Picture Books that celebrate courage

To celebrate Picture Book Month I have been sharing a variety of picture books and the conversations I am having about them with my students, my children and others. This post is a kind of conversation with my self. I am reading the novel Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt to my own children and it often comes up that Doug, the main character, has to be brave in so many ways.

How do picture books depict bravery? Courage? Conviction? Strength?

In, oh, so many ways . . .

Each of these titles features a character who comes face to face with fear, who takes a risk, who stands up or stands out. Each book is full of inspiration.

Ten of my favourites:

Picture Books that celebrate courage Twenty titles There's a Book for That

And ten more:

Picture Books that celebrate courage Twenty titles There's a Book for That

Twenty Picture Books that celebrate courage:

Those Shoes written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Ruby’s Wish written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Willow Finds a Way written by Lana Button illustrated by Tania Howells

Bird Child written by Nan Forler and illustrated by François Thisdale

The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

Sheila Rae, the Brave written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Spuds written by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Wendy Watson

Soccer Star written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Renato Alarcão 

Across the Alley written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Hello, my Name is Ruby by Phillip C Stead 

Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford

Suki’s Kimono written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward and illustrated by Julie Morstad

What picture book titles on this theme would you share? I would love to hear your favourites!

Happy Picture Book Month!

pb month logo

Monday October 27th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

I hope everyone was able to get lost in a book or two or three just like these guys did in Buddy Reading this week!

Monday October 27th, 2014 #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.

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My favourite picture books of the week:

Ms. Brooks’ Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome!) written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Michael Emberley

In this delightful tale, Miss Brooks gives her students the opportunity to connect with their inner story telling selves. But things get really interesting when Missy realizes that she can use her creative energies and wild imagination to tackle real life problems. Say problems named Billy Toomey . . .

Check out my students’ reviews here.

Miss Brooks' Story Nook #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The trailer is delightful

Giant Dance Party written by Betsy Bird and illustrated by Brandon Dorman

Stage fright explored by big blue fluffy monsters and a feisty little girl.

Giant Dance Party Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Don’t Play with Your Food by Bob Shea

This book is absolute kid humour. In fact, one of my students found it at the library and insisted I read it and consider reading it aloud. I think I just might because it would be a LOT of fun to share with a group. A hungry monster continues to be outwitted by a group of ever multiplying bunnies.

Don't Play with Your Food Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

H.o.r.s.e. a game of basketball and imagination by Christopher Myers

I read this aloud at dinner to my family and my twelve year old son and husband – both who enjoy basketball – were quite enthralled. Love the friendly banter and boasting and the focus on stretching both skills and creativity.

HORSE Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Rosie and Buttercup written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Oh, so very, very real when it comes to sibling relationships. Don’t you sometimes wish you could just give your annoying little sister away? What if you could? This title explores that question in such a tender and honest way. No blame – just exploring normal feelings of being irritated and having reached the point of frustration.

 Rosie and Buttercup Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Nancy Knows by Cybèle Young

Such an interesting title – exploring the concept of memories – so Nancy, our elephant main character, is perfect.

Nancy Knows Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Oliver’s Tree by Kit Chase

Adorable illustrations of these three friends. What kind of tree can an elephant belong in? Two friends support Oliver to find out.

Oliver's Tree Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Early readers/younger chapter books:

Annie’s Adventures (The Sister’s 8 Book 1) written by Lauren Baratz-Logsted with Greg Logsted & Jackie Logsted

My daughter devoured all nine titles in this series and I have some girls in my room beginning to read the series so I thought I should read one so I can talk with my students. Lots going on – mystery, sibling negotiation and sister power. Quite sophisticated writing and longer than a typical early chapter book – verging on a middle grade read at over 100 pages.

Annie's Adventures Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Humphrey’s Playful Puppy Problem written by Betty G. Birney and illustrated by Priscilla Burris

I find these Humphrey’s Tiny Tales to be the ideal balance between interesting plot and supported text to be the perfect early chapter title.

Humphrey's Playful Puppy Problem Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Novels: (both in verse)

Caminar by Skila Brown

There is something about a heavy story being light in words. Novels in verse can capture images and emotions with so much power that the reader must just stop. This is a beautifully done story – set in Guatemala in the early 1980s when mountain villages are wiped out in the name of searching for rebels. Family. Community. Courage. Nothing is what it once seemed. A powerful story for mature middle grade readers.

Caminar Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Libertad by Alma Fullerton

One night I read Caminar in one sitting and the next morning I woke up and devoured Libertad before getting out of bed. Another novel in verse, also set in Guatemala with a focus on courage and family, Libertad tells the story of a boy forced to protect both himself and his brother after their mother dies as they scavenge for garbage in the Guatemala City Dump. Determined to find his father in America, Libertad brings his brother Julio on a journey to family, freedom and safety. But will each decision be the right one? Is the risk too great? Is their dream even possible? I couldn’t put this book down.

Libertad Monday October 27th, 2014 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am still reading The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson and have a large pile of novels just in from the library that I am excited to dive into.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 69/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 484/650 books read (continue to remain 48 books behind, still keeping it under 50!)

#MustReadin2014: 21/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 111/65 complete

Monday July 28th, 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.

My favourite picture books of the week are all kinds of amazing! I figured since I didn’t share any last week, highlighting a number of them this week will be okay!

Two Speckled Eggs by Jennifer K. Mann

Lyla Browning is different and when you are having a bunch of girls to a birthday party, that doesn’t seem like a good thing. As Ginger’s party progresses, it turns out that in close proximity, true colours shine through. And some seem to be shining a little more brightly after all. Lovely story about choosing friends for how they make you feel.

Two Speckled Eggs #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Turtle Island by Kevin Sherry 

A cute little story about having friends and being part of a community. An ideal story time title for younger students.

 Turtle Island #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

TAP TAP BOOM BOOM written by Elizabeth Bluemle with illustrations by G. Brian Karas

I adore any illustrations from G.Brian Karas and this rainy journey through the city has many charming images. But the rhythm of the text makes this book a delightful read aloud! It would be a book you want to practice before reading aloud so that it can be delivered with all of the drama it deserves. Lots of fun!

Tap tap Boom Boom #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Knock Knock My Dad’s Dream for Me written by Daniel Beaty with illustrations by Bryan Collier

Made me cry. What a story of loss and hope, upset and deep love in 32 beautiful pages.

Knock Knock #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Captain Cat by Inga Moore

Gorgeous cover and illustrations. While I don’t necessarily love this story, I can see this being such a popular book for students to read and enjoy independently or with a buddy. A longer story perfect for upper primary students. And the rat chase is lots of fun!

Captain Cat #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

You are Stardust written by Elin Kelsey with illustrations by Soyeon Kim

Simply breathtaking illustrations. The message is a huge one – every living thing is connected – in perfect, child friendly text. Beautiful to read over and over – to savour the art and let the words swirl around.

 You Are StarDust #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Julia, Child written by Kyo Maclear with illustrations by Julie Morstad 

This is kind of a cheeky little book. Pay attention reader. The title is not Julia Child but Julia, Child. Yes, we see a little girl in an apron surrounded by cooking utensils, herbs and berries. Yes, this book is inspired by the idea of Julia Child and her passion for food and cooking. But this is hardly a biography. This is a playful book, full of joy and friends and butter. The message? Hang on to the best parts of being a child. For those adults who need some help with this, recipes are adjusted accordingly.

 Julia, Child #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

The Owl and the Pussy Cat written by Edward Lear with illustrations by Stéphane Jorisch  

This was a gift for my husband who loves this poem and used to recite it to our children often when they were little. He also loves illustrator Stéphane Jorisch so it was a must. Just a beautiful book to treasure.

 The Owl and the Pussycat #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Wow of the week:

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin written by Chieri Uegaki with illustrations by Qin Leng

This book was on my picture book wish list. I am not supposed to be book shopping. But I happened to find a little money tucked away in a bag I hadn’t used and found money should be for wishes, don’t you think? Anyway this title is now mine!

I absolutely adore it for so very many reasons. I have favourite pages, favourite series of illustrations and am completely enchanted by the green grass that we see one night at dusk. Wow. And then there is the story. A story of determination, perseverance and creativity. Absolutely about courage and dreaming. Connection to family – Ojiichan (Grandfather) in Japan who played Second Violin in front of the Imperial Family and his influence on little Hana who wants to play the violin too. Hana enters a talent contest. Little girl with medium sized violin walks out onto the huge stage. I dare you not to hold your breath! What happens when she begins to play is pure delight and probably not at all what you are thinking. Suki’s Kimono by Uegaki is a favourite picture book on our family bookshelf. This book will sit, also beloved, one space over.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

I also read lots of great nonfiction that I will highlight on Wednesday’s #nfpb2014 post

I finished two novels:

Son by Lois Lowry

The fourth and final title in The Giver books. As I was reading it, I wasn’t loving it, yet I just couldn’t get the story out of my head. If you have read all of the other titles, yes, read it. I’m still deciding what I think. One thing bothered me and so . . .

SON #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrara

I was quite charmed by this story. And oh so happy that it was written. So many of my students  are impacted by poverty in so many ways. In our community, it is just the norm. So there isn’t a lot of judgement. But I remember once one of my students was going to move to a community where low income didn’t define the community in general. She was bright and spunky and didn’t miss a thing. I knew she was going to be okay but I worried about the getting there to that place of okay. In this book, Star Mackie moves to California and she is the girl from the trailer park. Standing out for something that doesn’t even seem to be about her. I love Star’s stubborn streak, her voice and her passion for the written word. I love how friendship and family dynamics are explored. A middle grade novel that is really going to resonate with readers.

Ironically, just as I finished this review, my eleven year old (I gave her this book to read this morning) came charging into my room.

“Mom! It’s not long enough! Is there a sequel? I can’t wait for it. My favourite characters are . .  ” Natter, natter, natter. Yep, the perfect book for middle grader readers!

 Hope is a Ferris Wheel #IMWAYR  July 28th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Next up? I have a huge, huge pile of books – holds that have all arrived at once. Top of the pile?  Winger by Andrew Smith

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 53/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 363/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 86/65 complete

 

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 July 8th, 2013

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 reads! The #IMWAYR community is a fantastic community of readers with many wonderful titles to share.

I found some wonderful picture books this week. Here are my favourites:

The #1 hit of the week in my house was definitely . . . 

Betty Bunny Didn’t Do it written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch I adore Jorisch’s work and loved the first Betty Bunny title so I was excited to read these other books in the collection. I “test read” these books out on my own children (10 years old x 2) Well . . . this book was SUCH a hit that my son talked about it for days – almost to the point of telling strangers about it. He didn’t go that far but he did tell people on the soccer field, our old neighbour and even his Grandma (after pulling the phone out of my hands and reading her the whole book over the phone). This book, he assured me, was a great book to read. I quote:

“Mom, this book has great morals. Well, maybe not for adults but for kids :-)”

Now I’m not sure what he means by morals . . . considering what my children seemed to learn from this book:

  • Telling very tall tales is charming and creative and not an avoidance of responsibility
  • Admitting that a statement is an honest lie is incredibly funny
  • Claiming that coming clean with the whole entire truth would hurt one’s feelings is a brilliant way to avoid telling the truth!

An interesting look at what it means to be honest. Much humour. Much charm. Much to repeat and relive!

betty bunny didn't do it

Betty Bunny Wants Everything written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch We liked this title as well although it doesn’t rate as high as the Betty Bunny story above. Betty Bunny is just a little too precocious. Seems like it was going to be a wonderful book to talk about consumerism and smart money strategies but it just . . . wasn’t. Still worth reading even to have those discussions of – does Betty Bunny take it too far? Does she really learn anything? Are characters always likeable? Even when you loved them in another story?

Betty Bunny eants Everything

Oliver and his Alligator written and illustrated by Paul Schmid What happens when you swallow all of your anxiety (well – have your alligator do it for you . . . )? Then there is nothing to be afraid of and things get a little dull! Deals with first day of school nerves in a very creative way!

oliver and his alligator

Tea Rex written and illustrated by Molly Idle A T rex for tea? Perfect! Thought the small talk was divine and the illustrations absolutely charming.

TeaREX

Can I play Too? written and illustrated by Mo Willems All Elephant and Piggie books are huge hits in my classroom. I still find some that I haven’t read and it is always such a pleasant surprise. This is one of my new favourites. Love the creative ways these characters try to be inclusive in their games. There is humour but also some pretty awesome modelling of how to play.

can-i-play-too

A Big Guy Took My Ball! written and illustrated by Mo Willems Again, Willems creates a winner.

A big guy took my ball

The Epiplectic Bicycle written and illustrated by Edward Gorey First published in 1969 but I just discovered it. Odd. Quirky. Many shades of absurd. Find it and experience a number of mysterious adventures.

Epiplectic Bicycle

More Bears written by Kenn Nesbitt  and illustrated by Troy Cummings Since I am always quite delighted when there is a bear (or two or three) in a story, I was particularly pleased that the narrator of this little tale was persistently encouraged to include more bears! Can see this being a very amusing read aloud.

More_Bears

My nonfiction reading was from the Amazing Animals series by Kate Riggs– I blogged about it here.

gorillas

In novels . . .

My Happy Life written by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Eriksson A special little read that tackles some big issues: friends moving away, grief, sadness . . . So often we don’t find issues like this handled in a beginning chapter book for young readers. I appreciated the fact that there was space for thinking and discussion (thinking this would be a great read aloud in a primary classroom) and that it breathed resiliency and learning life lessons. And I adore Eva Eriksson as an illustrator. 

my-happy-life2

The Center of Everything written by Linda Urban I just finished this book this morning and I feel like I should have cradled it under my arm all day. Sometimes a book is small but powerful. This book isn’t long. It takes place over the course of a day. But it is written in a way that it holds big space in your thoughts and your heart. Reminds us that all of the little moments make up our very large lives. You never know which moments will shape you. Such a beautiful middle grade read that I will be putting in the hands of many young readers. This book is sad but soothing. There is grief but yet, reading this book is kind of like healing. A snapshot into the life of Ruby Pepperdine that speaks to a part in all of us. A quiet WOW book.

center of everything

I also read 2 adult novels

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult Powerful.

the-storyteller-395

Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane Mystery. Detectives. Corruption. Grit. So not my usual read but was in the mood.

Gone Baby Gone cover

Next up? I am starting Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. My children and I are more than halfway through Torn Away by James Heneghan. A huge TBR pile stares at me but not sure what will be the other books of the week yet. It’s summer . . . and so hopefully it will be many of them!

New Spring books from Scholastic

Our New Books display has had a lot of traffic recently with many students enjoying some recent purchases that I’ve ordered for the class through Scholastic book clubs.

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch (one of my favourite Canadian illustrators) has been a favourite to read and reread especially with a buddy. Betty Bunny is very dramatic and says some very out there stuff like “I am going to marry chocolate cake!” and “I am a handful and I love chocolate cake.” Comments made all the better when read out loud. With huge sighs, gasps and artistic flair. We appreciated Betty’s chocolate cake obsession, loved her spunk and giggled over her decision to keep her cake in her pocket and the resulting brown, goopy mess! Betty Bunny shows us that you shouldn’t mess with a little bunny and her love for chocolate cake. Go Betty!

Another favourite story to read and share during buddy reading (also made a fantastic read aloud) is Huck Runs Amuck! This charming story about a flower obsessed goat is written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Poor Huck is a goat of rather discerning tastes. Yes he will eat run of the mill goat things, which means basically anything, but . . . If he had his way, he would eat flowers all day long. But flowers in his end of the world are also readily enjoyed by other goats and in short supply. Thank goodness Huck is a climbing sensation. He can find flowers in the strangest of places, high up places that seem out of reach. But what happens when his stomach and his morals face off? What will a flower loving goat do? A hilarious fast paced story.

Books by Steve Jenkins never disappoint. Many are favourites in our classroom library. The newest book in our collection is Bones. Not only is it great to look at the illustrations o bones (many of which are actual size) but we also love the comparison of bones from multiples species like all of the skulls pictured in a fantastic pull out page spread. This is also a fun book to fact collect. There is something about learning that a small python has 200 pairs of ribs that makes you want to ask everyone you know: “So how many pairs of ribs do you think a python has?” (Humans have 12 pairs just to give you some perspective) This book frequently has to be coaxed out of someone’s book box to be passed onto the next person who can’t wait to explore it!

We adore Marie-Louise Gay. Stella, Sam, and Caramba are all well loved characters! So, we were very happy to meet Rosyln Rutabaga and read about her plan to dig an enormous hole in the story: Rosyln Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth. Some days you just wake up with a plan. So when Rosyln announces her plan to dig an enormous hole and gets a calm, but positive response from her father, this little bunny begins to dig. Her all day digging brings her many interesting interactions, big piles of dirt and an experience about what it is to follow your determination. Wonderfully imaginative illustrations.

What’s it like to be sister number three?

We seemed to be all about girl power this weekend at the library – maybe because it was just my daughter and I, but our big stack of books seemed to include a lot of books about very cool girls – some books new to us and some old favourites.

Two books to talk about featured the youngest sister in a family of three girls. Not fairy tale stories where everything comes in threes including sisters – but books from the here and now that explored themes of identity, self-esteem, and acceptance.

Award winning, Suki’s Kimono is a family favourite at our house. We love how Suki possesses a joyful inner spirit and how she lives in the moment not worrying about what the world might think.  Suki adores her blue cotton kimono – for the memories that it holds and the way it makes her feel. She vows to wear it on her first day of school despite the disapproval of her older sisters and manages to maintain the magical happy feeling of wearing this special kimono throughout her day even when questioned and taunted by classmates.  Written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch.

Look at that cover. Aren’t you just rooting for Velma before you even know her issues or struggles? Kevin Hawkes, illustrator, helps create a wonderfully unique character in Alan Madison’s Velma Gratch & the way cool butterfly. Velma arrives in first grade in the shadow of her two older sisters known for their seemingly perfect qualities – athletic abilities, spectacular spelling and marvelous math. Velma wanted to be noticed but for what? She chooses some quite foolish ways to stand out: running the slowest, singing the loudest, muddling her math . . . None bring quite the effect she is hoping for. Slowly, Velma learns to recognize a passion – science. When her class begins to learn about butterflies she twists wonderfully new words around in her mouth – metamorphosis, conservatory, migration. Not only does Velma come into her own as a butterfly expert, but on the class field trip to the conservatory, Velma is noticed by a monarch who lands on her finger and doesn’t leave for days.

Velma releases her monarch with the others from the conservatory a few days later, waving goodbye as they begin their journey south. Velma has gained a little power of flight herself as she floats home between her sisters, happy and confident.

Isn’t it wonderful when the youngest members of a family can teach everyone a thing or two?