Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The Way to School

The Way to School

I walk to school (which is also my work) everyday. One of our school engineers, now retired, used to ask me the same question every time the weather was miserable. “Today? Even today you walked?” My answer always sounded the same as well: “Yes, sunshine, rain, sleet, snow, I walk.”

I walk for exercise, for my mental health, for the chance to be outside and experience the world. Yes, my way to school could be faster if I drove or took transit, but I treasure this daily walk and feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to make it each day. Thirty-five minutes that is all mine.

Not all walks to school are so pleasurable or welcome. But they are necessary. Each step speaks to serious intent and commitment to education. That is what this book of sparse text and wonderful full colour photographs depicts.

The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International was published in September 2015 by Second Story Press. Its message is important – what matters most is that you get there. School is necessary. School is transformative. School is non-negotiable. If children have the opportunity to go to school, they will go to great lengths: wading through rivers, balancing on collapsed bridges, trailing down a mountain path . . .

This book allows us to open up some meaningful conversations with our students and ask key questions.

  • Do children all over the world attend school?
  • Can every child in a community attend?
  • Are there countries where some children go to school and others don’t? Why?
  • What might prevent them from attending?
  • What is the daily commute like?
  • If the journey is long, what can’t fit in a child’s day?
  • Are there dangers on a daily walk to school?
  • Why is education so important?
  • Does this make you think about school in new ways?

Proceeds form the sale of this book are donated to the I am a Girl Fund. I took this book out from the library but will be buying my own copy.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2016. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!


Nonfiction on my radar: Winter 2015

Just 6 weeks left to complete my nonfiction picture book reading for 2015. There are some nonfiction titles on my radar that I can’t wait to read. Like, right now!

Here are ten titles on my nonfiction dreaming list . . .

Trombone Shorty written by Troy Andrews and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Trombone Shorty

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Finding Winnie

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López

Drum Girl Dreaming

Toad Weather written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Toad Weather

How to Swallow a Pig by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

How to Swallow a Pig

A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers About a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page

A Chicken Followed Me Home

The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney and Plan International

The Way to School

Flowers are Calling written by Rita Gray and illustrations by Kenard Pak

Flowers are Calling

I (Don’t) Like Snakes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Luciano Lozano

I (Don't) Like Snakes

The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea written by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by Gennady Spirin

The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea

Thankfully, some of these are coming in as holds at my public library. I may have ordered a few based on amazing reviews and some are new additions to our school library. I hope to be reviewing many of these titles soon!

What titles are you still hoping to read before 2016 arrives?

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!



Monday May 12th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


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. The best way to grow your TBR list!

Hoping all Moms had a lovely Mother’s Day yesterday! Here is one of the gorgeous bouquets that went home to Moms and Grandmas in my class:

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

My own children made me lovely cards. How well my son knows me! 🙂

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

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

The Girl with the Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran written by Rita Jahanforuz and illustrated by Vali Mintzi 

Readers will notice similarities to well known folktales and fairytales. An important story that highlights how our true spirit shines through when we trust our heart. I imagine this story would be very popular in my classroom. Students love to learn from tales from around the world.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson

These illustrations are powerful – some pages almost overwhelming in their intensity. Baby Bear is lost and finds his way home through the wisdom of his fellow forest dwellers. Advice is soothing sometimes more than specifically helpful – “Hug a Tree” but Baby Bear manages to find his way.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Missuk’s Snow Geese written by Anne Renaud and illustrated by Genevieve Cote 

A beautiful story of a little girl who wants to be a carver like her father. When he is lost in a storm, it turns out that Missuk’s creations helped bring him home.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

A Packet of Seeds written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Bethanne Andersen 

Historical fiction with much melancholy. A family travels west to settle in a new place and new home on the prairie. This book highlights the physical and mental courage and energy it took to be able to make a home in a new place. The promise of a flower garden and the memories the blossoms might evoke makes all of the difference for one Mom.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

 The Apple Orchard Riddle written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

A riddle weaves its way through this story all about a visit to an apple orchard. Much to learn and much to wonder.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Every Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International 

This book is a photographic thank you letter to Malala Yousafzai for her courage and her determination to speak up for the rights of girls to have an education. Both text and photos (of girls all over the world) are powerful. I highlighted how I shared it in my class in this post

Every Day is Malala Day  #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

The Troll written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts

I love David Roberts as an illustrator. This story is very amusing. It mixes some pirates up with the Troll from the Billy Goat’s Gruff story in very delightful and silly ways. Comical and creative.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan 

I started to smile on the first page and I was more delighted and amused with each page I turned. Beautifully odd and quirky. Rich images. I am of course convinced that I must own this book. I want to make my way through the pages time and again.

 #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That

In other reading . . .

I am pages away from finishing Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

I adore being lost in the other worldly ways of this novel. Magical. Mystical. Mysterious.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy  #IMWAYR May 12th 2014 There's a Book for That


Up next? I plan to start Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin 

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 239/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 61/65 complete