Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

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


This week’s topic? Our choice

My choice? Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books. If these characters invited me for dinner, I would be there with bells on. Why? The conversation, the quirky family dynamics, the interesting characters and in some cases, a really true sense that the food would be great! It is dinner after all 🙂

If they asked, I would be there – in these books:

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly  

Really I want to hang on every word from the Grandfather and some of those dinners did sound pretty amazing.

Evolution-of-Calpurnia-Tate Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

How to Outrun a Crocodile when Your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating 

It might be squishy at that table when they move to the zoo but I have the feeling dinner conversations would be fascinating.

How to Outrun a Crocodile when Your Shoes are Untied Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy 

Partly it’s because I adore these boys. Partly it’s because I love the Dads. And oh, such a beautiful, messy, busy, loving family vibe.

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

The Truth about Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

It may be that I want to try one of these sugar filled dessert recipes just to see if I explode but also, I really am rooting for these girls.

 The Truth about Twinkie Pie Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

I would come and eat with the Penderwicks at any age and stage. I love this family up, down, sideways and around in circles.

The Penderwicks in Spring Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

I could hang out in this diner all day spying on small town curiosities. But I would definitely do a dinner or two.

Three Times Lucky Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

After Iris by Natasha Farrant

I actually may not get served dinner in this eccentric family – but wow, would I like to do take out pizza with this sibling group.

after Iris Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Yes, I would like to squeeze into the trailer and dine with Lucky and Brigitte. And for dessert? Cookies of course. With Miles.

higher power of lucky Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

Oh how I would love to attend dinner with this family. And I am sitting next to Grandma.

Listen, Slowly Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles

Well. I would eat any meal with this family. It could be funeral fare. It could be leftovers. Sign me up.

each little bird  that sings Top Ten Tuesday: Ten dinner invitations I would accept in the world of MG and YA books

And you? Which book do you hope invites you for dinner?


Monday January 14th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Kellee and Jen’s meme to share all the reading you have done over the week – everything from picture books to young adult novels! Connecting with the #IMWAYR community is such a great way to hear about fantastic books “new to you.”

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

Pecan Pie Baby by Jaqueline Woodson and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. A perceptive little story about a young girl who is anxious about a new baby coming and changing the connected relationship between her and her Mama. Love Sophie Blackall’s illustrations – all the tender snuggles between pregnant Mom and daughter.

pecan pie baby

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman I’ve read other Ladybug girl stories but not this original book and I like it best of all. Lovely illustrations and the highlights of outdoor pretend play.


Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood The best part of this story is the celebration of play through some very imaginative building with boxes. (Fantastic illustrations by Blackwood) Of course, it’s also a great book to touch on anxiety about moving somewhere new.

clancy and millie and the very fine house

C.R. Mudgeon by Leslie Muir and Julian Hector There is much to this little book. A tribute to friendship, a reminder to break out of your comfort zone and be ready for new things and the celebration of individuals who really truly grab on to the world and shake all there is to find within it out! Go read it . . . so worth it!

C.R. Mudgeon

Some Cat! This was a wonderful read aloud in my room. I shared my students’ reactions here.

some cat

Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein The pay it forward story line isn’t unique for a picture book but none of us can hear this message too often: kindness passed on grows and strengthens. Loved the illustrations. Beautifully colourful and whimsical. I read this to my class and it sparked a lovely brainstorming session on how we can create more kindness in our classroom.


Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Robertson A boy wants a dog. A dog wants a friend. Really, they need each other. If you just look at it in the right way . . . Touching story of the need for a companion and how far some might go to find that connection. Chapter format in a picture book.

wanted the perfect pet

Bullly by Patricia Polacco Handles middle school issues of cyber bullying, friendship and loyalty very well.


I also read some fantastic nonfiction. Read this post for more details.

In novels . . . 

DivinersI finished The Diviners by Libba Bray. This was one of my must read in 2013 titles as I’m trying to read more fantasy novels.

Wow . . .this was some book! Dramatic. (I loved the 1920s setting and characters.) Funny. At times, absolutely scary. Eerie and shivery kind of scary. Horror. Paranormal activity. Special powers. It was the kind of read where it is necessary to say to yourself, “just a book, just a book . . . ” Some nights I would turn off my light and then haunted by worries about a specific character, turn the light back on and read on.

This is a long read (578 pages) but highly addictive. The ending definitely leaves many things unanswered (hooking readers for the next in the series . . .)

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

I also read How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.

I read this book quickly finding myself very attached to what might happen to all of the characters. The story is about two teenage girls (Jill and Mandy) who find their lives completely colliding when Jill’s Mom decides to adopt Mandy’s baby in an open adoption. Pregnant Mandy comes to live with Jill and her Mom and brings with her sadness, secrets and longing for a different life. Jill is still reeling from the recent death of her father and finds it difficult to be open to anyone. Somehow though these characters find a way to make sense to each other and the ending is . . . (I don’t want to spoil it but must say, it really touched me)

Currently, I’m reading The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver to my children and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (think this is the fourth time I’ve read this book!) with my student book club at school. We are really enjoying The Spindlers – it’s full of delightful and unique characters from “below” My son is finding the idea of spindlers a little spooky but every time I stop reading, he begs me to continue!

I am also reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver (the author that seems to be everywhere I look this week!)

January books at my house

January seems to be full of wet weather and cold days.  Perfect reasons to stay in and read a book or two! In fact, I have two read alouds going with my own children.  Some evenings we read from just one, other nights we read a bit of both.  Both are hard to put down!

This is the third time I am reading Susan Patron‘s The Higher Power of Lucky and I continue to like it better each time.  The beauty of a book is simply by opening it up at the beginning, you can experience it again. This is one of those books that deserves many readings. I first discovered it when Ms. Hong popped it into my box with a sticky note attached:  “Think you will like this” I started reading it and finished it in one sitting. Last year this was a book club selection (so there are multiple copies in our school library!) Often we read really great sections out loud at our meetings – the trouble with this book, almost every sentence was so well written, it deserved to be read out loud! We shared many giggles and smiles over the text of this book.

Now I am enjoying introducing my children to Lucky – especially because there is a sequel Lucky Breaks sitting on our book shelf that I hope they will read on their own when we finish this book. This book won the Newbery Medal and many other prestigious book awards so it has many fans behind it.  Pick it up and meet Lucky, a ten year old girl who lives in Hard Pan,  California (population 43) with her French guardian Brigitte and her loyal dog, HMS Beagle.  Lucky manages to keep very busy in this small town – collecting bugs in specimen jars, writing about the terrible fate of the tarantula when it meets the tarantula hawk wasp, chasing snakes out of the clothes dryer and spending time with her quirky friends like Lincoln (destined to be president according to his Mom) who is obsessed with tying knots. But what occupies Lucky’s thoughts most of all is the worry that Brigitte may want to abandon her job as Lucky’s guardian and return to France because, unlike actual Moms, guardians can resign. Lucky hatches a plan to keep Brigitte in California and it all begins with running away in a red silk dress in the middle of a dust storm. We love this book!

Kathyrn Lasky wrote the popular Guardians of Ga’Hoole series about a powerful war between the owls. This book Lone Wolf is the first in her new series Wolves of the Beyond. We started reading this book to see if my son may want to read it on his own but about 12 pages in and we realized that we all wanted to read the book and now! Who could read it first?  There was no fair way to decide so we are sharing it as a read aloud and are equally addicted to the dramatic story. Faolon, a newborn wolf pup is born with a twisted paw. The laws of the pack are that there can be no weaknesses and the little pup is abandoned to die on an icy riverbank.  He is swept down river and rescued by Thunderheart, a mother bear who has just lost her cub.  She decides to raise him! A big grizzly raising a wolf pup!  We are just on chapter seven and have already learned so much about wolves and bears and their survival.  But we feel the story has much more in store for us as many parts of the story hint at how special Faolan is and we suspect he is going to return to the world of wolves that rejected him.  This book is a fast paced adventure ideal for strong readers who like stories with lots of action and suspense.

Happy reading!