Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Books to Promote Critical Thinking

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With the re-designed curriculum in B.C., teachers are preparing to launch the school year with a lot to think about.  The best advice I have for wrapping our heads around the big ideas is to ‘start small’ and choose one area for your school to focus on.  At my school, we have decided to focus on critical thinking.  I’ve spent some time this summer thinking about what will be helpful for supporting my students to think critically – and so, of course, I think of picture books that connect to the three phases of critical thinking – Analyze-Question-Develop.

Here are my top 10 books for promoting Critical Thinking!

1. More-Igami – Dori Kleber

Learning something new takes practice and patience.  In this charming story, a boy tries to figure out how an origami crane is made – he analyzes, questions and develops a plan! What a perfect story for introducing critical thinking!

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2. The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires

One of the important stages of critical thinking is to analyze a situation and re-direct your thinking if things are not working.  When the little girl in this book decides to make a ‘most magnificent thing’, it doesn’t exactly go the way she had plans, resulting in a whole lot of frustration- making this a perfect book to begin the conversation about the importance of thinking critically.

3. What To Do With a Box?– Jane Yolen

What can you turn a simple box into?  This simple, charming book by the great Jane Yolen will inspire your students to analyze, question and develop their box into something amazing!

4. What Do You Do With An Idea? – Kobi Yamada

Nurturing ideas and making thinking visible – this story will inspire you to welcome an idea, give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next!

5. Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain – JoAnn Deak

Metacognition is a huge part of being a critical thinker and knowing how your brain works is a great first step in helping making thinking more tangible.  I love how this simple book explains how your brain works and how you can shape it.  I especially like the focus on how making mistakes, practicing, and gaining new knowledge can “stretch” your brain!

 

5. The Thingamabob – Il Sung Na

When a curious elephant finds a ‘thingamabob’ – he uses critical thinking to figure out exactly what it is!  Simple, playful, delightful!  I love how he asks LOTS of questions during the process!

6. Rosie Revere, Engineer – Andrea Beaty

A young girl with big dreams – this text highlights creativity and perseverance with delightful rhyming verse and whimsical illustrations.

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Shh!  We Have A Plan!  – Chris Haughton

Hilarious story of four friends trying to catch a bird.  Their plans turn into a ridiculous, tangled mess until the younger uses some critical thinking skills!  Fun read-aloud and eye-catching illustrations.

7.  Going Places – Peter and Paul Reynolds

This book celebrates the creative spirit and thinking outside the box – both figuratively and literally!

8..  On A Beam of Light – A Story of Albert Einstein – Jennifer Berne

When this picture book biography about the extraordinary life of Albert Einstein was released, I talked about it ALL THE TIME!  Big questions, deep thinking, thoughtful reflection – my favorite topics!  This book will inspire your students to  wonder, think, imagine, and be curious.

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9. Learning to Fly – Sebastian Meschenmoser

A simple, charming story about a penguin who believes he can fly and the man who helps him.  They plan, design, analyse, re-design… it’s the perfect combination of critical thinking, determination and friendship  Love the illustrations so much!

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1o.  A Home For Bird – Philip C. Stead

While stories about creating something concrete can be used to introduce children to critical thinking, it is important for them to see how critical thinking can be applied to other aspects in our life- including friendship.  A Home for Bird is a sweet, tender story of a shy bird and and his thoughtful friend who is determined to help his quiet companion.  Vernon, the toad, uses critical thinking to figure out just what Bird needs.  Love this book!

                            What books do you like to share that inspire critical thinking?

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Ten for Ten 2016: Top 10 New Picture Books for Your Reading Power Collection

This annual summer celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. This is my forth year of participating in this event – you can read my 2015 post here2014 post here and 2013 here.   Each year, the blogging community chooses 10 picture books on a range of themes – from diversity, to bullying, to writing, to conservation.  For the past 3 years, I have organized my 10 for 10 post around Reading Power – featuring two new releases for each RP strategy: Connecting, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, and Transform (synthesizing).  The response has been positive each year, so I am continuing the tradition!  For those who are already using RP, these would be my recommendations for adding or replenishing your collection this year!

CONNECT

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 Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

Connecting to names, origin of names, father-son relationships and family.  I love the voice in this delightful book.  Gorgeous illustrations and perfect for your aboriginal collection as well.

2. The Class – Boni Ashburn

Follow 20 different students from 19 different homes as they get ready kindergarten.  This book is a true celebration of diversity with children from many different backgrounds, morning rituals, routines, families, and ways of getting ready to go to school. Adorable illustrations and a perfect ‘CONNECT’ book for your early primary students.

QUESTION

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3. The Night Gardener – The Tan Brothers

Who keeps cutting the trees into animal sculptures during the night?  It is the magical mystery this book will slowly reveal.  Another book with illustrations you will linger over and a unique and creative story that will have your students wondering.

4. Follow the Moon Home – Deborah Hopkinson & Philippe Cousteau

How can a community save the sea turtles of the South Carolina coast?  Powerful story of how young people can make a difference – inspiring and beautiful.  Could also be used for Transform.

VISUALIZE

5. Finding Wild – Megan Wagner

Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. This book is so full of triple scoop words, I can hardly stand it! Perfect for visualizing and an anchor book for descriptive writing.

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6. I Hear a Pickle – Rachel Isadora

Sweet, simple introduction to the five senses for early primary students.  Great for teaching that visualizing is not just about what we see!

INFER

7. The Whale – Ethan Murrow & Vita Murrow

Wow – this book is truly a remarkable pencil-sketch wordless picture book.  Two children are out to prove that the rumored Giant Spotted Whale in their town is real or a myth.  This is a book where you really need to take your time to read the pictures.  The newspaper headlines also help to tell the story and are perfect for practicing inferring.

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Grandad’s Island – Benji Davies

Benji Davis gifts us with an extraordinary, thought-provoking book about life, death and love.  Poignant, gracefully told story about a young boy trying to understand why his grandfather is no longer in his life.  What makes it so touching is how subtle the message is – leaving the reader with spaces to wonder and to think.

TRANSFORM

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Ada’s Violin – Susan Hood

The extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash. Inspiring and filled with hope.

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10. Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story – Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

How can throwing away a worn-down pencil hurt anyone? How can wastefulness lead to violence? With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others.  A wonderful transforming story.

There you have it!  My top 10 for 10 picture books for 2016!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under 2016 releases, New Books, Picture Book 10 for 10, Reading Power

Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Favorite Middle Grade Novels (Gr. 5-8) of 2016 (So Far!)

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It’s Tuesday, so I’m posting my own version of the Top 10 list!  I’ve been getting several requests from teacher friends for recommendations for middle grade read-alouds so I have put together a list of my top ten favorites from 2016.  There are so many extraordinary books to chose from and always difficult to narrow it down to just 10 (I ended up with 12!) Please note that even though I have included it on a list of my favorites, before reading aloud to your class, please read it through yourself to ensure it is a good fit for you and your class.

OK… grab a Kleenex box and here we go….

1. Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo

From one of my favorite writers comes a simple, strong and whimsical story of three friends during the summer of 1975.  A tale of friendship, perseverance, poverty, loss and growing up. I loved the characters, all of them – Love Raymie. Love Beverly. Love Louisiana. LOVE Louisiana’s Grannie.   While this is not my favorite KD book, it is high on my list of favorites of 2016.

2. The Boy at the Top of the Mountain – John B0yne

From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes another story depicting the horrors of WWII.  After his father, a drunken German soldier, is killed by a train and his French mother dies of consumption, seven-yr. old orphan Pierrot is eventually taken in by his aunt, a housekeeper in large mountain retreat in Austria. While younger readers may not realize without some prompting, adult readers quickly infer that the home is that of Adolph Hitler.  I read this book in one sitting – could not put it down.  I would suggest pre-reading it to ensure appropriate content for your class, as there are some violent and tense scenes.  For older students, it would stimulate discussions around innocence corrupted, the attractions of power, and the resilience of youth.

3. Pax – Sara Pennypacker

Oh, this book.  This book.  A boy, a fox, a war – tender, so beautiful, so emotional.  So many ideas and themes are wrapped around the words: friendship, love, trust, betrayal, loyalty, war, peace.  Please read and share this book.

4. The Seventh Wish – Kate Messner

I highly recommend this book as a read-aloud in a grade upper elementary class.  A modern day fairy tale about a young Irish dancer who, trying to make some money to buy herself a new dance dress, catches a magic fish that grants wishes if she’ll let it go.   Sounds a little simple – but this book is so much more.  At times you will laugh, at times your heart will be breaking.   This book looks at family dynamics, addiction, middle school, and Irish dancing with insight and tenderness.   I follow Kate Messner on social media and know that she received some backlash from some schools about her including the subject of heroin addiction.  While I understand some may not be comfortable with this subject matter, I admire the way she presents this real-life problem gently and honestly.

5. The Wild Robot – Peter Brown

What would happen if a robot happened to arrive on an island that is humming with wildlife?  How would it survive?  And so begins this unique, unexpected and delightful survival story that somehow manages to hit many ‘hot topics’ including: disability, climate change, civilization, violence in nature, gun violence, balance in nature. While this sounds heavy handed – it’s not!  Peter Brown has created a very readable, authentic story with a unique voice given to all the creatures on the island.  This book is powerful and gentle and would make a great read-aloud in a grade 4-5 class.

6. Ms. Bixby’s Last Day – John David Anderson

The story of a brilliant teacher who sees the good in every single student, especially the little things that others don’t see. When her career gets cut short because of a cancer diagnosis, three boys decide to give her a good-bye party to remember.  I love the different voices in this book, as we discover through each boy, just why Ms. Bixby is so special to them.  Yes, you will cry – but you will also laugh along with your students.   I love this book.

7. Maybe a Fox – Kathi Appelt

Wow.  This story of grief and loss is haunting and magical; sad and heart-wrenching.  It is the story of two sisters, Jules and Sylvie, who are being raised by their father after their mother dies.  I loved the exquisite writing; I loved characters; I loved the fox; I loved the way the human world and the animal/nature world intersect; I loved the way death and grief (one of the sisters dies early in the book) are treated with dignity, grace and love. I cried and so will you.

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8. Hour of Bees – Lindsay Eager

I feel like a broken record but this book is extraordinary and lingers with you long after you finish it.  It has a wonderful setting (N ew Mexico desert), a fantastic group of characters, and completely enchanting magical elements. Oh, and did I mention beautiful writing? Instead of spending the summer before junior high with her friends in Albuquerque, Carolina is stuck in the New Mexico desert, with her mom, dad, little brother, half-sister Alta, and Grandpa Serge who she’s meeting for the very first time. Serge is suffering from dementia, and the family has come to help sell his house and move him to a seniors facility.  Caroline is drawn into Grandpa through his magical stories of the desert and soon the line between reality and magic becomes blurred.  Original, thought-provoking and beautifully written.

9. When Friendship Followed Me Home – Paul Griffin

Here is another book that takes you on an emotional roller coaster – one minute I was laughing, the next I was tearing up.  WOW.  Ben is a twelve year old, former foster child who has finally found a loving home and mother. Ben rescues a scruffy dog he names Flip and befriends a librarian’s daughter named Halley. When everything in Ben’s life suddenly changes, he discovers the true meaning of family and friendship.   I loved the characters in this book and the writing and dialogue is beautiful and authentic.  It’s a tear jerker and tackles some difficult issues, including foster care, physical abuse, cancer, and grief.  Recommended for mature grade 6 and up.

10. Save Me A Seat – Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan

This book is a realistic story set in a school and told in two different voices, making it a great choice for a read-aloud.  Joe and Ravi are struggling at school for completely different reasons: Ravi is a recent immigrant trying to fit in and Joe has some learning difficulties and is often bullied.  Over the course of a week, Ravi and Joe find common ground and a bond in their differences. Great book for making connections.  I loved the authentic voice and diversity of each character.  The added bonus was learning a bit more about their cultures from the descriptions of food – from school lunches to meals at home.   There are even recipes included at the end!

                                              AND BECAUSE I HAD TROUBLE COUNTING TO TEN…

11. The Land of Forgotten Girls – Erin Entrada Kelly

The school where I teach is attended by many Filipino families, so I was excited to read this book about two Filipino sisters. It is another heart-breaker but also a celebration of stories and sisters. Sol and her younger sister Ming live in poverty in Louisiana with their abusive stepmother after their father returns to the Philippines. Sol tells fairy tales which interweave with the plot and help give the sisters strength. A moving book for middle grade readers that highlights themes of sisterhood, friendship, survival and imagination.  As a mother, I found it difficult to read in parts, but the book is ultimately hopeful with strong female characters.

12. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary – Laura Shovan

Wow – this book, written in verse, is extraordinary, creative and unique.   You really need to read it to appreciate how amazing it is.  From start to finish, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary is completely delightful in every way. Through the voices of 18 very real and very lovable fifth graders, we experience their individual stories as well as the collective story of their class during a very momentous year in the history of their school – their school is being torn down.  So many authentic, diverse voices of family, culture, friendship and personality.  A perfect book for making connections and a must read-aloud book!

 There are SO MANY amazing new novels to read and share with your class this year!

Thanks for stopping by.  Would love to know which book has caught your eye!

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Filed under 2016 releases, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Read-Aloud

IMWAYR – It’s Monday! What are You Reading? – Hot Off the Press: More Amazing New Releases

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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

It’s hard to keep up with all the amazing books that are being released this summer!  Here are some of the new picture books I read this week.

1. The Summer Nick Taught Cats to Read – Curtis Manley & Kate Berube

An adorable story about a determined boy who teaches his two cats to read.  A perfect way to illustrate that not all readers learn the same way and that finding the ‘just right book’ for every reader is an important part of the process.  A delightful book to celebrate reading!

2. Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles

– Deborah Hopkinson & Philippe Cousteau

WOW!  Take note of this book!  It is ah-mazing!  So much to love about this book, written by the grandson of Jacques Cousteu.  I especially love that it combines so many amazing ‘teachable’ themes including: creative problem solving, animal activism, young people making a difference, community as well as fascinating sea turtle facts woven into the story. This one’s a winner!

3. On The Farm, At The Market – G. Brian Karas

A delightful, informative look at how produce gets from the farm to the farmers market to a restaurant.  This book would make a great introduction to farmer’s markets, gardening, community and farming.  Charming illustrations.

4. More-Igami – Dori Kleber

This book totally surprised me when I read it!  It is the story about a little boy named Joey who loves folding things.  When he tries to make an origami crane, his determined effort unfortunately results in a lot of frustration and crumpled paper.  (Think ‘Most Magnificent Thing‘) A lovely book about perseverance and passion and would also inspire some origami art! Lovely illustrations by G. Brian Karas – who has been busy as the previous book was written and illustrated by him as well!  Instructions in the back to make an origami ladybug (a little odd because the book was about a crane! )

5. Come Home, Angus – Patrick Downes

Great book dealing with how to manage when sometimes our small frustrations can lead to big emotions.  Clever clues in the illustrations to help capture the growing emotion in Angus.  I like that even when Angus runs away, Mom is never far behind him.

6. The Class – Boni Ashburn

Well, I know that there are hundreds of ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’ books to choose from but I couldn’t help myself – this one is must have this year!  What makes this one special is we follow 20 different students from 19 different homes as they get ready kindergarten.  This book is a true celebration of diversity with children from many different backgrounds, morning rituals, routines, families, and ways of getting ready to go to school. Adorable illustrations and a perfect ‘CONNECT’ book!

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This is My Dollhouse – Giselle Potter

A celebration of imagination and creativity!  A young girl creates a detailed dollhouse out of a cardboard box but worries her friend will not like it as much as a ‘real’ dollhouse.  When I was younger, my sister and I spent hours designing houses for our dolls and stuffies – I would have loved this book then, and I love it now!  Would be a great book to inspire creative thinking and play!

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Yaks Yak – Animal Word Pairings – Linda Sue Park

A funny, playful look at homophones through animal pairings and word play.  On each page, animals act out the version of their names as verbs – Fish fish with lines and hooks; Bats swing bats at baseballs; Slugs try to slug one another with boxing gloves.  I loved the chart at the end of the book which gives the etymology for each of the words.   Great fun and if you love words, like I do, you will love this book!

7. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog – Lisa Papp

This is a delightful little story which highlights the use of therapy dogs in libraries to help reluctant readers. Madeline Finn doesn’t like to read because she doesn’t read well.  But Bonnie, the beautiful dog who comes to the library, listens patiently and doesn’t laugh when she stumbles on some of the words.  Unconditional love and suppport goes a long way when you are struggling reader.

8. Ada’s Violin – The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay – Susan Hood

For those of you who do not know this story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay- it is a must read and a must share with your class.  This non-fiction picture books tells the remarkable true story about a visionary teacher who finds a way to help children escape their lives of extreme poverty through music. A beautifully told, hopeful, inspiring story with gorgeous colorful collage art.  My personal connection to this book is that my next-door neighbour is involved in a recycled instrument campaign here in Vancouver and hosted this group when they came to play here in May.  When they left, they presented him with one of their recylcled instruments – one of only 4 that they have ever given away.  The documentary film Landfill Harmonic about this extraordinary journey will be released this fall.  You can watch (and share) an inspiring 4 minute video, with the ‘real’ Ada  here or a longer report 60 Minutes did on this story here.

9. Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story – Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

This book has not yet been released but I was fortunate enough to read the a copy of the ARC that Kidsbooks had. It is a powerful and poignant story of the damage of wastefulness.  It is an important one to share with your students and would be a great companion book to Ada’s Violin.   With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  This is definitely a Transform book and I would use the ‘one word’ activity with it – using the word WASTE.  

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

Which book or books have caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, Back to School, Diverse Children's Books, Emotions, Family, Farmer's Market, homographs, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Professional Books For Summer Reading

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Summer time means a little more time to read and reflect on our teaching practice and a chance to catch up on some new professional books.  With the full implementation of the redesigned here in B.C.,  I’m turning to many of these books for ideas and inspiration.  While I do not anticipate getting through ALL of these books, I have some of them beside my bed, some on order and am hoping to get my hands and head through all of them before summer is over.   Certainly these books are getting the ‘BUZZ’ in teacher circles… and I’m proud to say that many of them are written by true north strong and free Canadian writers!  flag

Here are my top ten professional books in my summer TBR pile…

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1. One Without the Other: Stories of Unity Through Diversity and InclusionShelley Moore   flag

Seems fitting that number one on my list is called ONE!  Shelley Moore is a teacher and inclusive consultant in Richmond, B.C. who is rockin’ it as a presenter, TED Talks speaker and now published author.  She is dynamic, funny and passionate about inclusion. Her ‘7-10 split‘ bowling metaphor for inclusion is extraordinary.  If you have never seen it, you can watch it here.  This book is on the top of my must read books this summer!

2.  Innovate with Ipad; Lessons to Transform Learning in the Classroom – Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen  flag

I’m SO excited (and proud ) to read this brand new book by these two amazing Canadian teachers and Ipad experts.  I know Karen personally and know how hard she has worked and what extraordinary, innovative things she does with iPADS in her classroom.  This is a must have book for every school!  The book is clearly laid out and shows teachers some basic aps that you can download which can help engage your students in learning and creating independently and creatively.  I love the way they include sections for beginners and more advanced learners, along with quick tips and suggestions on how best to integrate Ipad lessons into all aspects of your teaching.  I also appreciate the fact that these are real teachers who have tried all of these lessons as well as the adaptation of the lessons for teachers who may only have access to one or two Ipads rather than a whole class.  Great job, Karen and Kristen!

2. DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor and Independence – Kate Roberts & Maggie Beattie Roberts

There has been a lot of recent buzz about this new resource and I’m excited to share it.  (Just in case there are any teachers who are old like me, DIY stands for ‘DO IT YOURSELF’! )  Maggie & Kate Roberts share four visual teaching tools–demonstration notebooks, bookmarks, charts, and microprogressions–that, if used well, can assist students in becoming truly independent.  This is another wonderful, practical guide for improving your classroom practice!  Wise. Smart. Practical. Doable. Funny. Inspiring.  So easy to read.  The authors provide additional materials on their website, blog and through WEBISODES (another new concept for me!) so there is a lot of additional material to supplement the book.  You can read more about the book and the authors here – http://www.heinemann.com/blog/what-does-diy-literacy-mean/

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3. Writers ARE Readers: Flipping Reading Instruction into Writing Opportunities –                  Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth,

Long before Reading Power was ever developed, I did my masters on the  READING-WRITING connection. This book re-affirms everything I know about how reading and writing are so closely linked and that teaching them in isolation is not how we should be teaching.  There are many things to love about this book, but for me, it is the readability of the text and the easy conversational tone that puts it high on my new favorite list.   It feels as if the authors are sitting in your living room talking to you for part of the time and then you are suddenly in a classroom watching them teach.  It’s like having a literacy coach, a master teacher and a literacy expert every time you open the book.  LOVE this one!

4. Developing Self-Regulated Learners – Deborah L. Butler, Leyton Schnellert,  Nancy E. Perry  flag

So proud to be teaching in a province so filled with amazing, dedicated and passionate educators like the authors of this book.  This book focuses on research, theory and practice into SLR – Self Regulated Learners.  It is designed to support special education, classroom practice and educational psychology courses in Teacher Education programs.

5. Craft Moves – Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts – Stacey Shubitz

While it is not a new concept to me to use picture books to inspire writing, in Craft Moves, Stacey Shubitz, co-founder of the Two Writing Teachers website, uses twenty recently published picture books and creates more than 180 lessons to teach various ‘crafts’ – otherwise known as traits or techniques.  I appreciate that the books she uses are recent,  that she promotes the use of picture books in both lower and upper elementary and that she includes sample lessons and suggestions for managing writer’s workshop and effective small groups.  This book has just been released so only available through STENHOUSE.  

6. Marvelous Mini-Lessons for Teaching – Nonfiction Writing K-3 – Lori Jamison Rogg  flag

If you are  primary teacher, Lori Jamison Rogg’s ‘Marvelous Mini Lessons’ books are a ‘must have’ for your professional collection.  They are clear, practical, and filled with catchy phrases and easy-to-teach strategies.  Her latest book focuses on writing in the content areas and helping young students learn to write about subjects they care about.   Lori is moving to Vancouver from Toronto this summer so I look forward to seeing more of her and attending a few more of her dynamic presentations.

7. A Mindset for Learning –  Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth – Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz

I had the privilege of hearing one of the authors of this book present at the Reading for the Love of It conference in Toronto this past February and, of course, I bought a copy and got it signed like a groupie!  Based on Carole Dweck’s ground-breaking research around fixed and positive mindsets, these two teachers have developed practical strategies to help foster independent, compassionate caring students and to help them be more responsible for their own choices!  I love this book!

8. Multiple Paths to Literacy – Proven High-Yield Strategies to Scaffold Engaging Literacy Learning Across the Curriculum K-2  –  Miriam P. Trehearne   flag

Canadian consultant and author Miriam Trehearne new book for early primary teachers is definatetly going to get some ‘BUZZ’ starting.  This book is packed full of ideas that link to the new curriculum including: Inquiry, Play, Art, Technology, and Self-Regulation.  I appreciate that Miriam’s books are very practical with lessons you can use, student samples, and assessment tools.  K-2 teachers – take note!

9. Launch – Using Design Thinking To Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student              John Spencer and A. J. Juliani

Love the title ‘LAUNCH’ and the fact that this book is all about creative thinking – another component to our new curriculum.  I really like clearly laid out books with a structure and process to share with students, along with a common language that can be integrated at every grade level.  ( Now if they only had a song… LOL!)
Here is the basic structure of the creative thinking outlined in the book:
Look, Listen, and Learn
Ask Lots of Questions
Understand the Problem or Process
Navigate Ideas
Create
Highlight What’s Working and Failing

1o.  IQ – A Practical Guide to Inquiry-Based Learning – Jennifer Watt and Jill Colyer

Attention all BC teachers who are looking for a book to help them launch the redesigned curriculum!  I love practical books and this one is I know I will use as we begin to shift into a more inquiry based approach to teaching and learning this fall.

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COMING SOON!!!!!

Powerful Readers Thinking Strategies to Guide Literacy Instruction in Secondary Classrooms

Kyla Hadden (and me!)  flag

I just couldn’t make a list of professional resources without a shameless plug for this book!  Kyla and I have been busy working on the edits – lots of work but the book is coming together so well.  I’m excited for it’s release and for Secondary teachers to get a first hand look at Reading Power strategies in action!  Three cheers for Kyla!

Thanks for stopping by!  What’s in your summer professional TBR pile?

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Filed under Professional Books, Reading Power

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Weekend Bookstore Bliss!

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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

My husband:  How’s the beer on the deck?

Me:  I’m still in the book store.

My husband:  You are a nerd.

Me:  And proud of it.

I experienced book bliss this weekend when I spent over two blissful hours in Mosaic Books in Kelowna.   From the fiction, to the bargain tables, to the travel biographies, and ending with the children’s section – I was in book heaven!

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Here are just a few of the books that caught my eye (and some I had to buy!)

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The Toad Elise Gravel

I squealed with delight when I saw that Elise Gravel had added another book to her ever-so-popular-cannot-keep-these-books-on-the-book-shelf Disgusting Critter series.  A perfect balance between information and humour with a splash of gross topped off with delightful illustrations!  LOVE!

School’s First Day of School – Adam Rex

Charming and whimsical, mark this as a wonderful new back to school read-aloud.   Told from the point of view of the school, this is a fresh perspective on first day jitters!  Delightful illustrations by Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street)

Circle – Jeannie Baker

With a wheelchaired-boy’s wish to fly as the starting point, we follow the incredible journey of godwits as they travel from Australia and New Zealand to the Arctic where they look for places to eat and breed.  Jeannie Baker’s collage illustrations are stunning and I was happy to find more detailed information about the birds at the back of the book.

Lion Lessons – Jon Agee

Witty and charming book that teaches you the seven steps to becoming a great lion and earning a lion diploma!   This would make an excellent participation read-aloud, as younger readers can practice the steps of ‘looking fierce’ and ‘pouncing around’!  What fun!

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Douglas, You Need Glasses! – Ged Adamson

Adorable story about a near-sighted dog who needs glasses.  Gentle and humorous, children will laugh when Douglas mistakes leaves for squirrels and steps in the wet cement because he couldn’t read the sign.  And yes, the print on the cover is blurry!

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Let Me Finish! – Minh Le

Adorable book about a little boy who can’t read a book without someone spoiling the ending for him. Sparse text and lively illustrations – this book will make a wonderful read-aloud for younger students and a good reminder for older students of how NOT to give a book talk!  27064352

Louise and Andie and the Art of Friendship – Kelly Light

In this follow-up to Louise Loves Art, this book explores making new friends, and the challenges friends face when they don’t see things in quite the same way.   I appreciated the realistic approach to their friendship fight and the hurt feelings that many students will connect to. I also liked that Andie was an Andy Warhol fan!

Ideas Are All Around Us – Philip C. Stead

The latest from one of my favorite authors, this book is inspiring and beautiful.  In it, an author and his dog go for a walk and discover stories everywhere.  This would make an excellent anchor book for writing workshop and discussing where ideas for writing come from.

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Be Frank With Me – Julia Clairborne Johnson

Our last book club read of the summer was  a delightful read, with quirky, charming characters.  I fell in love with young Frank, an eccentric,on-the-spectrum, friendless 9-year old boy who has very little connection with his grade four classmates because he dresses in 1930’s movie star costumes and has the wit and sophistication of an adult.  Frank is being looked after by a young publisher’s assistant while his reclusive mother, the once famous Mimi Banning, completes her first book in decades.   This book is light-hearted, touching and thoroughly entertaining.  A wonderful debut novel and a perfect summer read.

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The Book of Speculation – Erika Swyler

And from the bargain fiction table at Mosaic, I picked up this 2015 release.  I was drawn in by the cover and started making connections to  The Night Circus  when I read...”A wonderful tale of mystery, magic, carnivals, mermaids, tarot and through it all is the book of speculation linking the lives of two families.”  Sounds intriguing, I loved Night Circus – and it was on sale!  I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which book has caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, Book Club, Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Read-Aloud, Writing Anchors

Diversity Saturday- Food Around the World!

I’m excited to be participating in Diverse Children’s Books, celebrating diversity in children’s literature hosted by Katie @ The Logonauts;  Myra @ Gathering Books, Mia @ Pragmatic Mom, Crystal @ Reading Through Life and co-blogger @ Rich in Color and Carrie @ There’s a Book for That.   If you have your own diverse children’s books you’d like to share, head over to Katie’s blog to link up.

Today I am celebrating diversity through picture books about FOOD – a delicious way to learn about different cultures!  Many of the students in my school come from diverse backgrounds, so these books are excellent anchors for making connections, a starting point for a inquiry unit on food and cultures around the world, or creating a multicultural cook book filled with recipes and stories.

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji – F. Zia  (India)

A lively, lovely story about grandparents visiting from India.  Many cultural traditions are shared through the grandfather’s stories, great illustrations and playful tone.  This is a perfect connect book for my students!

What Shall I Make? – Nandini Nayar  (India)

Sweet imaginative story originally published in India.  Neeraj’s mother gives him some chapati dough to play with while she cooks. “What should I make?” he wonders? His little ball of dough morphs into a snake, a mouse, a cat, and a lion, until finally – a big round chapati hot and puffy from cooking on the tavawho.

Bee-bim Bop! Linda Sue Park  (Korea)

This lively rhyming book follows a young girl as she and her mom make a traditional Korean dish called Bee-bim bop, which translates to “mixed-up rice.”  From the grocery store to the kitchen, this book shows diverse characters, foods and language. A wonderful recipe is included that even has parts for a child and parts for the grown up. Love the language in this one.

Duck for Turkey Day – Jacqueline Jules (Vietnam)

Excellent book for explaining diversity and inclusion as a young girl worries that her family is having duck on Thanksgiving instead of the traditional turkey.   A great message that no matter how you celebrate or what you eat, it’s the gathering of family that is important.  This would make a perfect book for making connections for my students.

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Dumpling Soup  – Jama Kim Rattigan (Hawaii)

Marisa gets to help make dumplings this year to celebrate the New Year.  Set in the Hawaiian islands, this story celebrates the joyful mix of food, customs, and languages from many cultures representing the diversity that is Hawaii;  Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, and haole (Hawaiian for white people, according to the book:)

Dim Sum for Everyone!– Grace Lin  (Asian-American)

Wonderful, simple story that follows a family sharing the many small  dishes in a traditional dim-sum restaurant.  I enjoyed the explanation of some of the dishes as well as the history of this Asian tradition.  A perfect connect book!

Too Many Tamales – Gary Soto (Mexico)

A touching story of a young girl named Maria who loses her mother’s wedding ring as she makes traditional tamales for a holiday celebration during the Christmas season. Problem solving, family support and culture all woven together.

What Can You Do with a Paleta? – Carmen Tafolla   (Mexico)

Children will make many connections to the ice cream truck when reading this book about a young girl who is waiting for the “Paleta truck” to arrive in her neighbourhood one hot summer day.  I love the colorful, lively illustrations in this book and the writing that focuses on the many senses of the “bario” (neighbourhood).  This would be an excellent anchor book for writing about place and using your senses.

Cora Cooks Pancit – Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore (Philippines)

This story is about a young Filipino-American girl, named Cora, who finally gets the chance go help her mother cook her favorite Filipino Dish,  Pancit.   I enjoyed how both the process of cooking and the heritage of the dish are woven through the mother’s stories while they are cooking.  Beautiful illustrations and recipes included!

The First Strawberries A CHEROKEE STORY – Joseph Bruchac

Traditional Cherokee legend which tells the story of how the first strawberries came to be.  Respect, kindness, relationships and nature are all themes included in this book.  Gorgeous illustrations.

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Eat, Leo, Eat! – Caroline Adderson  (Italy)

When Leo doesn’t want to eat Nonna’s lunches she comes up with an intriguing tale for each dish. The pages of this book are filled with vivid illustrations, tradition, and the love of food and family.  I loved the additional glossary of Italian words and the spread about pasta names with their Italian origins.

Mama Panya’s Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya Mary and Rich Chamberlin (Kenya)

When a young boy and his mother go to market to buy ingredients for her famous pancakes, he generously invites the whole village to join them!  Now Mama is worried they won’t have enough to go around.  Wow… this touching book contains so many themes besides food, it’s hard to list them all:  sharing, generosity, hunger, culture, community, Kenya, market.  An important book about sharing what little resources you have.

Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat! A Chanukah Story – Naomi Howard

Wonderful story celebrating Chanukah with a Russian Jewish version of the magic cooking pot. Would be great to pair with Strega Nona and the Magic Porridge Pot.  Colorful, expressive illustrations similar to Patricia Polacco.

Hiromi’s Hands – Lynne Barasch  (Japanese-American)

The true story of Hiromi Suzuki, a Japanese American girl who defied tradition to train at her family s restaurant, and became one of the first female sushi chefs in New York.  Great introduction to sushi and would be a great segue into a discussion about immigration with older students.

Everybody Cooks Rice – Norah Dooley    (Multicultural)

A young girl discovers a multitude of different traditional rice dishes in her neighbourhood from all different countries.   This book is from a series which includes Everybody Brings Noodles and Everybody Serves Soup.  It would be a great launch for an inquiry into the history and uses of rice around the world.

No More Beige Food – Leanne Shirtliffe (multicultural)

When Wilma Lee looks at her boring plate of beige food she decides it’s time to take action. She visits her neighbors where she learns how to cook colorful food from Thailand, Mexico, Lebanon, and Paris. Told in rhyme with vivid illustration this fun book is perfect for discussing diversity and trying new dishes.

Hungry yet?  Hopefully hungry for some of these delicious picture books to share with your students and celebrate diversity through food!  What are your favorite food books?

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

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Filed under Diverse Children's Books, Food, making connections