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
It’s been a while since I did a IMWAYR post. April was a VERY busy month for me – the last full push of Pro. D. for the school year and I presented a lot of workshops. Fortunately, May is not nearly as hectic so I hope to be able to post more regularly.
Here are a few titles I am excited to share – with several new releases from some of my favorite authors!
The Day I Lost My Superpowers – Michaël Escoffier
This book is DELIGHTFUL and would be a perfect book to add to your Mother’s Day collection! The story is about a little girl who discovers she has “super powers” (her imagination at work!). But when the super powers begin to disappear after a mishap, she looks around for someone who might be able to help her get them back. Lo and behold – who possess an amazing array of her own “super powers”? Her superhero mom! I love how the touching, yet subtle message of the special bond between parent and child. The illustrations are charming and I really like the way the book doesn’t force a message but does so gently and with humour.
Have You Seen My Dragon? – Steve Light
This book is a combination of a counting book, search and find book and story that is well worth a close read. A boy searches through the city for his dragon and finds many interesting treasures along the way (20 to be exact!) The detailed black and white ink drawings are well worth exploring and I think students will enjoy joining in on the dragon search! I liked reading the author’s note at the back where he explains how he got the idea for the story: When he was a boy growing up in New York, he used the imagine that the steam coming up from the street grates was dragon smoke!
Nurse Clementine – Simon James
I enjoy Simon James books – simple text and lovely colored ink illustrations. His latest book is definitely one to use for practicing making connections with younger students. I think many would be able to connect to the main character, Clementine, who is thrilled when she receives a nurse’s outfit and nurses kit for her birthday. (I certainly remember when my son desperately wanted a doctor kit!) With cap on and kit in hand, she proceeds to “fix” all the injuries in her family. Her younger brother refuses her services until he gets stuck in a tree. Sweet, simple, predictable – and a great read-aloud for early primary.
Beginner’s Guide To Running Away From Home – Jennifer Larue Wuget
In my new book Nonfiction Writing Power, one of the structures I explore is Instructional writing. So I’m always on the look out for anchor books that teachers can use which model the language and form of instructional writing. Guidebooks and handbooks are a great examples so I was excited to find this new title to add to my book list! This humourous book has everything you will need to successfully run away – from what to pack to where to leave your note. The character reminded me a little of Judith Voirst’s Alexander – a kid who is just at the end of his rope. The illustrations have a Pixar feel that I think would appeal to kids. This book is definitely for a slightly older crowd – I think gr 3-5’s will really appreciate the humour.
Poem Depot – Aisles of Smiles – Douglas Florian
I have a bad habit of using the word “favorite” too often when it comes to books! But I would say that Douglas Florian is definitely my favorite children’s poet. I am drawn to his humour, his creativity, his art. I love that his poetry books are collections around a specific theme – seasons, mammals, dinosaurs, baseball, pirates, trees, bees, space… you name it and he has written a poetry book about it! I love that he explores different poetic devices and forms so that I can use them to help me teach poetry to my students. In his latest book, Florain captures the everyday humor of kids’ lives with a collection of great read-aloud nonsense poems that are sure to keep you and your students laughing.
If – Rudyard Kipling Illustrated by Giovannia Mamna
“IF” is a poem that Rudyard Kipling wrote for his 12 year old son in 1909. (Sadly, his son would die a few years later in WWI) It is an inspiring poem of life lessons – encouraging and thoughtful advice. It’s a poem I could read over and over and think about it differently each time. I remember reading the poem in high school but of course now, my experiences as an adult and a parent invite a completely different interpretation. The watercolor illustrations are stunning. While the tone and language may be challenging for independent reading – I can see how this poem would stimulate rich discussion, connections and inferences if guided as a shared read-aloud.
Gravity – Jason Chin
Jason Chin is a remarkable. Somehow, he manages to explore thought provoking concepts in a very accessible way. In this book, he explores the concept of gravity – What makes things “stay put” on earth and not float away? Why do things fall from above when we drop them? As in his previous books, Redwood, Coral Reef and Island, his illustrations are captivating and mesmerizing. I loved the simple text and larger print. This would be an excellent book to introduce a unit on space or to invite questioning.
Rules of Summer – Shaun Tan
Wow! Wow! Wow! How can you not open up a book by Shaun Tan and not be completely blown away by the creativity, the depth, the layers of thinking that it invites? In this new release he once again manages to challenge the mind and the imagination with his new book. If any of you reading this are looking for a new book to teach INFERING – this is it! AMAZING! The book portrays two boys – and the lessons they each learned during the summer. Each double page spread is one lesson – an image and a simple sentence – open to many interpretations. There is a dark quality to the lessons as you go deeper into the book and this is certainly a book intended for an older audience. Captivating illustrations with so much detail – a remarkable book!
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
Our book club pick this past month was The Rosie Project. For those of you who may not have read this clever, quirky charming love story – you should. I don’t think I have laughed so hard reading a book – EVER! At one point I was reading it on the plane and was literally shaking with laughter, tears pouring down my cheeks. Laugh out loud funny one minute and touchingly beautiful the next. I fell in love with the hero Don Tillman – the socially awkward genetics professor who narrates the story. Don believes he is not wired for romance and not capable of the social rituals necessary for true love. He is, we infer, on the spectrum of Asperger’s but doesn’t realize it. At 39 he decides it is time to settle down so he designs “The Wife Project” – a comprehensive and lengthy questionnaire to try to find the “perfect match”. Enter Rosie – on a search of her own – who fails just about every question on his test but somehow manages to turn Don’s world upside down. 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, and gets a coveted place on the top shelf of my book case – where only my very favorites get to live!
And that’s what I’ve been reading lately! I’d love for you to leave your thoughts about these books or any that you have been reading!