THE “READ IT AGAIN” CHANT KIND. LOVE AS IN WE LAUGHED, WE CRIED, WE ALMOST DIED. LOVE. LOVE LOVE.

Why? It’s not because we are already Oliver Jeffers fans.  (Even though we are) It’s not because this book is about some fantastically amazing creature or place. No monsters. No wild beasts. No magic. It is beautifully simple really. Just a boy. A kite. And a tree. But Jeffers weaves little boy logic with the right dose of the absurd and creates a picture book that sends children into laughing mania. Beautiful shout out laughter that makes you laugh even more when shared. This book read aloud in a classroom of book lovers is a force to be reckoned with.

The plot? Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree. He can’t pull it down so he throws his shoe at it. It also gets stuck. So he throws his other shoe. Stuck. Up went Mitch the cat. (He was tossed. He didn’t amble up of his own accord in case you might be wondering) Again, stuck. When Floyd fetches a ladder and ends up tossing it into the tree in the attempt to dislodge everything, a few students fell over. Really! “Why would he throw it? Oh man!” This tossing of items up the tree continues. When the kitchen sink goes up, we really were losing it. “He’s crazy!” “My God!” “At least it’s just a kitchen sink!” More things end up in the tree. Much larger and seemingly impossible things. The absurdity did us in. We were bowled over by giggles. I heard a few, “Please. Make it stop,” requests. Almost as if I was tickling each child without mercy. But no, I was just reading the book!

When Floyd finds the saw . . . Well let’s just say that his decision completely put us over the edge. The laughter engulfed us. Nobody could get a word out. When the book ended and the breathing slowly returned to normal, the unsolicited reviews began:

“That’s the best book ever! A 10 out of 5!”

“That book was awesome. The most awesome. The best book in the world!”

“I loved it infinity and beyond!”

So mission accomplished. Book is blogged. It is going in my bag to return to the classroom tomorrow. My prediction? I will be begged to read it immediately again and then it will travel from desk to desk spreading picture book joy.

 

 

 

Blackout

Picture Book Love #4: Celebrating picture books that are just too good not to gush over.

Blackout by John Rocco is not just visually gorgeous (It is a 2011 Caldecott Honour Book after all), it also reads bearing gifts. It reminds us to take and honour the gift of time, the gift of family, the gift of slowing down and being in the moment. And it does this without being preachy, sappy or judgemental. It just shows us that busy often gets in the way of family time and removing ourselves from the busy world can be possible, right at our own kitchen table.

Blackout_spread

The story starts out letting us peek into the windows of a family’s apartment. Everyone busy. Computers. Cooking. Chatting on the phone. Don’t disturb. Leave me alone. No time for a game that the youngest family member wants to play. And then . . . A blackout. No power. No lights. Nothing works but . . .  time. Flashlights and candles make the dark, quiet world go from scary to cozy. But the muggy summer heat soon leads the family to the rooftop where starlight creates an art filled sky of wonder. Now nobody is busy and the family revels in time together.

When the lights come on again, the family is not ready to give up the special closeness the blackout created. Family game time by candlight is first on the “to do” list.

This book reminds us to look for wonder in the simple and everyday and to treasure family time above all else. Because everything can get in the way. But only if you let it . . .

Ice

Picture Book Love #3: Celebrating picture books that are just too good not to gush over.

Such an intriguing premise for a picture book. A community of pigs live on an unbearably hot, treeless island. Life is focussed on sheltering themselves from the unforgiving sun. It is not really working. The island water supply will soon be in dangerously short supply. Meetings happen. Plans are made and a group of pigs sail off. Sail off, it must be noted, on a gorgeous flying airship: part hot air balloon, part sailboat. Completely beautiful.

The ship drifts around the globe and locates icebergs. The pigs attach their ship via an anchor in the ice and then begin to celebrate their luck. Dancing pigs by firelight. Simply delightful. And then by attaching a sail to the iceberg, the pigs manage to navigate the iceberg back to their hot, dry island and then the real work begins.

Scaffolds are built. Ice saws utilized. Pulleys, ladders, assembly lines. These pigs have it all worked out! Large chunks of ice are added to the almost dry island reservoir turning it into part water storage, part water/ice adventure land.

The hardworking pigs celebrate with satisfying swims, make shift waterslides and high dives from iceblocks into the cool deep water! Then ice chunks are hauled to home water sources and the pigs can finally indulge in cool relief from the island’s heat.

Arthur Geisert‘s wonderfully wordles book Ice appeals to me on so many levels. First of all it celebrates industriousness. Hardworking pigs one and all, old and young pitch in to make a poor situation (unbearable heat) better. I love that these pigs plan carefully and then, in completely unexpected ways (via a flying sailship), execute this plan. And finally these pigs again sit together and celebrate their mutual success. I also love these pigs. Pigs. It should seem absurd but these pigs are highly relatable in their simple dresses or overalls and communal committment to a task. In witnessing the pig’s inventiveness and high adventure, one comes away with a satisfied feeling. So much happens in just a few pages. Problem. Idea. Execution. Solution. Satisfaction. If only every problem could be approached with such creativity and success.