Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove

This week a treasure of a book arrived at my house.

The Good Little Book written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Marian Arbona

 The Good Little Book Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

This title perfectly captures true #booklove and the notion that books must be shared. What a perfect book to get us thinking about heading back into classrooms and reading to children or snuggling up for a cozy family story time with your own little ones. Books about loving books are especially special. They celebrate the wonder and magic of reading. This title by Maclear reminds us that our attachments to certain stories can be passionate and run deep.

This book is unique. It doesn’t have a jacket (significant later in the story) and its end pages are some of the most exquisite I have ever seen. Vibrant red flowers, quirky doodles and a name plate that makes us think about a very important question: Does a book truly belong to any one person? 

This book is about a boy and his book. His love for the book grows slowly. It comforts him. It transports him to new places and inspires him to experience a myriad of emotions. Soon, he is most definitely attached. And then one day, his book is missing. He worries. He searches. He mourns.

It might be that he does come across this book again. But our boy is now a reader and he knows, most certainly, that a book is a gift. A gift to be shared.

Such a gem. This good little book 🙂

This week I celebrate The Good Little Book and all of the #booklove it will conjure up in its readers.

I have also shared some of my other favourite titles that honour books, literacy and reading.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

 The Fantasict Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Library written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

 The Library  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small

 That Book Woman  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

Mr. George Baker  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty.

The Snatchabook  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

 The Bee Tree  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

The Best Book in the World by Rilla 

the best book in the world  Because Good Little Books Must be Shared; celebrating books about #booklove There's a Book for That

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.

celebrate-link-up

Happy Reading! 

Thank you to Pamela at Penguin Random House Canada for providing the copy of The Good Little Book for review!

My Picture Book 10 for 10 for 2013

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

I am thrilled to be participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event for the second time. This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. What are the picture books that you just can not live without?

pb 10 for 10

Last year I shared many of my all time favourite picture books. This year, I thought I would focus on what has become a beloved theme: picture books that feature a connection between generations – whether it is a child and a grandparent or a child and a grandparent like figure.

These stories remind us that time is a gift, memories have big meaning and wisdom shared always enhances what we know.

My top ten favourites on this theme: Connections across the generations

Mr. Zinger’s Hat written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic

A wonderful story about the power of storytelling and how it meanders this way and that between the narrator and the “creatively involved” listener. Young Leo and Mr. Zinger  collectively “create” a story. And then the storytelling continues once Leo has been “bit” by the writing/narrating bug. Just lovely.

Mr Zinger's Hat: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Friend written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

A beautiful friendship and love exist between little Belle and her devoted housekeeper Beatrice. Bea is little Belle’s daily companion as her parents race off here and there, too “busy” to give their child time. Reminds us that spending time with a child is everything even when doing the most mundane chores. Connection, warmth, love . . . What makes this story even more special is that it is inspired by a similar relationship in the author’s childhood. I wish I owned this book but sadly it is out of print. As always Small and Stewart create a treasured story together.

The Friend: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Imaginary Garden written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

The Imaginary Garden tells a story of grandfather and granddaughter who paint a lush garden mural when a real garden is no longer possible in Poppa’s new apartment. I used this book as inspiration for some beautiful garden art with my students.

 The Imaginary Garden: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Frank Show, a David Mackintosh title

This title is all about a young boy who thinks his Grandad Frank is not going to be an interesting share at Show and Tell. But, watch out for the older generation! Boy do they pull out all the stops. A great book to share to highlight how wonderful it is to get to know our grandparents. (My own Dad who happens to be a “Papa Frank” loved this title and read it to my nieces :-))

The Frank Show: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Oma’s Quilt written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Emily’s Oma (grandmother) has to move to a retirement home and she is very reluctant to do so.  What about her precious things? Her neighbours? Cooking apple strudel? Even the bowling alley at the home doesn’t change her mind (smelly shoes!) While Emily and her mother are sorting through Oma’s possessions, Emily has a wonderful idea. Why not make a memory quilt for Oma!?

Oma's Quilt: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith 

This book has so much of what I love- adoration for a Grandfather (a Great Grandfather in this case!), nostalgia for sick days and lots of reading, gardens, and the love of family history shared between generations. Exquisite!

Grandpa Green: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth

What a special story that celebrates friendship, literacy and the sentiment that it is never too late to learn something new. Young Harry waits for the school bus every morning with his friend and neighbour Mr. George Baker. Mr. Baker, a spry and charming man is a hundred years old and has never learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says George. Lyrical. Simple. Inspirational. A book to share with new learners of every age.

Mr. George Baker: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Wednesday Surprise written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Donald Carrick

Anna spends every evening with her Grandma. After dinner and dishes, Grandma and Anna work on a surprise for Dad’s birthday. The surprise is all about books and reading and it makes me cry no matter how many times I read this story. Special. Special. Special.

The Wednesday Surprise: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

When Mary Ellen confesses that she is tired of reading, Grandpa leads her (and half the community!) on an adventure that involves racing over fields and country roads in search of a bee tree. Along with the reward of baking powder biscuits and sweet honey, Mary Ellen receives some of Grandpa’s wisdom:

“There is sweetness inside of that book too! Such things . . . adventure, knowledge and wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them.”

The Bee Tree: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

William’s Doll written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois

A classic and consistently important story that shakes up thinking that is based in stereotypes. Brothers, neighbours and Dad send William the message that wanting a doll is wrong, something for a “sissy” and certainly not for a boy. But Grandma arrives, and in her wise and quiet way manages to get William the doll he covets and give the message to Dad that William wants a doll to love, but also to “play” at being a father – learning to do all of the things he will need to do one day for his own child. More than forty years old, this book is still relevant. I used it with a class last year and it was powerful.

William's Doll: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Last year, my list featured two more favourites on this theme. Stories that remain favourites.

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

(Knew I would find a way to “be creative” (a.k.a. cheat) with the 10 book guideline :-))

Not only do I love books that celebrate connections between the generations, I also love the magic that happens when books are shared during reading experiences. I shared that in this post: The Grandparent Effect

Please share if you have other titles that fit with this theme of connections across generations.

Happy Reading!

Monday June 3rd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of your wonderful reading from picture books to young adult novels. Such a great place to find “new” reads to delve into!

I read a lot of wonderful picture books this week. Some were good. Some just okay. Some fantastic. Here are my favourites from the week:

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small I am an absolute sucker when it comes to David Small – especially David Small does historical fiction. Add to that that this title is also about spreading the joy of literacy and books. Sigh. I am done for. Sold . . . hook, line and sinker. I knew of this book, but I had yet to sit and read it. When I read it, I instantly wondered why I hadn’t read it before. I read it first thing Sunday morning. Then I had coffee and read it again. Then I read it to my family at breakfast. Each time, I teared up. Reading it aloud, I had to stop and my daughter finished it. What is more beautiful than bravery and perseverance to bring books into the homes of children who don’t even have the chance to go to school? Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s, this book is inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books by horseback to areas where there were few if any schools and no libraries. My daughter instantly identified with Lark, the little girl in this family who is the “readenest child you ever did see.” Always her nose is in a book. But it is when Cal, who is not the “readin’ type” delves into reading – finding stories where he once thought there was only “chicken scratch,” that the story reached a level of instant favourite for me.

A story about the power of books, the devotion they are given and the magic that happens when a reader is made.

henson-that-book-woman

The Quiet Place written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small I also especially adore David Small when he illustrates for his wife, Sarah Stewart. These two are the masters of historical stories – conveying emotion, context and historical details always in a gorgeous story. This story is about young Isabel who immigrates to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1950s. Through a series of letters to her beloved aunt, Isabel tells her story of moving to a new country and finding her place. Simply lovely.

the quiet place

I spent Friday in the classroom of the wonderful Ms. Karen Lirenman and her fantastic Grade 1 students. While I did a lot of learning on this day, I also had the opportunity to share some of my favourite read alouds with the children. And . . . I was lucky enough to be introduced to the books of Australian author/illustrator Aaron Blabey. Karen discovered his books while on teacher exchange in Australia some years back. All of these books share certain things in common – brilliant and original character names, appealing illustrations and a celebration of individuality. I would love to have any or all of these titles in my classroom library.

Sunday Chutney written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Sunday is new to her school – in fact she is always the new girl. Her family moves a lot. Sunday is confident and quirky in the best of ways. She has a very active imagination and very particular tastes. Always being new is not always easy but we could all learn a little from Sunday’s optimism.

sunday-chutney

Stanley Paste written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Stanley Paste is very small and he is not at all happy about this fact. Being small is terrible until he meets Eleanor Cabbage who is incredibly tall. She too, despises her stature. But while these two are vastly different in height, they find a special friend in each other and as friendship blooms, so does some perspective about life and accepting the hand you are dealt. Delightful.

Stanley-PasteHere is Aaron Blabey talking about his book, Stanley Paste:

Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey A very special book about friendship. Pearl and Charlie are very different and it is their differences that help them to be such wonderful friends. A friendship story that is worth reading aloud and exploring. Pretty sure it will prompt some discussions about what makes a friend a friend. So well done.

Pearl Barley

Exclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld Such a fun concept of making an exclamation mark the main character and allowing the journey to celebrating personal importance be such a delightful one!

Exclamation-Mark

The Boy who Cried Ninja written and illustrated by Alex Latimer The cover alone hooked my students – a ninja! We found ourselves happily confused in this story – was telling the truth the problem? Or was it being believed? This little boy seemed to always be in trouble. And his outlandish (or were they?) tales made for quite the story.

boy who cried ninja

I finished just one novel this week:

Homesick written by Kate Klise This is the second novel about living with a parent who is a hoarder I have read in the last few weeks. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu was the first. An absolutely difficult topic. What fascinates me is how these young characters deal with living in such stress and feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control. There is definitely no parent providing structure and care in these situations. This novel was lighter than Omololu’s and written for a middle grade audience. Set in a tiny town, it had the quirky appeal of small town eccentric characters and wonderful friendships that span generations. But it didn’t shy away from the fact that a young boy was being neglected and put at risk while living alone with his father who compulsively filled their home with junk.

Spoiler alert: As in Omololu’s story, there is an ending that prevents anyone from having to fully deal with completely cleaning up the mess of a house where a hoarder has lived. The forces of nature come into play in both stories (one helped along a little) Makes me think about what is the rest of the story if someone really did need to be responsible . . . ?

homesick

Currently reading? As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins 

And . . . Because there is a new Clementine story out, my children and I have put Scumble on hold, and are diving into Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker.

Monday August 20th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme celebrating books read from picture books to young adult selections is such a pleasure. There is so much to learn in what everyone is reading and blogging about.

This week I read a number of fantastic picture books. I had a difficult time trying to narrow my favourites to the top five to keep this post to a reasonable size! But here they are – my top 5 picture books of the week:

Sector 7 by David Wiesner. I love Wiesner’s books but for some reason I had never read this one. When I found it at the library the other day, I was delighted. I am always using wordless books in the classroom  (I posted about using wordless books in the primary classroom here) and so love finding new titles to share. This book celebrates creativity, imagination and the endless possibilities in the clouds!

Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka was in a pile of books I had ordered from Scholastic last year and hadn’t yet labelled. When I read this book I was pleasantly surprised by the clever twists. First we meet Wolf who has been reading books about wolves and realizing that wolves are always portrayed as (yes, you know what’s coming) nasty, scary and greedy. He sets out to write his own book that depicts Mr. Nice Wolf acting in only lovely ways. He continuously meets animals that seem only to have met stereotypical awful wolves and they run from him. Finally a duck indulges Mr. Nice Wolf in a bit of a conversation and . . . Here’s the twist you might not have expected . . . I won’t spoil it! It’s worth finding a copy and having your own little chuckle as you read this book.

So I’ve decided that Sarah Stewart and David Small simply have not created enough picture books together. Very soon there is going to be a week where I can’t include a Stewart/Small title here and on that day, I will be very sad. This week I read The Library. All about book love and devotion. Nothing more needs to be said.

My next two favourites were sent to me in a box of “bookly delights” by a book loving friend.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce I absolutely adored this book – it fast became a favourite picture book. I love that it is so whimsical, the illustrations lure you in and you feel entangled with all of the books in the pictures. Amazing. But it also reads beautifully. I read it aloud to my two children and it was so smooth, so lyrical. Cannot wait to share this with my class this fall.

Cats’ Night out written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This was the first picture book that Klassen illustrated and it is so fun. I love the colours – all of the dark browns, blacks and shadows. Across each page dance cats. Cats with such serious smug expressions like they are saying, “We certainly don’t see you, dear reader,  up here doing the fox trot so elegantly in evening dresses or tuxedos.” The text is rhyming and one soon realizes that this is a counting book. Counting by twos! What fun and if you look carefully you can find numbers hidden in each illustration. A book that deserves multiple readings and begs to be shared with a friend to search for numbers, marvel at the pictures and reread the poetic text.

In other reading . . . .

I read Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. This is a mystery novel that is so much more. There is definitely a mystery which keeps it fast paced and highly energized. But wow, the characters! The other story lines going on! The idiosyncrasies of a small town and its inhabitants. The power of family no matter how it is defined. If this isn’t on your TBR list, add it!

I also read The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin. Loved Kevin Cornell‘s illustrations. There were lots of funny parts in this story but I worried that it might possibly too difficult for early readers (this is an early chapter book) to follow. Different chapters are told by different characters and I didn’t think it was always clear who was who. Maybe I’m wrong. I will see how some readers handle it this fall.

I also read Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet: The Cloud Searchers (Book Three) While I am always so impressed with the art work in Kibuishi’s Amulet books, all of the battle scenes are not my thing. But if it is your thing (my son adores these) these books are pretty amazing.

 I am still reading The Search for Wondla to my children and we started listening to The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Exciting!

My picture book 10 for 10 for 2012

Picture Book Love!!

This is the first year I am participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

Any opportunity to celebrate a love for picture books, count me in!

Of course I could have listed hundreds but I tried to select the first ten that came to me. My list for 2012:

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed. Oh how I love this book that celebrates love! I gushed about it here. This book is quite possibly my favourite picture book ever. And that is really saying something!

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert. Geisert is a master at telling a beautiful and whimsical fantastical story through a wordless book.  How the pigs happen to be saved from volcanic disaster is a reason to share this story many times. Gorgeous.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. I really liked this book on first read. But after sharing it with my class I quickly grew to love it. My students went crazy for this book! Read more here. This book read aloud in a classroom of book lovers is a force to be reckoned with.

All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee. This book could be read daily and one would never tire of it. I have blogged about it before: “The images are comforting, saturated with details and evoke our own memories attached to the experiences suggested by each picture. These pictures are so easy to connect to, I felt like I had taken a journey through some of my own most happiest of memories.”

Hunwick’s Egg written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts. I have blogged about this book before as it is one of my favourites: “Hunwick’s egg never hatched although it provided him with companionship, faith and an important secret. Yes, he realized his egg was not an egg at all but a perfectly shaped stone and he loved it all the more. This book is beyond endearing and my heart lifts just pulling it off the shelf.”

The Gardener written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. It is wonderful to have historical fiction wrapped up so beautifully in this illustrated book. My own children wanted to study this book again and again.

House Held up by Trees written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This book celebrates the power of nature and how we are naturally drawn to it. Efforts to keep it at bay are often futile. Nature finds its way. This book is stunning.

Leaf by Stephen Michael King. A story of the friendship between a boy, a dog and a plant. Simple, sweet, endearing. The best thing about this book? It is nearly wordless – the only text  – sound effects – Whooosh, Boing, Sploosh, Glurg glurg .

Hello Goodbye Window written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka. The vibrant colours in this book are pure joy! I love the celebration of the relationship between grandchild and grandparents. “Hello World! What have you got for us today?” We still quote this line frequently in our house!

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas. A favourite of mine for years. Every time I read it aloud to a new group of students I sit back and enjoy their discussions of all the special kinds of memories. A book every house and classroom should own.

Monday July 30th, 2012

It’s Monday What are you Reading? Celebrating books read from picture books to young adult reads. Link up with the meme sponsored by Kellee and Jen!

I read some wonderful picture books this week!

Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey (who I happen to adore – read more here) There were lots of things I loved in this book – more in the pictures than in the storyline honestly. Love the oppositely stereotypical parents (Dad in apron and Mom with her circular saw). Loved the compost bin as play site. And what could be better than a search down the Grand Sofa Canyon? It did after all uncover a hairy sweet. This book reminds us germophobes not to come between a boy and his toy. Rescues into the slimy trash heap will be attempted!

Alfie Runs Away written by Kenneth M. Cadow and illustrated by Lauren Castillo.  Alfie is upset and decides to run away announcing it emphatically. His mother “helps” him get ready. Absolutely captures the sentiments of both mother and child. Love Castillo’s illustrations.

Pierre in Love written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Petra Mathers. A beautiful picture book about being in love and being brave enough to admit it.

The Gardener written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. I so love this author/illustrator team. And the book . . . We read it one night as a read aloud. Then the next day my daughter asked to read it again because she wanted to study the pictures. Lasting impressions – this book makes them! Love historical fiction delivered beautifully in a picture book!

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins. I read this with my children as one of our many nightly read alouds (we also have a novel and a book of fairy tales on the go) over a few evenings. We were fascinated, shocked and sometimes disgusted (in the best of ways) as we learned all about beetles. Plan to purchase my own copy of this book and share it in the classroom this fall! Think of the art it will inspire! And since one in four living things happen to be a beetle, they deserve some studious attention!

Middle Grade reads:

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

I am considering this for a book club pick for our student book club. Such an important time in history – would prompt a LOT of discussion. I adored this book!

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban. Now I understand why this is  such a beloved book for so many. There are so many students I know who need to read this book. They will find themselves and so much more.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm Okay, wow! I found one of the books I will read aloud to my new class this fall! Love the family dynamics between Turtle and the boy cousins. So much humour and yet lots of interesting things to discuss in terms of this time in history. Ideal read aloud for an upper primary classroom!

Monday July 16th 2012

This is the first time I am officially participating in Kellee and Jen‘s meme It’s Monday What are you Reading? blog link up! Such a wonderful way to share books read over the past week and plans for future reading.

Three favourite picture books I read:

The Friend by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. I loved this book immediately because David Small is just so good. These pictures are gorgeous and depict the nuances and emotions that the book conveys. What a beautiful story about little Belle and Beatrice Smith, the housecleaner who adores her. Took me back to my own childhood of long summer days that start out with daily chores only I was lucky enough to be working side by side with my Mom.

the friend

Lola and Fred by Christoph Heuer.  A delightful wordless book (How I love wordless books!) about a tortoise and a frog who want to fly. Just how will they make this happen? Imagine this would be a wonderfully loud “share aloud” with a primary class.

Two Bears and Joe by Penelope Lively and illustrated by Jan Ormond. This book celebrates imagination, play and pretend. Love Ormond’s illustrations as always.

I also read a number of Early Chapter, Middle Grade and Young Adult novels this past week.

Early Chapter:

Heidi Heckelbeck and the Cookie Contest by Wanda Coven

Piper Reed Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt I bought the first four titles in this series and plan to introduce it to some of my new students who are ready for a chapter book that is just a little bit longer. Love the school themes and the true to life family dynamics in the Reed family.

Middle Grade:

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead. The children’s librarian at the Vancouver Public Library branch we frequent has started a Middle Grade ARC club allowing readers to “borrow” the ARCs, bring them home to read, write comments in if they so choose and share reviews. My nine year olds and I were vey excited and joined. I did a little leap when I saw this title on the shelf.  Fantastic!

Young Adult:

Paper Towns by John Green. 

Pearl by Jo Knowles The characters in this story nestle up beside you as you read this book and when you are done, they are not gone. I adored Pearl (Bean) and Henry.

Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

** I am also really enjoying Journey to the River Sea, the novel I’m reading aloud to my children.