Monthly Archives: September 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – I Can’t Keep Up!

IMWAYR

I’m happy to be joining in the weekly IMWAYR posts, hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers

Well… we are back in full swing at school but my Pro. D. workshops this week were still cancelled (or post-poned) as teachers were just getting settled into their new classes.  This meant I had a bonus day off – most of which I spent at one of my favorite places – United Library Services!  There, I get to fill a SHOPPING CART with BRAND NEW picture books to read through!  Heaven!  But there are SO many great new books – I’m having a hard time keeping up!  Here are a few of my favorites from the top of a very tall pile!

18635639

As an Oak Tree Grows – G. Brian Karas

This book is filled with so many teaching ideas I can hardly stand it!  The story follows the life of an Oak Tree from 1775 to present day.  Each page shows what has changed in the past 25 years – both in the tree and in the surrounding landscape.   I loved the timeline at the bottom of the page, showing each new era.  The illustrations are remarkable – and the book is large which allows the reader to take in all the details on each page.  The Oak tree grows while history transforms around it – from methods of agriculture,  transportation to uses of energy.  The poster included at the back of the book shows the rings on the oak tree representing the growth of the oak tree labeled and dated with many events and inventions that occurred while the tree grew.  This book is creative, unique and interesting!  A perfect link to a unit on growth and change in nature and in our world.

20696727

The Right Word – Roget and His Thesaurus  by Jen Bryant

Sigh.  Sigh again.  I love this book.  So so much.   This amazing picture book biography is about the life of brilliant scientist and word collector Peter Mark Roget. The book explores his extraordinary journey that turned his love of words into the publication of the most important reference books of all time. The illustrations are stunning! If you love words as much as I do – this is a must have for your biography collection!  Watch the book trailer here.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream – Bob Graham

I am a fan of Bob Graham books – I admire his ability to leave room for lots of deep thinking within his subtle text and detailed illustrations.  This book follows an endearing, curious sparrow on an unexpected journey as he travels across the world in a bag of rice from India to an urban setting (Australia?) The sparrow finds a family and invites a child to taste vanilla ice cream for the first time.  The soft pallet illustrations are classic Graham and I like how he uses a variety of closed panels with open drawings.  Don’t read this book too quickly – there is a lot to take in!

Uni the Unicorn

Uni the Unicorn – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

When I see Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a new book – I KNOW it’s going to be brilliant.  But I admit, when Maggie (from Kidsbooks) first showed me the cover  the cover of Uni the Unicorn, my heart sank a little bit.  Oh, I thought, these illustrations are not my thing.  They appeared too “Disney” like – rainbows, butterflies and unicorns.  What was she thinking?  But then I read the story and realized just how brilliant a story it was and how perfectly matched the illustrations were!  Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s latest book is a delightful twist to a familiar story. Uni is a unicorn who believes in her heart that little girls are real, despite the fact that her friends and parents say otherwise. Love the page where Uni is drawing pictures of “imaginary” little girls! Little girls will LOVE this story and make LOTS of connections! The illustrations are reminiscent of Pixar/Disney and will most certainly appeal to the unicorn loving children!   I was also thinking that if you added a cute little stuffed unicorn you have the perfect birthday party present!

20673509

If Kids Ruled the World – Linda Bailey

If Kids ruled the world, birthday cake would be good for you.  Your doctor would say “Don’t forget to eat your birthday cake so you’ll grow up strong and healthy!”  And so the story goes – page after page –  a “wish list” of a kid’s paradise!  This book is fun, playful, imaginative and I can just hear the “YES’s” coming from the class!   A perfect anchor book for inspiring writing and art!  Love!

Penguin and Pumpkin

Penguin and Pumpkin – Salina Yoon

I fell in love with Penguin when I first met him in Penguin and Pinecone.  There have been a few Penguin books since, but none have quite come close to that emotional connection I had with that first book.  This story is sweet with familiar bold block colored illustrations.  Penguin and friends take a journey to explore fall outside the North Pole. He brings a few sights and sounds for his baby brother to experience.  I loved the last page when it’s “snowing leaves”  but the story fell a little flat for me.

Brothers of the Wolf

Brothers of the Wolf – Caroll Simpson

This is a beautifully illustrated West Coast First Nations legend about two wolf cub brothers found and raised  as human children in a village on the Pacific.  One cub feels at home in the forest and the other – the sea.  They are separated when supernatural forces change them into Sea Wolf and Timber Wolf.  Although separated, they howl together into the night sky, waking up the moon and bringing light to the darkness of the world.  The story is visually stunning and is a perfect book for questioning. It would also be a great inspiration for creating first nations paintings.

I Wanna Go Home

I Wanna Go Home – Karen Kaufmann Orloff

I have shared Karen Orloff’s first hilarious book, I Wanna Iguana, for many years with students and teachers as an anchor book for persuasive writing. In it, young Alex writes letters to his mother, trying to convince her to let him have a pet iguana.  His mother writes back, with all the reasons why an iguana would not make a good pet.   In the second book,  I Wanna New Room, Alex is trying to persuade his mom to let him have his own room.  In this third book, and possibly the funniest, Alex is sent to his grandparent’s retirement community while his parents go on vacation.  His desperate emails to his parents go from complaining about being dragged to his grandpa’s bridge games to delight in eating ice cream before dinner!  I love the connection to grandparents in this book and the fact that Alex is now sending emails!   Hilarious read-aloud!

The Orchestra Pit

Orchestra Pit – Johanna Wright

What happens when an endearing snake accidently wanders into an orchestra pit instead of a snake pit?   A whole lot of playful chaos!  The snake proceeds to investigate various instruments and causes quite a commotion among the musicians.  This book is hysterical and would be a perfect way to introduce the different instruments in an orchestra to young children.  Lively, colorful illustrations and endearing expressions on the snake!  Love this!

Lucky

Lucky – David Mackintosh

I LOVED Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School when it first came out so was excited to see this new book by British author/illustrator David Mackintosh.  This book is hilarious and one that children who have ever “jumped to conclusions” will make connections to!  When Leo’s mom tells him that there will “be a surprise” at dinnertime – Leo and his brother, desperate to find out, begin coming up with all sorts of possibilities – a bike? a new car? a new TV? a swimming pool?  By the end of the day they are convinced that the surprise is an all-expense paid two week trip to Hawaii!  And of course when they get home from school and discover the real surprise, they are left feeling let down.  All children have experienced the feeling of getting their hopes up and then being let down  – but it’s how you handle your disappointment that creates the teachable moment in this book.   David Mackingtosh handles it with humour and the subtle message of how being grateful for what you already have is enough to make you feel “lucky”.  Brilliant!

17332435

The Boy on the Porch – Sharon Creech

I always tell my students that the greatest writers don’t tell us everything, but  “leave spaces for our thinking”.  Sharon Creech’s book is a perfect example of this – she doesn’t tell us evetyhing but provides us with spaces for asking questions and for thinking.  This book is beaurtifully written – simple, tender and powerful.  It is the story of a couple who discover a boy on their porch with only his name pinned to his shirt – “Jacob”.  (What are you wondering?… Who is he?  Where did he come from?  Why did his parents leave him?  Will they come back for him?   (So many questions!)  The boy does not speak but communicates through his extraordinary gift in music and art. Eventually, he is able to communicate with animals.  I read this book in one sitting and then I cried – not because it was sad but because it was so beautiful.  And because as I read it, I could not wait to hear my students filling in the spaces.   There is no better book to read.

Well, that’s it for now!  My pile of new books is only a little smaller now but I’d better stop!  Thanks for stopping by and please share the book that caught your eye!

14 Comments

Filed under Art, celebrating words, It's Monday, making connections, Music, New Books, Picture Book, Question, Social Studies, What Are You Reading?, Writing Anchors

Celebration Saturday – Back to School Where We Belong!

15c4c-celebrate-image

I am happy to be joining Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes and others to celebrate and appreciate the goodness of the past week.

Back to school we go!  Finally!  I am THRILLED that the teacher’s strike is over and that soon we will all be back where we belong!  This Monday we will FINALLY be able to greet out students and welcome them into our classrooms and into our hearts!

Today I am celebrating the end to the teacher’s strike.  As some of you are aware, the teachers in British Columbia have been on strike  and on the picket lines since the middle of June.  After a marathon weekend of mediated bargaining (which many feel should have happened during the summer but didn’t), the teacher’s union and the provincial government came up with a tentative agreement.  On Thursday, the teachers voted 86% in favor of the new contract, putting an end to the strike.  This Monday (in 49 hours to be exact!) – we will FINALLY be able to walk INTO the school, instead of standing and walking OUTSIDE!  Although there are still some issues left to be resolved, and many voted with a “reluctant yes” – the alternative was far worse.  It’s time to move forward and get back to teaching.   I am giddy with happiness.

photo

CHEERS! The Strike is OVER! Celebrating with my staff outside the steps of our school on the last day of picketing.

Since I was five years old, September has always meant “back to school” for me.  But for the first time since then, I didn’t start school in September – not by choice but by circumstance.   And since NOT starting school, I have been feeling a little lost; a little “discombobulated”, a little antsy.  I discovered, since being on strike, that I  am less productive when I am not busy.  (how does that work???)  I discovered, since being on strike, that I love my teenage boys but don’t love the teenage smell that is permeating up from the basement room where they have been hanging out with their friends during this endless summer!  But most of all, I discovered, since being on strike, that I am my best self when I am in front of a group of eager, open faces and without that, I was beginning to loose a little piece of who I am.  I am a teacher.  I am proud to be a teacher; I am grateful to be a teacher. And I cannot wait to begin learning, sharing, discovering, laughing, reading, writing, singing, creating alongside my students.

A.A. Milne says it best: “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”    I am grateful, beyond words, that I, along with 40,000 other teachers in B.C., will be back in front of our students on Monday where we belong.

20 Comments

Filed under Celebration Saturday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Picture books, Graphic Memoir and a Novel!

 

IMWAYR

I’m happy to be joining in the weekly IMWAYR posts, hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers. 

Dolphin SOS

Dolphin SOS – Roy Miki

This powerful story is based on a true event that occurred off the coast of Newfoundland.  It is the story of some children who, after following the sound of cries, discover 3 dolphins trapped under the ice.   When the government does not supply the proper support, (hmm… connections anyone?) the children take it upon themselves to rescue the distressed dolphins themselves. This is a powerful story of perseverance and I know my students will be captivated as the story unfolds.  The illustrations are stunning and reminded me of Steven Jenkins’s collage style.  I LOVED this story and I have added it to my collection of QUESTIONING books!

Hug Machine

Hug Machine – Scott Campbell

This simple heart warming book will inspire hugs from everyone!  This adorable little boy has mad hugging skills and finds a way to hug everyone and anyone!  (even whales and ice cream trucks!)   The illustrations are soft and simple and the expressions on this hugger’s face are delightful – I was smiling on every page!  I HUG this book!

The Flat RabbitThe Flat Rabbit – Barour Oskarsson

Well, I was a little unsure of this book when I first started reading it as the “flat” rabbit is referring to a dead rabbit.  But after a second and third read, I came to the realization that this book is really about death but deals with the concept with a quirky, gently and compassionate way with just a touch of humour.  This book is about caring and thoughtfulness and how a dog and rat pay respect to their “flat” friend.  I loved the illustrations and the fact that the story is told in simply and with little text.  Another great choice for inferring as there is lots of space for readers to add their thinking.

21413862

 Fox’s Garden – Princesse Camcan

This is a beautiful (and I mean BEAUTIFUL!) wordless picture book (think INFERRING!)  that tells the story of a lost fox who, when turned away from by the adults of the village, is treated with kindness and care by a small boy.  It is a gentle story of compassion, kindness and gratitude.  The soft illustrations made me sigh… ahhhh… this is a gem.

Telephone

Telephone – Mac Barnett

Remember the game of “telephone” you played as a child?  Whispering a message down a line and then laughing at how it changes? In this book, Mama bird wants her son Peter to come home for dinner, so she sends the message down the telephone line, literally! The message moves down the line from bird to bird but gets garbled as it goes. What makes the book fun is seeing how each bird adds their own interest to the message – which makes it a perfect book for practicing INFERING!  The illustrations give hints too!  Lots of fun!

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, #1)

 Leory Ninker Saddles Up – Kate deCamillo

Yippie-Kai-Eh!  What is not to love about this book?  It has action, great characters, humour, and fabulous illustrations by Chris Van Dusen.  Leroy dreams of becoming a cowboy – he has hats, boots and a lasso and he is ready to stand up for justice!   All he needs is a horse!  Enter Maybelline – the horse who puts an add in the paper to find a new owner.  And there you have the makings of a delightful first book in a new beginning chapter series by the brilliant Kate deCamillo!  Would make a great read-aloud for Gr. 2-3!

El Deafo

El Deafo  by Cece Bell

When author/illustrator Cece Bell was 4, she contracted meningitis and lost the hearing in both ears.  Nicknamed “El Deafo”, when she began school in the early 70’s, she was “hooked up” to a awkward and very unattractive, bulky boxed hearing aide.  But with it, Cece discovers she has super sonic ear powers!  This inspiring graphic memoir recounts the story of Cece’s real life experiences trying to come to term with her disability and trying to develop both confidence in herself and in her ability to make friends.  The characters, depicted as rabbits, are delightful, the writing is poetic and Cece is brave and beautiful.  I could not put this book down – it is tender and insightful and I loved every frame.

Dark Lord. Teenage Years

Dark Lord –  The Teenage Years – Jamie Thomson

This book is hilarious!  When Dark Lord hurls down to earth unexpectantly, he lands in a parking lot trapped in the body of a 13 year old.  When Medics arrive, he mumbles,  “I am the Dark Lord” – but what comes out sounds like “I am Derk Llyod”!  I was laughing out loud when I read this!  So the poor “Dirk Lloyd” gets placed into a foster home – where he proceeds to try to prove who he is, while dealing with a cast of characters from the foster home!  Clever, funny, great writing!

 

Thanks for stopping by!  What book or books have caught your eye?

 

3 Comments

Filed under Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Novels, Question, Reading Power

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Exciting Releases for Fall!

IMWAYR

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

Despite my heartbreak at the fact that I will not be sharing these books with my students tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day after that due to the ongoing teacher’s strike in B.C., I am happy to share them with you in the hopes that you are not on strike and can share them with YOUR students! I’ve had a little more reading time this past week so was able to read a few longer books.

The Boundless

The Boundless – Kenneth Oppel

WOW!  This is an action packed adventure that I could not put down!  It tells the story of a young boy, Will Everett who is a first class passenger on The Boundless, the greatest train ever built.  (Think Titanic only a train!)  I loved how Kenneth Oppel has woven Canadian history and famous Canadian personalities (including Sasquatch!)  throughout the book, making it an excellent link to Social Studies.  Add a little magic and a few creepy bits and you have a fast-paced read-aloud!

Egg and Spoon

Egg and Spoon – Gregory Maguire

Another wow for this YA book!  Egg and Spoon reads like a Russian fairy tale.  It is filled with exquisite writing, laugh out loud humour, fascinating and often twisted characters. It is the story of two young woman: a city girl born of privilege and a country girl suffering from poverty and loss.  After a case of mistaken identity, both Elena and Ekaterina, or Cat,  begin an adventure across Russia and up to the North Pole on a quest to save their country.  I really liked how Maguire wove Russian culture, legends and characters, including Baba Yaga,  through the story.  At times, I felt the plot was more suited for younger children but the writing style and complex plot makes it definitely one for the older crowd.  If I’m being completely honest, I felt that some parts were a little confusing and complicated and other parts went on too long – but overall well worth the read!   

The Swallow: A Ghost Story

The Swallow – A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter

Interesting that I happen to read two books featuring two female characters whose lives become entwined.   This one is AMAZING – I could not put it down!  It tells the story of the friendship of two 12 year old girls living in Toronto in 1963.  Polly – outgoing, bubbly, passionate… Rose – introverted, quiet and loves to sing and who, we discover, can see and talk to ghosts!  The story goes back and forth between the two different points of view.  This is truly a MUST READ book!  Enchanting, magical, mysterious – a great ghost story and a wonderful story of friendship.  I LOVED it!

Everybody Bonjours!

Eveybody Bonjours!  by Leslie Kimmolman

This book follows a little girl and her family on a trip to Paris. The text is simple, the illustrations are charming.  Lots of French sites, sounds, smells and tastes – a peak into French life.  I think this would be a wonderful anchor book for writing about Canada or other countries.  There is more detailed information at the back of the book.  I want to go to Paris now, please! 

And Two Boys Booed – Judith Viorst

This new Judith Viorst book was released this week! It is an adorable story of a little boy who gets an extreme case of nerves when he has to sing in the talent show. Perfect for making connections! This book rhymes, it has lift the flaps and has a song that you will all be singing after just one read! Love Judith Viorst and I LOVE this book!

Bluebird

Bluebird – Lindsey Yankey

I was totally drawn to this book by the cover.  A bird’s eye view from a bird’s eye view.  This is a charming story about a bluebird who is searching for her friend, the wind.  The repetitive text and the extraordinary details in each picture makes this a perfect read-aloud or quiet bed-time sharing.  I love how determined the little bird is.   As soon as I got to the last page, I went back and read it again!

Take Away the A

Take Away the A – Michael Escoffier

What fun this book is to read!  It’s a delightful alphabet book goes through the alphabet and offers words where you take away a letter and get a new word. So, for example, for letter A, “beast” becomes “best” when you take the A out. The concept is a simple but so clever and humouous! I have already thought about ways of using this in class – having the students try to create their own “take away” words! 

I'm Gonna Climb a Mountain in My Patent Leather Shoes

I’m Gonna Climb a Mountain in My Patent Leather Shoes – Marilyn Singer

Sadie is all packed for her rustic family camping trip:  patent shoes? check!  ballerina skirt? Check!  Sparkly suitcase? Check!  I loved the spunk of this girl, who despite her “girlie-girl” appearance is a great role model for girl power!  She is fearless and determined to find Bigfoot and protect her family.  Great rhyming pattern and bright, colorful illustrations!

 

Dojo Daycare

Dojo Daycare – Chris Tougas

Six rowdy children spinning out of control in their Dojo daycare, despite their master’s effort to demonstrate “honor, kindness and respect”. Fun, great illustrations, wonderful rhyme – a perfect read-aloud. Kids will LOVE this one!

The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing

The Writing Thief – Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing – Ruth Culham

“It’s been said that mediocre writers borrow, but great writers steal” Using children’s literature to teach writing – could there be a more perfect book for me? And since it would appear that I may have some more time on our hands next week, I’m excited to be spending it exploring this new book by Ruth Culham! 

Thanks for stopping by!  Please let me know which book caught your eye?

13 Comments

Filed under Alphabet book, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Novels, Professional Books, Read-Aloud, Social Studies, Writing Anchors

Celebrate Saturday – End of Summer Celebrations

15c4c-celebrate-image

I’m happy to be joining Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes and others to celebrate and appreciate the goodness of the past week(s).

Well, summer is over – but it doesn’t exactly feel like it  The sun is still shining and the schools are still closed!  It’s a little challenging to feel in a celebratory mood when the teacher’s strike here in B.C. is still preventing teachers from teaching and students from learning.  But despite that, I have lots of things to celebrate and be grateful for as my summer came to an “unofficial” end.    Here are my recent celebrations:

1)  My husband had a milestone birthday and I planned a surprise party for him.   It was low key  – but all his buddies showed up at the pitch and putt near our house and then back to our place for a barbeque.  Lots of laughs, lots of beer, lots of fun!  The highlight was his brother David who had flown in from Kelowna for the weekend to surprised him – loved the look on both of their faces!

014c6774a2f233c234e155aca2f63922e8aac92988

My hubby gets a surprise visit from his brother.

01b8a09f01ffcca68d4c3e35074b22cab2d8a8004f

Beers on the deck after golf.

3)  My trip to Toronto – Last week I spent two wonderful days in Toronto.  When I arrived, my publisher from Pembroke, Mary Macchiusi, took me on an amazing adventure!  We spent the day visiting some spectacular places, the highlight of which was Niagara falls.  I had never been there before and it truly was a remarkable sight.  The power of the water was something I had never experienced before and I could actually feel the strength of the falls inside my stomach!   Majestic and hypnotic.  There was a rainbow stretching across the entire falls.  I have never seen both sides of a rainbow before – it was amazing.

Niagara Falls with my Pembroke publisher (and friend) Mary Macchuisi.

01e9dde9878f177c148208f94ae8e77ab6dd500a7a

0142deda6e1b4cec69a508ba30d424b52049eef229

We also visited the charming streets of Niagara on the Lake and stopped by a winery.  A little history as we stopped to see  Laura Secord’s house and climbed the 250 winding steps to the top of the General Brock monument, site of one of the famous battles of 1812.  A small but spectatular view from the top!  (Coincidentally, the first two schools I ever taught in in Vancouver were called   General Brock Elementary and Laura Secord Elementary!  Too funny!)  It was a day PACKED with so many amazing sites, great food and wonderful company.  Thanks, Mary!

01cc26e720ba36322a55c2e94d3620c0c78cde92d8

General Brock monument.

017d7e541d54375316524a386e020f1aad425e02cf

View from the top of General Brock monument – Canada on one side of the river USA on the other!

 

01d27ecb6e8f79dcbb0f8c890f224598c32446396c

Laura Secord’s house.

Day 2 – I presented a workshop at The Country Day School in King, Ontario.   This school has been using Reading Power in the primary grades for a year and had invited me to spend the day with them during for their one of their Pro. D. days.  I spent the morning giving an overview of Reading Power to the whole staff and then spent the afternoon with the primary staff  sharing my ideas on “going deeper” with some of the strategies.   The staff was amazing – so warm and enthusiastic.  It was a pleasure meeting them and I am grateful to Jenny Handrigan for inviting me and Ann Wildberger for her support in bringing me there.

01a96440228fc67947e76beb4ee2854f61f516a6b0

Staff of The Country Day School.

01c2299ade9e496e81d3ba8c3de5b69c0e458cd16c

Primary staff at the Country Day School.

3) My son – the hockey goalie.  I know summer is officially over when hockey try-outs start!  I have mixed feelings about putting children through such a stressful and often disappointing process.  They say it builds character but it can be so hard to watch.  I celebrate my goalie son and his willingness each year to take the risk and put  himself out there to be “selected” or “rejected”.  It’s not an easy experience for him (or his parents!) and I admire his courage and determination, whether he “makes the team” or doesn’t.

imagejpeg_2

4) Facebook Page – I have never been a huge follower of Facebook – I have a personal profile but very rarely update it.  My good friend Jen Daerindinger has been encouraging me to start a Facebook page for  Reading Power – focusing on posts for teachers and sharing books and lessons.  This past week she came over and helped me set it up.  I am thrilled with how easy it is and how much fun I’m having posting and reading through feeds. Here’s the link in case you want to check it out! (Thanks, Jen!)

https://www.facebook.com/readingpowergear

Hoping you have many things to celebrate this week!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under Celebration Saturday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New treasures from Kids Can Press

IMWAYR

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

Despite my heartbreak at the fact that I will not be sharing these books with my students tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day after that due to the ongoing teacher’s strike in B.C., I am happy to share them with you in the hopes that you are not on strike and can share them with YOUR students!

Kids Can Press is a prominent Canadian publishing company.  I am fortunate to be on their list of people who receives samples of some of their new releases twice a year.   Last week, their fall books arrived at my doorstep!  Book joy!  I’m happy to be featuring some of these books in my IMWAYR post today.

Stop, Thief!

Stop, Theif! by Heather Takavec

I instantly fell in love with the main character in this book – an adorable little dog named Max.  Max lives on a farm and one day the farmer asks Max to help him catch a thief who has been stealing carrots, lettuce, beans and cherries from the farm.  Max is eager to help and begins asking all the farm animals if they know who the unidentified thief is.  The humor, of course, is that all the animals Max asks tell him they know nothing about a thief, while they are eating carrots, beans and lettuce!  This is definitely a fun book that will have young children laughing.  A great addition to books about farm animals, as well as for practicing simple inferring.  Charming illustrations!

Super Red Riding Hood

Super Red Riding Hood – Claudia Davila
This book is a perfect blend of old and new and I really enjoyed this modern twist to a classic fairy tale. When Ruby puts on her red cloak – she becomes Super Red Riding Hood!  Strong and spunky female character and bright and colorful illustrations.  A perfect addition to your fractured fairy tale collection and a great read-aloud for primary students.
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
Hana Hashimoto – Sixth Violin – Chieri Uegaki
My friend Carrie Gelson has a special fondness for intergenerational picture books and books that promote the special bond between children and their grandparents.  I saw this book first on her blog (There’s a Book for That) and was excited to find it in my box of treasures from Kids Can Press.   It is a delightful story filled with so many wonderful themes – being creative, being determined, being brave.  Young Hana enters a violin talent contest and is determined to win.  Her Ojiichan (grandfather), himself a renouned violinist, is her strongest influence and plays a role in her efforts to face her fears.  I held my breath when she walks onto the stage and begins to play.  Beautiful writing, beautiful illustrations and a true celebration of music and family.
 Into the Woods (BIGFOOT Boy #1)The Sound of Thunder
Bigfoot Boy  – J. Torres
This graphic novel adventure series is action packed and perfect for readers grades 2-5.  The art is rich and colorful and the characters are humorous and fun.  What I like about this series is that it weaves aboriginal themes, characters and artifacts into the story.  In Into the Woods, the main character Rufus finds a totem necklace that turns him into a sasquatch.  In the Sound of Thunder, the story continues when someone steals the magic necklace from him.  His pal, Penny is a great addition to the second  book.  I am definitely going to share these with my librarian and get this series into our school!
Product Details
Loula and the Sister Recipe – Anne Villeneuve
This charming book is about a little girl who is tiring of her younger triplet brothers and asks her parents to “make her a sister”.  Her father explains, “Making a sister is . . . well, it’s like making a cake. You need the right ingredients…..a papa and a mama, butterflies in the stomach, a full moon, a candlelit supper, kisses and hugs and chocolate.”  Loula then proceeds to “follow the recipe” to make her own sister.  The ending will surprise you!  While reading it, I was visualizing a class listening to the story and possibly tricky side track conversations that might ensue about baby-making!  Other than that, I enjoyed the story, particularly the character of Loula – she is observent, determined, cheerful and very creative!  Apparently, this is the second Loula book but I will now be searching for the first.
The Best Part of The Day
The Best Part of the Day – Sarah Ban Breathnach
Part of my bedtime routine with my boys when they were little was to do “gratefuls” –  listing things and people we were grateful for that day. This book would have been the perfect addition to that ritual.  It is a lovely bedtime book I would recommend for parents but also a great book for making connections and one that would certainly stimulate younger children writing about the best part of their day.   The illustrations are gorgeous – detailed and meant for savoring.  The writing is lyrical with a simple rhyming scheme that young children would be reciting with you.  A perfect gift book for pre-school age children.
Little Elliot, Big City
Little Elliot, Big City -Mike Curato
There is nothing I don’t love about this charming book about the challenges an adorable polka dot elephant named Elliot faces in the big city.  This book includes SO many teachable topics – embracing differences, making friends, facing challenges and experiencing greatness. The illustrations are amazing! A must read aloud! (and serve cupcakes afterwards!)
Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success
Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success  by Regie Routman
I have just started reading Regie Routman’s new book called Read, Write and Lead.  My good friends in Kelowna, Lisa Wilson and Donna    , are using this book as a professional book study and have invited me to join in their discussions via Skype.  Regie Routman has had a strong influence on my teaching practice – I find her books practical and full of wisdom and I’ve used them both in my teaching and my writing.  This book looks at what is needed to create a supportive literacy community in your school and  increasing joy in teaching and learning.  It is definitely one I would recommend for a school book study and I am looking forward to implementing her ideas (as soon as the strike is over!)
Thanks for stopping by!  Please let me know which book caught your eye?

 

 

16 Comments

Filed under graphic novel, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, making connections, Music, New Books, Professional Books, Read-Aloud