It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2018 Top Summer Picks for 9-12 yr olds (part 1)

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

While I tend to promote a lot of picture books on my blog, I try to share novels for your middle grade readers when I can. (They just take longer to read!)  I have been reading A LOT of newly released titles recently and am excited to share them with you!  And with summer right around the corner, it is time to start choosing titles for your own TBR pile!  For your middle grade readers, regular “Catch the Summer Book Bug” book talks will hopefully get them excited about summer reading.  From fantasy, to graphic novels, adventures, and realistic stories – there is sure to be a book for every reader in your class!   Maybe create a bulletin board with some of the these book covers to get the kids excited about summer reading!

The Lifters – Dave Eggers

A whimsical fantasy filled with an imaginative underground world (was making connections to the Secret World of Og!)  Granite Flowerpetal (what a great name for a character), Gran for short, has moved to the town of Carousel with his family while his dad searches for work.  It is there he discovers this extraordinary underground world and learns that the town is actually sinking from sorrow – the tunnels are actually holding the town up.  Subtle but powerful message of hope and happiness in this quirky, intriguing story.  Short, fast-paced chapters and great humour.

The Boy, the Bird and the Coffin Maker – Matilda Woods

Part folktale, part magical realism.  This is a gentle inter-generational tale of a lonely, grieving older man who finds hope in an unexpected friendship with a magical bird and a kind-hearted boy named Tito.  Charming characters, uplifting story and wonderful language (lots of similes!)  I loved that this novel included gorgeous illustrations.  This story has a fairy tale feel, similar to The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

Humor, heart, fantasy, and adventure – this book has them all!   Bicycle is a 12-year-old orphan who is determined to ride across the country to meet her hero – Polish bicycle champion, Zbigniew Sienkiewicz.   Along the way she meets ghosts, pie-makers, crazy inventors; gets run over in a pig stampede; and accidentally launches a missile!  And just who is that mysterious woman in black chasing her?  Delightful story!  (Lots of reference to USA geography – hoping there will be a “Part 2” across Canada!)

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Coming-of-age middle grade graphic novel about summer friendships and that awkward time between childhood and teenager years. When thirteen year old Bina is left to her own devices for the summer while her best friend Austin is off at soccer camp, she has to learn how to have fun all by herself.  Heartfelt and easy to read, with many themes and lots of connections!  (I didn’t love the orange toned illustrations – it was hard on my eyes – or maybe I’m just getting old!!)

                                                                Bob – Wendy Mass

I was quite moved by this incredibly endearing and thought provoking book about childhood friendships, change, growing older while still remembering what it was like to be young.  Ten year old Livy is going back to visit her grandmother in Australia and reconnects with Bob – an endearing green creature she left 5 years earlier whom most people cannot see and she had forgotten.  Great characters and I enjoyed the alternating points of view between Livy and Bob.  Charming, weird and lovely all at the same time.  A MUST read!

Amal Unbound – Aisha Saeed

An important, empowering story about Amal – a young Pakistani girl who loves school and dreams of becoming a teacher one day.  But when she offends a member of an influential family in the village, she is sold as a servant to pay her father’s “debt” and her dreams are suddenly shattered.  Thought provoking themes accessible to even a grade four reader and would make an excellent read aloud and Lit. Circle choice  (great companion to The Breadwinner).   An eye-opening,  riveting and inspiring story with cliff hanger chapter endings and an excellent author’s note at the end.  SO good!

The Boy From Tomorrow – Camille DeAngelis

An almost time-travel story of friendship between two children, Josie and Alec. They are the same age (12) and they live in the same house on 444 Sparrow Street in the same room… but a hundred years apart.  Such a unique story that sounds complicated but flows very smoothly. I loved all the ways Josie and Alec manage to communicate across time, like the letters or the writing on the windowsill.  Heartbreaking, and perhaps a little spooky at times – but a great read.

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

LOTS to love about this graphic novel featuring a diverse neighborhood of children who use their imagination to create an elaborate, imaginative kingdom out of cardboard boxes in their backyard.  Each chapter stands alone featuring one child in the neighborhood and how they came to choose their imaginative character based on some of the issues they are experiencing in their own life.  I love how this book gently introduces a variety of issues that middle grade students will all connect to:  including siblings, bullies, inclusion, friendship struggles, gender identity, and budding crushes.  The stories are heartfelt, entertaining and perfect for this age group.  LOVE!

                                            Endling: The Last by Katherine Applegate

Anything that is written by this amazing author is sure to be on my “top pick” list!  (Wishtree and The One and Only Ivan are among my favorite middle grade novels EVER!)   The Last Endling is the first book in an animal fantasy series which features a truly imaginative world called Nederra and imaginative characters including the protagonist Bynx, a “dairne” – a creature somewhere between a dog and a flying squirrel who can detect lies.  When Bynx returns from a forbidden venture, she discovers her pack has been killed, making her possibly “the Endling” – or the last of her species.  Determined to find another pack of dairnes, Bynx sets off on a “hero’s quest”,  with the help of her new loyal companion Tobble.    As with her previous books, Katherine Applegate weaves important themes throughout including: family, loyalty, loss, identity and hope. This adventure is fast-paced and so believable –  I was completely transported into this fantasy world and can’t wait for the next book!

Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes

This is a heart-breaking, deeply moving book that deals with harsh reality of racial issues in America throughout history.  Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real one.  As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.  While observing the aftermath of his own death, Jerome meets Emmett,  another ghost, whose similar death happened decades earlier.  WOW.  This story is so powerful and told in such a unique way.  Due to the more mature themes in this book, I would suggest it for upper middle grades (Gr. 7-9) This book is getting a lot of “buzz” and is already on the New York Times best-seller list.   It is quite a short read so would make an excellent read-aloud, no doubt prompting many important discussions.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

WOW!!  I LOVED this book about a hard-working Chinese immigrant family’s experience trying to make it in their new home.  It’s funny, heart-wrenching and so straightforward in presenting the clear struggle that immigrant families experience.  Ten-year old Mia, the main character, captured my heart with her sweet, spunky, courageous personality, her thoughtfulness and her sense of justice.  Such a great book to start conversations about prejudices and how new immigrants are treated.   This debut novel from Kelly Yang is loosely based on her own experiences and includes and interesting author’s note.  A PHENOMENAL book that would make such a great read-aloud in a grade 4-5 class.  SO many opportunities for discussion!  LOVE THIS BOOK!  (I know I say that a lot – but this is my favorite on this list!)

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found one or two titles that caught your eye!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Top Picks for Summer Reading for 9-12 yr. olds next week!

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Filed under 2018 releases, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Read-Aloud

Top 10 Tuesday! My Top 10 Books About Perseverance, Courage, Growth Mind-Set and Grit (okay… 15 books..but who’s counting?)

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Teaching children to persevere through challenges is an important step in helping them develop a growth mind-set.  The older I get, the more I come to realize that it is though failing that we succeed; through disappointment that we develop resilience; and through challenges we face that we grow stronger.  Sharing picture books where characters are faced with and overcome challenges is a great starting point for teaching these important life lessons.  Here are my top picks for promoting perseverance and growth mindset.

You Can Do It, Bert! Ole Konnecke

Bert is gathering up courage to launch into flight.  This is a fun tale about taking a leap of faith and trying something new. It’s good to face our fears, whether it’s learning to fly…or something else.  Sweet illustrations and I loved Bert’s encouraging friends.

The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires

I love using this book to teach critical and creative thinking, problem solving and perseverance.  When a little girl decides to make a “most magnificent thing”, she finds herself becoming more and more frustrated when things don’t work the way she had planned.  Although she keeps trying, she eventually has a melt-down and quits!  It’s only when she re-visits her plan, reflects on her mistakes, and develops a new plan that her”magnificent thing” is finally built!  I used this book as the anchor for a school-wide “MMT” (Most Magnificent Thing) project.  You can read about it on my blog post here.

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The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do – Ashley Spires

I’m a big fan of Ashley Spires so was excited to read her new book when it came out this fall.  Lou is an adventurous, imaginative girl who loves to play with her friends.  But when they decide to play pirates and climb a tree, Lou hesitates.  She doesn’t know how but is afraid to admit it.  Great messages about trying new things, overcoming fears, and not making excuses.

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Jabari Jumps – Gaia Cornwall

Every child can make connections to being on that diving board for the first time and looking down into that pool.  This is wonderful book about facing and overcoming your fears.  Great for making connections!  Big clear words and pictures with views from below and above fill the pages.  I loved the view from the diving board with “his toes curled around the rough edge”.  LOVE!

Rosie Revere, Engineer – Andrea Beaty

This amazing picture book shows the importance of failing before you can be truly great – and it’s a wonderful story about self-esteem.  I love this great, smart young role model and the rhythm and rhyme of the text.  Delightful read-aloud!

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When Sophie Thinks She Can’t... – Molly Bang

When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry” by Molly Bang has long been one of my “go to” connect books for managing feelings and emotions. This new companion “Sophie” book, “When Sophie Thinks She Can’t…” is the perfect anchor book for introducing the concepts of “Fixed” and “Growth” mindsets to your students, as well as problem solving and perseverance. Would also be a great link to Math as Sophie is frustrated with tangram puzzles.

What Do You Do with a Problem?

What Do You Do With a Problem? Kobi Yamada

An excellent book to explore a variety of problem-solving strategies with your class at the start of the year.  An inspiring companion to What Do You Do With an Idea?  Love the message that we have the power to turn problems into opportunities.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain – Stretch it, Shape it! – JoAnn Deak

Fascinating non-fiction book about the brain about the importance of learning new things & making mistakes in order for your brain to grow.  Love the illustrations and the “voice” of the narrator.  Although this book does include some scientific vocabulary, it is clear and colourful and communicates the message that your brain is an amazing thing and that you should learn from mistakes and challenges.  Perfect for growth mindset!

Flight School – Lita Judge

SOOOO love this book about an adorable penguin who has a dream to fly.  Brilliant message that encourages hard work and persistence in achieving your dreams. Beautiful illustrations, great humour –  this book is definitely one to share.  I love this penguin’s tenacity and positive attitude!

 

More-Igami Dori Kleber

Perseverance. Patience. Practice.  Joey, a little boy who loves to fold things, learns that he needs all three “P’s” when trying to master the art of making an origami crane.  Instructions for making an origami ladybug is included in the back.  (was confused why it wasn’t instructions for a crane…?)

After the Fall:  How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again – Dan Santat

One of my favorite books from last year, After the Fall is beautiful, brilliant, inspiring and surprising!  A contemporary retelling of Humpty Dumpty, where we learn that after his fall, Humpty Dumpty developed a fear of heights.  I really appreciated the way that after Humpty Dumpty was physically put back after his ordeal, but still has to deal with the emotional impact.  Such a great story with a VERY surprising ending!

 Anything is Possible – Giulia Belloni
Lovely book about perseverance and teamwork.  Two unlikely animals team up to see if they can create a flying machine. Beautiful illustrations!

The Girl Who Never Made MistakesMark Pett

The idea of perfectionism is explored in this charming book.  Such an important book to help children understand that it is through our mistakes that we grow and learn. “Mistakes are proof you’re trying!”

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Hana Hashimoto – Sixth Violin – Chieri Uegaki

SO many things to love about this book!  It is an inspiring and beautifully written story of ambition, resilience, creativity and courage; an inter generational story about the special relationships with our grandparents; a perfect anchor book for making connections to family; and an amazing mentor text for writing descriptions and similes.  WOW!   LOVE this book!

If I Had My Black Belt Millicent J. Mackeroy

A young girl dreams of what it will be like to have her black belt in Taekwondo. Her delusions of grandeur are very entertaining,  but in the end she reminds herself of the hard work and practice needed to earn her belt.  I LOVE this brand new book, this message, these illustrations – everything about it!

Thanks for stopping by!  What are your favorite books for teaching perseverance and “growth mindset”?

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Filed under Growth Mindset, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Celebrate Earth Day With Great Books!

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

The week leading up to Earth Day is a great opportunity to share a range of wonderful picture books to help start conversations about the importance of doing our part to care for the earth.   While there are dozens to choose from, I have tried to highlight some old classics, new releases, and inspiring true stories.

Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet – April Pulley Sayre

WOW!  This amazing new  book is filled with stunning photography and lyrical rhythmic text – perfect for reading aloud.  A “Thank you” letter to the earth, celebrating all of the wonderful creatures of natural wonders.  The end notes provide suggestions for ways we can help the environment.  I also appreciated the detailed notes about the photographs – which are truly breath-taking.  Great anchor to inspire “Thank you, Earth” writing and poetry.

Giving Thanks Jonathon London

I love this book and have previously shared it at Thanksgiving.  On a walk through the forest, a young boy learns from his father how to show gratitude for all the beauty he sees.   His father thanks the earth, sky, frogs, crickets, hawk and deer, the trees and the mushrooms.  The boy feels embarrassed by his father’s ritual of thanking everything he sees, but after trying it himself, realizes the power of gratitude.  Gorgeous fall painting illustrations by Gregory Manchess.

Our Big Home: An Earth Poem Linda Glaser

Beautiful and inspiring.  Not only could you use this book for Earth Day but also for acceptance and inclusion – no matter who you are, what race or culture you come from – we all share this world and are responsible for its care.  This book is filled with joy and a sense of wonder at this “home” all humans share.

 

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World – Melanie Walsh

I think that one challenge of teaching about Earth Day is helping kids know practical ways they can take care of the earth, besides doing garbage duty at school.  This book gives young readers clear examples of how they can help.  From turning off the water while brushing their teeth, to using both sides of the paper while drawing, kids will enjoy learning simple ways they can care for the environment.   I love the large size of this book, making it great for sharing.  It’s visually appealing and cleverly designed with flaps and includes clear, simple language.

My Green Day Melanie Walsh

A companion to 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World, this book outlines through picture, simple sentences and colourful illustrations how we can all try to be more environmentally friendly in our every day activities.   Hidden pictures, flaps to lift and holes makes this a fun book for sharing and reading.

The Earth Book – Todd Parr

With simple language and his colorful signature illustrations, Todd Parr describes to young readers how they can do their part to help the environment.  Great concrete examples showing how we can all do our part to make a difference.  Use to inspire younger students create their own “Todd Parr” style Earth Day poster!

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What Does It Mean to Be Green?  – Rana DiOrio

A young boy and girl explore all the different ways they can be Green over the course of a day. They discover lots of amazing facts (like our food travels an average of 1,500 miles to be on our plate!)  I like how DiOrio takes the buzzword “green” and explains it clearly to children, giving them lots of ideas for being “green” themselves.

What Matters – Alison Hughes

Great new book for Earth Day!  This is a wonderful look at the ripple effect of how one small act – picking up garbage that isn’t yours – has repercussions to make the world cleaner and better. (Think Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed but for the earth!) I also think this book would be great for introducing the concept of the inter-connectedness of ecosystems.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Liam is a curious boy living in a drab, gray city. One day, he finds a few dying plants growing through an old railroad track.  Liam waters and prunes the plants until they grow into a lush garden that overtakes the entire city.  By the end of the book, greenery covers the rooftops and pops up in the most unexpected places.  I LOVE this magical story and notice something new every time I read it.  If you haven’t shared this with your class yet – it’s a MUST read!

The Lorax – Dr. Seuss

“UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It’s not!”

Way back in the 1960’s, long before “going green” was a mainstream concept, Dr. Seuss introduced young readers to the impacts of clear-cutting on the environment.  Written and illustrated in classic Dr. Seuss style, but this book focuses on more serious themes of consumerism, economics, deforestation, and the environment.  A great choice for older students that will stimulate some great discussions about environmental conservation.

The Wartville Wizard – Don Madden

This book was published in 1986 but it’s message will never be outdated.  A cranky old man who spends his days cleaning up the litter left by his fellow townspeople. One day he receives “the power over trash,” which gives him the ability to send the garbage right back where it came from! When the townspeople find their garbage stuck to them, they learn a valuable lesson. Great pictures, great story!  This book is lengthy so would make a great read-aloud for older students.  (Warning – references to cigar butts and beer cans.)

 

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever –  H. Joseph Hopkins

This is a beautiful picture book biography of Kate Sessions, the woman who transformed dry San Diego into a beautiful, tree-covered city.  Lots of text-to-text connections to Miss Rumphius!  A passionate, inspiring celebration of nature.  Gorgeous illustrations.

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia – Miranda Paul

This is the true story of a Gambian woman who was troubled by the plastic garbage bags littering her community. Not only did the bags make an ugly mess, but they also caused illness and death among people and livestock. Isatou and other women cleaned the plastic bags and recycled them into plastic purses. Such a great book!

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The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales – Dawn Casey

This is a gorgeous anthology of seven traditional tales from around the world, each one promoting a sustainable lifestyle and living green.  Readers learn about the ways that different cultures around the world try living in harmony with the rhythms and patterns of nature.  Included are suggested activities to go along with each story including creating a a song-line painting, cooking “anything-goes soup”, making a cornhusk doll, and growing your own tomatoes.   Love the link of Earth day and cultural diversity.

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Earth Day, everyone!

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Filed under 2018 releases, Earth Day, environment, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books

It’s Monday- What Are You Reading? Spring into Third Term with New Books (part 2)

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Last week, I posted Part 1 of my “Spring into Third Term” book collection and this week, I’m excited to continue with Part 2!  Lots of great books in this list – from global warming, to Earth day, to celebrating imagination and creativity… there is sure to be a book for you and your class here!


Sometimes You Fly – Katherine Applegate

“Remember then with every try, sometimes you fail. Sometimes you fly. What matters most is what you take from all you learn.”   And there lies the premise of this stunning new picture book by the amazing Katherine Applegate (One and Only Ivan, Crenshaw, Wishtree).  Whimsical illustrations and perfect examples of how learning from mistakes will lead to great accomplishments.  Would make a perfect gift for graduations, baby shower, first birthday.  LOVE this one!

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I Love My Purse – Belle DeMont

A great book to start conversations with younger students about celebrating individual choices and moving beyond “boys” and “girls” stereotypes.  Charlie loves his purse and brings it to school one day.  Despite the objection of others, he remains steadfast in his “purse love” and eventually influences others to tap into what they love as well, be it make-up, shirts or sparkly shoes. Wonderfully illustrated by Sonja Wimmer.

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What Matters – Alison Hughes

If you are looking for a new book for Earth Day... look no further!  (Think Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed but for the earth!)   A wonderful look at the ripple effect of how one small act – picking up garbage that isn’t yours – has repercussions to make the world cleaner and better.  I also think this book would be great for introducing the concept of  the inter-connectedness of ecosystems.

Harry and Walter – Kathy Stinson

Endearing inter-generational tale of a wonderful, unusual friendship between Harry, who is 4 3/4, and Walter, who is 92 1/2. They live next-door and do all kinds of things together –  ride their tractors, grow and eat tomatoes, and play croquet.  Then, Harry has to move. This is a heartwarming story of friendship and the importance of elders in our lives. Whimsical illustrations by Qin Leng.  This book actually came out last summer.  I love Kathy Stinson and can’t believe I missed this book!

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My Wounded Island – Jacques Pasquet

This book, originally published in French, is a heartbreaking story of a northern island slowly disappearing into the sea and introduces the concept of “climate refugees” to young readers (and to me!)  Beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated.  Would make an excellent introduction to a unit on climate change or northern indigenous cultures.  I also like the use of metaphor:”the beast” in the story is actually global warming.

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On Our Street – Our First Talk About Poverty Dr. Jillian Roberts

A gentle, honest book answering a series of questions about homelessness and different types of poverty.  I really liked the mix of real pictures and illustrations,  helping to make the information understandable and easy to relate to.  I also enjoyed the addition of quotes.  Not a book a child would necessarily pick up and read on their own, but definitely an excellent book to share and spark a class discussion.

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When Sophie Thinks She Can’t... – Molly Bang

While I have used When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry many times for making connections to managing feelings and emotions, this new “Sophie” book is the perfect anchor for introducing the concepts of “Fixed” and “Growth” mindsets to your students, as well as problem solving and perseverance.  Would also be a great Math read-aloud as  Sophie is frustrated with tangram puzzles.

Picture the Sky – Barbara Reid

The sky tells many stories: in the weather, in the clouds, in the stars, in the imagination. This book inspires us all to look up…. way up… and see and think about the sky in a different way.   A perfect anchor book for spring, for art and for sharing and writing stories of the sky.   I am a huge fan of Barbara Reid’s work and her brilliant Plasticine illustrations.   A perfect companion to her book Picture a Tree.

What If – Samantha Berger

WOW!  This is a stunning book about creativity, imagination, and believing in yourself.  Gorgeous mixed media illustrations.  Inspires, empowers and encourages the creative spirit in all of us.   Great end papers and notes from the author about how she was inspired to write this book.  LOVE this one!  (Release date is April 10th)

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The Big Bed – Bunmi Laditan

Humorous picture book about a girl who doesn’t want to sleep in her little bed, so she comes up with a plan to get her dad out of her parent’s bed in order to move in herself.  This would make a great anchor book for problem solving and persuasive writing as the little girl identifies the issue, researches it, and creates a very persuasive presentation of possible solutions.  Any parent who has struggled with their kids’ sleeping arrangements will make LOTS of connections but wondered, at times, if parents would connect more than kids!

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The Pomegranate Witch – Denise Doyen

I really enjoyed this eerie tale told with lovely, lyrical text with wonderful word play, reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.  Five children plan to storm the wall and steal some pomegranates from a tree guarded by a witch.  A great fall read-aloud and not-so-scary choice for leading up to Halloween.  Gorgeous illustrations by Eliza Wheeler.

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Grains of Sand – Sibylle Delacroix

If grains of sand were seeds, what kinds of things would they grow into if you threw them in your garden? Ice cream? Pinwheels?    This is a short, sweet story of a boy and girl who bring sand home from the beach in their shoes, and then wonder what would happen if they planted it.  A perfect anchor book for inspiring “imagination pocket” writing!  Love the simple black and white images with splashes of blue and yellow.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope one or two titles caught your eye!

 

 

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Filed under 2018 releases, Creating, Earth Day, environment, Friendship, Growth Mindset, Immagination, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Poverty

It’s Monday- What Are You Reading? Spring into Third Term with New Books (part 1)

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

With Spring Break quickly coming to an end and third term quickly approaching, I thought I would focus my IMWAYR post on some new releases for sharing in your class this spring.   There are too many to include in one post so look for Part 2 next week!

Florette – Anna Walker

Loved this whimsical and wonderfully illustrated book of a young girl who searches for a way to bring the green life of her country garden to the new city she just moved to. Simple, elegant text.  Great for making connections to change, adjusting to change and urban gardens.

Harry’s Hiccups – Jean Little

Lots of connections and plenty of giggles will emerge from this laugh-out-loud story by the amazing Jean Little.  Vibrant, colourful illustrations and a surprise ending make this a must share read-aloud.

Buttercup’s Lovely Day – Carolyn Beck

A day in the life of a grateful-for-the-simple-things-cow named Buttercup.  With lyrical, rhyming prose, Buttercup takes us through her day describing everything she loves about being a cow and the world around her. Gorgeous and bright illustrations. A great anchor book for inspiring writing about life’s simple pleasures.

Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest – Sarah Hampson

Pigeons unite!  When the pigeons in the city feel disrespected, they decide to stage a protest and disappear until the people acknowledge their importance and decide to treat them with kindness (in exchange for less bird droppings on their heads).  Lovely watercolor illustrations by Kass Reiss.  I liked the historical background about the relationship between people and pigeons. This book is longer so I would definitely use it with middle grades to prompt discussions about protests, getting along and respecting others.

I Walk With Vanessa – A story about a simple act of kindness – Kerascoet

Looking for a new book about bullying, empathy and kindness?  Here it is!  This is a simple, powerful wordless picture book about being the new kid, bullying, stepping up and not being a bystander, and simple acts of kindness that can make a difference.  Based on true events.  I love this book and perfect for inferring and making connections.

Wordy Birdy – Tammi Sauer

Wordy Birdy loves words and she talks – A LOT!  Hilarious, fun, fast-paced read-aloud (you have to talk really fast when you read it!) with an important message about the importance of listening.  I really loved Birdy’s friends – Squirrel, Rabbit and Raccoon. Even though she annoys them and can’t be quiet, they are extremely patient and tolerant of their friend.  Large, colorful illustrations and great speech bubbles give it a graphic novel feel.

Elmore – Holly Hobbie

Holly Hobbie, author of the Toot and Puddle series, has created another adorable character in Elmore.  Elmore is a happy porcupine who longs for a friend.  So he put up a sign on a tree saying “Friends Wanted.” But then he overheard the other animals talking about how prickly he is.  Endearing story about making the most out of your circumstances, loving yourself, and different forms of friendship.  Expressive illustrations will prompt many collective “Awwwww’s” from your class!

I Am Enough Grace Byers

An affirming celebration of all sides of us – the hard and soft, the peaceful and wild, the right-side-up and the upside-down. This book is an invitation for every girl (child) to be herself and love herself, while honoring her differences from others. I love the positive message it sends all us and reminds us to be kind to each other and that we all have a special place in the world.  Lovely song-like rhythm and lively illustrations.

If I Had a Little Dream – Nina Laden

Beautiful folk-like art in this book about appreciating the world, through the eyes of a child.  A wonderful celebration of the wonder of the world – the joy, love, and beauty that is part of each and every day.  Rhyming text, this book is intended for the younger readers and would make a wonderful anchor book for K-2 to inspire writing and drawing about things in the world we are grateful for.

Be Kind – Pat Zietlow Miller

What does kindness look like?  This thoughtful, introspective look at what it means to be kind and empathetic toward others, from the viewpoint of a child.  This is definitely one of my new 2018 favorites because it’s such a fresh look on kindness.  I leave you with these three words:  SHARE THIS BOOK!

Ebb and Flow – Heather Smith

One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo’s.
It was my mother’s idea.
Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.
I think she needed a change of scenery, too.
One without me.
Because that rotten bad year?
That was my fault.

And so begins this poignant story, in free verse, about 11 yr. old Jett who has made a terrible mistake and is spending the summer with his Grandmother in Newfoundland to get some perspective and hopefully forgive himself.  Fresh, engaging voice – this is a lovely, sad, ultimately hopeful story.   I was surprised by how captivating and emotional I felt reading this book.  Would appeal to both reluctant and avid readers, as well as make a great read-aloud for middle grades with an opportunity for classroom discussions about empathy, resilience, courage, and responsibility.  I loved Jett’s voice and fact that the reader does not know the mistake he has made until well into the story, leaving space for questioning, predicting and inferring.  Surprisingly powerful read.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found a book that caught your eye!

Watch for New Picture Books for Spring – Part 2 next week!

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Filed under 2018 releases, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Kindness, New Books, Picture Book

IMWAYR – Lunch in a Book Store and New Picture Books

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Earlier this week, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  Yesterday, we spent the day in Fort Langley – a lovely little town about 40 minutes drive away from our home in Vancouver.  It’s a delightful place to spend an afternoon mooching around in the bakeries, books stores and gift stores.  My favorite place to visit there is Wendel’s Book Store and Cafe.  Delicious fresh food and a wonderful collection of books, cards and stationary.  It’s always crowded, but while you wait for your food… you can do a little book browsing (and sniffing!)  What fun!  I highly recommend a visit!

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Wendel’s Books and Cafe – Fort Langley, BC

We also visited a great local winery called Chaberton Estates.  After some wine tasting, we sat outside in the sunshine and toasted our anniversary with some delicious Sauvignon Blanc.  Yum!

I found my way to the children’s section (in the book store – not the winery!), parked my adult largeness in the smallness of a tiny blue wooden chair with a pile of brand new 2018 picture books. And here they are….

                           The New LiBEARian – Alison Donald

A celebration of libraries and reading – and oh, I love this book!  Adorable picture book about a library where the characters refuse to stay in their books and a librarian who has mysteriously disappeared!   The pictures perfectly capture the magic of libraries and stories and would be great for a library story time or as an anchor for fractured fairy tales.

Dear Girl, – Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal

Dear Girl,
This book is for you.
Wonderful, smart, beautiful you.
If you ever need a reminder, just turn to any page in this book and know that you are special and you are loved.
Amy and Paris

I must admit I got a bit teary when I saw this book, co-written by the late, great Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her daughter, Paris.  Each page of this book is filled with tenderness and goodness. Each page is a celebration of daughters of every kind and an encouragement to young girls to find their own way in discovering what makes them wonderful, smart, and beautiful.  This is a must have book and the perfect birthday or graduation present.  Amy’s gift and legacy lives on.

What Do You Do With A Chance? Kobi Yamada

Follow-up to the award winning What Do You With A Problem? and What Do You Do With an Idea?, Kobi Yamada has given readers another charming book in the series.  This one is an empowering, inspirational story about not letting fear hold you back and the possibilities that await you if you are brave enough to take a chance.  Another great gift for graduation (How can you tell I have a son who will soon be graduating???)  Lovely pencil and watercolor illustrations.

Lola Dutch Kenneth and Sarah Jane Wright

Lola Dutch is a spunky, sassy gal bursting with creative ideas, imagination and joy.  I love how passionate Lola is about making everyday things fancy and extravagant.  Delightful book with rhyming text and colorful, playful illustrations.  Perfect to inspire creativity and imagination!  So be like Lola – put that Ipad down and grab some glitter and glue!   This would be a great book to inspire some Maker Space projects!

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                                         My Pillow Keeps Moving!  – Laura Gehl

I laughed out loud when I read this adorable book by Laura Gehl.  A lonely man tries to buy a pillow . . . and ends up with a new best friend.  Doggy impersonates everything the lonely man needs–a pillow, a footstool, a jacket. But in the end, just being her sweet self is what the man needs most.  This a perfect book for teaching inferring to your primary students – few words and delightful, story-telling illustrations.  Lots of belly laughs with this one!

The Boy and the Blue Moon by [O'Leary, Sara]                                       The Boy and the Blue Moon – Sara O’Leary

Shhhhhh….. there is magic between these pages.  Start with a little boy and a cat on a nighttime adventure…Sprinkle a little touch of Where the Wild Things Are, Owl Moon, and The Little Prince... weave together some facts about phases of the moon, the solar system and dreams.  Oh… and don’t forget some spectacular illustrations.  What can I say?  Sara O’Leary (A Family is a Family is a Family, This is Sadie) continues to create these whimsical, magical books that beg to be shared.  And this one just might be my favorite.

Marigold and Daisy – Andrea Zuill

Hilarious new sibling book and a great one for helping young children with the sometimes challenging transition of welcoming a new baby into the family.  Easy read-aloud with simple text and a cute twist.

Reading Beauty Kimberly Long Cockroft

WOW!  So SO LOVE this whimsical, creative twisted fairy tale with its message that even the most reluctant reader can find a book that will capture them!  Friends Ellie and Gabe are imaginative and creative but they do NOT like to read. During Library-time at their school, they hide under a potted plant and chew gum instead of reading.  “Reading is boring,” Ellie tells the librarian Ms. Molly.  But book-loving Ms. Molly is no ordinary librarian and she casts a spell on Ellie, putting her into a “deep read”.  Deeper and deeper Ellie falls under the enchanted spell of books.  How good is this book?  Can you stand it?  This is one of those books that makes me think, “Why didn’t I write this?”

anniversary winery

Cheers to great book stores, new picture books and drinking wine in the sunshine!

                                                            Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under 2018 releases, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book

IMWAYR – Countdown to the Winter Olympics!

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It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

The 2018 Winter Olympics will begin on Feb. 9th!  I LOVE the Winter Olympics!  It is a wonderful opportunity to teach children about history, winter sports, national pride, global awareness, sportsmanship, determination, hard work, reaching your dreams… the list goes on!   And of course what better way to start the conversation but by sharing BOOKS!   This week, I have been reading through many old favorites and several new titles.  Here are some recommended books (fiction and nonfiction) to help your students learn about the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics!  GO CANADA!


G is for Gold Medal – An Olympic Alphabet – Brad Herzog

Wonderful facts about the Olympics with short rhyming passages for younger students, along with a longer information for each letter for more advanced readers.  Great illustrations.

Living in South Korea – Chloe Perkins 

A great early reader series with information about living in different countries around the world. Since the Winter Olympics are being hosted by South Korea, this is a great book to share with your readers.  Facts about the South Korean culture, geography, history, holidays, and modern life for a typical kid are included.     

2018 Winter Games Activity Book for Kids Heather Aliano

While general Olympic facts are important, this activity book is specific to this year’s games – and includes activities and information about the history of the Winter Games, the tradition of the torch relay, all 15 winter sports, the ceremonies, mascots, and traditions.  Some great reproducibles.  

A Kid’s Guide to the 2018 Winter Games – Jack L. Roberts

Full colored guide for intermediate students that includes great photos, text features and a chart to track this year’s medal count.  This book introduces older readers to the Winter Olympics as well as some of the athletes and the location for 2018.  While it does highlight several American athletes, it has enough general information to make it worth it.  (Note – some mistakes found – Switzerland spelled incorrectly) 

The Winter Olympics Nick Hunter (Heinmann) 

Although this book was written in preparation for the Sochi Olympics, the soft cover is very reasonably priced and includes interesting facts, history, and event information in 32 colorful pages.

Winter Olympic Sports Series – Alpine and Freesyle Skiing

I really love this series from Crabtree Publishing which focuses on each of the Winter Olympic sports.  Each book features an introductory guide and overview of the specific Olympic events, along with fun facts, amazing stats, and a look at some of the most outstanding competitors.  Great photos and text features.  

Winter Olympic Sports – Speed Skating

Winter Olympic Sports – Ice Hockey and Curling

Winter in Canada – Sports Kelly Spence

While not specifically about the Winter Olympics, this book from Scholastic shows a diverse range of Canadians of all age and skill levels participating in a wide range of winter sports.  Short text introduces each sport with colorful action photos and fun facts.  This would be a great alternative to purchasing a separate book about each sport.

Pebble Plus BiographyPatrick Chan

Pebble Publishing has a great biography series featuring famous Canadians.  There are books about authors, scientists, athletes and artists perfect for celebrating our great Canadians.  Here are three of the books featuring our accomplished Canadian Olympic athletes.

Pebble Plus Biography – Hayley Wickenheiser

Pebble Plus Biography – Carey Price

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Yes, I Can! The Story of the Jamaican Bobsled Team – Devon Harris

This true story about the four-man Jamaican Bobsled and their experience preparing and participating in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary was the inspiration behind the movie “Cool Runnings”.   It is an amazing story of about having the courage to pursue your dreams, persevering in the face of all difficulties and never giving up.  This book is hard to find and copies are quite expensive to purchase but check your local library – such an interesting and inspiring story.

Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics – Yossi Lapid

A delightful book about a rather overly confident, mischievous penguin competing in the Winter Olympics and winning everything!  But is he competing fairly?  This simple, rhyming story introduces many different themes including friendship, values, honesty and peer pressure.

Max and Marla Alexandra Boiger

Max and his optimistic, persistent owl friend Marla are aspiring Olympians determined to be a winning sledding team in the next Winter Olympics.  This is a delightful story about friendship, perseverance, and the joy in the little things in life, even the obstacles on our way.  A great book to start a discussion with children about sportsmanship, friendship, winning, losing and determination.

Tacky and the Winter Games – Helen Lester 

Tacky and the rest of the penguins are back in Tacky and the Winter Games. In this hilarious story, Tacky and his friends are training for the winter games.  Unfortunately, Tacky is not the best athlete and his own way of doing things. This book will make children laugh at all the ridiculous things Tacky does.  Tacky is goofy and adorable and your kids will love him!

            Lucy Tries Luge – Lisa Bowes

 Lisa Tries Short Track – Lisa Bowes

Part of a series called Lucy Tries Sports, these books are great for encouraging youngsters, especially girls, not to let their fears keep them from trying out a new sport. In Lucy Tries Luge, Lucy gets a new luge and decides to tackle the track. Young readers will appreciate the fact that she is a bit anxious at first, but with reassurance from her parents, she faces her fears.  In Lucy Tries Short Track, Lucy is back for another speedy adventure–this time, she laces up her skates and tries short track speed skating and discovers it’s not as easy as it looks!

Olympig! Victoria Jamieson

In this light-hearted story, a spirited, sporty pig teaches readers about about losing gracefully. Boomer the Pig has been training hard for the Animal Olympics, so when he loses his first race, he shrugs it off and cheerfully moves on.  But after losing one event after another, his frustration begins to mount. But even after coming in last in every sport, there’s no getting this Olympig down.  Very cute!

 

Ready, Set, Snow! Abby Klein

This book is #16 from the Ready, Freddy! series – a new series for me!  This book focuses on a school winter competition Freddy and his friends are involved in.  I liked that good sportsmanship was emphasized as well as highlighting that different people have different skills. Would make a good read-aloud in a grade 2/3 class.

Sports Party Rings – Make Your Own Olympic Rings! 

And… for those who, like me, become frustrated trying to to cut out 5 colored rings, here are some pre-cut rings in Olympic Colors for your 2018 Winter Olympics bulletin board!

A few Winter Olympic sites you may find helpful:

Canadian Olympic School Program

Canadian Olympic Team Official Website 

Profile of Canadian Athletes/ Team Canada 

Education World: Countdown to the Olympics

Teachology – Guide to the Winter Olympics

Thanks for stopping by!  Congratulations to all the athletes participating in the Winter Olympics this year!  Go, Canada, GO!

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Filed under IMWAYR, New Books