Monday November 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Sharing reading and learning from the past 2 weeks.

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. This one was taken when we went to visit the Grade 3 & 4 class down the hall while they were having Camp Read. Tents, shoes and books everywhere! Every student in my classroom brought along a favourite picture book to share. Nobody Likes a Goblin is being devoured by these two readers.

Our #classroombookaday titles from last week allowed us to have some serious conversations about the world.

Writing was rich. Some students shared some very personal writing connected to their own experiences with leaving their countries because of war. We have started to talk about books as mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors (from Rudine Sims Bishop) and students instantly began to use this language to describe their connections to the books.

We watched a short video of the actual Kunkush, the cat who inspired Lost and Found Cat and students reread the book many times looking at the photographs in the back and having serious discussions.

This week with #classroombookaday, we laughed a lot!

Some of these titles inspired students to create their own retellings!

Which made one author very happy (and flattered)!

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from our week in the classroom.

One student is working on a How to Draw book! How great is this?

More #classroombookaday thoughts

In the Art and Discovery Studio, students are working on paintings about significant places. I love the stories these pictures hold.

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 enjoyed:

Windows by Julia Denos and illustrated E.B. Goodale

This will be one of our Mock Caldecott titles. I could read this book endlessly. It is so calm and quiet and the little details . . . Just divine.

All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Mike Curato

Warmth of family traditions. Rich descriptions. Stunning illustrations. This one is fabulous!

What If You Had Animal Eyes? by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

This series is such a favourite in my classroom. I loved this one in particular. Would be great to pair with Steve Jenkins’ Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World

Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain by Hilary McKay

I can’t get enough of these Lulu titles. I have now ordered the entire series for my classroom. This one was particularly endearing. I could just imagine children planning hedgehog runs. A wonderful transitional chapter book.

The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

A younger middle grade title than Sonnenblick typically writes but some pretty serious threads – bullying, domestic abuse, addictions, poverty. For readers who like books with lots of issues and rooting for the underdog, Maverick is a character they will want to meet.

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

I had a hard time putting this one down – the mystery makes it addictive. But this book is beyond a mere mystery. Matthew is the last one to see the toddler who goes missing on his block. But he sees everything from his upstairs window. Matthew’s OCD makes it difficult for him to venture out of his home. Matthew wants to help find the child but this means he needs to face numerous fears and delve into grief and worries from his past.

Up Next? Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 57/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 280/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 49 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 35/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 40/50 books read

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Last year when I taught a Grade 2 & 3 class, I made a list of titles I might initially share to grow curiosity, introduce new concepts and spread the love of nonfiction picture books.

This year I am teaching Grade 4 & 5 in a new-to-me school and again, I have been going through my shelves thinking about first read alouds. At this point, I am less concerned about content and thinking more about exposing students to a variety of nonfiction titles so that their ideas about nonfiction picture books can grow. I want to also introduce them to a variety of genres, prolific authors and nonfiction series so that they can plan some of their future independent reading. In all of this reading, I want there to be room for questions, laughter and much discussion. Here are ten titles that I have placed in a pile to possibly share in our first month together.

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop

Kids love cheetahs. But what is the story of their endangered status and what is being done about it? That is the story that this title showcases – in particular the story of  Laurie Marker and the work she does at theCheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)‘s African headquarters in Nambia. This is a Scientist in the Field title – a series ideal for young scientists, naturalists and kids with questions.

 Chasing Cheetahs Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Dorothea’s Eyes by Barb Rosenstock with illustrations by Gérard DuBois

Nonfiction picture book biographies are some of my favourite titles to share. They are full of information and inspiration. I think this fantastic biography of photographer Dorothea Lange will generate interest in other biographies.

Dorothea's Eyes Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

This title is particularly interesting because of the “how to” aspect. Of course it is also a great model for instructional writing. Additional information is always rich in Jenkins/Page titles. Jenkins and Page have collaborated on multiple nonfiction titles. All have huge kid appeal.

How to Swallow a Pig Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

“What kind of animal would you be if your teeth were long enough to stick out of your mouth, even when it was closed?” This is one of many questions posed in this informative and engaging book. Students love to guess and check and this title allows for a lot of that.

Tooth by Tooth Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

What if you had Animal Ears!? written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

This series is lots of fun. It gets kids talking and asking questions. They can later read more of the series on their own or with a buddy. Markle writes lots of great nonfiction. Win. Win. Win to share this one.

What if you had Animal ears?Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

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

Just the cover captures interest but you need to open the book for the full impact. Lots of weird and interesting = perfect for curious minds. Jess Keating also writes middle grade novels – some are sitting on my book shelf and I predict they will be very popular after we share this title. And then there are the videos on her Youtube channel: Animals for Smart People

Pink is for Blobfish Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

Such a beautifully written and organized book – almost like a nature journal or a scrap book.  Perfect as an interactive read aloud experience.Allows the reader to consider and learn about many uses for feathers. Melissa Stewart has written many nonfiction titles in my collection. Students will know her by name by year’s end (or sooner).

 Feathers Not Just for Flying Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Nonfiction picture books introduce us to situations, history and struggles we may no nothing or little about. Such an important story about a family’s fight for their children’s equal education.

Separate is Never Equal Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

I, Fly The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Jennifer Plecas

We can laugh a lot as we learn. This book showcases this perfectly!

I, Fly Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange 

Poet and artist celebrate nature’s successes. Who has been around for a long time and continues to thrive? Introduced in order of their evolutionary arrival, read poems and facts about such creatures as the squirrel, ants, geckos and diatoms. Fascinating and a lyrical experience all at once. Blending of art, poetry and nonfiction. I love to share nonfiction poetry and hope this is a form of writing that we will explore this year in Writer’s Workshop.

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

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!

nfpb2016logo

Gift Books 2015: 25 picture books to give this season

Making a picture book list to give is becoming one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014. This year 25 made the list. Why not? There are a lot of books to love!

Gift Books 2015: 25 books to give this season

Of course, I have not read every book out there. But I believe in picture books for every reason and so, I have read a lot! A lot, a lot. Some have stood out. Some I must insist upon. Going picture book shopping? Here is my list of 25 titles that I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. Fantastic titles in both fiction and nonfiction. My criteria? 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? Laughing, I always think, is very underrated.

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond

I was smitten just with the end pages. Based on a true story, this title goes back to Ontario forests of 1914. It is a memory, a story. And what a story. How incredible to think about this experience where a fire caused humans and animals to connect in an incredibly quiet, necessary way. The illustrations here are stunning.

Out of the Woods 2015 Gift Books

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

This book. It speaks to wild wishes, big possibility and the amazing of the simple and natural. Love, love, love.

Something Extraordinary 2015 Gift Books

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street 2015 Gift Books

Wolfie the Bunnie written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Charming, humorous and sweet This book has much to offer. Sibling dynamics. The brilliance of children. Humour, giggles, and wows.

Wolfie the Bunny 2015 Gift Books

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

Gorgeous. Inspiring. Saturated colours and beautiful art. The true story of one girl’s dream to drum.

Drum Girl Dreaming

Elwood Bigfoot: Wanted: Birdie Friends by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Nate Wragg

One sweet book. About the quest to belong and have friends. Some serious perseverance here.

Elwood Bigfoot 2015 Gift Books

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder

I don’t even have words. A must own. Really, truly beautiful. This title makes me cry and sigh and sit in absolute awe. I refuse to even write about the plot. Just trust me and go buy this book.

The Bear Report 2015 Gift Books

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

It’s lush and moody and at the same time sweet and hopeful. I had all kinds of wishes. I wanted to shrink down and wander about this little garden. I wanted the book to be quilted so I could gift it as a “stuffie” type treasure to little ones to snuggle with. I wanted each image, framed, to hang on my wall. This is a book to love.

The Little Gardener 2015 Gift books

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim

This book is magical. The text suggests all kinds of connections between ours and the animal world. Talk about perseverance, creativity and inspiration. Or, just get lost in the illustrations.

Wild Ideas 2015 Gift Books

Marilyn’s Monster written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Matt Phelan

What do you do when everyone gets a monster and yours never arrives? Marilyn grows impatient with the endless waiting. So she ventures out to make her own difference.

Marilyn's Monster

Bright Sky Starry City written by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro

A beautiful story of father and daughter, of a curious girl wondering about space and astronomy, of a glorious sky full of stars and constellations.

Bright Sky, Starry City 2015 Gift Books

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Wordless perfection. I love everything about this book. How it is about little things, being in the moment, noticing, kindness . . .

Sidewalk Flowers 2015 Gift Books

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

Gorgeous. Wordless. Two children dive deep and meet under a bunch of swimmers and floaters in a busy pool. What do they find there? A fantastical world. The colours, the negative space, the whimsy.

Pool 2015 Gift Books

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.

Night Animals 2015 Gift Books

Toad Weather written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Rich messages beyond a fascinating story. I love that it reminds us to notice and experience the natural world no matter what the weather, no matter what our mood.

Toad Weather Gift Books 2015

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

For inspiring gardeners. For nature explorers. Spans generations and seasons.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt 2015 gift Books

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

This is a wonderful title. Such creative twists on Little Red Riding Hood – crafted into quite a different tale. Mysterious. Unusual. Magical. The perfect read aloud for a cozy winter’s day.

The Tea Party in the Woods

Float by Daniel Miyares

Children approach rain in the best of ways. All in. Rubber boots, puddle jumping, sailing of boats! And after the rain, there is sunshine and new possibilities. Wordless and wonderful.

Float 2015 Gift Books

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

I always say there is power in the pencil (or pen, or marker, etc) – this book celebrates the creativity on the page. But on the page is so much more. I want to share it with each group of children I teach for forever . . .

My Pen 2015 Gift Books

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto. Creative, inspired, endearing. Her story is a delight to read aloud. Morstad’s images are “ooh” and “ahh” and “wow” inducing. The combination is pure read aloud perfection.

This is Sadie 2015 Gift Books

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Lyrical and lovely. And illustrations to knock you over. Takes you through the seasons, the water cycle, childhood experiences. A must own.

Water is Water 2015 Gift Books

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Beautiful. Special. And inspirational. For little dancers to be. For those with big hearts who know what it is to share.

swan the life and dance of anna pavlova 2015 Gift Books

Lenny and Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Moody. Lonely. Emotional. Sweet. Lovely. A favourite in my room. Children responded to this gentle story of needing to feel secure.

Lenny & Lucy 2015 Gift Books

Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl

Try and get past the cover with the greens, the lush, the rich and deep. Sigh. A story about nature, responsibility and hope.

Sonya's Chickens 2015 Gift Books

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

I am not sure I have words for just how breathtaking I find this title. It is a book lover’s dream. Seriously. Stop dead illustrations. Of course, I had to own this one. And ahem, you should too . . .

The Whisper 2015 Gift Books

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

Monday November 23rd, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. I love this scene from buddy reading. Notice how the little K is leaning right in with my Grade 3 student learning about sharks. I adore this photo as it captures so much.

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:

Yes, I have been blogging! 🙂

In honour of Picture Book Month: Twenty Books that Capture the Essence of Childhood

For #nfpb2015 Nonfiction on my radar: Winter 2015

My #celebratelu post this week honours the progress and positive in my classroom: Celebration: What’s Working

Books I loved:

There are quite a few because I did some picture book therapy. Anyone else do this? Often? I have a feeling I am not the only one who has figured this out!

I made some great progress on my nonfiction reading:

Toad Weather written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

This book is FANTASTIC! I love much about it – starting with those wonderful polka dot boots on the cover! This is a fictionalized account of an actual toad crossing that really, truly happens every year in Pennsylvania. Markle shares a beautiful story about this pretty amazing natural phenomenon and the way that people become part of the story (in a good way thankfully!) But, this story has some rich messages beyond a fascinating story. I love that it reminds us to notice and experience the natural world no matter what the weather, no matter what our mood.

Toad Weather

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

Gorgeous. Inspiring. Seriously, these colours. I loved everything about this book!

Drum Girl Dreaming

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

I particularly loved Pak’s illustrations here. Learn all about the colours, shapes and unique aspects to flowers and just who interacts with them (and why and how).

Flowers are Calling

And I read some incredible picture books:

Please, Open this Book! written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

This is one of the most clever follow up titles ever. First read and appreciate Warning: Do not Open this Book! You could just read it on your own, but I recommend experiencing it as a read aloud with a group of eager listeners. And then, comes this one. I giggled multiple times at the bookstore and of course, brought it home with me. Cannot wait to share all of its amusing and interactive pages with my class tomorrow. Love the mushy yellow banana.

Please, Open this Book!

Little Miss, Big Sis written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Sometimes becoming an older sibling is eagerly anticipated and quite a beloved experience. This title captures just that.

Little Miss, Big Sis

Where are my Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

An entertaining reading message. Favourite books are amazing. And everyone (everyone!) needs picture books!

Where are my Books?

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

Okay, this is a book I love. It speaks to wild wishes, big possibility and the amazing of the simple and natural. Love, love, love.

Something Extraordinary

Dear Yeti by James Kwan

Charming and adventurous. Two explorers set out in search of a yeti. told through a series of letters. Great mentor text for writing.

Dear Yeti

Little Elliot, Big Family by Mike Curato

These Little Elliot titles seem like they should be just too sweet and not quite work. But instead, they are absolutely sweet and completely capture the reader. No overly sugary after taste. Just big breath, full heart moments. Well done Mike Curato, you have something amazing figured out.

Little Elliot, Big Family

Miss Hazletine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Birgitta Sif

For the cat fan. For the extra timid. For the reader who appreciates inspired courage and stepping out of your comfort zone. Delightfully quirky.

Miss Hazletine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats

And the amazing YA novel . . . Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

I am such an absolute fan of Schmidt. He regularly knocks me over while at the same time offering up such grounded, beautiful stories. This was an early morning read and cry book. I finished it all at once because how could I possibly put it down? Beautiful. Hopeful. Heartbreaking. A reminder that we all need each other and that family is about who is in your corner.

Orbiting Jupiter

Up next? I continue reading MosquitoLand by David Arnold because other reading ended up calling to me. Happy to be back into this title.

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 61/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 390/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 70/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 45/50 books 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!

#nfpb2015

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style

It’s that time of year where we list our favourite books for the year, make reading plans for next year and celebrate another year of reading. At this time of year, I get worried that I might forget about some titles on my TBR list as I am browsing favourites lists and making my TBR list ever longer.

So, I went through my current nonfiction TBR list and made a long list into a shorter list. Highlighting these here lets me give them a little “I will get to you soon” pledge.

Here are nine nonfiction titles I can’t wait to read. Thank you to the wonderful readers in my network who have recommended them!

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

 Star STuff Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Animalium: Welcome to the Museum Curated by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom

Animalium Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People who Track it  written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

Beetle Busters Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Elizabeth Queen of the Seas written by Lynne Cox and illustrated by Brian Floca

Elizabeth queen of the sea Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

If: A Mind Bending Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers written by David J. Smith illustrated by Steve Adams

if . . . Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing HoneyBees: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

vanishing honeybees Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

 Winter Bees Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy 

neighborhood-sharks Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons written by Sara Levine with illustrations by T.S. Spookytooth 

bone by bone Nonfiction TBR List There's a Book for That

 What’s on your nonfiction To Be Read List?

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 124/65 complete!

 

Monday August 25th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I thought I would have finished many more books this week. Problem is I can’t sit still. If I am still, I think. I think about how we are still on strike. How September is going to begin with us in limbo here in B.C. No teaching, no learning. Just sad. So I spent time I would usually be reading, doing other things. Sorting. Organizing. Puttering about to keep moving. And less reading was the result. Ridiculous really because reading is one of my favourite things but it’s been a hard week knowing that there is no resolution in sight. Taking a deep breath and trying to dive back into books.

Still, I read some great titles!

The picture books I loved:

 A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

Oh wow. This book. It’s gorgeous. It’s special. It’s a must own and must share. A story of a boy who finds his voice and shares it in the best of ways.

 A Boy and a Jaguar #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won

This book was sent to me by the wonderful Alyson Beecher and it marched into my hands and begged to be read. Delightful. Charming. It whispers, “Hey, there is an art project just begging to happen here don’t you think?” Yep!

Hooray for Hat  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

The Long,  Long Journey The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

I am always fascinated by migration stories. This title highlights the journey of the godwit’s migration. Almost unbelievable. Beautifully illustrated.

 The Long, Long Journey  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class by Ethan Long

Perfect read aloud for little ones – addresses feelings of jealousy, wanting attention, accepting the new kid. Always relevant.

  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

In New York by Marc Brown

A great introduction to an incredible city.

In New York  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

I also finished

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Reading this book was kind of like stumbling into an eclectic antique store and picking up interesting items to examine. Stacks of sentimental. Little bowls of charm. Artifacts full of whimsy. Sorrow. Longing. Joy. Magic. What a book.

a snicker of magic  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Up next? I am now reading Okay for Now by Gary D. Shmidt with my children and plan to start Revolution by Deborah Wiles later today.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 394/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 100/65 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1)

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

In July, I published a series of posts about using more nonfiction titles in the classroom. I included numerous recommendations of book titles geared to the primary/early intermediate classroom.  In case you missed them, here are the links:

Part 1: Everywhere you look . . . let there be nonfiction!

Part 2: The importance of the nonfiction read aloud

3A: Generating excitement, making choices and having time to read

3 B: Reading and working with the texts 

Through twitter and from a few comments, I heard from some teachers that their middle school students (Grades 5-8) have lost their passion for nonfiction reading. Linda Baie from Teacher Dance addressed this here with some great book suggestions. At first, I thought that this was not something that I could talk about since my students are younger and I don’t have first hand experience working with these older readers. But the more I thought about it, I realized that my own children (boy/girl twins) are eleven and we share a lot of nonfiction together. And I started another list . . .

For the next few weeks, I will share thirty of my favourite nonfiction books for older readers – ten at a time. If you are an intermediate teacher, I hope you have students eager to read nonfiction! If not, maybe some of these titles can persuade them to spend some time with this genre.

The first ten:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest – and Most Surprising – Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins (published 2013)

 The Animal Book Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by  Brian Selznick (published 2001)

 The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sis (published 2003)

 The Tree of Life Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2014)

 Chasing Cheetahs Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2009)

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong (first published in 2002, second edition 2011)

 If the World were a Village Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909 written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (published 2013)

 Brave Girl Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (published 2014)

Shackleton's Journey Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Zombie Makers True Stories of Nature’s Undead by Rebecca L. Johnson (published 2012)

Zombie Makers  Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle (published 2011)

 The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 1) There's a Book for That

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 99/65 complete!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books

I am a huge fan of nonfiction picture books in our Elementary classrooms. They are the jumping off point into deep, deep learning. But it is not just the learning that infuses these pages, it is also the beauty of the images that helps lure readers in.

Reasons for nonfiction read alouds? There are many: opportunity for rich discussion, shared learning experiences, new information conveyed, etc. But there is also the visual treat that so many titles provide. The inspiration to wonder, to marvel and to be in awe of our world.

For some students, just the lure of new knowledge is the gateway to reading fantastic nonfiction titles, others need a little nudge. Something beautiful . . .

I have a few students who resist picking up nonfiction titles without some persuasion. I try to entice them with the amazing facts that they might learn. Thinking of a few students in particular, I realize I have been approaching it all wrong. With these children, I should be starting with the images and let them work their magic. Many of our visual learners begin with the illustrations. They become lost in the pictures and then begin reading to answer the questions that start to form.

Do I have enough nonfiction picture books in my collection (or on my wish lists) for these readers?

I started a list. And then I thought I should share . . . .

Each of these titles has made me stop and stare.  Here are 25 of the most gorgeous nonfiction titles out there – absolutely swoon worthy, in my opinion 🙂

Learn more about the Natural World:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

An Egg is Quiet written by Dianna Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Over and Under the Snow written by the Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. (Note: This title is actually fiction but offers a beautiful invitation to begin learning more about the world under the snow)

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

Bird, Butterfly, Eel with story and paintings by James Prosek

The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

Nest by Jorey Hurley

Weeds Find a Way written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher 

Books about Creatures: Small to Gigantic, and all sizes in between:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins 

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

Mama Built a Little Nest written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

See What a Seal Can Do written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Kate Nelms

Information/Concept titles:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Swirl by Swirl (Spirals in Nature) written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Gravity by Jason Chin

Locomotive by Brian Floca 

Biographies/Memoir:

 Biographies/Memoir Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill 

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully 

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

(I featured a few of these titles in this post last year: Wonder Inducing Nonfiction Read Alouds Some are clearly my favourites!)

What beautiful nonfiction picture books make you swoon? Please share them in the comments.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.

NFPB 2014

Monday February 3rd, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

I celebrated many happy #booklovish things on my classroom blog this week. Read here for a few smiles (especially if you have read Rump by Liesl Shurtliff).

My favourite picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) reads of the week:

Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka

The sequel to A Ball for Daisy which won the Caldecott Medal. I know not everyone loves Raschka but I really do. And I think that this title is so special. It completely captures the feeling of suddenly realizing you are lost and the absolute joy of being found.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lucky Ducklings written by Eva Moore and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

This is based on a true event where a bunch of little ducklings did get lost down a storm drain and had to be rescued. Wonderful illustrations. Well written repetition. A perfect title for reread after reread.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Voyage written by Veronica Salinas and illustrated by Camilla Engman

A book that definitely needs more than one read. This one is philosophical and contemplative. How do we face what is new? How do we begin to belong? How are we understood? How do we manage the unknown? What makes us feel a part of things? How do we extend compassion and welcome to others? All of these questions are addressed as a little duck finds itself in a new place and moves through a range of emotions from confusion and fear to joy and calm. Would children navigate this book on their own? Not sure. I think it would be best in a read aloud/discussion situation.

The Voyage #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

My Elephant by Petr Horáček

Often for little ones, it seems everyone is too busy for play and fun. This is the case for the boy in this story. Grandma and Grandpa are often occupied but his elephant is never too busy! Elephant and boy get up to all kinds of imaginative antics.

My elephant #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Questions, Questions by Marcus Pfister

Any book which inspires wonder and questions gets points in my world. Questions about the natural world and some stunning illustrations – like the one of the whale with this text:

Does a whale make up a song so other whales will sing along?

This would be a wonderful mentor text for children’s own natural wonderings . . .

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Under the Snow written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Constance R Bergum

It really is one of nature’s most interesting mysteries and magic – where does everything go in winter? How do animals survive? What do all of the creatures we see at other times of the year do all winter long? Children often know some things about hibernation – but what else might happen during the cold, cold winter? Which creatures really do sleep winter away? Informative and beautifully illustrated. Feel like you are peeking into winter hiding places of animals and creatures that seemed to disappear. Of course, this would be perfect to read with Kate Messner‘s Over and Under the Snow

Under the Snow #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

This is a gorgeous and engaging animal concept book – I featured it this week in my Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday post. An amazing blend of facts, whimsy and wonder.

Jumping Penguins #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What if you had Animal Hair? written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

I bought this on a whim with a Scholastic order because I recognized Sandra Markle as an author of lots of nonfiction. I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried out a page with my own children and they insisted we read the whole book. And then we had to look through it all again and choose which animal hair we would most like to have. Lots of information about animal fur and hair – told in an engaging way and connected to our everyday life. For example, did you know that . . .

If you had three-toed sloth hair, you’d never be alone. Because of the algae, your hair would be home to many different kinds of harmless insects.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Frog and Friends: Frog Saves the Day written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Josee Masse

I continue to be impressed with this set of Frog and Friends titles. This one has two distinct stories inside featuring lots of adventures with the animals that live near frog. This title features a dramatic rescue and some serious confusion about what exactly a train might be. Lots of pictures, interesting dialogue and well told stories.

frog saves the day #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

 The Vengekeep Prophecies written by Brian Farrey

I read this aloud to my children and it was often difficult to put it down and enforce bedtime. Gripping, full of adventure, magic and the perfect blend of humour and fantasy to keep both of my eleven year old listeners (one boy, one girl) captivated. This is really well done fantasy. It is fresh with many unexpected twists and turns. We loved the main character – a mediocre (at best) thief from a long line of thieving tricksters, the Grimjinxes, Jaxter Grimjinx has heart and morals that one might not have expected. Lots of action. Many disasters. Ethical choices. And magical and fantastical creatures that surprise, amuse and astound. My children instantly asked if there is more of this Brian Farrey writing out there to feast their curious eyes upon. Both were thrilled to hear that there is a next title: The Shadowhand Covenant. If I was the prophecy kind . . . I would say for certain that there will be more time with these characters in our read aloud future.

Vengekeep Prophecies #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Living written by Matt de la Pena (One of my #MustReadin2014 titles)

While this is fast paced and full of action, I don’t recommend anyone bringing this along for a vacation read. I would not want to be in a boat, near a boat, near the ocean, on a beach or anywhere tropical and islandish when reading this book. In fact, I think if ever I might have taken a cruise, this book might have convinced me not to! I had to start there because this book has a lot of OMG scary disasters and survival. It also has mystery, deception and dystopian themes thrown in. And at this point, I can say no more without giving away important plot points. Well written YA fiction for certain!

The Living #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am reading Marie Lu‘s The Champion to finish the trilogy. After this, I think I will read Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. I have started Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo with my children. So, so good! With my new Junior Book Club at school, I am reading Charlotte’s Web .

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 8/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 79/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 30/65 complete

Happy Reading to all!