Monday February 11th, 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 have been sick for 4 days. We all know the yucky things about being sick so I haven’t been thrilled about being ill this weekend. But, for a book lover, sick days mean book days so I happily read some great novels between naps and mint tea breaks.

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King This is the second King title I’ve read (Ask the Passengers being the first) and I am fast becoming a fan of how she lays out characters and families and their sometimes strange, challenging but yet, connected dynamics. I sort of feel like I’m spying through a lit window at night into the intimate details of family relationships. Not always pretty. Sometimes all about the ugly and the weak. But so truly real.  A book with a theme of bullying and how it affects an entire family.

everybodyants

Crow by Barbara Wright This title is another great example of why I love historical fiction to learn about specific events in history I often knew nothing or little about – in this case, the Wilmington Massacre of 1898. This book is very much about Moses and his family. I loved his relationship with his spunky and wise grandmother Boo Nanny. The racial tensions and extreme prejudice are thoroughly explored in this story – going back in time to Moses’  grandparent’s experiences and forward to his father’s dreams for him. Some challenging moments in this book. A middle grade read that might be best as a read aloud where lots of discussion could occur. With room for many questions . . .

Crow

Insurgent by Veronica Roth So first off, I must say that yes, I liked this book. Yes, I’m hooked on the adventure and very curious about what will happen next. But, while I appreciate adventure and fast paced plots, I need breathing room in a story. Time to reflect and ponder. Down time. There is little down time in Roth’s books. Which is probably what makes them favourites for others but not for me. I miss the space to think. Again, like I said with Divergent, it feels like I am reading a movie. With little mood music. Just go, go, go! But I like many of these characters and so yes, count me in as someone who will read the next title in this series!

insurgent

Next up for me? Nothing but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin. My children and I are loving The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. If my voice hadn’t been so rotten this weekend we would have read much more. Such an engaging novel! And for kids, it has it all – suspense, humour, mystery, action . . .

I continue to add board books to my classroom collection for when we have buddy reading with the kindergarten class. Two new titles added this week:

Pouch! by David Ezra Stein A sweet little title about a little joey almost ready to brave the world.


Pouch David Ezra Stein

Duck & Goose: Goose Needs a Hug by Tad Hills My students love sharing Duck & Goose titles. So sweet. Messages always so positive. Kids read them and smile.

duck and goose needs

I also read some great nonfiction picture books this week.

Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin This book is quietly powerful which is often the very best kind. Full of quotes to read, share and ponder. The artwork is exquisite. And I love the message that peace needs to be everywhere (in our hearts, homes, schools, countries . . .) in order to impact peace everywhere else. A book to own.

peace book cover

Who Lives Here? written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Marc Boutavant I purchased Who’s Like Me? (read more here) a book in this same format and it quickly became very popular for buddy reading so I am excited to book talk this title next week. In this book, students learn all about different habitats. Very accessible for younger learners and fun lift the flap elements.

who-lives-here-

My favourite picture books of the week were . . .

Sleep Like a Tiger written by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski This was the only Caldecott honour title for 2013 that I hadn’t read. I was completely smitten when I turned to the page of the whales. Oh, the whales! Such gorgeous pictures. Love the cityscape on the first page with the tiger carrying away the huge orange ball . . . Text and illustrations mesh beautifully. This would be such a beautiful book to give as a gift to those who appreciate the soothing power of bedtime books.

Sleep Like a Tiger

Bone Dog written and illustrated by Eric Rohmann I am a big Rohmann fan. My Friend Rabbit is one of my all time favourites. So I was intrigued by this title. It tackles death (of a pet) which most books shy away from so it gets automatic points. I always think we should talk openly with kids about death as a part of life. I once wrote a post ranting about this very thing. This title also has some very sweet elements to it. And when tested on a child (my son) evoked some giggles (when the proud little dog struts back with bone in mouth after a skeleton chase!)

bone-dog

The First Mosquito written and illustrated by Caroll Simpson. A dramatic First Nations story full of supernatural beings. My students wrote reviews of this book and I shared them here.

the First Mosquito

 

Have a happy reading week!

Monday December 31st, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Ring in the new year with books! Link up with Jen and Kellee and participate in this weekly meme that celebrates reading (from picture books to young adult titles).

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Of course the best thing about the holidays for a book lover is . . . books and the time to read them! I enjoyed lots of late night page turning and even better, early morning caffeine fuelled reading marathons while the rest of the house slept.

This week I will start with the novels I completed:

I finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein just in time to name it one of my 12 favourites of 2012. I am so reluctant to write anything about this book for fear of giving anything away. It’s a story of storytellers and oh, what stories. . . Stories that shock, that crush you in one moment and fill you with hope in another, stories about friendship that will make you rethink what it means to be a friend. An amazing read. If you haven’t read it yet, put it to the top of your must read list.

codenameverity12 for 12

Words that Start with B by Vikki VanSickle This book was passed to me by the Teacher Librarian at my children’s school who happens to have an amazing blog (check it out for a variety of great book recommendations/many Canadian titles) I tried to capture my thoughts about this book and inspired by VanSickle, started them with B . . .

Best friends that make one smile just to know that friends like that matter
Bullies and some bystanders that in the end, don’t stand by
Bumps of the health and growing up kind that are so well handled
Believable characters that could just as well live down the road or around the corner

I am now on the lookout for the next title in this eventual trilogy.

wordsthatstartwithb

Divergent by Veronica Roth So I was ready for this book to be fast paced and carved out a good chunk of reading time so that I didn’t really need to put it down for long. It certainly was an adventure. I liked it. I fell right in to the world Roth delivers. I’m sure I will go on to read Insurgent. There are certainly characters I want to follow. It filled my dystopian craving (haven’t read a dystopian title lately) But . . . it’s a few days later and . . . it’s not totally sticking with me. I wrote on my Goodreads review that I felt like I was reading a movie and that is still how it feels. Much of it just did not go deep enough for me. I found the reviews on this book really extreme. People loved it or really didn’t and I can kind of see why.

divergent

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats Fantastic historical fiction in a time and a place I knew little of – Wales in the late 1200s. Two girls with very different lives yet who share much of the same day to day experiences while Gwenhwyfar works in Cecily’s home. Narrated in turn by these two characters with very distinct voices and struggles. Gripping. Brace yourself for the end. Highly recommended.

The Wicked and the Just

Picture Books:

It seems I have a thing for books with bears or there are so many books out there that feature bears in starring roles that I just cannot help coming across them . . . Not sure. What do people think? Regardless, again I found some lovely books with bears!

Leaves by David Ezra Stein This is a wonderful book that reminds us how amazing nature is as it takes us through the changing seasons from the perspective of a young bear who marvels and worries over the falling leaves.

leaves

Little Bear’s Little Boat written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter I have been on the lookout for some more board books ideal for sharing when our kindergarten reading buddies come to read with us each week. This title is so sweet with themes of growing up, being kind and accepting change.

books_Little_Bears_Little_Boat-pict

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland Saving the forest one hug and one tree at a time. You’ve got to meet this bear.

big-bear-hug

Then I went on a bit of an Elephant and Piggie reading spree. Mo Willems can do no wrong. I read Should I share my ice cream?, Listen to my Trumpet, Elephants Cannot Dance and I Broke my Trunk. All wonderful. No wonder these are consistent favourites in my class always!

I loved this title in particular – as always it is an ode to friendship but I love also how it exposed the anxiety of indecision. And melting ice cream just can’t wait . . .

should-I-share-my-ice-cream

My children and I read many of our favourite holiday picture books leading up to Christmas. A new one for us this year?

A Christmas Tree for Pyn by Olivier Dunrea We loved how Pyn decorated her tree with found objects from nature and how the finding and setting up the tree linked the little girl and her father even in their sadness of a missing Mama.

christmas-tree-for-pyn

A beautiful non-fiction title my family enjoyed was Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin A simply gorgeous book detailing the birth of the Galapagos islands over millions of years and the fascinating creatures that inhabit them. This is a book we will return to often to further study the illustrations and explanations.

ISLAND-cover-web

May your 2013 be full of happiness, health and many books 🙂

My favourite twelve titles of 2012 are shared here.