It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Conference discoveries


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

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

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

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...

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

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?


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

12 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Conference discoveries

  1. Wow, what a lovely collection of books this week! So excited yet that TBR stack is growing more and more. Thanks for the share… 🙂

  2. Oh dear, oh my, oh sigh! You hooked me with many of these. So glad you were able to attend AND present at this conference! I would love the details in person please! Maybe after your book launch (Yippee) I think I must own The Stamp Collector. It is yelling out to me from your post. I also love the look of Numeralia and Mommy, Am I pretty? Do you know if this last title is released yet? Can’t find it. Would like to have in my classroom collection.

  3. I KNEW you would love these! I think you should come to the conference with me next year! You would be in heaven! We could be nerdy groupies together and line up for autographs! The Stamp Collector is a must have! Mommy, Am I Pretty is SUCH an important book. It was released last month – have you checked Amazon? Isn’t this snow amazing? I hope you are outside with your class enjoying the winter wonderland! Have a great week. See you next Tuesday at the book launch!

  4. Holly M @muellerholly

    Letter Lunch and Numeralia caught my eye. I haven’t read any books on your list. I guess I have to head over to Goodreads now and add them! 😉

    • Hi Holly! These were all new books for me too – one of my favorite things about attending reading conferences is wandering through all the publishers displays and seeing all the latest books! I hope you enjoy these new titles! Mondays are becoming very expensive for me! Every blog I read – I find more new books I want to have!

  5. Adrienne, you shred so many books that sound wonderful, & many that immediately were added to my lists. Thank you for all the great reviews. I am especially interested in letter lunch, what happens when, & Secrets in the Fire.

    • Hi Linda! Happy that you found some titles that caught your eye! I think Secrets in the Fire is such an important book to share with middle school students – it’s very powerful and promotes great discussions. Many of the grade 7 students were not aware of how land mines impact innocent victims. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading week!

  6. What a great list. If I had a limit I think I would pick Perfect Snow and What Happens When. When is your book available?

    • Perfect snow is SUCH a great book and perfect for making connections. It’s been out for several years but I had not seen it before. My new book Nonfiction Writing Power is now finished and available. I saw it for the first time just a few days ago!

  7. I just love the name of your conference – Reading for the Love of it! How awesome is that! I should check it out for next year, sounds like the very thing I’d want to attend. Congratulations on your session too. Will look forward to your post about that one. I was especially taken by your review of The Stamp Collector – it sounds absolutely beautiful and a book that I MUST include in my text-set for my higher-degree course. I checked our online library database, unfortunately, we don’t have the title here yet. If it’s a 2014 publication, it might take a few months for us to acquire the title. Secrets in the Fire also looks like something that would be perfect for our next bimonthly theme. Thanks for sharing all these titles! Have a great reading week!

  8. Myra – thanks for your great comments! Yes, the reading conference was AMAZING! Such an honour to be amongst so many amazing presenters! The Stamp Collector is definately one to check out – it is not new, however, but published in 2012 by Canadian publisher Fitzhenry and Whiteside. I know you can get it on Amazon (I checked!) Secrets in the Fire is also a great book for introducing students to the devastation of landmines. Happy reading week to you!

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