Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

It is November and that means it is Picture Book Month!

Time to read and celebrate all things picture book. For me, it’s the perfect excuse to generate lists!

This week’s list? Picture books that capture the essence of childhood. With actual children in them! When I started looking at some of my favourite picture books, I realized that many of them were actually not about children. Many feature animals (bears are strangely (or not) represented) or a lot of adults. Some are about children but feature animal characters. These can be fantastic and very easy for children to connect to (I’m thinking everything Kevin Henkes does). The ones with “real children” characters can sometimes have heavy themes or be a little too forced. They don’t all ring true. We can’t pluck a character off the page and believe that child could quickly leap into a playground full of children and completely blend in. Or beautifully stand out . . .

Move into chapter books and boom, there are the kids! Marty Macguire. Clementine. Billy Miller. Flora Belle Buckman. William Spiver. Dory Fantasmagory. Piper Green. Nate Foster. Popeye and Elvis. There are no shortage of children behaving like children.

Finding them in picture books? Not as easy. Hence, my list.

These 20 titles are all about kids and all that they are. Childhood and all of the quirky, all of the lovely, all of the human, all of the unique. Sometimes the messy and challenging. Sometimes the sweet and lovely. All of it absolutely honoured and celebrated. These 20 books all hold a special place in my heart.

I would love to know which books you would add to this list and why. Please share in the comments.

Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

On the list because? Children have some interesting, not always sensible, problem solving strategies.

 Stuck Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

The Frank Show by David Mackintosh

On the list because? Kids worry about not being the coolest, the best, the greatest. Even in the Grandparent department.

The Frank Show Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine, written by Allison Wortche and illustrated by Patrice Barton

On the list because? Primary students need to navigate a lot in a day – sometimes doing the most simple of things like growing seeds: envy, friendship, forgiveness, competition

 Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile

On the list because? Little ones have a hard time doing just nothing or even turning off their racing imaginations. Those busy brains are pure delight!

Let's Do nothing Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

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

On the list because? Children notice what we should. Especially the very beautiful and amazing things in the world.

The Man with the Violin Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies

On the list because? When given the chance to do the right thing, children usually will. Eventually.

Ben Rides on Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World

On the list because? Children love to embrace the wild and amazing energy of their heroes.

 Nino Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

On the list because? Being brave sometimes requires a little wisdom from someone who has been around for a while. Or a little magic.

Nana in the City Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas

On the list because? Childhood is about navigating the road between making memories and learning from the memories others share

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Blizzard by John Rocco

On the list because? Snow day after snow day after snow day and the chance to be a hero. Childhood magic!

Blizzard Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford

On the list because? Learning about forgiveness is one of childhood’s most powerful lessons. Often as adults, we still don’t have it figured out.

 Desmond Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Float by Daniel Miyares

On the list because? Children approach rain in the best of ways. All in. Rubber boots, puddle jumping, sailing of boats!

Float Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ask Me written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee

On the list because? Little ones have lots and lots of stories to tell. If you don’t ask, they will remind you to.

Ask Me Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

On the list because? Thee is something particularly magical about childhood faith and hope.

Sparky! Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

I’m Bored  written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

On the list because? “I’m Bored!” is a childhood theme song! But “Kids are boring.” Those are fighting words!

I'm Bored Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

On the list because? All children need to have a little piece of Sadie inside of them and have space to let it shine!

This is SadieTwenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild! written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Marla Frazee

On the list because? When you are little, it seems to be all too easy to make parents a little crazy.  Just like that. Pesky is too easy. But forgiving and hugs are part of it all too.

Harriet You'll Drive Me Wild Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. by John Burningham

On the list because? Everyday holds huge imaginative possibilities. Even if others don’t quite embrace our wild stories, we persist in telling them. And maybe they are true . . .

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning

On the list because? Sometimes when we discover new found ferocity, it takes a little while to tame. Inner strength and big doses of kindness, we need them both.

Millie Fierce Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward  and illustrated by Julie Morstad

On the list because? A lone walk through the woods is a journey of many small moments of bravery. Singing to combat the fear? A perfect strategy.

Singing Away the Dark Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

How I love sharing picture book lists during this month of picture book love!

Happy Picture Book Reading!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Auto-buy Authors But I kind of switched it up . . .

I approached this theme with some flexibility.  First, I only included picture books. Second, my list is all about illustrators, not authors (although some both illustrate and write their books). And top ten? Nope. I have twenty. But I split it into two lists of ten in order to kind of follow the rules. 🙂 10 + 10 = 20

My top ten lists this week are all about my auto-buy illustrators. These artists help make picture books that are irresistible.

I read a lot, a lot, a lot of picture books. Narrowing these lists down was a challenge!

When it became apparent that I couldn’t limit my list to just ten, I decided to make a list of female illustrators and a list of male illustrators. Both make the best books ever! I am so excited to honour them here. For each illustrator, I have included my favourite (or one of my favourite) books that they have illustrated.

My ten auto-buy female illustrators listed in alphabetical order:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Freya Blackwood illustrated Harry and Hopper I love the scratchy, loose lines and the mood Blackwood creates through shading and colour.

harry and hopper Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Lauren Castillo wrote and illustrated Melvin and the Boy I love Nana and her wonderful cape and thought it was wonderfully Caldecott worthy, but I have such a soft spot for this sweet little book.

Melvin and the Boy Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Marla Frazee illustrated All the World It is so absolutely calming and charming and full of all the world’s memories.

All-the-World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Emily Hughes wrote and illustrated Wild which I am more than a little wild about

Wild Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Suzy Lee created the wordless treasure Wave I am quite sure these waves are moving across the pages here.

 Wave Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Qin Leng illustrated Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – there is one page oh so very full of green that I fell in love with.

 Hana Hashimoto Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World I already loved this title but then I heard Yuyi read it aloud and I was even more smitten. Such joyous energy and escapades in this book!

Nino Wrestles the World Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Julie Morstad’s illustrations in This is Sadie are swoon worthy. Seriously, this cover!

This is Sadie Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

LeUyen Phan absolutely blew me away with The Boy Who Loved Math

 The Boy Who Loved Math Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Erin E. Stead illustrated the stunning  If You Want to See a Whale If you follow this blog you know I have a serious thing for whales. The one in this book? I find it particularly captivating.

If you want to see a whale Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

My ten auto-buy male illustrators listed in alphabetical order

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jonathan Bean illustrated Bad Bye, Good Bye which I found wonderfully delightful. Look at the expressions conveyed just on the cover.

Bad Bye, Good Bye Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Peter Brown won me over with his book The Curious Garden that he wrote and illustrated. Doesn’t it make you want to go plant a seed or two or twelve in some unexpected places?

Curious Garden Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Oliver Jeffers just keeps making more books. Picking a favourite is challeging. I’m going with The Heart and the Bottle which will tug at your heart.

heart in the bottle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Jon Klassen is the Caldecott King but it is his illustrations in House Held up by Trees that I find the most incredible.

househeldupbytrees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

E.B. Lewis has done so many titles that are powerful but his illustrations in My Best Friend might be my favourite.

 My Best Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are so whimsical and full of teeny tiny characters that are very large. South is gentle and lovely.

south Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Christopher Silas Neal’s books with Kate Messner are stunning but it is illustrations in Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives that I want to celebrate here.

 Lifetime Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Mark Pett won a special award in my room for The Girl and the Bicycle during our Mock Caldecott process He sent a very special gift for his number one fan (see below).

The Girl and the Bicycle Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

John Rocco does many wonderful titles. He wrote and illustrated Blackout which is likely my favourite. The blues. The blacks. Wow. Wow. Wow.

 Blackout Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

David Small does the most delicate, detailed drawings for historical fiction titles. I couldn’t choose my favourite. So instead I picked One Cool Friend which I also love.

 One cool Friend Top Ten Tuesday: Ten plus ten equals twenty auto-buy Illustrators

Who are your auto-buy illustrators? 

Could you choose ten? Or stop at twenty? It’s difficult!

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

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

TTT

This week’s topic? Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

I was thrilled to see this topic this week and decided to celebrate a range of books – right from picture books to young adult novels. As readers we need to see both ourselves and others in the books we read. Reading beyond ourselves? It opens up our world, deepens our understanding, makes us think differently. Reading about ourselves? It confirms. It soothes. It makes us feel connected. As a reader I want both of these experiences. As a teacher and a parent, I want these experiences for the children in my life.

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That We Need Diverse Books logo

The definition of diverse books on the We Need Diverse Books site is one that I always refer to:

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

From the Mission Statement on the We Need Diverse Books site.

Diverse Literature Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Ten of my favourites:

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

A book to savour. To read slowly. It inspires questions about the life of Frida Kahlo – her art, her culture, her passions. I had the pleasure of hearing author Yuyi Morales read this title aloud. Just beautiful.

 Viva Frida Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Shin-Chi’s Canoe written by Nicola Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave

An emotional story of two Aboriginal children (siblings) who are sent to residential school. Accessible for younger readers. The emotional pain endured by the families and children impacted by residential schools is powerful in this book. Beautifully illustrated.

Shin-Chi's Canoe Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

No 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke

Much to love in this title: the unique characters, the entertaining dynamics and the beautiful setting of Africa. So very, very good.

 No 1 Car Spotter Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

El Deafo by Cece Bell

All kinds of honest and vulnerable and powerful and hilarious. I am in awe of how this story is told, how friendship issues are explored and highlighted, how the power and powerlessness of a “disability” was portrayed through a child’s perspective.

El Deafo Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

A powerful story about the pull of home, the strength of family, the importance of culture and the complexities of personal and family histories.

Listen, Slowly Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Verse novels hold so much power to literally wrap us up in evocative images and in this case, personal history. In some senses, it feels like spying to be so close. A beautifully written memoir of a time and a place – oh so personal but yet, with connections and links to many more than young Jacqueline Woodson. A gift to readers.

brown girl dreaming Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 

A story that is fictional but not at all. Because Habo’s story could be, might be and in fact, is, playing itself out STILL in Tanzania for other albino citizens. This book speaks to everything both beautiful and horrific about humanity.  A human rights crisis. One that needs attention. One that needs to stop. “Be that one person,” – the words Sullivan leaves us with in her author’s note. Read this book and remind yourself to be more human than less. A story that will never leave the reader. And never should.

goldenboyTop Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

I find myself strangely without words on this title about two young women – special education students now living on their own for the first time. The pages are seeped in vulnerability for so many reasons. There are some hard and heartbreaking pages. It’s a quick read that follows you around for days. I can see why the Schneider committee selected this book. A YA read.

Girls like us Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds 

What characters. What quietly bold and beautifully human characters. Jason Reynolds, these characters you write . . .

 When I was the Greatest Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

A shooting of a young teenage boy. Is it racially motivated? Who is at fault? What is the truth? All important questions. More important though -the grieving and the moving on of a community and family impacted by the loss of one of their own. Powerful.

how it went down Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity There's a Book for That

What titles would you add to this list?

Celebration: Nerding out

Oh there has been a whole lot of amazing bookish things in this week. If there is a land of Nerdy-book-club-ish-ness, well, I have been wandering about within it. Quite happily. Actually wandering is not the word. Leaping. Whirling. Rejoicing. These words better capture it.

It began a week ago with the amazing Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference and it kept going until today at the eerie and exceptional Serendipity conference here in Vancouver.

I have been so blessed to hear brilliant and passionate words (and have many books signed by . . .  ) from Kate DiCamillo, Yuyi Morales, Joyce Sidman and Matt de la Peña (all in Bellingham) and Molly Idle, Holly Black, Andrew Smith and Mariko Tamaki (here in Vancouver).

I also got to attend the first EVER nErDCamp Bellingham last Sunday!

And then of course, all kinds of #booklove happened in my classroom all week.

I have too many words but can’t seem to settle them. So much of this will be in pictures.

The Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference was so amazing!

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I learned a lot from each presenter. One (or two) line take aways

Matt de la Peña: “You can’t be a great writer until first you are a great reader.”

Yuyi Morales: “At the library, there are books with art in them like in an art gallery. Some of them were made for people like me and my story.”

Kate DiCamillo: “It is a privilege to have anything at all to do with books. Words matter. Words don’t fail.”

Joyce Sidman: “Why share poetry with children? Poems can never be wrong. Some might be more powerful. They can express our “souls””

And Sunday was all about nErDcamp in the gorgeous Whatcom Middle School Library:

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I spent some time twisting and turning trying to see this gorgeous space from every angle

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Loved meeting with friends old and new and learning together 🙂

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Thank you to the awesome Adam Shaffer for his Nerdy vision!

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I loved bringing Viva Frida back for Miriam and watching her share it with little listeners

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Today at the Vancouver Children’s Literacy Roundtable’s Serendipity, more wonderful words and many laughs. Many of the gems are too – let’s call them – “too YA” to share.

From Andrew Smith: “My code is the English language. Like a wizard I can put words together and make poetry. It is powerful.”

From Mariko Tamaki: “There is a third writer in a comic book – the author, the illustrator and the person who puts it all together. The collaboration is important.”

From Molly Idle and Kelly Chipponeri (Editorial Director, Children’s Books at Chronicle Books in San Fransisco): “The process of putting together a book and doing what is best for the book is about kind, creative and supportive communication.”

From Holly Black: “It is intensely personal and strange to write a book. Writing is often answering the questions that we come across.”

I loved the chance to talk education with Andrew Smith and to share the sunshine with Molly and Kelly and hear more about their collaboration.

A gorgeous day all around.

My students adore Molly Idle‘s Flora so they will be thrilled that I got our classroom copies signed!

IMG_2144 And yes, I love all of this – the authors, the illustrators and the literacy love. But why do I love it so much? Because I can share it with my students.

Their book love is my book love.

Our passion for literacy is always, I hope, transformative.

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Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. Read all of the celebrations by following the links shared here.

celebrate-link-up

Monday December 30th, 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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

Oh how I love, love, love the reading time the holidays afford! Doesn’t hurt that my #nerdlution goal is to read aloud daily to my children (from the novel we are reading). We just skipped Christmas day because I was ill and family events took up much of the day. Other days we made up for it and read in front of the fireplace for hours! We now begin our third novel since #nerdlution began, The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey.

I have made some “hang out and read picture books” visits to my local library with my daughter. My 10 favourites of the week:

Joone by Emily Kate Moon

I first heard of this title back during the picture book 10 for 10 event – some lovely fellow blogger recommended it to me as my list was all about books with a theme of connections across generations. This title is about Joone and days passed with her grandfather and her pet turtle, Dr. Chin.  Rock collecting, swimming in the pond, reading to Grandpa – a story of sweet little moments.

Joone #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ladder to the Moon written by Maya Soetoro-Ng and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Wow. An emotional, beautiful, significant read. A story of connection between female family members that spans generations and mortality. Images are stunning. The author’s and illustrator’s notes in the back reveal much more to this story.

Ladder to the moon #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Wow! Ocean by Robert Neubecker

I wish I had this book before I took my children to Hawaii for the first time. Bright colourful ocean scenes for children to get lost in! So many pages that just really are WOW! moments. Like the jellyfish page. The pull out page on whales. A page of rays. And so many details not to miss – like the nurse’s cap on the nurse shark. I used an earlier Neubecker title Wow! City to inspire an art project – art ideas just leap off the page of this one too!

wow ocean #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Baby Bear Counts One by Ashley Wolff

Another must own title if you have little ones or grandchildren. A beautiful counting book about forest animals preparing for the winter. Colourful pages with perfect counting opportunities. One woodpecker. Two squirrels. Three beavers. Four . . .

baby bear #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Pig on the Hill by John Kelly

Two neighbours. One, stodgy and set in his ways. One, creative and expressive. Much humour as the story unveils.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lemonade in Winter written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

This has been on my “to read” list for ages and I loved it as much as I was anticipating. I am such a fan of G. Brian Karas and appreciated all of the muted shades of a snowy winter backdrop. Yes, I love the math connection (although not so good for me as all money pictured in back is American and Canadian money looks much different – we don’t even have dollar bills!) but I loved the story. An idea that grows between siblings and changes and adapts with the weather and various circumstances. Why not a lemonade stand in a snowstorm? Such fun!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

While We Were Out by Ho Baek Lee

A little rabbit sneaks through the house while the family is out. And of course, they will never know except for the little surprises he left everywhere. Can you guess what? Very sweet.

while we were out #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Crafty Chloe: Dress Up Mess Up written by Kelly Dipucchio and illustrated by Heather Ross

While I didn’t love this as much as the first Crafty Chloe, I did appreciate the very real struggle of trying to please more than one friend and staying true to yourself. And wow, some pretty creative costume ideas!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ike’s Incredible Ink by Brianne Farley

A great title for would be writers. No story ideas are coming for Ike. Maybe if he had the perfect ink? He sets out to make it using found ingredients like shadows and the dark side of the moon.

Ike's Incredible Ink

The Money we’ll Save by Brock Cole

This was another of our holiday reads. A hilarious story of a family who decides to save money by raising a turkey for Christmas dinner rather than purchasing one for the occasion. A turkey in a small apartment? You can imagine . . .

The Money we'll Save #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Other reading:

Danny’s  Doodles: The Jellybean Experiment by David A. Adler

This is a chapter book for the younger/beginning reader. I am always on the lookout for titles in this category so was pleased that one, I liked the story and two, it is part of a new series! Humour and school day escapades but a little more depth than other novels in this category. Characters and emotions that are a little more interesting and not what is expected.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This book literally felt like it transported me elsewhere. I don’t typically read such high fantasy. At times, I would be reading and think, I don’t really know about this . . . But then I was hooked and completely held by the story until the end. Big drama. Other worlds. Battle scenes. Wild imagination. Compelling.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reached by Ally Condie

I really enjoyed reading this series – one book after the other. Definitely some new aspects to the dystopian love triangle theme. And not a disappointing ending which I often find with this genre.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

This was an absolutely delightful read aloud with my children. I will always look at this book and think of our cozy read aloud sessions by the fireplace – lots of giggles, both kids drawing and constant interruptions with connections and predictions. I now want to read this aloud to my students. Such an interesting twist on the fairytale we know (often twists are not interesting at all). I will definitely read all of the titles in this genre that Liesl Shurtliff writes.

Rump #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Happy reading in 2014 to all my fellow book loving friends!

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 14th, 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

 

I read quite a variety of picture books this week. My favourites:

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Before reading this action packed colourful picture book, I had never heard of lucha libre – the theatrical professional wrestling popular in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. I was very pleased that Niño with his little white boxers and red face mask was the first hero of the lucha libre world for me. The fact that he outsmarts his opponents with moves like the Tickle Tackle and the Popsicle Slick make him even more endearing. I can see this being a favourite book of many a preschooler with some wild and crazy energy. What fun!

Nino Wrestles the World #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes 

The illustrations in this story made it quite special. It is a wonderful introduction to Hindu literature and mythology through a quite creative adaptation of how the poet Vyasa convinces Ganesha to scribe the epic poem, the Mahabharata. This story involves delicious sweets and a super jumbo jawbreaker. Part silly, part spectacular, this is a fun visual adventure.

Ganesha's Sweet Tooth  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Look, a Book! written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

The text of this title is simple – the premise simply – wow, look where a book might take you – on adventures and rides through imaginative landscapes. I am such a fan of illustrator Freya Blackwood and again, found her illustrations simply magic.

Look, a Book!  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Cat with Seven Names written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Christine Davenier

If you have ever had a pet that liked to share himself/herself with others very generously (and often motivated by food treats if truth be told) then this is a book to connect to. In this story, a cat wanders in and out of many different lives in a neighbourhood, eventually connecting the individuals into a community and being reunited with his owner who explains that this friendly feline will likely visit again. With themes of solitude and loneliness, this story has a happy feel good ending.

The Cat with the Seven Names  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Can I keep him? by Steven Kellogg

First published in 1971 – loved the older style drawings by Kellogg. A little boy tries to convince his mother that numerous animals would make the ideal pet. Finally he finds the perfect companion to keep him occupied as Mom is busy with her daily tasks. The fantasy element made this story lots of fun as a read aloud.

Can I keep him?  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Really? Really! Really, Seeger is just too clever. Her books never fail to delight, engage and entertain. Such a wonderful book to share with my class. They were all completely engrossed guessing what would happen as we flipped the page – what word would the cutout reveal? What image? Amazing!

One Boy  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Carnivores written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat

Oh so, so good. And it scored high on the giggle meter when I read it to my children. Such a clever premise – attempting to have us see these carnivores as well meaning with lots of self control. When true natures win out, Reynolds and Santat have us smiling a little guiltily as we root for these carnivorous characters who just can’t help themselves . . .

Carnivores  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I finished The Boy on the Wooden Box a memoir by Leon Leyson

An emotional read. Every story of the war speaks to our humanity – the cruelty and kindness of people, the devastation and hope in such horrific times. This is the story of Leon Leyson, one of the youngest members of Schindler’s list. It is the story of his childhood taken by war, his family and their love, of his time during Nazi occupation in the WWII and of his chance to actually have hope of a future. Highly recommended.

The Boy on the Wooden Box  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What’s up next? I just started reading The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Next on the list is Crazy by Han Nolan.

What are you reading this week?