Monday May 15th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week.  It’s been a few weeks since I have posted so here are a few . . .

A student brushing up on the original fairy tale as she begins the story of Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

Some serious Scaredy Squirrel fans read together during buddy reading!

Here are a few #classroombookaday photos to share

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

Books I enjoyed:

Town is by the Sea written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith

I am not sure if it is humanly possible to illustrate this book more beautifully. I almost couldn’t breathe looking at these pages. The story is lyrical and full of vivid images. The beauty of the seaside is a sharp contrast to the reality of the daily life in a mining town.

The Fog written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Kenard Pak

Well. Where to begin with this book? There is so much that is clever and charming but there are heavier themes to explore for each reader to discover. I can’t wait to kid test this one and see what the reactions will be. Very worth getting your hands on this title!

Caring for Your Lion written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Troy Cummings

A wonderful mentor text for the primary grades. Often the text and the pictures don’t completely match and this is hilarious and scary all at the same time as we follow the step by step instructions of how to look after a mail order lion. I shared this with a group of Grade 1 students who were thrilled to share what animal they might like to order in the mail!

The Good for Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper

Another wonderful Elephant & Piggie recommended title. I loved this book and then I read this post by Travis Jonker and loved it more. (If fidget spinners have taken over your school – read the link for a smile)

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton

We LOVE Super Narwhal in my classroom! Love, love, love. It is the perfect blend of amusing, informative and just plain cute.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold 

I read this in one sitting. An ideal read aloud for a Grade 2 or 3 classroom. There is so much here. Bat, his family and a little orphaned skunk make up a cast of characters that you must meet.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

This book is flying through my Grade 4/5 classroom. Friendship issues, fitting in, sibling stressors and growing up. The perfect middle school title. A graphic novel.

Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Some fantastic elements that middle grade readers will love. For me personally, too much magic. But I can see young readers devouring this book. Recommended for Grade 6 and older because of the romance themes and nasty friendship dynamics.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

This YA novel is hard to put down. Fabiola Toussaint joins her aunt and female cousins in Detroit. Newly arrived from Haiti without her mother who has been detained by immigration, Fabiola has much to navigate in this new world full of dangers and threats and uncertain security. Highly recommended.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 25/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 123/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 10 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2017: 14/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 18/50 books read

Up next? I have a few titles on the go including Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

Monday April 18th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This week it is all about reading a Jon Klassen favourite to your little brother during buddy reading!

Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

For our #classroombookaday, we loved lots of books about community and home.

Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR 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:

Teeny Tiny Toady: Questions and Answers with author and illustrator

Diverse Children’s Books: Water in our World

Books I enjoyed:

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

This is a tender book about friendship and loss. Allows for conversations about preparing for a death and carrying on. A very special (fictional) story based on a real connection between two bears in New York’s Central Park Zoo.

Ida, Always Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Teeny Tiny Toady written by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

I featured this title this week with an interview with author and illustrator answering questions from my students. A sweet little rhyming book all about clever solutions, tiny sister power and love for family that conquers all! And peeking under the book jacket is a must!

 Teeny Tiny Toady Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Anna Carries Water written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Laura James

Set in the Caribbean, this is the story of young Anna who strives to master the task of carrying water on her head. This story is beautifully illustrated and is, more than anything, a story of childhood: wanting to be grown up, wanting to be able to do what older siblings can do, wanting to face a fear.

Anna-Carries-Water Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler

I love the fantasy and imaginative elements of this story. One day Ernest D decides to explore the world beyond the pond . . .

Beyond the Pond Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

 Mr Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser

It seems that the moon has landed on Mr. Squirrel’s tree. Or has it? It definitely seems to be the case and he has quite the time trying to be rid of it.

Mr Squirrel and the Moon Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

One Day, The End Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Fred Koehler

Simply short stories full of images of all that happens in between. Perfect for Writer’s Workshop to talk about the importance of details, the power of illustrations, visual literacy, the large possibilities in small moments.

One Day, The End Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Princess in Black (#2) and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

I love nothing better than reading these titles aloud to my class. They love them! This one was lots and lots of fun!

The Princess in Black Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I can’t stop thinking about this book. One of the best books I have read. Ever. Sepetys just keeps getting better. This is some kind of historical fiction. Full of adventure, war time atrocities, human kindness and connection. It also tells the story of a real historical event that many of us know nothing about – the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the biggest and most tragic disaster in maritime history. Heartbreaking, compelling, an incredible read.

Salt to the sea Monday April 18th, 2016 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 15/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 115/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 13/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 14/50 books read

Up next? I am in the middle of All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

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 Tuesday: Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

I decided to stick to middle grade and young adult titles.  I chose authors where I have read three or more titles and who I can’t read to read more from.

 Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shared alphabetically by author and featuring one of my favourite titles from each:

Kate DiCamillo How to pick a favourite DiCamillo title? I have to choose Flora and Ulysses because it was pure pleasure to read this aloud to my class. Some sentences were better than the best chocolate in my mouth. And yes, there is that Newbery medal . . . 🙂

flora and ulysses  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Beth Kephart There is such a beautiful quality to Kephart‘s writing. I love many of her books but I think Going Over is my favourite.

Going Over Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Shannon Hale I have read many, many Shannon Hale titles but I think the book that I would read again and again is Princess Academy. It is one title that every child I pass it to absolutely loves.

 Princess Academy  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

A.S. King I fell fast after I read my first A.S. King title. My favourite? Everybody Sees the Ants Lucky Linderman is unforgettable.

Everybody Sees the Ants  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Jo Knowles is another author that after reading one book, I went on to read every book. Which book hit me hardest? See You at Harry’s I was a weepy mess reading this beautiful book.

 See You at Harry's  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

It will be no surprise to Barbara O’Connor that she is on this list I am sure. She is probably the author I most often recommend to be read aloud in the classroom. But I think it is this book – Greetings from Nowhere that is most often on my mind as of late. I think it is calling me to reread it.

 Greetings from Nowhere  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Kenneth Oppel may be the author I have most often read aloud to my own children. But my favourite from him is one I read just on my own: Half Brother. I treasure my signed copy.

 Half Brother  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Andrew Smith seemed to write books faster than I could read them. After hearing him speak, I now know why this appeared to be the case.. I love the characters in Winger so much that this is my favourite title.

Winger  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Even though I am highly addicted to the Raven Boys titles, it is The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater that I love best.

 Scorpio Races  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for That

Deborah Wiles – oh this author. Again, I am choosing a title that was such a delight to read aloud: Each Little Bird that Sings Such a beautiful book full of heartbreak and hope.

each little bird  Ten MG and YA authors I read the most from There's a Book for ThatWhich authors have you read again and again?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read

I decided to focus on books I have read and loved: 5 of my favourite picture books and 5 of my favourite MG/YA novels. I love fairytales and stories with nuances of fairytale elements. But, I am very particular. It is a pleasure to share what I consider to be some of the very best in this list.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Picture Books:

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma written by Diane Fox and illustrated by Christyan Fox

Hilarious. Kind of like having a backseat driver “helping” tell a story. Annoying for the narrator. Amusing for the readers. Little Red Riding Hood like you have never before heard it.

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and GrandmaTop Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Pig written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene

This lovely little read manages to link to many classic fairy tales while telling a great original story and poking fun at just about everything! A pig and a princess switch places and the happy ending is not what you might predict.

Princess and the Pig Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Me and You by Anthony Browne

Browne tells simultaneous stories, letting us into the world of Goldilocks while at the same time we revisit the familiar story about the bears.  On the left, sepia images of the little girl, out on an errand with Mom and then suddenly, lost. Her story is wordless, told just through the images. On the right, we follow little bear and his Mummy and Daddy as they head out for a walk and then return home to find a stranger in their home. A version of the Goldilocks story that we are very familiar with. This story blurs the absolutes of fairy tale right and wrong and introduces a lovely element of empathy.

 Me and You Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat

Certainly not the Three Little Pigs story we thought we knew! A fan of pig power? Girl power? Stories where the bullies don’t win? This book delivers! Kiya!

 The Three Ninja Pigs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be by Mini Grey

This book is told from the perspective of the pea! A pea, who plays quite an active role in the outcome of this tale . . .

 mini Grey Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Novels:

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Such an interesting twist on the fairytale we know. Loved reading this aloud to my class. Why is this book so special? The children loved the whole idea that this was the “back story” of a well known tale. They felt they were in on some secrets! And what characters! We were rooting for Rump. We loved Red and the Trolls and Nothing, the donkey! We all agreed that the King and the Miller were terrible. The pixies fascinated us. Children begged and pleaded for me to read this book at every possible free minute of out day.

 Rump Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli 

The story of the Frog Prince but told from the perspective of the pond and the frogs. The prince is now a frog and must adjust to pond life and to talking like a frog. It is more difficult than it seems. Certain sounds aren’t possible thus, The Frog Prince is De Fawg Pin. Learn a lot about frogs. And their life cycle. Meet Jade, Pin’s mate. Despise the hag. Root for the froglets! Read this aloud to a group of children and prepare for spit out your milk laughter. Chortles. Giggles. Guffawing. The first in a trilogy.

 The Prince and the Pond Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

Breadcrumbs written by Anne Ursu

Inspired by the classic story The Snow Queen with all kinds of modern everything. Yet magical fantasy that feels utterly timeless. Read this to my children who loved the mix between fairy tale and real life and all of the references to stories and books they knew. Beautiful as a read aloud – the words just come off the page, swirl around and we are immersed in the book.

Breadcrumbs Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favourite Fairytale Retellings There's a Book for That

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

I became quickly hooked on all things Shannon Hale after reading this book and went on to read the complete Books of Bayern series. Fast paced. Lots of magic. Fantastic characters. The perfect book to get lost in.

 The Goose Girl

Cinder written by Marissa Meyer

Honestly, I was surprised by how addictive this story was for me. I thought it would be a light read but I was drawn in to the drama and intrigue despite suspecting some of the secrets unveiled late in the novel quite early on. Futuristic, fantasy/sci-fi with fairy tale elements and high drama.

 Cinder

What are your favourite fairytale retellings? 

Monday July 20th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. Now that it is summer, I am not surrounded every day with little readers so . . . I am choosing moments from the year not previously shared. “We love reading together,” these reading buddies announced with an ultimate squishy face hug and a huge book stack.  How we love when the Kindergarten buddies come to read with us.

From the classroom 2014/2015 archives:

 Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

On the blog this week:

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books that Came into my Possession

For Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited

A little bit of picture book dreaming: Picture Book Wishlist: July 2015

Celebration: Blogging Escapades

Sunday Morning Perspective: Reflections on the power of classroom community

Lots of reading happened too. Sharing my favourite titles here:

Picture books:

Mo and Beau by Vanya Nastanlieva

Adorable. Simple repetitive language leaves lots of room for observation. Perfect for little ones.

Mo and Beau  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

No More Kisses for Bernard! by Niki Daly

A great title to explore talking about personal boundaries. Bernard has four aunties that are much too kissy. How is his “No more kisses!” request respected? Quite creatively.

No More Kisses for Bernard!

Nonfiction picture books:

Sweep up the Sun by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

Beautiful pairing of incredible close up photos and perfectly matched poetry.

Sweep up the Sun  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Whale Trails, Before and Now written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Documents the history of the whaling industry and contrasts it to current whale watching practices.

Whale Trails, Before and Now  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

Lots of humour. Spider facts. Some arachnid squashing. All in a genuine quest for spider love.

Trying to Love Spiders  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Transitional chapter books:

The Adventures of Sophie Mouse: A New Friend written by Poppy Green and illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell

Sweet early chapter title. Themes of friendship and community.

sophie mouse  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Princess in Black is written by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Princess Magnolia leads a double life! She ditches her frilly pink dresses to don her Princess in Black disguise and act as a kind of super hero in the kingdom. What fun!

 Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Novels:

The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

Many things I appreciated about this middle grade novel. It is so wonderfully character driven but still many things happen. Strong friendships. Family loyalty. Persistence. Courage. Forgiveness. Just plain lovely.

 The Great Good Summer  Monday July 20th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 38/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 255/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 15/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 52/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 26/50 books read

Up next? I am reading the very clever Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson and Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Happy Reading everyone!

Monday April 1st, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

IMG_1587I missed last week’s Monday reads blogging and the #IMWAYR community as I was away on a holiday with no internet access.

But lots of time for reading! And read I did . . .

This was our daily beach walk that did interrupt many quiet hours of reading 🙂 So peaceful!

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share your own reading!

This is my reading for the last 2 weeks! (Bolded that so nobody thinks I didn’t eat or sleep and crammed all of this reading into one week!)

More time to read allowed me to cross off three more titles from my 20 must read novels in 2013 list. 11 done. 9 to go.

Many novels consumed:

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper Although hard to read at times – the subject matter is heavy – the slave trade and the horrific treatment of slaves . . . I couldn’t put this title down. Read it in a day and was lost in the story. Tragic but full of hope and resilience. Reminded me of the adult novel The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. In Copper Sun,  we follow Amari, a fifteen year old girl, stolen from her village in Africa and taken aboard a ship sending slaves to the Carolinas. When she is sold and brought to a rice plantation, she meets Polly, an indentured servant also living there. The two girls have an opportunity finally to escape but their path to posible freedom seems almost impossible. What a story.

coppersun

Shine written by Lauren Myracle This book catches you quick and holds on tight. Part of what pulled me through the pages was the mystery element to the story. Just who was responsible for such a violent and upsetting assault against Patrick, Cat’s best friend who seems to have been attacked because he is gay. But there is much more to this story than a simple “who done it?” theme. It explores addiction, small town hate and poverty, family secrets and loyalty that endures. 

shine

How it Ends by Laura Wiess There is something about this book. I finished it almost a week ago but it continues to weave its way into my thinking. Many stories are intertwined within this novel. First, that of seventeen year old Hanna. We also follow the story of her elderly neighbours and their history in Hanna’s life. But another story is offered – told on audiobook that Hanna and Helen (the neighbour) listen to together. This story and Helen’s history are what keep tugging at me. There are tender memories, issues of aging and illness, regrets and moments of extreme and simple joy all mixed up with such sadness, true horror and much grief. The teenage tribulations of Hanna were okay but these other layers of the story really captured me. Very emotional read.

how-it-ends_

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson I was so happy to settle back into the world of Hattie! Such an honourable, honest and likeable character. I want to purchase both Hattie novels and put them aside for my daughter to read in a few years. They are must reads I think, as Hattie has such character.

hattie after after

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake This book was a very pleasant surprise. I had seen this title on 2013 lists but hadn’t heard many details. I was completely engrossed in the story of Georgie, a young girl who when faced with news of her sister’s death refuses to believe it. Even when there is a body. And a funeral. Georgie is some girl – thirteen years old and full of spunk. She is a sharpshooter (whoa this girl and her gun . . . ) and possesses a keen mind. Her sister’s disappearance is a mystery to be solved and she sets out determined to find answers. Not going to spoil anything by giving away plot points but will highly recommend this book for those who love mysteries, adventure and historical fiction (Placid, Wisconsin 1871 is the setting).

one came home

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens We happily finished this dramatic story over the holiday. I have been reading this aloud to my children. What adventure! Also much mystery, fantasy and even humour. I think I appreciated how well written this book is precisely because I read it aloud. The dialogue was so much fun to read. We can’t wait to read the second book in this trilogy.

ermerald-atlas

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr So much of this novel is bittersweet. A sad story of a girl defined by a reputation that plagues her. I really like Sara Zarr as an author. Her book How to Save a Life is one of my favourites novels I’ve read in 2013.

story of a girl

Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone I love stories that highlight intergenerational relationships so loved the connections between Louise and her grandparents. Some wonderfully quirky characters in this middle grade novel but some definite sadness as Louise begins to face memories of her mother’s death.

The Boy on Cinnamon Street

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. We listened to this as an audio book (read by James Avery) on the driving parts of our holiday. It hooked the entire family – we loved the story, the history and the hilarious expressions.

BudNotBuddy

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2) by Shannon Hale Princess Academy is one of my favourite middle grade stories so I was thrilled to get my hands on the sequel. I am a big fan of Hale and her style of fairytale inspired fantasy.

palace of stone

Three other titles I have loved in this past few weeks:

Penny and her Marble by Kevin Henkes Oh Henkes is so on to a good thing with Penny. Think this might be my favourite title yet. Seriously hope Henkes keeps creating new characters and new titles. He is an absolute master of the illustrated story.

PennyMarble

Infinity and Me written by Kate Hosford and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska Loved this book and the questions and wondering it inspires.

?????

Beach by Elisha Cooper I find Cooper’s books so beautifully simple and soothing. Snippets, small moments and observations of a beach day. Would be a great text to model how a story can be told in doodles and descriptions.

beach-by-elisha-cooper-cover

I am currently reading The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen as a read aloud to my children. We are very excited because I purchased tickets to go see Jennifer in mid April here in Vancouver. Our whole family are fans and so we are all going! Yippee!

I just started One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This book has been on my TBR shelf for some time so looking forward to reading it!

What are you reading?