Gift Books 2013 – twelve picture books to give this season

gift Books 2013

I spent close to three hours at my favourite bookstore yesterday – Vancouver Kidsbooks selecting books for a donor that wants to gift our primary students with new books to take home this holiday season. Books in hand and in home make so much difference! While my Teacher Librarian and I shopped, we were privy to many conversations between customers and the very knowledgable Kidsbooks staff. And it got me to thinking . . . Which 2013 picture books would I recommend for a gift list?

Of course, there are many amazing titles to choose from. I narrowed it to twelve. Twelve books I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make the readers think differently about something? Does it celebrate something important? Is it a book that brings joy? With those questions in mind, here is my list:

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

This is a fascinating biography that not only makes math seem absolutely engrossing but gives us a glimpse into a mind that was truly one track. A beautiful balance between the mathematical life and the other life of Paul Erdos.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

A wonderfully accessible biography of Albert Einstein. This title has all the perfect themes of wonder, curiosity and thinking outside of the box.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

This is an important story of what we miss by not being in the moment. How many beautiful experiences are lost on us as we rush through our days? Based on a true event where famous musician Joshua Bell played in the metro and was basically ignored. My students shared reviews here.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

The Matchbox Diary  by Paul Fleischman illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline 

History, stories and memories told through unveiling of various contents of a number of matchboxes. Perfect to inspire storytelling between the generations.

The Matchbox diary Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Full of quotes to read, share and ponder. Love the message that peace needs to be everywhere (in our hearts, homes, schools, countries . . .) in order to impact peace everywhere else.

Peace Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Gorgeous. Want to reveal how math is all around us? This is the book to do it. There is counting and estimating and wondering and a whole bunch of other mathematical applications – in addition to being a beautifully illustrated books with lots of fascinating animal facts.

Lifetime Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty

Know a family with a new baby? Give them this beautiful book which sends the message loud and clear – we all need to be raised with daily read aloud moments.

The Snatchabook Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Once Upon a Northern Night written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Lyrical, soothing and visually beautiful. Let the text lull you to sleep with dreams of the magic and quiet of winter. A perfect book to celebrate this coldest of seasons.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Journey by Aaron Becker

Grab your imagination and enter a magical world where anything might happen. A wordless treasure.

Journey  Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Papa models the curiosity and persistence of an inventor. This book is “almost true” based on the life of Lodner Phillips who really did build The Whitefish, an actual functioning submarine.

Papa's Mechanical Fish Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Because we all need to laugh together! Interactive. Will make you want to leap out of your chair in delight! Giggle, giggle, giggle.

Count the monkeys Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Children love to hear about what it was like when they were a baby. This nonfiction title reveals what the first moments are like for different animals. So much to discuss.

My first day Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Books are gifts to treasure! This season give books!

Monday December 2nd, 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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read! This is always my favourite way to discover what to read next.

I read many picture books this week – many aloud to my own children, all to make up for not getting to read as much as I wanted to last week while writing report cards.

I selected my ten favourites to feature here:

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

Just perfectly delightful. A book about a problem that needs solving and having wonderfully, persistently, kind intentions. Sweet. Honest. So engaging. And did I mention wordless. . . ?

Hank finds an Egg #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

No Bears written by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge

A wonderful book for inspiring story writing. Meet Ella, a little girl who loves a creative story but doesn’t love bears. She thinks there are far too many of them in stories today. So Ella is creating a story that will have absolutely no bears. Not a one! But is seems her story is getting a little assistance from a furry creature on the sidelines . . .

No Bears #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Dirty Cowboy written by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Adam Rex

“Wow Mom, that illustrator did a really good job keeping all the privates private!” remarked my son after we read this book. My daughter said, “Disgusting!” a lot. What an amusing story of a very dirty (filthy, with his fair share of critters crawling just about everywhere) cowboy who decided to take a bath in the river. What happens when his loyal dog doesn’t recognize his clean scent? VERY amusing.

The dirty cowboy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Busing Brewster written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by R.G. Roth

A picture book with many important themes: having a dream, the power of libraries to be transformative and what it was like to be black at an all white school. Set in the 1970s when integration was being “helped” along by forced busing – bringing black students into white schools, this story gives children a glimpse into the racial tensions of the time and the complexities of integration.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

Love the desert setting of this classic tale brought to new life by the brilliant Pinkney with an almost wordless title. I particularly enjoyed the last gestures of the hare – an interesting and surprising twist with an equally important message about competition.

The tortoise and the hare #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

I read this title to my children and they were absolutely fascinated by the population data conveyed through the concept in this book – imagine that the world’s population was contained in a village of 100 (each person represents millions). Facts that shocked them: how many people had some kind of faith or another, predicted population growth and the blatant inequity amongst people. Only 24 people in this representative village of 100 have enough to eat? Heart breaking message about our world.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mud written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Lauren Stringer

Oh the messy, gloopy, squishy joys of mud – this title captures it all through lyrical language and richly coloured illustrations. Perfect to practice visualizing.

Mud #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Full, Full, Full of Love written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Paul Howard

Loved the celebration of food, family and affection as Sunday dinner with his family is seen through Jay Jay’s eyes. Language ideal for preschool, early primary children. Happy, happy book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I Lost my Bear by Jules Feiffer

A humorous ode to the child who likes to collect. A bear is lost and it seems like all is lost as we follow this little one on a melodramatic, anxious search.

iIost my bear #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

Poor Billy Twitters, his parents threaten him with a blue whale if he doesn’t do his chores and keep his room clean. Of course, this is just a ridiculous threat, isn’t it? Well . . . no. And so Billy Twitters must now be in charge of a blue whale (have you noticed just how truly big they are??) and take it everywhere he goes. Eventually Billy Twitters discovers this “consequence” has an upside. Absurd and delightful, and it just so happens, the first picture book written by Mac Barnett.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I am terrible about being ahead of the game for the holidays in terms of shopping, baking, decorating, etc but we do own a beautiful collection of holiday books. I set out 24 to read next to the Advent calendars – one for each night (and there are plenty more on the shelf for when the evening calls for a few!) The one thing in the holidays I do do well – celebrate holiday stories! Tonight’s read was a new one for me

Winter’s Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan

A beautiful story of hope and all that is important in the holiday season as an old man faces his first Christmas alone.

 Winter's Gift #IMWAYR

I also finished The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Magical. Lyrical. Beautiful. Mysterious. What a vulnerable, strange (in the best of ways) and hopeful of stories. On one level, this story is a fantastical tale of magic, mystery and monsters. On another, it is all about the most human element in all of us – wanting to be safe and belong. All along, I felt the story was beautiful. But by the end, I was in awe.

The Real Boy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? A.S. King‘s Reality Boy. And plans for many more holiday stories . . .

Happy Reading everyone!

Monday November 4th, 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! Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read!

A book filled week to be certain! Some of it was spent reading books. Much of it was reading books to my students. And laughing and wondering and being in awe. Shared a lot of our reading week on our new classroom blog in a new feature called That’s a Wrap!.

Here are my favourite picture books of the week:

Anna May’s Cloak written by Christiane Cicioli and illustrated by Susan Pearson

Isn’t this cover absolutely divine? This is a beautifully illustrated book that spans generations and weaves the importance of a blue cloak into the love of a family. Reminiscent of Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman.

Anna May's Cloak #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Flood by Alvaro F. Villa 

A powerful wordless title that looks at how nature can change everything for a family when a storm causes floodwaters to threaten the safety of their home. Powerful images of worry, upset and hope.

Flood #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Chu’s Day written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex

I always appreciate Adam Rex’s illustrations always but these are particularly adorable. A simple and exaggerated story line of a powerful little sneezer. I found this charming as I once taught a student who sneezed (always in threes) so loudly that he could be heard in every classroom on the same floor. A sneeze can be quite the thing!

Chu's day #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 

This week some of my curious little students went exploring the Halloween display across the hall. The scattered candy proved too tempting and there was a little bit of tasting. Then there were rumours of the dangers of this oldish candy and oh, my, oh my! The anxiety set in and turned, for some, to full blown panic. We all calmed down, learned a lesson hopefully to not sample candy in a display but wow, did it prove that the worry of consuming something that maybe should not be consumed is a powerful stressor! This is the theme of this delightful little picture book told through sweet illustrations all pink, green and black and much humour. What happens when you swallow a seed? Will you end up as fruit salad? Sprouting vines?

Read and find out just what happens to this voracious watermelon muncher.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I know, I know. Everyone has read this book. And I just finally did. It wasn’t for lack of awareness! It just hadn’t happened. Love Jeffers. Love the voices. Fun all around. Mostly what I love is watching students sit and share this book together. One day last week, two girls chose reading this book (taking turns as different crayons) to a classroom volunteer over play time during choices. I think they might have had the most fun in the room!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

Gorgeously illustrated, this book conveys so much about the importance of sunlight and green plants to our life and survival. Nicely accessible for kids with lots of relevant and additional information in the back.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems

A purely whimsical celebration of pretend like only Elephant and Piggie can do it!

I'm a Frog #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading:

Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea (#7) written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Ivy + Bean titles are big in my classroom this year! I have a few girls who have made it a goal to read every title in the series! I must admit to being pretty partial to these energetic and interesting friends myself. This book explored the idea of saving the planet. What could two girls do that would make a difference? Turns out that after some very outlandish ideas like throwing ice cubes into the air to slow down global warming, Ivy and Bean happen upon an idea that might make a big difference in a small moment for the very people who might need it most.

What's the big idea? #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I’m going to start by saying that I think I might just have met some characters that could be the most memorable characters I have met in some time. I would like to have weekly check in sessions with them or at least regular emails/updates. These were characters that you would never put together but yet they turned out to be the perfect fit. Willow Chance inspired me to think about what it is to have “people” in your corner. She reminded me that growing anything in a garden has all kind of magic wrapped up within it. She also made me a little anxious about many things that she knew mostly everything about: the importance of staying hydrated, how essential regular flossing is and why we shouldn’t ignore any strange skin conditions. Willow Chance: brilliant, quirky, vulnerable and not nearly as enigmatic as she first appears. If you have read this title, I’m betting on the fact that you loved it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Counting by 7s #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am beginning the only title by Jo Knowles that I have yet to read! Living with Jackie Chan. I read Jumping off Swings earlier this year and have been eagerly anticipating this title! Knowles is one of my absolute favourite authors so I know I have many happy reading moments ahead.

My students and I are absolutely adoring The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor. Whoa can this lady pull kids in and quick? My students beg me to read more of this novel multiple times a day!

Monday October 28th, 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! Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read!

I read a really diverse selection of picture books this week. Sharing my favourites here:

Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales

Well, I know all of about three words in Spanish (in Canada, we learn French as a second language) so this was a huge adventure for me. The reader gets to follow Señor Calvera, the skeleton from Day of the Dead celebrations as he rides along to Grandma Beetle’s birthday celebration.  What gift is the perfect one? We get to sample possibilities from every letter of the Spanish alphabet. My favourite ideas? Una Escalera (a ladder to reach past the sky), Niebla (fog to play hide and seek in) and un Ombligo (a bread called belly button). What does he finally decide on? You must read to find out!

Just in Case #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt

Arranged in chapter book format, this title is an absolutely sought after commodity in my classroom. Only Scaredy Squirrel would need to prepare a “How to manage Halloween” manual. And he leaves nothing to chance! Loved the page on Getting to Know Your Halloween Candy!

Scaredy squirrel #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack

Nearly wordless – the entire story is told using “A” and “H” (Ha Ha, Ahh, Ah Ha, you get the picture) and a number of brilliant illustrations which call on young readers to predict, infer and smile their way to the end of the book. A little frog is chased through these pages by a young frog collector and a number of dangerous predators! Who will get the last HA?!

Ah Ha! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty

I think I want to give this gift to every new parent I know. It is a beautiful tribute to the important before bed read aloud experience shared together, snuggled close. What if you have nobody to read to you? What if you desperately wanted your own story time? Would you resort to being a book thief? This book explores these questions. Read my students’ reviews here.

 

The Snatchabook #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bee & Bird by Craig Frazier

If I could, I would make this suggestion for this wordless title. Go through it once and try to pay close attention. Go through it again and pay better attention. If things aren’t becoming clear, read it through again thinking “Is this what it seems?” Quite brilliant. Worthy of many reads and rereads as this little adventure of bee and bird is unveiled.

Bee & Bird #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Wow! Wow and wow! I think this book leaped into my hands at the bookstore and called to me. It went something like this, “How will you enjoy me? Let me count the ways!” There is counting and estimating and wondering and a whole bunch of other mathematical applications – rounding, multiplying, dividing, adding, subtracting, using fractions, understanding averages thinking about mean and median. But, this book is also a nonfiction title that reveals fascinating animal facts like  – an alligator will lay over 550 eggs in one lifetime. Oh and  . . . . Christopher Silas Neal (of the amazing illustrations in Over and Under the Snow)? So are you sold yet? The back of the book has much more information about each animal depicted in the first section – information about lifespan and other details that allow you to do all of the amazing math that this book inspires.

This title also happens to be my 60th nonfiction picture book read in 2013 which was the goal I made back in January when I joined Alyson Beecher‘s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge! 

And, yes, I did take this book home. Don’t you . . .  when titles speak out so convincingly?

Lifetime #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein

Inspired by questions and wondering about the discovery of cave paintings 30,000 years old. Gerstein thought what if . . . ? and this book came to be. Captivating.

The First Drawing #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

In other reading . . .

I finished Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord

A quiet middle grade read that poses questions about family, belonging and finding home.

 Touch Blue #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Finished reading Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner to my class (read a selection of student reviews here). We are excited to begin a new chapter book read aloud this week.

I just began reading the short stories in The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg to my children even though we have another novel on the go and keep getting sidetracked by beautiful nonfiction titles I bring home.

Up next for me? I am reading Ivy & Bean #7 What’s the Big Idea so I can book talk it to students this week – it also has a saving the Earth theme like the Marty McGuire title. I am starting Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan tonight! Have been excited to read this title.

What are you reading?!

Monday October 7th, 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 crowd always has so many fantastic titles to share.

IMWAYR

The picture books I enjoyed this week:

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Nearly wordless and wonderfully odd and quirky. Mr. Wuffles is a cat who doesn’t move unless it’s for a very good reason and he certainly doesn’t move to chase after silly toys his owner buys him. So what is it about the teeny spaceship that has Mr. Wuffles racing all over the house? You must experience this title to truly understand what is happening. At the end of the week I told my students that I would be sharing a book with them this week that is part wordless, part English and part in a language I don’t understand. They are totally intrigued. Can’t wait to see what they make of this book!

 Mr. Wuffles #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Island by Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman

Another wordless title where the narrative isn’t necessarily even close to obvious. I suppose if this really bothers you, this book will be somewhat irritating. I love the illustrations and the suggestion of many story lines. My children and I shared this title over breakfast. Each of us was sort of sure we knew what was going on – all of us telling stories that went in quite different directions. Quite fun actually.

The Island #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Paper Dolls written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

Although this story is definitely for a younger audience (preschool to K/1 would be ideal) I found it absolutely lovely. A beautiful story celebrating mother daughter time, imagination and playtime adventure. A little girl and her five paper dolls – the names repeat in a poem (loved “Jimmy with two noses”) have many wonderful adventures. There is a moment of cruelty handled without much attention – it isn’t explored but rather gives the story another aspect – that when something is lost or destroyed it is not gone but enters the special world of memories. Would love to gift this to a family with young children. Can see it being a favourite. And of course it has Donaldson’s rhythm and flow.

The Paper Dolls #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

I Dare You Not to Yawn written by Helene Boudreau and illustrated by Serge Bloch

A cautionary tale about how to avoid yawns that will inevitably lead to being put to bed. And oh are there some cozy, soothing temptations. Yikes, just typing this and visualizing those pages, I yawned! Me: zero. Book: one.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry written by Samantha Berger  and illustrated by Bruce Whatley 

Sorry is such an interesting phenomenon. So often children are forced to say sorry and it has no meaning at all. Martha does not voice these words willingly. It is clearly a power thing. It’s not that she isn’t nice, she just won’t admit she’s wrong. When she does finally utter them, it really does feel meaningful. Well handled in a sweet little family story.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Unicorn Thinks he’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

I love that so many important themes are handled in a story that is full of silly, whimsy and all out bling. Themes such as jealousy, friendship, diversity, and accepting someone new. Read this book to laughter and smiles and then settle in for an interesting discussion about a whole lot of stuff. Most importantly of course: How do we get it to rain cupcakes?

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Give Up, Gecko! A Folktale from Uganda retold by Margaret Read MacDonald illustrated by Deborah Melmon

A fun little story highlighting the importance of persistence and the big meanings of what is fair. Silly, fun language and a lovely story all wrapped up in one.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

This week I also blogged about some great nonfiction titles I read recently –  perfect for preschool listeners right up to late primary.

In other reading, I finished Jinx by Sage Blackwood

I am so happy that I really liked this book. I really really wanted to like this book. I loved the cover, the author’s name and the promise of a storyline about wizards, witches, various kinds of magic, curses, secrets, adventure, mystery and listening trees. It might have gone the direction of not pulling it off because it seemed to promise so much. But no, it all comes together and I found myself wishing for more free time to just stay lost in this story. An excellent middle grade fantasy/adventure/mystery. Would be great for fans of The False Prince!

 Jinx #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

People seem to either love this title or they are kind of middle of the road on it. I am in the first camp. I finished it early this morning over my first cup of coffee and found myself crying twice in the last section. A really intimate little book that introduces us to Billy Miller, his family, his worries and his triumphs. A seven year old hero of the everyday. Love him. Love him. Love him.

 The Year of Billy Miller #IMWAYR There's a Book for That!

Next up?

The Boy on the Wooden Box A Memoir by Leon Leyson

Happy reading to everyone!

Wordless Whispers and Shouts

It is no secret that I adore wordless books. Some of these titles have so much buzz about them lately – you can probably hear the shouts if you put your ear to the ground on the picture book love network. Others have been around for a little while and need a “Psst, you know this title don’t you?” mention.

 Wordless Whispers and Shouts: There's a Book for That Some wonderful wordless titles

Here are a handful of words about some fantastic wordless (or nearly) titles:

Journey by Aaron Becker

Grab your imagination and enter a magical world where anything might happen. Stunning.

 Wordless Whispers and Shouts: There's a Book for That Some wonderful wordless titles

Bluebird by Bob Staake 

Loneliness. Friendship. Cruelty. Grief. Hope. A whirlwind of emotions.

 Wordless Whispers and Shouts: There's a Book for That Some wonderful wordless titles

South by Patrick McDonnell 

A story of being lost and found and having someone sweet enough to help you on your journey to where you need to go.

 Wordless Whispers and Shouts: There's a Book for That Some wonderful wordless titles

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

Including this title here is kind of cheating. It isn’t really a wordless title. But some of the best pages of the book that tell the biggest story are the pages of just images. All about brilliant, creative, heroic ideas in the name of friendship.

 Wordless Whispers and Shouts: There's a Book for That Some wonderful wordless titles

Looking Down by Steve Jenkins

Closer and closer and closer. Google Earth beautifully captured in a picture book. Experience a little vertigo as you turn the pages.

 Wordless Whispers and Shouts: There's a Book for That Some wonderful wordless titlesInside Outside by Lizi Boyd

Simple adventures over the seasons inside and outside of the house.

 Wordless Whispers and Shouts: There's a Book for That Some wonderful wordless titles

Monday August 12th, 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!

I did lots of picture book reading this week – often lugging stacks of books to the pool to read while my children had swimming lessons. I did my best to narrow the books I want to feature this week to ten:

Journey by Aaron Becker

Gorgeous. Inspired. I shared this with my family and we had so many connections to other stories and experiences. My children thought of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Howl’s Moving Castle, Airborn . . . A book that lures you right back to the beginning to start it again. A book you won’t be able to resist. It’s a must own.

Journey  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Andrew Drew and Drew by Barney Saltzberg

Very creative – such an experience seeing what unfolds with each lifting of the flaps. Celebrates imagination and doodles that might become  . . .

Andrew Drew and Drew #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wag by Patrick McDonnell

Why is it exactly that Earl’s tail wags so enthusiastically? It takes a while to get to the answer but it is absolutely worth it. Adorable.

Wag #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Someday a Tree by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler

A very special story about an important tree that a family visits everyday. When it turns out this tree is dying, it is heartbreaking. Touches on the life cycle of trees, environmental hazards, community, hope. So many possibilities for the primary classroom.

Someday a Tree #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

No Roses for Harry! written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

How did I not know there were other stories about Harry (of Dirty Dog fame)? And wow, am I glad I found out!

no roses for harry #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Long Way Away by Frank Viva

I am still not sure of this title. I appreciate the concept of two stories in one – told either front to back or back to front – very creative. But . . . I kind of felt like the images could have stood on their own. I think this could easily have been a fantastic wordless title. I will see what my students think in the fall. With this book I really need “test readers” to try it out and see . . .

a long way away #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Matchbox Diary  by Paul Fleischman illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline 

I wasn’t quite prepared for just how beautiful these illustrations would be. The cover hints at the story’s concept and not the beauty of what is inside. Still – the concept – sigh. Just amazing. History, stories and memories told through unveiling of various contents of a number of matchboxes. Also love the intergenerational connection! A favourite of the year absolutely.

MatchboxDiary #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Goodbye Mousie written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Jan Ormerod

A well done title that deals with the death of a pet – how will it be handled by a preschooler? Illustrations of the family interactions are warm and natural.

goodbye mousie #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bluebird by Bob Staake So I will confess that I have been avoiding this book since it was published. I think every staff member at Vancouver Kidsbooks (my local bookstore) has tried to share it with me or inquired whether I’ve read it yet. And, I’ve made multiple excuses. “Not in the mood.” “The cover just doesn’t grab me.” “I’ll look at it next time I’m in.” The truth? The cover has been whispering to me – “I’m going to get to you in a big way.” I knew I would love this book. I knew I would find it powerful. I knew I would find multiple ways to share it with my students and that our conversations would be huge and raw and honest as conversations with kids about great books often tend to be. I’m not going to share details about this book. I’m sure everyone but me has already experienced it. I will just say that this time at the book store, I read it and then, it came home with me.

 Bluebird #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frog: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

A fantastic nonfiction read. What was happening to the golden frogs in the Panama? Could they be saved? This book explores the thinking and research of the scientists who tried to answer these questions. A longer read but could be shared even in upper primary over multiple read aloud sessions. So much to discuss – purposes of zoos we might not have known, ecology, environment, endangered species . . .

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I continue to try and read early chapter books and graphic novels that are already in my classroom This week I read:

Ivy + Bean (Book 1) by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall 

Somehow I have never sat down and read an entire Ivy + Bean. What was I thinking? They are more delightful than my skimming through titles had conveyed. Spunky characters in all the best ways. A friend of ours loves reading them with his daughter. He says it best:

“I like that these books have a bit of a wicked edge to them, a lovely appreciation of 7-year old anarchists. Nothing saccharine about Ivy&Bean.”

Ivy&Bean #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

Also realized that I had never read the first Lunch Lady title. I didn’t really read this so much as read it along to a running commentary from my children asking me which part I was at or what had just happened or did I think that . . . Wow, do kids love Lunch Lady! A series I always love recommending.

Lunch Lady #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also read Sold by Patricia McCormick

A difficult but important read. A book that I hope is in all high school libraries.

Sold #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I am currently reading Eleanor and Park (almost finished!)  Loving it so far 🙂

I also finished

Igniting a Passion for Reading: Successful Strategies for Building Lifetime Readers by Steven L. Layne

Appreciated Layne’s voice and passion for making reading something that is adored by students everywhere. He makes it very clear however, that this passion begins with the environment we create in our classrooms. There are many people who need this book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I have a few novels I want to read that are due back at the library at around the same time so it will be a due date competition that determines what I read!