Monthly Archives: February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday – Reading and Thinking through Canadian History

top 10

Teaching Social Studies though literature is something I have always found to be the most meaningful and interesting way to teach.  Because the students at my school are comfortable using Reading Power strategies, they are ready to apply their thinking to different content areas.  One class I am working with at school is focusing on Canada in Social Studies so we have been practicing Reading Power strategies using picture books that are based on true events in Canadian history.  Marking the events, dates and locations on a map of Canada is helping us gain perspective and we will end the unit with a time line activity.   Canadian history + picture books – ENGAGED LEARNERS!

Here are my Top Ten books that focus on a piece of Canadian history:

  1. Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event  Rebecca Bond

Inspired by the author’s grandfather’s experiences living in a lodge in the woods, a story of how people and animals survive a forest fire in a small Canadian town in the early 1800’s.  Gorgeous illustrations and beautiful writing, perfect for VISUALIZING.

2. The Patchwork Path to Freedom – Bettye Stroud

A child tells of escaping to Canada on the Underground Railroad, accompanied by her father, and of following secret signs sewn into quilt patterns.  The story is exciting and the quilt-code messages are fascinating.

3. Laura Secord: A Story of Courage – Janet Lunn

Laura Secord became one of Canada’s most celebrated war heroines when, during the War of 1812, she overhears an American soldier’s plan to ambush the British Commander James FitzGibbon.  Laura braves miles of rough terrain to warn FitzGibbon, preventing the massacre and saving the lives of hundreds of British soldiers. Informative and interesting introduction and gorgeous illustrations.

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4. The Prairie Fire – Marilynn Reynolds

A young boy’s heroic efforts to help his parents save their prairie homestead.  This book is a wonderful historical glimpse into the beauty and hardships of prairie farm life.  Realistic and dramatic prairie landscape illustrations make this an excellent story for VISUALIZING.

 

5. Secret of the Dance – Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow

In 1885, the Canadian government outlawed Potlatch ceremonies and threatened severe consequences for those who did not obey.   Many continued the ceremony in secret.  This is the story of a young Native boy and his family who are spirited away by boat to a secret location where he witnesses a Potlatch.   Rich, colorful, detailed illustrations.  Powerful and thought-provoking.  Great for QUESTIONING.

 

6. Emma and the Silk TrainJulie Lawson 

 After a train carrying bolts of precious silk derails, a girl, obsessed with longing for a silk blouse, spends weeks combing the nearby river for fabric. This story is inspired by the 1927 derailment of a silk train in British Columbia and includes fascinating historical notes about the speedy silk trains of the 1920’s.

7.  Free as the Wind: Saving The Horses on Sable Island  – Jamie Bastedo

This book recounts the story of how hundreds of Canadian school children in early 1960 wrote letters to Prime Minister John Diefenbaker pleading him to stop the wild horses on Sable Island from being turned into dog food. Amazing story and a great example of the power of persuasion and standing up for what you believe.

8.  Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear – Lindsay Mattick

This book tells the true Canadian story of Winnipeg, or “Winnie”, the black bear from Ontario who became a mascot for soldiers during World War I and later inspired author A.A. Milne’s most beloved character, Winnie-the-Pooh.   Illustrator Sophie Blackall was recently awarded the 2016 Caldecott medal for her illustrations in this book.

9.   Queen of the Falls – Chris Van Allsburg

At the turn of the nineteenth century, a retired sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor named Annie Edson Taylor, seeking fame and fortune, decided to do something that no one in the world had ever done before-she would go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.  A fascinating true story with remarkable life-like illustrations.   While Annie Taylor was American, the backdrop for her stunt is certainly Canadian.

1o.   Not My Girl – Christy Jordan-Fenton

By 1884 it was compulsory for the First Nations children of Canada to attend either a day or residential boarding school. This is an excellent book (by the author of the novel Fatty Legs) for younger students to introduce them to the challenges created by residential schools.  This story is based on the author’s own experiences and would be an excellent book for making connections, questioning and transform.

1o (OK… it’s actually 11)   Dolphin SOS – Roy Miki

This beautifully illustrated book tells the true story of three dolphins trapped in an ice-covered cove on the coast of Newfoundland and the brave teens who rescued them when government officials refused to help.  Perfect book for QUESTIONING.  You will hold your breath until the last page!

Thanks for stopping by!  What is your favorite Canadian picture book to share with your students?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Canada, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – First Look at 2016 Books!

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: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

I’m a bit late with this Monday post but excited to be sharing my first post featuring books published in 2016 that I have recently read…

Batman’s Dark Secret – Illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Oh, how I love anything Jon Muth illustrates.  So when I saw his name on this Batman Book, I knew I had to read it.  I’m not exactly a Batman expert but would say that, while rather dark, this is an excellent re-telling of Batman’s origin from the perspective of a young Bruce Wayne.  Jon J. Muth’s life-like watercolor illustrations are nothing less than phenomenal.

Be a Friend – Salina Yoon

This is a must have book for 2016!  Heart-felt story of Dennis – an “ordinary boy who expresses himself in extraordinary ways” – through miming.  So much heart leaps out the the pages of this book.  Love the conversations it can start about how we can communicate without words by listening with our hearts.

Ballet CatDance! Dance! Underpants!  Bob Shea

Poor Butter Bear does not want anyone to see her underwear!  I didn’t think the follow-up could be as funny as the Ballet Cat , but this second book in the series will have beginning readers rolling on the floor with laughter.

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                                                                 Worm Loves Worm – J.J. Austrian

This one took me by surprise.   Sweet and simple, this book manages to discuss gender, sexuality and “changing the way things have always been done” in a natural, lovely way.  (My T-T Connection: And Tango Makes Three)

Bear is Not Tired – Ciara Gavin

Adorable.  Bear Bear lives with the Ducks and sometimes he forgets he is not a duck.  But then winter comes, Bear does not want to hibernate because he does not want to miss out on any duck adventures. But can he stay awake? Great for younger ones to make connections to trying to stay awake and also for the season cycle of a bear.

Pax – Sara Pennypacker

Haunting, moving, poetic, powerful.  Gorgeous illustrations by Jon Klassen and extraordinary writing by Sara Pennypacker.  Wow.  I sobbed.  My heart broke and then reassembled.  As soon as I finished I wanted to start over.  It’s now under my pillow.  Pax is a fox who was rescued and raised by 12 year old Peter.  They are inseparable friends and depend on each other for everything.  But when war breaks out, Pax is returned to the wild and, soon after, Peter sets out on a journey to reunite with his beloved friend.  So many layers of heart and thought in this book.  It will be on many people’s top reads of 2016 – and right now it’s on the top of mine.

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics – Chris Grabenstein

The much-anticipated, puzzle-packed sequel to the New York Times bestselling, award-winning Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library!  Inventive, fun, and MORE puzzles!  

Cockatoo, TooBethanie Deeny Murguia

Silly word play and very cute birds!  Fooling around with words is the fun in the book.  There’s Cockatoos in tu-tus and toucans who can can-can in tutus, too.  You get the idea!

When Mischief Came to Town – Katrina Nannestad

A little girl from Copenhagen comes to live with her grandmother, on a small island after her mother dies.  A touching book about grief and healing. I LOVE this character. She is fun and full of life and helps the traditional islanders “loosen up” and enjoy life.  This would be a great book for grades 3 and 4 and a wonderful book to help anyone who has lost someone dear to them.

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

 

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Filed under 2016 releases, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book