Monday April 24th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Typically, I have more than one to share!

I love happening upon keen readers perched all over the room.

Monday April 24th, 2017

I am the #1 Reader spotter. I find them no matter where they hide!

Monday April 24th, 2017

Buddy reading spots

Monday April 24th, 2017

Lots of #classroombookaday photos to share. Can you see a theme in each collection?

Monday April 24th, 2017 Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 2017

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:

Out of Wonder Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjorie Wentworth illustrations by Ekua Holmes

Here, I am speechless about this book. I can’t wait to begin reading poems from it aloud to my students. It will be inspiring more words. More poetry. More imagining. BUY this book! Your classroom or library need to have this title.

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe I featured this title here.

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Going Places by Ellen Potter with illustrations by Qin Leng

This series is so popular with a few of my students. It has appeal for independent readers from a really broad age range. I had Grade 2s who loved this series. Now I have Grade 4s who love these books. This fourth title is a lot of fun. I love Piper’s bold conviction.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile written by Laura Amy Schlitz with illustrations by Brian Floca

I am pretty certain that most pet lists do not include crocodiles. This one turns out to be pretty amusing and wonderfully, hilariously heroic.

Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key 

An incredible adventure story that will have you on the edge of your seat. A Gulf Coast Hurricane creates conditions absolutely terrifying for 13 year old Cort and his two neighbours he is trying to keep safe.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson 

Jade is a black student on scholarship at a mostly white private school. She questions the supports and opportunities offered to her as she struggles to figure out what she wants in her future. This title explores so many relationships: family, friendships, mentor/mentee, student/teacher. Jade’s voice is one that will weave questions into your head that will remain there for some time. Loved all of the things this book made me think about.

Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee 

This little book is all kinds of tender indeed. It holds you up through the heartbreaking and consoles you through all the hard. A beautiful middle grade read about friendship and grief and all the many ways to hope.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 21/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 112/365 books read

Progress on challenge: On schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 13/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 16/50 books read

Up next? I am reading a bunch of things including Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

I went beyond not clicking with characters. I decided to focus on parents in MG and YA books that upset me. Yes, some had mental health issues or other things going on. But their actions or in some case, inaction, activated my Mama Bear self. I felt protective, seriously protective of their children. I looked deep into my self to make sure I was in no way the kind of parent that they were. Parenting is hard, hard work. The hardest.

In some ways, I wanted to yell at these moms and dads. In some ways I hurt for them. Life is a journey. We all make lots of mistakes. It’s just extra upsetting when our mistakes impact our children.

And to be perfectly clear, I LOVE each of these books. They are well written, must read stories. Many of them are included on my favourites lists. But these parents, oh, sigh.

Albie‘s Dad in Absolutely Almost written by Lisa Graff

“Notice him. Pay attention!” I wanted to say.

Absolutely Almost Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Tommy‘s mother in The Paper Cowboy written by Kristin Levine

The unpredictable rage, often directed at Tommy was so hard.

The Paper Cowboy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Rose‘s father in Rain Reign written by Ann M. Martin

Rose’s father own anger and pain don’t leave much room for his daughter.

Rain Reign Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Flora‘s mother in Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate DiCamillo 

Quirky and interesting? Yes. Tuned in to her daughter? No.

flora and ulysses Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Astrid‘s parents in Ask the Passengers written by A.S. King

Judgemental. Oblivious. These parents made me so frustrated.

Ask the Passengers Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Moon‘s father in Alabama Moon by Watt Key

This father’s choices made his son too vulnerable.

alabama moon Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Theodore Finch’s mother in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

So much pain and this Mom (dealing with her own pain) just didn’t see it.

All the Bright Places Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Gerald‘s parents in Reality Boy by A.S. King

When cameras come into the home . . .

reality boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Jaden‘s father in Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

A talented scientist, yes. Ethical? Hmm. . . not so much

 Eye of the Storm Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Liberty and Billie‘s Dad in Survival Stories of the Almost Brave by Jen White

Clearly, this father had his own demons and was NOT ready to parent.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten parent characters that made me protective

Are there some parent characters in books you have read that give you that same feeling?

In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

I read a lot. As in hundreds and hundreds of books a year. Many, yes, are picture books. But many are novels. 95% of these are middle grade and young adult novels. So, in some ways, I can say I “meet” a lot of young people. Some make me cry. Some leave me laughing. Some inspire. I have a myriad of emotions as I read about each of these young fictional lives: confusion, hope, worry, relief, upset, happiness . . .

These characters often stay with me. And because they do, I want to honour them here. These boys*, in the pages of the books where they live, impressed me in notable ways. I admire so many of them for their honesty, their growth, their vulnerability, their hard choices, their loyalty, their mistakes, their learning and their endurance.

In their own way, each is brave and real. Meeting them will enrich every reader.

 In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Doug Swieteck in Okay for Now written by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Miguel in We Were Here written by Matt de la Peña

We Were Here  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Nate Foster in Better Nate than Ever written by Tim Federle

Better Nate than Ever  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That,

Jack in Dead End in Norvelt written by Jack Gantos

 Dead End in Norvelt  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ben in Half Brother written by Kenneth Oppel

 Half Brother  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Travis in Blue Fish written by Pat Schmatz

bluefish  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Fadi in Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai

Shooting-Kabul-Senzai  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Matt in The Boy in the Black Suit written by Jason Reynolds

boy in the black suit  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moon in Alabama Moon written by Watt Key

 Alabama Moon  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Holling Hoodhood in The Wednesday Wars written by Gary D. Schmidt

 The Wednesday Wars  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucky Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants written by A.S. King

 Everybody Sees the Ants  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Oscar in The Real Boy written by Anne Ursu

 The Real Boy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moses in Crow written by Barbara Wright

Crow  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

 Victor (a.k.a. “Little Man”) in Paperboy by Vince Vawter

 Paperboy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Julian in Twerp written by Mark Goldblatt

twerp  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Josh in Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

 Living with Jackie Chan  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for ThatJoey in Nest written by Esther Ehrlich

Nest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ali in When I Was the Greatest written by Jason Reynolds 

when I was the greatest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albert in Fish in a Tree written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albie in Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Jack in Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson 

Small_as_an_Elephant  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ryan Dean West in Winger written by Andrew Smith

Winger  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Peter Stone in Wish Girl written by Nikki Loftin

Wish Girl  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Steven in Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie written by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

*Coming soon: In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Monday February 18th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join up to Kellee and Jen’s meme and share what you have been reading from picture books to young adult novels.

I enjoyed many picture books this week. It seems many had a theme of friendship. Also dogs graced many a page and the name Hopper kept cropping up. Who knows why these things happen?

The Lonely Moose by John Segal Sometimes we think we don’t need friends. But once we’ve begun to enjoy the company of another, life can be pretty lonely once we are alone again. This is what this lovely little picture book explores.

the lonely moose

The Reader written by Amy Hest and illustrated by  Lauren Castillo I adore Castillo’s illustrations. Amy Hest never misses. Books, companionship and a snow day. This book is a wonderful nostalgic little read. The most clever thing of all? Calling the little boy the reader throughout the story. It just gives this story a whole other level.

the reader

Hopper and Wilson by Maria Van Lieshout I think there can never be too many picture books about friendship. So I was delighted to find another.

hopper-and-wilson

Harry and Hopper written by  Margaret Wild and illustrated by Freya Blackwood I am fast becoming a huge fan of Freya Blackwood’s illustrations. I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood she creates through shading and colour. This book tackles themes of grief and a pet dying. It is done in a gentle, sweet way that respects everyone’s process.

harry and hopper

Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates Great message – that art, doodling. drawing can tell a story, allow for creativity and challenge the imagination.

dog loves drawing

You by Stephen Michael King I have a soft spot for Stephen Michael King’s illustrations. (Leaf is one of my favourites) A book that celebrates all of us.

you

Mirror Mirror written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse Beyond clever. I have been sharing these poems with my reading group and we read each poem multiple times just being in awe how reversing words and changing phrasing alters everything.

Mirror_Mirror

Some nonfiction titles:

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by  Brian Selznick I read this title to my own children. We have all read all of Selznick’s books so were excited to see his illustrations here (Caldecott honour worthy and all!) We were intrigued by how Hawkins made models of dinosaurs without having all of the definitive details that would be later discovered. Part of a story about the quest to “recreate” dinosaurs that we just didn’t know.

Waterhouse Hawkins

How the Dinosaur got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland We actually read this before The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins – it gave us all of the vocabulary to understand what is involved in erecting a dinosaur skeleton. Fascinating! And time consuming! Reading it with my children, we turned it into a memory game 🙂 Each time I got to the by the _______, I would pause and see who remembered the title! An excerpt:

“chiseled from the stone by the EXCAVATORS,
authenticated by the PALEONTOLOGIST,
and searched for by the DINOSAUR HUNTER.”

HowTheDino

I Have the Right to be a Child written by Alain Serres, illustrated by Aurelia Fronty Such an accessible book for children to learn about the rights of children everywhere. Gorgeously illustrated.

I have the right to be a child

I finished two novels this week:

Anything but Typical written by Nora Raleigh Baskin Is this cover not just absolutely stunning? Loved pausing in this book just to stare at it. A fantastic middle grade read narrated by a boy with autism. Themes of family, friendship and identity. So much to this story. Baskin weaves many stories into this one vulnerable tale. It is challenging enough to fit in as a preteen, what happens when you are autistic and your very reactions to the world guarantee you stand out?

anything-but-typical

Fourmile written by Watt Key This book manages to be both all about the characters and yet it doesn’t scrimp on action. There is always something going on – even under the surface of the simplest and mundane tasks like painting a fence. Sometimes the goings on are dramatic and frightening. Steeped in hurt, pain and longing, this story also reveals the vulnerability and strength in the characters. While, the main character is a twelve year old boy, some of the disturbing scenes might make this more of a young adult read. Or a middle grade . . .  with caution. I continue to love this author after first reading Alabama Moon and being blown away.

Fourmile

Next up? Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Dramatic middle grade adventure novels – fantastic to read aloud

Highlighting the adventure genre:

One of the many interesting things about having boy/girl twins is selecting books that will have read aloud appeal for both of them. The books below are selections from recent read alouds that we have particularly enjoyed together.

In the mood for . . . Adventure? Suspense? Mystery? These titles will capture you!

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Hugely suspenseful yet beautifully lyrical, Kirby’s tale pulls the reader into a frozen land cut off from the world by ice. It is a landscape that protects and threatens Solveig, her siblings and those warriors sent to protect them while their father battles an enemy on a distant battlefield. When it is clear that a traitor resides amongst them, everyone becomes suspect. Solveig navigates the world through observation and a mystical connection to her dreams and possible prophecies. Not beautiful like her sister, or valuable as the future king, like her younger brother, Solveig slowly discovers that her talent lies in the power of words. She apprentices with Alric to be a skald (storyteller) and ends up wielding as much power as the weapons of war with her carefully crafted tales. Nuances of old Nordic tales with suspicions of treachery, much mystery and beautiful prose, Icefall held us spellbound.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth Oppel has crafted a story full of adventure, fantasy, suspense and high drama aboard the Aurora, an airship sailing through some sort of alternate history. Matt Cruse is a cabin boy who is more at home in the air than on the ground and calls the Aurora home.  He meets passenger Kate de Vries who has come aboard to find out if the mysterious creatures her grandfather spotted from his hot air balloon might exist. Matt is intrigued by the possibility and attracted to Kate’s independent spirit. These two characters find themselves beginning a quest of proportions they would never have dreamed about. Pirates. Mysterious creatures never before discovered. Storms. Seemingly deserted islands. Shipwrecks. And villians you would never want to encounter. Airborn is the first book in a trilogy.

Alabama Moon by Watt Key

Moon is 10 years old and for as long as he can remember, has lived in the forest with his father who is determined that they have minimal contact with the outside world. They need to avoid the government, depend on no one and always be prepared for “someone coming for them.” When Moon’s father dies, Moon tries to carry out his father’s wishes and head to Alaska to find others who will be like him. But getting to Alaska from Alabama alone is not an easy feat. Along the way, Moon is caught and placed into the system – a boy’s home on lock down. His escape attempt is successful but nothing else is simple. Friends and enemies enter into this new world in ways he is not at all prepared for. He can make a shelter, eat from the forest, “whip up on anybody” but how does he deal with this outside world that he might in fact need?  A real story of survival. Compelling.