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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.
I just returned from an amazing few days in Toronto at the 38th annual Reading For the Love of It conference. This is one of the biggest reading conferences in Canada – equivalent to the IRA in the US. Between 3,500 – 4,000 people attend this conference. I was very fortunate to be invited to present two sessions, (more about that in a later blog!) along with a spectacular line up of authors and speakers. There was a VERY large publishers display with an impressive number of vendors from local bookstores selling large collections of picture books and novels. So of course I used this as an opportunity to discover some new titles!
Perfect Snow – Barbara Reid
Barbara Reid was presenting at the conference and I was fortunate enough to hear a portion of one of her fantastic sessions. I also lined up (yes, I’m a groupie!) and had my books signed! I have a large collection of her books at home (The Party is one of my special “Connect” books!) but had never seen this title, published in 2009. In her trademark vibrant Plasticine style, Barbara Reid captures the joy and excitement of two boys planning and playing in the snow in the school yard at recess. A perfect book for making connections! (I’m planning to read it tomorrow at school as we are experiencing an unusual snow fall in Vancouver today!)
Thrilled to have Barbara Reid sign my book!
The Stamp Collector – Jennifer Lauthier
This book, published in 2012, was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and a recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. WOW – this book is AMAZING! It is based on a true story story of a young boy from China who is a stamp collector and another boy who is a writer. The stamp collector grows up and becomes a prison guard; the writer grows up and, like many writers all over the world, is imprisoned for something he wrote. And thus, the two mens’ lives become connected. The story is powerful and moving. I stood reading it at the Fitzhenry and Whiteside booth at the publishing display and fought back tears! The illustrations by Francois Thisdale are remarkable. This is definitely a book for older students and excellent for practicing questioning and inferring.
Letter Lunch – Elisa Gutierrez (OWL publishing)
This book is brand new and I had a chance to read it at the conference. At first, it seems like a simple story but after a more careful look, you realize how clever it is! A hungry brother and sister are searching for something to eat. They begin an adventure of “letter searching” – as the two search for letters for lunch! Innovative and creative – kids will love finding letters in everyday places. An alphabet book plus a whole lot more!
Numeralia – Jorge Lujan
Now let’s move from a unique alphabet book to a unique counting book! From 0-10, this book illustrates clever and unique examples of numbers. I liked how sometimes the numbers were hidden within the picture and other times represented by the number, some much more obvious than others. I think children will enjoy trying to “infer” the “connections”! My thinking was definitely stretched by this book! The illustrations are quirky and enchanting!
What Happens When…Delphine Chadru
Another charming and clever book that stretches thinking and invites inferences! What Happens When…invites the reader to think about all those everyday objects that disappear – the balloon that floats away, the sock that gets lost in the dryer, our shadow when the sun goes down. After each question is posed, the page opens up to reveal a wordless, imaginative possibility of what may have happened to the object. I could see this being a book that students become very engaged in, as well as promotes them to think of their own object that often goes missing and imagine the possibilities of what happens to it.
Mommy, Am I Pretty? – Margot L. Denomme
This book has an important message about self esteem and inner beauty and I believe is a MUST read for every parent (especially parents of girls) and teacher! The important message about true beauty being found from within is one that can be shared in every classroom and in every home. I loved the simplicity of the text and the delightful child-like water color illustrations. A very powerful book!
Secrets in the Fire – Henning Mankell
The grade 7 teacher at my school read this book aloud to his class and told me how powerful a book it was and how many rich discussions came from it. “Adrienne – you have got to read this book!” I am very glad he recommended it to me. This book, written by Swedish writer Henning Mankell, is based on the story of real-life land mine victim Sofia Alface. The story tells of this heroic young girl who survives a civil war in her country of Mozambique after the murder of almost everyone in her village. It would make an excellent selection for a literature circle selection for grades 6 and 7 and the book has apparently been adapted for film.
Thank you for reading my blog! What books have you been reading this week?