Monthly Archives: March 2016

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading! New Books from Kids Can Press!

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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

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I am fortunate to receive books every spring and fall to read and review from Kids Can Press, the largest Canadian-owned children’s publisher in the world.   It is like Christmas in my house when these boxes arrive!   This week, I’m excited (and proud!) to highlight some of my favorite new releases from our amazing Canadian authors and illustrators that arrived on my front porch last week!  Please note that many of these titles have not yet been released but most will be available early April and can be pre-ordered.

Toshi's Little Treasures

Toshi’s Little Treasures – Nadine Robert

Sigh.  I love this book.  Love it enough to want to make pajamas out of it and wear it to bed every night.   It is a unique search-and-find informational picture book about a little boy named Toshi and his grandmother. Together, they explore six of their favorite places — the riverbank, the town, the forest, the country, the park and the beach. At each location, Toshi finds treasures to add to his collection.  After you find the treasures with Toshi, there is a matching activity on the next page for Toshi to figure out where the treasures came from. There are SO many teachable moments in this book!   Interactive + thinking = a winner!

The Storm

The Storm – Akiko Miyakoshi

A young boy, excited to go to the beach, is disappointed when a big storm approaches and possibly ruins his plans.  That night, as his parents prepare for the storm, the boy listens to the sound of the rain and dreams an imaginary dream to try to drive the storm away.  This book has minimal text but the story is told mostly through the amazing charcoal drawings, which set the tone of gloominess and fear as the storm approaches.  This would make an excellent read-aloud book for practicing making connections.  

Life Without Nico

Life Without Nico – Andrea Maturana

Simple, poignant story about two best friends having to cope with parting ways when one must move away. Translated from Spanish, originally published in Mexico.  I  like how the book deals with not only the sadness when a friend moves, but how to “fill up the spaces” and what happens when the friend returns.  Lots of emotions here to connect to and charming illustrations.

The Not-So-Faraway Adventure

The Not-So-Faraway Adventure – Andrew Larsen

My dear teacher and blogger friend Carrie Gelson (There’s a Book For That) has a fondness for books that highlight inter-generational relationships so I immediately thought of her when I read this book!  It is an endearing story of a girl and her grandfather doing something special together.  I loved the message that  it is not necessary to leave home for an adventure.  Great mixed-media illustrations.  This book would make a great anchor for writing about adventures with grandparents.

Manners Are Not for Monkeys

Manners are Not For Monkeys – Heather Tekavec

Hilarious story that turns “good” and “bad” manners on it’s head!  Children behaving like monkeys and monkeys behaving like children!  This one will be sure to get a lot of laughs from both the story and the silly illustrations and also be a good discussion starter about manners with the younger ones.

Mr. King's Machine

Mr. King’s Machine – Geneviève Côté

There aren’t many books for younger students that focus on environmental issues in a simple, accessible way.  This is the third book in Geneviève Côté’s wonderful picture book series about a crown-wearing cat who, with a little help from his friends,  learns important environmental lessons.   This book focuses on air pollution and would be a great book to begin a discussion on the environment with early primary students.  The two other books in this series are Mr. King’s Things (impact of pollution and over-consumption) and Mr. King’s Castle (environmental stewardship and reducing your footprint)

Willow's Smile

Willow’s Smile – Lana Button

This book is a perfect book to share with students just before picture day!  (Great connections!)  Willow has a beautiful smile but she is shy and doesn’t always smile when she should.   Lovely message encouraging you to be yourself and about having a good self image.  I have enjoyed the other Willow books, but I think this is my favorite!

Fluffy Strikes Back

Fluffy Strikes Back – Ashley Spires

This is a fun graphic novel about a group of pets, led by Fluffy the cat, who try to rid the world of aliens (bugs).  It is an apparent “spin-off” of s is a spin-off from the  successful Binky series.  This book is filled with dry wit and slapstick tones, (along with the occasional bathroom break!) but with important underlying themes of courage, determination and taking responsibility.   A great graphic novel for early readers.

Feathered – Deborah Kerbel

Wow.  This book caught me by surprise, sucked me in and wouldn’t let go.  Powerful, sad middle-grade novel about an eleven year old girl named Finch who endures the recent death of her father, the depression of her mother, the nasty friend of her brother, the meanest teacher in the school and nasty-girl bullying. When a new family from India moves next door, Finch begins to find a friend and a find a purpose.  This book tackles so many issues facing adolescent girls and would be an excellent book for discussions on loss, bullying, mental health, learning difficulties.  It is powerful, compelling, raw, and you will not be able to stop reading it.  Right up there with The Thing About Jellyfish and Reign Rain.

Thanks for stopping by!  Which Kids Can Press book has caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, Canadian, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, making connections

Top 10 Tuesday – Ten Favorite Books About Gardening (Okay…12!)

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Yesterday’s post featured picture books celebrating Spring, which got me thinking about gardening!  Spring is a wonderful time to explore gardening with your students.  At my school, we have designated planter boxes.  Each class has it’s own “plot” to plant seeds and grow flowers and vegetables.  Planting seeds with your class invites so many important hands-on learning opportunities to investigate, wonder, observe, explore and discover nature.  Below are some of my top favorite books about imagining, growing, gardening and planting that will inspire you and your class to get gardening!  I have tried to include a balance between the realistic, information books with some delightful, imaginative ones!

  1. Tokyo Digs a Garden – Jon-Erik Lappano (2016)

Over the years, there have been several imaginary fables about growing gardens that share a similar environmental theme:  The Curious Garden by Peter Brown; The Promise  by Nicola Davies; Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Erig.  We can now add this brand new release to this list!  This thoughtful story provides readers with many questions about the environment as we follow a young boy who plants seeds in his nature-less urban city, resulting in an overnight, overgrown burst of nature.  While some think this is a positive transformation to the city, the sudden dense growth of wilderness results in many issues about controlling and taming it.  Very thought-provoking.

2.The Night Gardener – Terry Fan (2016)

WOW.  This debut picture book is stunning!   A magical, mysterious story set in a small town, filled with cozy houses, glowing moons and lanterns.  The muted, detailed illustrations reminded me of Chris Van Allsburg.  In the story, the people of Grimloche Lane begin to notice trees being sculpted into unexpected and magical shapes during the night.    Who could be doing this?  Oooooo – this is a perfect book for Questioning!  I can’t wait to read it to students!

3. Stories From Bug Garden – Gwen Millward (2016)

So much fun!  Life in an overgrown garden from the perspective of the insects that inhabit it. Charming and whimsical with lovely illustrations.

4. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt – Kate Messner  (2015)

In her follow-up to the amazing book Over and Under the Snow, Kate Messner invites us to explore the wonders of the garden – from the growing vegetables below to the riping fruit above.  There are SO many lessons that this book inspires – including art, science and, of course, gardening!  This book is a MUST!

5. The Little Gardener – Emily Hughes (2015)

A tiny gardener struggles to care for his garden.  While the main theme of this book is about perseverance and faith, the garden setting and focus on planting and growing makes it a perfect book to share during your garden study!  Layered with meaning and filled with gorgeous illustrations.

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6. My Garden – Kevin Henkes (2010)

I LOVE this book and use it both as an anchor for practicing visualizing (don’t show the students the pictures!) and for inspiring “My Imaginary Garden” writing!  Delightful story of a girl’s imaginary garden filled with “tomatoes as big as beachballs”, “chocolate rabbits” and “plants that never die”, and  “strawberries that glow like lanterns”.   Great examples of similes and anchor lines!  Delightful!

7. Looking Closely Inside the Garden – Frank Serafini (2008)

Looking Closely series explores different environments, including the forest, the seashore, the desert and this one, the garden.  Frank Serafini’s uses gorgeous close-up photography and engaging, interactive text to invite readers to explore nature and guess just “what could it be?” .  These books make great read-alouds, and invite many “Oooo’s” and “ahhh’s”!

Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move

8. Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move – JoAnn Early Macken (2008)

While not exactly a gardening book in the traditional sense, this poetic book takes a look at the fascinating world of seeds that fly through the air and how they spread and grow.  Great nonfiction read-aloud with good plant vocabulary.  Great links to science and could also be used to talk about different ecosystems.

9. A Seed is Sleepy – Dianna Hutts Aston (2007)

A gorgeous, detailed, informative, unique introduction to the world of plants and seeds.  I love the quiet tone and exquisite poetic language, making it a favorite read-aloud. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations.  (Other books by this amazing team include An Egg is Quiet, A Rock is Lively and  A Nest is Noisy)

10. Flower Garden – Eve Bunting (2001)

This story is one to share close to Mother’s Day!  It tells the story of a young girl and her Dad, living in an urban apartment, who travel by bus to the grocery store to buy materials to make a lovely flower box to give to the girl’s mother. The story is simple and the rhyming text is filled with excellent gardening vocabulary.  Gorgeous illustrations!  This book makes an excellent anchor for re-telling and transition words (first, next, then…) as it follows the steps for planting seeds.

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11. Planting a Rainbow – Lois Ehlert (2001)

Lois Ehlert’s signature vibrant collage illustrations fill the pages as we learn to plant and nurture bulbs, seeds and seedlings, and nurture their growth. This book is extra large, making it perfect for sharing with a class!  Will inspire some great art lessons as well!

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12. Miss Rumphius – Barbara Cooney (1985)

Beloved classic story of an old woman who, in living out her life-long dreams inspired by her grandfather, plants lupine seeds to “make the world more beautiful.”  This is one of my all-time favorites!

Runners Up:

The Gardener  – Sarah Stewart

Mrs. Spritzer’s Garden  – Edith Pattou

Jack’s Garden – Henry Cole

From Seed to Plant – Gail Gibbons

The Promise – Nicola Davies

Frog Belly Rat Bone – Timothy Basil Erig

And Then It’s Spring – Julie Fogliano

The Imaginary Garden – Andrew Larsen

The Carrot Seed – Ruth Krauss

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi – Chris Van Allsburg

Thanks for stopping by!  What is your favorite gardening picture book?

 

 

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Picture Books to Celebrate Spring!

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

Well it’s spring break and time so I have had some extra time to READ!   I love the start of a new season and spring books are a chance to celebrate the sights, sounds and smells of outdoors, colors, flowers, gardens, bugs and animals. These books are wonderful anchors for lessons to inspire writing, art, science activities and wonder walks!  Below is a list (yes, it’s quite long!) of fiction and nonfiction books celebrating spring, including  many wonderful new titles and some of my old favorites!   I have listed the books from most recent (2016) to oldest (1949!!!)   While some may be out of print, check your local or school library for the older titles.

When Spring Comes – Kevin Henkes (2016)

Kevin Henkes brand new book is a sweet, gentle ode to spring that focuses on both nature and a child’s activities.  The writing is filled with amazing images to help the reader feel, smell see and hear spring, making it a perfect book for visualizing.  I also appreciate gentle repetition and alliteration makes it a great anchor book for writing techniques.  Gorgeous illustrations!  Love this one!

Abracadabra, It’s Spring! – Anne Sibley O’Brien (2016)

Another 2016 release, this book includes many examples of the signs of spring hidden under large flaps perfect for story time with younger primary students.  Vibrant, colorful illustrations!

Hop – Jorey Hurley (2016)

A follow-up to the beautiful book Nest, this book follows a similar pattern of using only one verb per double page spread tells the story of the day in the life of a rabbit family.  Soft Spring-colored illustrations help to tell the story.

Puddle – Hyewon Yum (2016)

This wonderful book will inspire your next Art lesson!  A young boy is frustrated because the rainy day is preventing him from going out and having fun.  That is, until his mom encourages him to draw a picture of himself jumping in a big puddle.  Eventually, they venture out to experience the puddle jumping together.  Imaginative, simple and fun!

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Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK! It’s Spring! – Marion Dane Bauer  (2015)

This book came out last year, but I only just discovered it!  This book explores the SIGHTS and SOUNDS of Spring as a boy, a  bear, and other woodland animals take a night time walk to investigate strange noises and observe the arrival of spring.   I enjoyed the repeating phrases and liked how it mentions the not-so-nice parts of spring  (mud, slush, etc) as well as the beautiful part of spring –  animals waking up, birds hatching and flowers blooming.

Flowers Are Calling – Rita Gray  (2015)

An introduction to flowers, animals, and the ways flowers attract pollinators.   Stunning illustrations and great information about nature’s interconnections. Interesting to read and gorgeous to look at.

Finding Spring – Carin Berger (2014)

 Multidimensional and magical!  This is a gentle story filled with information and visual clues exploring the change of seasons.  You will LOVE the warm, joyful art in this charming book!

 

Spring Is Here – Heidi Pross Grey (2013)

I Love how this wonderful book about the spring  ties family activities and nature together.  Gentle text, soft illustrations.  This is a book I use as an anchor for inspiring spring writing! 

And Then It’s Spring – Julie Fogliano (2012)

This book makes my heart smile.  Simple, sparse text, gorgeous, expressive illustrations.  A boy and his dog. tired of the brown of winter,  plant seeds and patiently wait for them to grow.   “Please do not stomp here. There are seeds and they are trying.”   This is one of my favorites.

Sorting Through Spring – Lizann Flatt (2013)

Nature comes to life to help children grasp “big ideas” in Math in this clever series.  In this book the concepts of patterning, sorting, and probability are explored.  This series of four books about Math concepts in seasons is perfect for the early primary students.  Other books include Counting On Fall, Sizing Up Winter, and Shaping Up Summer.

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Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms – Julie Rawlinson (2009)

Although not as charming for me as Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, I still am fond of this dear little fox who is, once again, confused by seasonal changes. In this story, he thinks that falling tree blossoms are snow and tries to get the animals to go back to their wintertime activities.  Cute read-aloud and colorful illustrations.

A New Beginning:  Celebrating the Spring Equinox – Wendy Pfeffer (2008)

A reprint soft cover edition of the classic book which can be paired with The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice.   This informative nonfiction book is filled with information describing seasonal changes.  I like the section that highlights the many cultural celebrations and festivals that welcome and honour springtime.

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Who Likes Rain? – Wong Herbert Yee  (2007)

Rain is a big part of springtime in Vancouver so this is a perfect “connect” book for my students!  Rich with rhymes and repetition of sounds, this story is about a young girl exploring the sights and sounds of rain.  This is the first in a four book series about the seasons.  Delightful illustrations!

HandSPRINGS – Douglas Florian (2006)

Douglas Florian is my favorite children’s poet.  His clever wit, playful way with words, and whimsical illustrations make his poetry books favorite read-alouds in my class.   This is one in a series of four poetry books about the seasons.

Spring’s Sprung -Lynn Plourde (2002)

In this 4 book series, which also includes Wild Child (autumn), Summer’s Vacation, and Winter Waits, Lynn Plourde uses personification to tell the story of each season.  In this book. Mother Earth rouses her three daughters, March, April and May.  They are so busy arguing with each other that they forget their job is to make the world beautiful.  Gorgeous illustrations and lovely rhyming text!

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Poppleton in Spring – Cynthia Rylant  (1999)

I adore Cynthia Rylant and hold a special place in my heart for the Poppleton early reader series.   have such fond memories of reading them to my boys when they were young and have read them over the years to many primary classes.  This is a level three beginning reader that includes three delightful stories with simple-to-follow plot lines all about Poppleton the pig and his friends, Cherry Sue the Llama and Hudson, the mouse.  In this book there is a story about spring cleaning, buying a new bike and, my favorite – sleeping in the backyard in a tent and “paying attention” to Spring.   If you have not read any of the Poppleton books, you are MISSING OUT!

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The Happy Day – Ruth Krauss  (1949)

Woodland animals awake from their deep winter’s sleep to discover the first sign of spring’a flower blooming in the snow.  This timeless book was first published in 1949 and was a Caldecott honour book in 1950.  The illustrations in this book always makes me smile.

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

What is your favorite book to celebrate the coming of spring?

 

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

Top 10 Tuesday – Ten Spring Releases I am Eagerly Awaiting!

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It’s been a few weeks since I posted, but now report cards are written and marking is done, I’m  happy to be sharing some new releases ( picture books and novels) that I’m excited about!   I have listed release dates and all are available for pre-ordering.  While I haven’t actually READ these yet – some have amazing track records, some are from favorite authors, while others just caught my eye!  I’m “inferring”  I shall love them all!

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1. Flora and the Peacocks – Molly Idle (release May 3rd)

Molly Idle gifted us first with Flora and the Flamingo and then Flora and the Penguin.  Darling, dancing Flora is back, and this time, she is dancing with a pair of colorful, moody peacocks.  Can’t wait to read this one!

Book Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e75i9Q40STM

2. The Bear and the Piano – David Litchfield  (April 5)

I judged this book by it’s cover and decided it was a MUST read!  I can just imagine holding this cover up and asking the students “What are you wondering?”  My brain is swirling with wonderings!

3. Twenty Yawns – Jane Smiley  (April 1)

This looks like a sweet bedtime story and I adore Lauren Castillo’s illustrations so I’m keeping my eye out for this one!

4. Elephant and Piggie – The Thank You Book – Mo Willems  (May 5th)

I’m a huge fan of this hilarious, tender series and can’t wait to add this to our library collection!

5. Duck, Duck, Porcupine! – Salina Yoon (May 17)

I have enjoyed Salina Moon’s Penguin and Porcupine books so am looking forward to this book, told entirely through dialogue.

6. Flying Frogs and Walking Fish: Leaping Lemurs, Tumbling Toads, Jet-Propelled Jellyfish, and More Surprising Ways That Animals Move – Steve Jenkins (May 3) 

If you know me, you know I love Steve Jenkins.  Not just a little love – but overflowing book love for S. J.  His nonfiction books he writes with his wife (sigh) Robin Page are fascinating, engaging, stunning, and down-right glorious.  Here’s his latest.

7.  Booked – Kwane Alexander  (April 5)

 If you have not yet read or shared Kwane Alexander’s riveting novel in verse The Crossover, which won the Newberry in 2015 – it is a MUST READ!  In this much anticipated follow up novel, basketball is replaced with soccer.

8. My Seventh Grade Life in Tights – Brooks Benjamin

Lots of buzz about this charming, feel-good story of a tween boy who wants to be a dancer.

Book Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IOwYpsPLyI

9. Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood – Liesl Shurtliff (April 12)

If you are a fan of True Stories series by Liesl Shurtliff  (Rump and Jack),  you will be excited about Red!  If you teach middle school, these hilarious fractured fairy tales make the BEST read-alouds!

10.  Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo  (April 12)

Magic happens when you read Kate DiCamillo’s books.  Everything she writes is crafted masterfully and filled with heart-breaking, poignant moments and gorgeous, gorgeous language. This is the story of  a summer friendship.  Let the magic begin!

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

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