Monday December 26th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week I got a little carried away 🙂

Here is a photo of Reading Workshop taken in the last week of school. Nothing makes e happier than readers reading.

Monday December 26th, 2016 There's a Book for That

One day last week I snuck into school to label some new to my class books ready to be book talked in January. Here’s to thieving from our family bookshelves and some great new purchases!

Monday December 26th, 2016 There's a Book for That

Christmas gift bookstack (my children’s haul)

Monday December 26th, 2016 There's a Book for That

And for Elisabeth Ellington, one more student self-portrait

Monday December 26th, 2016 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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

On the blog:

Favourites of 2016 – No more than 16 words about 16 favourite books

2016-favourites

Books I enjoyed:

The Snurtch written by Sean Ferrell and illustrated by Charles Santoso

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.

the-snurtch

Blue Penguin by Petr Horáček

This is beautifully illustrated! My librarian friend and I went for coffee the other day but we started our visit at the bookshelf where we stood in the picture book section and helped strangers choose gifts for children and grandchildren. Something for a 3 year old? We both reached for Petr Horáček. And penguins?! Can’t go wrong.

blue-penguin

The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond

To say that I am more than happy that Desmond is going to create a series of books on endangered animals is an understatement. Each is a treasure. This one was my holiday gift to myself. A must own title.

the-polar-bear

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

The art. The sentiments. The story. This is a collage of a collection of stories of people migrating from one home in search of another. A beautiful, important book.

the-journey

The Bear Who Wasn’t There by LeUyen Pham

Go looking for a bear and you just might not find him. But lots of giggles are on every page as you meet a cast of cheeky characters.

 The Bear who Wasn't There

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley

Many endearing characters. Gertie, of course and her Aunt Rae. The only thing holding me back from 5 stars for this title is that Gertie’s personality didn’t quite match her age. She seemed younger and it distracted me. Still, looking forward to more from Kate Beasley.

gerties-leap-to-greatness

A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Binder

This was a real find! Can’t wait to include this series in my classroom collection. I loved the friendship between Rip and Red. So much loyalty, faith and understanding between these characters.

a-whole-new-ballgame

LumberJanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson

A little too wacky, colourful and busy for my tastes but I know this graphic series is throughly enjoyed by middle grade readers.

the-lumberjanes-1

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

Looking for more mystery titles for my students and realized I hadn’t read this one by Mass. Really enjoyed the friendship here and Jeremy’s search for all kinds of answers.

jeremy-fink

The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage

A think a perfect summer would be to rent a little house in Tupelo Landing so that I could spy on Mo and Dale and get a closer look at their adventures. Love these books! (And yes, I know this is a fictional world but after three titles, it all seems so real)

The Odds of Getting Even  by Sheila Turnage

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 68/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 348/400 books read

Progress on challenge: 45 books behind! Under 50 books to go . . .

#MustReadin2016: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 47/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 49/50 books read

Up next? I am working on The Raven King – likely my last #mustreadin2016 I will manage to get to! I started this book in the summer but had to put it down when school got busy – it needs uninterrupted reading time.

Gift Books 2016: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season

I love to book shop all year round. In the winter holiday season, I love to insist everyone else should partake. Making a picture book list to give is one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014.  Last year I bumped the list to 25 (2015). And this number seems to be the sweet spot. There are lots of books to love! It is a joy to recommend many of my favourites of the year!

Gift Books 2016: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Which books make the list? There are some things I think about. Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make its readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Does it freeze time? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh?

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

Simply the perfect mentor text for poetry writing. Enough said. Well, except to point out that the illustrations are especially swoon worthy.

Daniel Finds a Poem Monday April 11th, 2016

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato

I think this picture book has shades of pure perfection within it. A spotlight on the ridiculous “must be” wedding planning that occurs when love should just prevail. And please note, this is love for love’s sake. Not love that fits in any cookie cutter mold. How I adore this book.

WormLoves Worm

Where’s the Elephant? by Barroux

Beyond a search and find which it seems to be just a few pages in. Not at all. It is a statement about development encroaching on habitat. Of what this means to our world and the animals in it. Powerful. So, powerful. The perfect book to introduce environmental studies. To begin conversations. To worry about. And maybe to inspire change.

Wheres-the-Elephant Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

Return by Aaron Becker

The third book in a trilogy (give the entire collection!). I love each book for particular reasons. This title must be experienced so that you can see how it continues the stories started in Journey and Quest. I think this cover image is my favourite of the three.

Return

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown

I echo what so many others say – oh, if this book had only existed when my children were small. It has so much going on! Each page is full of details and yet a very lovely story of one family unfolds throughout. Spend ages on each page.

the-airport-book

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell with illustrations by Rafael López

This is such an inspiring book based on actual events in San Diego – how a neighborhood can be changed and strengthened by art. Illustrator Rafael López is more than the illustrator here – he is the inspiration for the character of the muralist.

Maybe Something Beautiful

It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton

This book is absolutely delightful. Since actual letters and personal mail is quite the novelty in this day and age, surprises arriving by post really are special. Maybe too much so . . .

It Came in the Mail

A Hungry Lion or a dwindling assortment of animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins

This book is very funny. Very, very funny. It requires that wonderful page flipping back and forth phenomenon – “Did that really happen?” I don’t want to give anything away but will say the surprises delighted me. Can’t wait to read this to a group of children.

a-hungry-lion-or-a-dwindling-assortment-of-animals Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Knowing Book written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich with illustrations by Matthew Cordell

When this book was first published, someone said it was my kind of book. It is most definitely my kind of book. I think it might also be your kind of book. Gently perfect.

The Knowing Book

The Night Gardener by the Fan brothers 

This is just a wow title. It has so much of what I love in a picture book – some surprises, a intergenerational connection, a sense of wonder, lots of creativity . . . Divine.

The Night Gardener Monday April 11th, 2016

Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

This book is so well done. Talking about the story is giving away the story. So I’ll just say this: clever, really funny, perfect read aloud to inspire much conversation about how to look at life.

Barnacle is Bored Monday August 15th, 2016 There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

This book of poetry is kind of pure perfection. Julie Morstad’s illustrations. Julie Fogliano‘s beautiful images. I can’t pick a favourite poem. But I have many a favourite line.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Monday April 4th, 2016 There's a Book for That

The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo

This book is just incredibly beautiful in its simplicity – the search for silence. One to share and share again. The illustrations are captivating.

the-sound-of-silence

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Full of all kinds of fabulous Hatke-esque characters and its star – the Goblin, is one to root for. This will be loved.

nobody-likes-a-goblin

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce just might be my favourite grump. Lots of giggles here.

hotel-bruce2

Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

Oh Flora, you sure can move. And this time with not one, but two, dancing partners. Stunning all around!

Flora and the Peacocks Monday May 30th, 2016 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Like many, I eagerly anticipated this title. Klassen is so unique. I love the subtle things here. The hints. The suggestions. The not neatly wrapped up ending. The room for readers to do some work.

We Found a Hat

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

This is a tender book about friendship and loss. Allows for conversations about preparing for a death and carrying on. A very special (fictional) story based on a real connection between two bears in New York’s Central Park Zoo.

Ida, Always Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Finding Wild written by Megan Wagner Lloyd and illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Where can you find wild? What is wild to you? Why do we need wild? How is wild beautiful and dangerous all at the same time. Just so full of wow.

Finding Wild Monday May 30th, 2016 IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Listzs by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Júlia Sardà (coming in October)

Quirky with gorgeous illustrations and prompts wonderful list making. A great book to share with children who appreciate all the lovely language in the lists. Highly recommended.

the-liszts

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

So very clever. Literal twists and turns! Quite the reading experience exploring the feeling of time’s passage on a road trip.

Are we there Yet?

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Because picture books are especially treasured as they lull us to sleep.

twenty-yawns

 

The Water Princess by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

This might be my favourite title by this author/illustrator pairing. The illustrations here are incredible.

the-water-princess

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Brilliant. So rich with possibilities to share and talk about perspective, self and the world.

they-all-saw-a-cat

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

Well, I am absolutely smitten. This book speaks of friendship and individuality and acceptance and patience. I am kind of in love.

Be a Friend

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

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!  

Monday August 1st, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Summer = no classroom photos of engaged students so I am sharing a sliver of my read aloud shelf newly set up in my new classroom. This is a tall shelf full of fiction (at the top) and nonfiction (at the bottom) read alouds and it makes me very happy!

Monday August 1st, 2016

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

On the Blog:

I still haven’t got my blogging momentum back so just this post from this week.

Celebration: Worries

Books I enjoyed:

Lots of wonderful picture books did make it into my week! Here are my favourites:

I want a Monster! by Elise Gravel

I have a thing for monsters. I find students love nothing more than creating, imagining and reading about monsters. This title is a must have for the primary classroom with a wonderful create your own monster step by step guide in the back – the perfect extension activity. Also great for a “pet” theme.

I want a Monster! by Elise Gravel Monday August 1st, 2016

Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Dylan Metrano

I love the language (poetry) and the illustrations (cut paper) in this title that highlights birds that children may see in their every day lives. More details about each bird are at the back of the book. What a lovely gift book this would make for little nature lovers. Of better yet for kids that NEED to get out into nature more.

Every Day Birds Monday August 1st, 2016

Follow Me! by Ellie Sandall

I loved the repetitive language and the adorable pictures. A lovely story time title that invites participation!

Follow Me! by Ellie Sandall Monday August 1st, 2016

When Dad Showed me the Universe written by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Eva Eriksson

I really liked this book – while it deals with huge – universe sized – concepts it is also grounded in family routines, real life and yucky things we might step in. Philosophical, beautiful, quiet. Would be a wonderful shared read aloud with one child at a time.

When Dad Showed me the Universe Monday August 1st, 2016

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc

If this book had existed when my own children were pre school age, I know we would have owned it. Illustrations to get lost in as we follow Mr. Postmouse on his route.

Mr. Postmouse's Rounds Monday August 1st, 2016

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies

This book. I am REALLY trying to not buy any new books until I figure out where to put all of my current books in my new classroom. But, this book . . . I think I need to own it. It is pretty precious and allows us to talk about loss in a gentle, imaginative way.

Grandad's Island Monday August 1st, 2016

Can I Tell you a Secret? by Anna Kang and Christophe Weyant

Why not get a little help from your readers if you are a picture book character that isn’t overly courageous?

Can I Tell you a Secret? Monday August 1st, 2016

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Absolutely delightful!! The language is fun – Eucalyptus is full of a lot of syllables and is more entertaining than one would think to say again and again! And these illustrations . . .

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree Monday August 1st, 2016

Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles

There are many things that make this an appealing and important middle grade read. Noah, the main character offers the reader humour, an honest voice and a glimpse into the challenges of middle school, friendship and identity. This part of the story is delivered with lots of humour, believable vulnerabilities and a realistic seventh grader voice. Noah’s life is about more than school and figuring out how to be a teenager. There are struggles at home as he and his parents dance around older sister Emma’s struggles with eating and control. Because this is Noah’s story and not Emma’s, the story line focuses on what it is like to face a health/mental health crisis in a family – an important perspective that Knowles lets us explore. Emma and Noah have a lovely sibling relationship but this is hardly perfect family life. Real, honest and sometimes heartbreaking. Highly recommended for readers 10 and up.
I was pleased to win an ARC of this novel in a Goodreads giveaway.

Still a Work in Progress Monday August 1st, 2016

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 201/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña. Our new family read aloud is Rescued by Eliot Schrefer.

Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

Cover Ah-Choo! Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

I am delighted to share this rhyming ABC story about the search for the perfect pet – one that doesn’t cause a little sister to sneeze endlessly. A perfect story time title!

I had intended to have my students write reviews of this book but June got ahead of us and we ran out of time. So, next best thing? I recorded our read aloud experience and am sharing the highlights here. Listen in!

Kids: “The end pages are cool! Do you know who all of those footprints belong to?”

Text: “I asked my mom if I could have a pet, or even two. But every time I brought one home, my sister went . . .

Kids: “A-Choo! I know it’s A-Choo! Can we do all of the sneezes if there are lots of them?”

Kids: “Is the sneezing going to be loud? My Dad sneezes really loud.”

Kids: “Some people squeak when they sneeze.”

Kids: “Read more!”

Text  “ . . . . I tried a feathered Emu, plus a Ferret, Goose, and Hen. . . “

Kids: “Hey,  I know what the text is doing! It’s in order! Like the alphabet! ABC order.”

Kids: “And it rhymes. On every page.”

Kids: “Let’s guess the next animals. But what starts with an I . . . ”

Kids: “Igloo!”

Kids: “That’s not an animal! I don’t even know any . . .

Note: The authors introduce us to an Ibis which is a gorgeous long beaked black and white bird. We looked it up!

Kids: “Is the sister allergic? Is that why she sneezes?”

Kids: “Yes, that’s what the book is about.”

Kids: “Maybe she is just sick?

Kids: “No she’s allergic. But can you be allergic to everything like fur? hair? feathers? claws?”

Kids: “Not claws!”

Our conversation then took us on a tangent about what kids are allergic to with animals. Scales? Spit? Snot? Fleas? Sweat? A fascinating topic for 7 and 8 year olds!

Kids: “Can we read?”

Text: ” . . . . . . . Umbrellabirds, and Vultures’ wings caused one big . . . “

Kids: “There are so many birds! Hold on if there are vultures did something die?”

Kids: “Gross! What?”

Kids: “Just read!”

Text: “A Warthog, Weasel, and a Wolf, a Xantis I named Jack, a Yaffle and a Zebra too, I had to take them back.”

Kids: “I don’t even know what a Yaffle is! What is a yaffle?”

Note: A yaffle is a green European woodpecker. We looked that up too! And if you also didn’t know ( as we didn’t) a Xantis is a kind of yak!

We won’t spoil how this ends but suffice it to say this title has huge kid appeal – lots of joining in, lots of guessing and lots to talk about. I imagine this book would have been very popular for buddy reading if we had had extra time in the year! It will go in the buddy reading bin for September!

Ah-Choo! is written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams with illustrations by Ken Min (Sterling Children’s Books 2016)

Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

Thank you to Ardi from Sterling Publishing for a review copy of this title.

Looking for more pet books to share? Some books that would love to be read along side this title.

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail

One Word from Sophia

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Prudence-Wants-a-Pet

Spare Dog Parts written by Alison Hughes and illustrated by Ashley Spires

Spare Dog Parts

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid

pet for petunia

If I Had a Gryphon written by Vicki VanSickle and illustrated by Cale Atkinson

If I Had a Gryphon

The Pet Project Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Zachoriah Ohora

The Pet Project Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

Monday April 18th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week it is all about reading a Jon Klassen favourite to your little brother during buddy reading!

Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

For our #classroombookaday, we loved lots of books about community and home.

Monday April 18th, 2016 #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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

On the blog:

Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with author and illustrator

Diverse Children’s Books: Water in our World

Books I enjoyed:

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

This is a tender book about friendship and loss. Allows for conversations about preparing for a death and carrying on. A very special (fictional) story based on a real connection between two bears in New York’s Central Park Zoo.

Ida, Always Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Teeny Tiny Toady written by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

I featured this title this week with an interview with author and illustrator answering questions from my students. A sweet little rhyming book all about clever solutions, tiny sister power and love for family that conquers all! And peeking under the book jacket is a must!

 Teeny Tiny Toady Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Anna Carries Water written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Laura James

Set in the Caribbean, this is the story of young Anna who strives to master the task of carrying water on her head. This story is beautifully illustrated and is, more than anything, a story of childhood: wanting to be grown up, wanting to be able to do what older siblings can do, wanting to face a fear.

Anna-Carries-Water Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler

I love the fantasy and imaginative elements of this story. One day Ernest D decides to explore the world beyond the pond . . .

Beyond the Pond Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

 Mr Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser

It seems that the moon has landed on Mr. Squirrel’s tree. Or has it? It definitely seems to be the case and he has quite the time trying to be rid of it.

Mr Squirrel and the Moon Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

One Day, The End Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Fred Koehler

Simply short stories full of images of all that happens in between. Perfect for Writer’s Workshop to talk about the importance of details, the power of illustrations, visual literacy, the large possibilities in small moments.

One Day, The End Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Princess in Black (#2) and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

I love nothing better than reading these titles aloud to my class. They love them! This one was lots and lots of fun!

The Princess in Black Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I can’t stop thinking about this book. One of the best books I have read. Ever. Sepetys just keeps getting better. This is some kind of historical fiction. Full of adventure, war time atrocities, human kindness and connection. It also tells the story of a real historical event that many of us know nothing about – the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the biggest and most tragic disaster in maritime history. Heartbreaking, compelling, an incredible read.

Salt to the sea Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 15/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 115/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 13/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 14/50 books read

Up next? I am in the middle of All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with Jill Esbaum and Keika Yamaguchi

Teeny Tiny Toady written by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi (Sterling Books 2016) features a teeny toad who was a big hero with my little readers!

Teeny is a tiny toad with seven older toad brothers and a Mom who has been snatched away from her and plunked into a bucket by human hands. How will Teeny save her Mom when she is so very . . . teeny? It turns out that small really is powerful in this sweet little rhyming book all about clever solutions, tiny sister power and love for family that conquers all!

Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with Jill Esbaum and Keika Yamuguchi

My students loved listening to this book and adored revisiting its pages. Here they share some favourite scenes.

Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with Jill Esbaum and Keika Yamuguchi Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with Jill Esbaum and Keika Yamuguchi

We love to celebrate end pages and this title has some gorgeous ones! There is also a wonderful surprise under the book jacket! Take a peek.

Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with Jill Esbaum and Keika Yamuguchi Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with Jill Esbaum and Keika Yamuguchi

Here are my students questions for author Jill Esbaum. Her answers are in green. 

Where did you find all of those interesting words? Is it hard to rhyme text?

I’ve always liked finding words that are interesting or really expressive or fun to say. I also like words that sound like their meaning – like plop and flop and slop. And, writing in rhyme? That’s VERY hard – but it’s a fun kind of hard.

Do you brainstorm your ideas before?

I do brainstorm first. After I come up with a character who has a problem, I sit down with a pen and a big yellow pad and brainstorm things that might go wrong for my character. I want to find ways to make things WORSE for her before they get better. For me, the toughest part of writing a story is finding an ending that makes sense and is also a bit of a surprise for readers.

Did you want to write a book where a girl character was really brave and awesome?

I did! When I was a kid, boys were always coming to the rescue in stories. I wanted GIRLS to do the rescuing. (I also grew up with a big brother. Does that tell you anything?)

Why toads?

Sometimes, in the springtime, I find a teeny little toad in one of my flower beds. They’re soooo cute. But they’re also tiny and defenceless! I started wondering what it would be like to be the tiniest toad in a family of big, strong brothers. The story took off from there.

Do you like frogs or toads more?

Hmm. I just wrote a story with a frog character, so I don’t think I can pick. I like both!

We love to say the title Teeny Tiny Toady!

Thanks for the compliment that the title is fun to say! I think so, too!  🙂

Illustrator Keika Yamaguchi also answered some questions from my students! Her answers are in pink. 

Why did you decide to paint Teeny a little bit pink? (We liked it)

I needed Teeny to stand out in the book. Since I knew the book will have a lot of green color from the grass, I took the opposite color of green, which is red tweaked it by adding white to the color (that makes the color pink). I also knew that the brothers will be mostly brown so I made sure she has some hint of brown color. I combined those two colors, and that’s how I came up with her color!

How do you figure out how to show all of the feelings on a toad’s face?

I have to imagine myself in the place of each character when I draw them. So while I am imagining, I look at myself in the mirror and make faces or I look online to see how someone looks like when they feel a certain way. I need to make sure what I’m trying to say through the character’s expression, all readers can understand.

Did you study a lot about toads to make this book?

I mainly did research on the appearance and the size of the toads when I was coming up with the designs of the characters.

Do you like frogs or toads more?

I love them both 🙂

*Thanks to Josh at Sterling Books for a review copy!