Monday October 2nd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. Well, honestly each week I share some photos from the week. It’s hard to pick just one!

Princess in Black titles are VERY popular in our room!

While the “people” are resting, we should probably read them The Story of Diva and Flea. I love that books are pulled out even during play opportunities.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.

Our #classroombookaday titles have continued to explore relationships.

These titles are all about friendships and choices and allowed us to talk about the way we treat each other.

We don’t always write about our #classroombookaday titles but I am already excited by the thoughtful responses students are sharing.

Then we explored a variety of ways kindness can manifest. Hank Finds and Egg is the first “tell aloud” (wordless book) I have shared with this group. They fell in love!

I wrote a post about some minor changes coming on my blog: Dear Blog Readers – sharing more of what is happening in my classroom. So each week I will share a few photos of classroom highlights here.

Classroom Highlights

We began working with Maggie, our Artist in Residence in the Art and Discovery Studio. Up first? Self portraits!

I was supposed to be away for a day but then in the end, didn’t have to be absent. Part of the preparation was to have the students write Dear Guest Teacher letters. They are pretty wonderful I think! I encourage writers to be fearless – to write in pen and cross out and give mistakes a hug for helping us to learn!

Books I enjoyed:

It Takes a Village by Hilary Rodham Clinton and illustrated by Marla Frazee

Frazee brings so much to this title. A simple and powerful book.

If I Had a Little Dream written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Melissa Castrillo

A celebration of possibilities from a child’s perspective. Beautiful.

Love the dreaming this little bunny did on her bed fashioned out of Keva Planks! My class loves to play with these!

That’s Me Loving You written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Teagan White

Such a lovely little book to support children with many things: connection, loss, attachment.

Away written by Emil Sher and illustrated by Qin Leng

I really like this title. A story shared through notes between a busy Mom and daughter. Illustrations by Leng are superb.

One of my students wrote a great note to her Mom this week. After hearing some students tell me that my all black outfit made me look like I was going to a funeral, she thought about her Mom’s wardrobe choices and made this note! 🙂

Secrets I Know by Kallie George and Paola Zakimi

A poetic, lyrical title about the wonders of the world: big and small.

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors written by Drew Daywalt with pictures by Adam Rex

Absolutely hilarious and entertaining! I am going to need to get a copy of this book for my classroom. Students will love this imagined backstory that inspired the game Rock Paper Scissors.

Dough Knights and Dragons written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos

Lots of rhymes, lots of cute and a wonderful example for young readers about coming up with creative solutions to a problem.

The Antlered Ship written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Mock Caldecott? Yes! Gorgeous. I particularly enjoyed the sense of wonder and questioning in this book.

Isadora Moon Goes to School by Harriet Muncaster

The first book in a cute little series about a girl who is half-vampire and half-fairy and trying to find the perfect place for her school setting.

The Infamous Ratsos by Kara Lareau and illustrated by Matt Myers

Such a fun little title about two brothers who work very hard to be bad but just aren’t!

Pie Girl (Piper Green, #5) written by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

I love Piper Green. I read every new title and enjoy each of them. This one did not disappoint. Piper wants to be Pie Girl but things just don’t seem to go her way.

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Oh my goodness me. This book is fantastic. Creepy. Gruesome. Lots of blood and gore but lots of suspense and great story telling (and retelling) Despite the creepy and violent parts, this is definite middle grade material! Fairy tale sharing at its finest.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 50/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 223/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 50 books behind schedule.  Nice even number that is too large for my liking! Yikes.

#MustReadin2017: 23/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 33/50 books read

Up Next? I am starting Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis

Monday April 24th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Typically, I have more than one to share!

I love happening upon keen readers perched all over the room.

Monday April 24th, 2017

I am the #1 Reader spotter. I find them no matter where they hide!

Monday April 24th, 2017

Buddy reading spots

Monday April 24th, 2017

Lots of #classroombookaday photos to share. Can you see a theme in each collection?

Monday April 24th, 2017 Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 2017

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

Books I enjoyed:

Out of Wonder Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjorie Wentworth illustrations by Ekua Holmes

Here, I am speechless about this book. I can’t wait to begin reading poems from it aloud to my students. It will be inspiring more words. More poetry. More imagining. BUY this book! Your classroom or library need to have this title.

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe I featured this title here.

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Going Places by Ellen Potter with illustrations by Qin Leng

This series is so popular with a few of my students. It has appeal for independent readers from a really broad age range. I had Grade 2s who loved this series. Now I have Grade 4s who love these books. This fourth title is a lot of fun. I love Piper’s bold conviction.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile written by Laura Amy Schlitz with illustrations by Brian Floca

I am pretty certain that most pet lists do not include crocodiles. This one turns out to be pretty amusing and wonderfully, hilariously heroic.

Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key 

An incredible adventure story that will have you on the edge of your seat. A Gulf Coast Hurricane creates conditions absolutely terrifying for 13 year old Cort and his two neighbours he is trying to keep safe.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson 

Jade is a black student on scholarship at a mostly white private school. She questions the supports and opportunities offered to her as she struggles to figure out what she wants in her future. This title explores so many relationships: family, friendships, mentor/mentee, student/teacher. Jade’s voice is one that will weave questions into your head that will remain there for some time. Loved all of the things this book made me think about.

Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee 

This little book is all kinds of tender indeed. It holds you up through the heartbreaking and consoles you through all the hard. A beautiful middle grade read about friendship and grief and all the many ways to hope.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 21/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 112/365 books read

Progress on challenge: On schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 13/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 16/50 books read

Up next? I am reading a bunch of things including Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Monday March 6th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. 

Last week I was here – Western Washington’s Children’s Literature Conference with Rita Williams-Garcia, Laurie Halse Anderson, Christian Robinson and Matt Phelan so I didn’t post. I just lived in literary love land. It was pretty darn amazing. I came home with bags of signed books and a head full of inspiring words.

Monday March 6th, 2017

So two weeks of literacy snapshots from my classroom are here:

When UBC (University of British Columbia) students come to teach us science for three days, you should also ask them to read aloud The Book with No Pictures. Hilarious!

Monday March 6th, 2017

Loved that I had both big kids (from UBC) and little kids (my 4s and 5s) reading during quiet reading time.Monday March 6th, 2017

Sarah Lean sent us some books – this is a group of readers showing her their excitement!Monday March 6th, 2017

Finally, the Grade 1/2 teacher has agreed to be our buddy reading class! Our first session was all that I knew it would be.

Monday March 6th, 2017 Monday March 6th, 2017 Monday March 6th, 2017

And because I can’t resist – here are my students doing their version of slam poetry – which is basically alternating poem lines in a loud dramatic fashion. They are rocking a Silverstein poem. Kind of hilarious.

Monday March 6th, 2017

#classroombookaday titles

Monday March 6th, 2017

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:

It’s Slice of Life Season so there’s a lot here:

Advice on the Fly: Slice of Life #5 2 minutes to give teaching advice? What would you say?

Elevated Love Notes: Slice of Life #4 A letter from a student that knocked me over.

Proof: Slice of Life #3 A necessary post to help me process some stuff I don’t like observing

Listening During the In-Between: Slice of Life #2 The precious things we hear when there is time to listen.

Doubts: Slice of Life #1 Because you might as well start off a month of writing being sure you can’t do it . . .

Books I enjoyed:

Bob, Not Bob! written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

When we are sick, we clearly need our Mom most of all. This may not be possible to make perfectly clear. Lots of tissues and blowing of noses here. Funny!

bob-not-bob

Antoinette written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Antoinette is pretty charming.

antoinette

School’s First Day of School written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Finally, I got my hands on a copy of this book. A beautifully tender first day book told from the school’s perspective.

schools-first-day-of-school

A Family is a Family is a Family written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng

Oh how I LOVE this book. Families all look amazingly and wonderfully different. This book celebrates this perfectly.

Groundwood Logos Spine

Preaching to the Chickens The Story of young John Lewis written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Gorgeous paintings by Lewis accompany an inspiring story of John Lewis in his childhood.

preaching-to-the-chickens

Before Morning written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Wow. This book is all about leaving and returning to a cozy home on a winter’s day. Just absolutely beautiful and poetic.

before-morning

A River by Marc Martin

Take a journey along a river through your imagination. The colours here are just incredible.

a-river-by-marc-martin

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

This will be another title about a refugee family’s experience that I will be sharing with my students. One little boy must leave his home and his birds behind as he and his family seek safety in a camp.

my-beautiful-birds

When we Were Alone written by David A. Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett

An important story of family and remembering. A grandmother tells her granddaughter about her residential school experience. Beautiful art by Flett.

when-we-were-alone

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

This is one funny book.But it’s also sweet and full of grief and change. Fantastically illustrated letters tell the story of a girl and the chickens she has inherited. She needs lots of help and advice along the way.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 11/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 65/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 2 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 6/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 13/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 11/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Monday October 17th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This is a peek into my room first thing in the morning. What are my students doing as they wait for the day to begin? Reading. Always reading. Makes me beyond happy.

Monday October 17th, 2016

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. What theme do you see in these titles?

Monday October 17th, 2016

Here it is pretty obvious – biographies of interesting men – thinkers, artists, problem solvers and heroes. Of course, biographies featuring women will be on the horizon.

Monday October 17th, 2016

I didn’t post last week even though I was reading – I have a pretty beautiful excuse: a road trip into the B.C. mountains:

Monday October 17th, 2016

We celebrated my children’s 14th birthday with a weekend of hiking, train rides, rock hunting and family.

Monday October 17th, 2016

My sister and I on the banks of the Fraser River in Lillooet, BC. We lived here for about a year when we were children.

Monday October 17th, 2016

We got to hike in places like this – pretty spectacular scenery. Ah, the colours of fall!

Monday October 17th, 2016 Monday October 17th, 2016

Monday October 17th, 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

Books I enjoyed:

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

So very, very beautiful even though it is like this book is brewed in loneliness and solitude. There is sadness and hope. Quiet. Space. Mysteries.

the-uncorker-of-ocean-bottles

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce just might be my favourite grump.

hotel-bruce2

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

 I Will Not Eat You written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Charming and sweet while still full of whimsy and fun.

i-will-not-eat-you

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

giant-squid

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Oh, the kid appeal! I chuckled through this and did a lot of head shaking. There is one scene that involves a pile of dog poop that I know I never would have thought of – thankfully! But I am sure this will become a favourite page for some of my readers. This book is flying through my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

dog-man-by-dav-pilkey

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

I adore Piper. She is one plucky kid whose energy makes her leap right off the page. Love that this series seems to stretch its appeal right into grade 4.

piper-green-and-the-fairy-tree-the-sea-pony-by-ellen-potter

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

The fantasy and magical realism in this title didn’t really shine for me. I have loved Raina’s expertise in wading around in the everyday real of young characters. This story had me too distracted. I have also read the questions and concerns surrounding this title and its depiction of the Day of the Dead celebrations at the missions.

ghosts-2

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

How a story about a robot can be so tender, I don’t know. Heavily illustrated which makes it wonderfully rich.

wildrobotcover

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

I suppose that yes, we can call this a sad book. A teacher who is ill. Students who adore and miss her. But this is mostly a human book full of connection, compassion and everyday adventure and humour.

ms-bixbys-last-day

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 278/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 22/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 37/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 32/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Auto-buy Authors But I kind of switched it up . . .

I approached this theme with some flexibility.  First, I only included picture books. Second, my list is all about illustrators, not authors (although some both illustrate and write their books). And top ten? Nope. I have twenty. But I split it into two lists of ten in order to kind of follow the rules. 🙂 10 + 10 = 20

My top ten lists this week are all about my auto-buy illustrators. These artists help make picture books that are irresistible.

I read a lot, a lot, a lot of picture books. Narrowing these lists down was a challenge!

When it became apparent that I couldn’t limit my list to just ten, I decided to make a list of female illustrators and a list of male illustrators. Both make the best books ever! I am so excited to honour them here. For each illustrator, I have included my favourite (or one of my favourite) books that they have illustrated.

My ten auto-buy female illustrators listed in alphabetical order:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Freya Blackwood illustrated Harry and Hopper I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood Blackwood creates through shading and colour.

harry and hopper Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Lauren Castillo wrote and illustrated Melvin and the Boy I love Nana and her wonderful cape and thought it was wonderfully Caldecott worthy, but I have such a soft spot for this sweet little book.

Melvin and the Boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Marla Frazee illustrated All the World It is so absolutely calming and charming and full of all the world’s memories.

All-the-World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Emily Hughes wrote and illustrated Wild which I am more than a little wild about

Wild Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Suzy Lee created the wordless treasure Wave I am quite sure these waves are moving across the pages here.

 Wave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Qin Leng illustrated Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – there is one page oh so very full of green that I fell in love with.

 Hana Hashimoto Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World I already loved this title but then I heard Yuyi read it aloud and I was even more smitten. Such joyous energy and escapades in this book!

Nino Wrestles the World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Julie Morstad’s illustrations in This is Sadie are swoon worthy. Seriously, this cover!

This is Sadie Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

LeUyen Phan absolutely blew me away with The Boy Who Loved Math

 The Boy Who Loved Math Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Erin E. Stead illustrated the stunning  If You Want to See a Whale If you follow this blog you know I have a serious thing for whales. The one in this book? I find it particularly captivating.

If you want to see a whale Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

My ten auto-buy male illustrators listed in alphabetical order

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jonathan Bean illustrated Bad Bye, Good Bye which I found wonderfully delightful. Look at the expressions conveyed just on the cover.

Bad Bye, Good Bye Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Peter Brown won me over with his book The Curious Garden that he wrote and illustrated. Doesn’t it make you want to go plant a seed or two or twelve in some unexpected places?

Curious Garden Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Oliver Jeffers just keeps making more books. Picking a favourite is challeging. I’m going with The Heart and the Bottle which will tug at your heart.

heart in the bottle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jon Klassen is the Caldecott King but it is his illustrations in House Held up by Trees that I find the most incredible.

househeldupbytrees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

E.B. Lewis has done so many titles that are powerful but his illustrations in My Best Friend might be my favourite.

 My Best Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are so whimsical and full of teeny tiny characters that are very large. South is gentle and lovely.

south Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Christopher Silas Neal’s books with Kate Messner are stunning but it is illustrations in Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives that I want to celebrate here.

 Lifetime Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Mark Pett won a special award in my room for The Girl and the Bicycle during our Mock Caldecott process He sent a very special gift for his number one fan (see below).

The Girl and the Bicycle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

John Rocco does many wonderful titles. He wrote and illustrated Blackout which is likely my favourite. The blues. The blacks. Wow. Wow. Wow.

 Blackout Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

David Small does the most delicate, detailed drawings for historical fiction titles. I couldn’t choose my favourite. So instead I picked One Cool Friend which I also love.

 One cool Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Who are your auto-buy illustrators? 

Could you choose ten? Or stop at twenty? It’s difficult!

Monday August 17th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer, I am not surrounded every day with little readers so . . . I am choosing moments from the year not previously shared. Always my favourite? Buddy reading laughter!

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

Monday August 17th, 2015 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

On the blog:

For Top Ten Tuesday: Ten MG and YA authors I read the most

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Natural Mysteries, Solved

A special Celebration post about updated allergy testing

Sunday Reflections: The power of observation

Books I read and loved:

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

This book is absolutely adorable. The perfect book for reading aloud at a story time for younger listeners. The perfect bedtime book to remind all soon to be sleepers that they are brave. A wonderful read aloud for any classroom to appreciate how clever and beautiful picture books can be.

Night Animals Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Bad Bye, Good Bye written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Oh how I was impressed with this book. The illustrations were incredible. Maybe my favourite so far from Bean. And the sparse text – full and powerful and conveying so much emotion. Moving is hard. Plain and simple. For kids, it’s a different kind of hard. As a child who moved 9 times before my 7th birthday, I get it. Would pair beautifully with Neville written by Norman Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Bad Bye, Good Bye Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee

Odd, quirky and “rhyme”y.

It's Only Stanley Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies

I LOVED Ben Rides On when it first came out. So I have been waiting for this title. And it didn’t disappoint. It captures the joy of drawing, the dynamics of worry and the power of being noticed.

Ben Draws Trouble Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree written by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Qin Leng

Well, I would like to start by saying that I want to go back in time and be Piper Green. I want to ride a boat to school. I want to eagerly anticipate fresh baking each morning. Quirky little brothers? Yes, please. And a teeny school, absolutely! And I could write paragraphs on how much I want a fairy tree. I am SO excited to share this title with my new class. I predict it will get a lot of love. The perfect early chapter book series. Well written with dynamic characters, gorgeous illustrations and just the right amount of text.

Piper Green

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley

I have actually been reading this book for over a year. I have read many parts multiple times. Finally, this summer, I sat down and read it cover it cover. Of course, there is much here that I celebrate. I also really appreciate how Donalyn is so honest about her journey as a teacher. I know there is more figuring things out to come and that we will all benefit. But what she has figured out already? So wise, so wonderful and so full of celebration of books and readers.

reading in the wild Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I can’t believe I had never read this book. Now, I see why so many insist it is an absolute must read title for high school classrooms. Brave. Upsetting. Necessary.

Speak Monday August 17th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 286/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 54/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 31/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Favourites of 2014

Here are my favourite titles of 2014! Another wonderful year of reading – always in awe of the amazing authors and illustrators out there that give us the important gift of stories.

The best of the best (published in 2014) for me?

14 favourites and no more than 14 words of raving about each title. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. This year I get one more book and one more word to play with! 🙂

This year I chose to spread my book love evenly between picture books and novels. 7 and 7. I will be sharing my nonfiction favourites in a post of their own this week so I focussed a little more on fiction here.

In no particular order – my 7 favourite picture books of 2014:

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow – yes, like a sloth.

Sparky Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin written by Chieri Uegaki with illustrations by Qin Leng

A story of determination, perseverance and creativity. Dream. Be courageous. Such messages.

 Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

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

Thanks To Katherine Applegate and all of those who have loved Ivan, we love Ivan too.

ivan Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

A cover that hints at mystery and strange happenings and . . . ? Tender. Sweet. Kind

 The Farmer and the Clown Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

Persistence and love wrapped in brown, green and a little brother’s smile.

 The Girl and the Bicycle Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay

A story starts with a blank white page . . .

 Any Questions Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

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

Pulls you deep into a “theorizing hole.” Digging in, around and out is highly satisfying.

 sam and Dave Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

And the novels that touched me – often making me pause and just connect with the state of being and living and loving. Novels roll out stories that transform our thinking with beautiful words on a page – the characters in these books have stuck with me.

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

Vulnerability. A touching exploration of grief. Superb writing and of course, little Frankie Sky.

 The Summer of Letting Go Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Bird by Crystal Chan

One girl raised in grief and superstition chases living. Sad and spectacular imagery.

 Bird Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Friendship trials and celebrations. Growing up with hearing loss and super powers.

El Deafo Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Chirp. Joey. Solid but broken. Love their observations, their coping strategies, their complicated friendship.

Nest Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tears, faith, outrage, peace. What a story. Wiles pulls you right into 1964.

Revolution Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose does things differently. But much a lot more bravely. Such a read.

Rain Reign Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Full of raw mistakes and huge hopes. Energizing despite the grief and pain.

I'll Give you the sun Favourites of 2014 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .