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.


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 July 8th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?


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.


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.


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.


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


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. 


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.


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!