Monday July 23rd, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. So here is a photo of the lending library I just set up in my cloakroom for previous students to access.

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.

Books I loved

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Oh, this book. It is a must have for primary teachers. There are a myriad of emotions explored here. And a lot of advice. Sometimes, though, it is all about being heard.

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi

This title explores conflict, cooperative play and creative solutions. Wordless.

Trees by Lemniscates

A beautiful exploration of trees and seasons.

Vivid: Poems & Notes about Color by Julie Paschkis

This one is released later this month. A gorgeous exploration of colours – from the factual to the imaginative. Absolutely wonderful.

Bugs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick with illustrations by Kwanchai Moriya

I am very excited about this nonfiction titles as an inspiration for our own writing. An ideal mentor text. Part of a series by Kids Can Press. Guess and check and lots more.

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock with illustrations by Claire A. Nivola 

This story fascinated me. I can’t wait to share it with students and to use it as a source of inspiration for creativity and imagining with loose parts.

Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter

A new series by Ellen Potter that I will be adding to our classroom library. Boy and Sasquatch become unlikely friends. Many adventures await, I am sure. A wonderful book about noticing and managing differences in a world of assumptions.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed 

Completely engaging. What a wonderful choice for the Global Read Aloud. Amal is an incredibly courageous and compassionate character.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Truly haunting. A story of ghosts – dead black boys who have been killed in ridiculously unnecessary ways. Blurs history with fiction. Such a read. Would make an incredible read aloud in a middle school classroom.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Sweet and endearing. Loved this title full of magic and affection.

Up next? The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 9/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 131/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 35 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 22/40 books read

Monday March 28th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. I haven’t been teaching for the past two weeks (Spring Break) so I don’t have any reading photos from my classroom. Instead, I will share a view I had on holiday for a week. This was what I looked at when I sat in my reading and writing place. This is early morning after a night of rain.

Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

As we were away last week, I didn’t share a #IMWAYR post so this post includes 2 weeks of reading. Lots of novels!

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 have written everyday for the Slice of Life challenge. All of these posts can be found here.

If you missed it, I celebrated our week long author/illustrator study of Melissa Sweet here: Riding Through an Artist’s Life

Books I enjoyed:

The Dead Bird written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Christian Robinson

This is the newly illustrated (2016) edition of Brown‘s 1938 title. I think it is beautiful. Perfectly captures children’s fascination with death and their gentle care. I purchased this one for my collection of books on death and grief.

The Dead Bird Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

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

A little girl imagines how her dog must have come to be. Lots of charming in Spires’ illustrations.

Spare Dog Parts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

I shared lesson ideas for this title in my #nfpb2016 post this week. A must own.

 Pink is for Blobfish Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

The Princess in Black and the Angry Bunny Horde (Princess in Black #3) written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Seriously this is wacky. Purple bunnies that can destroy a landscape or worse in mere moments, on masse. But the best kind of wacky! Love this series for young readers!

Princess in Black #3 Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This would make the ideal middle grade read aloud or book club selection- truly something for everyone! One of the first books of 2016, I won’t stop talking about!

 

Some Kind of Courage Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Stand Off  (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West continues to be one of my all time favourite characters. The characters in this book . . . Just fantastic.

Stand Off (Winger #2) Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

 All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I read this aloud to my family – my 13 year old twins and my husband. Such a powerful story to share. We had moments of silence. On a few pages, I wept. It prompted many conversations. Incredible read.

All American Boys Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead 

This may be one of the all time most wise and wonderful book about preteen/young teen relationships ever. Friendships, choices, worries, decisions, forgiveness, care . . . Stead is an incredible writer.

Goodbye Stranger Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Paper Hearts  Meg Wivott   

A novel in verse based on the true story of a group of young women who were forced to work at the munitions factory in Auschwitz while they were imprisoned in the camps. A story of incredible courage, friendship and survival. I couldn’t put it down.

Paper-Hearts Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

Someone passed an ARC on to me and I opened the book and never looked up. I love Kephart’s writing more with each book. Reading her words is like being immersed in something beautiful. Everywhere you look is an image you want to hold on to and savour. Released in April 2016. Highly recommended.

This is the Story of You Beth Kephart Monday March 28th, 2016 There's a Book for That #IMWAYR

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 14/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 84/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 15/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 9/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys Our family read aloud is Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Considering how much I love books (the reading, the talking about and the book loving community) and how often I make lists of books, I thought it was time to begin participating in Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

This week’s theme? Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Listed by date of release.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White (June 2015) 

This is an unknown author for me but I am seeing some positive reviews from my Goodreads friends and I have a thing about resilient kids . . .

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn (June 2015)

I have read two other titles from Kuehn. They were dark, serious and very well written – looking forward to more.

Delicate Monsters Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (July 2015)

I read the first Calpurnia Tate title to my children on a family holiday in Hawaii. We were smitten with the character, the time and the science. Sign me up for more.

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (August 2015)

A Monster Calls was a wow title for me. This one looks like a wild ride.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (August 2015)

Rebecca Stead. Rebecca Stead. Rebecca Stead!

 Goodbye Stranger Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

I Crawl Through It  by A.S. King (September 2015)

Okay so who is with me in being thrilled that A.S. King is so brilliant and so prolific?

I Crawl Through It  Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Stand Off (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith (September 2015)

Loved, loved Winger. Love Andrew Smith.

Stand Off (Winger #2) Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (September 2015)

So if one were to judge a book by its cover . . . this is pretty gorgeous. But I have also read two titles by Rundell this year and am ready for more.

The Wolf Wilder Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (September 2015)

Yes, that Katherine. Oh so very excited.

 Crenshaw Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (October 2015)

Okay for Now by Schmidt is one of my all time favourite MG titles. The man is brilliant.

Jupiter Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015 There's a Book for That

What 2015 titles are you looking forward to reading?

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead has quickly become one of those books that I know I will recommend (in my not so subtle you have to read this kind of way) again and again. I am also looking for any excuse to revisit this book – perhaps it should become a book club selection? I will definitely read it to my own children in the next few years (when they hit about 10 years old I think).

It is difficult to categorize this book – it blurs many genres – mystery, fantasy, science fiction (with elements of time travel and frequent references to Madeleine L’Engle‘s A Wrinkle in Time) but really, it reads mostly as realistic fiction (although set a few years back – 1979) This book explores the life of sixth grade Miranda and focuses on her relationships and her understanding of how others struggle with life and interactions all in their own ways. This book tells the story of mysterious notes relaying information to Miranda that no one could possibly know because they have yet to happen. The first note is both thrilling and scary:

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I ask two favours. First, you must write me a letter. Second please remember to mention the location of your house key. The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you.

Miranda struggles to make sense of who is sending these notes and why. How everything plays out in the end is absolutely fantastic and Stead is able to tie up many loose ends even if the reader has to work to follow the threads and not tangle them up. But don’t try too hard – just let them weave together – as the character Marcus points out:

Einstein says common sense is just the habit of thought. It’s how we’re used to thinking about things, but a lot of time it just gets in the way.

I love how there is a sub plot of Miranda and Richard (Mom’s boyfriend) helping Miranda’s Mom prepare for the show The $20,000 Pyramid. There is so much emphasis on giving the appropriate clues and thinking fast to figure things out. Miranda spends the book figuring things out in a much more organic, subtle way. It is very clever of Stead.

There are so many layers to this novel. The storyline is interwoven with mystery and clues – turns and full stops – but not hugely dramatic – just calm and lovely. The characters are interesting and likeable – even those that don’t feature hugely in the story. I love Miranda’s Mom – her intense love for Miranda, her challenges about committing to her boyfriend and how her level of job dissatisfaction is conveyed by how many office supplies make their way (permanently) into her home.  Anne Marie’s Dad has lovely quirky elements – elaborate food making when procrastinating but a deeply protective nature over his daughter. The children in this book have many more freedoms – it being 1979 and not 2011 but the parents are portrayed as very solid figures. Many more interesting characters inhabit this book- the laughing man, Wheelie, the school’s secretary, Alice Evans who is not brave enough to excuse herself to go to the bathroom and compulsive Jimmy who owns the sandwich shop. All play important roles as Miranda navigates her way through the complicated puzzle of friendships, forgiveness and truly heroic deeds.

Highly recommended! On my Middle Grade favourites list.

Books on my Summer Reading list

It is summer! Time to do lots of things and top of the list is read! Next on my list are these three titles: middle grade reads and young adult novels. For those students wanting book suggestions over the summer – try the first one.

#1 The Day Joanie Frankenhauser Became a Boy written by Francess Lantz

#2 When You Reach Me written by Rebecca Stead

# 3 Mockingbird written by Kathryn Erkskine

So – lots of planned reading for me which I happily anticipate 🙂 I will report back when I am done.