Category Archives: 2016 releases

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 New Holiday Books for Sharing and Gifting!

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With school wrapping up so early this year, it feels as if there has been hardly any time to share some of my favorite new holiday books with my students.  But books are always the best gifts to buy, so if you aren’t able to share these with your students this year, perhaps you will find a special gift for a special someone on this list!

Here are my top ten holiday books for 2016…

1.The Day Santa Stopped Believing In Harold – Maureen Fergus

Hilarious, tongue-in-cheek twist on the age-old question “Is there really a Santa Claus?” Big belly laughs with this one!  Bright, colorful illustrations, welcome inclusion of a multiracial family and a great ending.  (Caution: A child who believes in Santa likely won’t appreciate the humour, and I wouldn’t want to introduce doubt where there is none)

2. Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree – Lori Nichols

Sister bonding, a snowy expedition and problem-solving – all wrapped up in a delightful story that captures the snowy season.  Delightful illustrations.

3. The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story – by Kallie George

I kind of adore this book – it is so sweet and bursting with personality and kindness.  Four animal friends discover one of Santa’s gifts has fallen out of Santa’s sleigh.  But what to do with it is the question.  This book is a great one for predicting and also for prompting a  “What would you do?” conversation!

4. The Christmas Fox – Anik McGrory

Oh my, but this is a charming, heart-felt and tender story. A simple, subtle rendition of the nativity story and a sweet little fox who joins the other animals in the stable. I am in love with this adorable fox who shares meaning of Christmas through his joyful spirit.

5. Walking in a Winter Wonderland – Peggy Lee

The classic holiday song is brought to life with joyful, bright illustrations  by Tim Hopgood, complete with snowmen, sleigh bells, and dreaming by the fire.   Great large sized book is perfect for sharing!

6. The Christmas Eve Tree – Delia Huddy

A deeply moving story about a homeless boy who rescues a spindly tree, sparking hope and magic.  This story is unexpected, beautiful and one that must be shared.  Have your Kleenex handy.

7. The Great Spruce – John Duvall

Intergenerational story about a boy and his grandfather who come up with a plan to save their favorite tree after some men from the city want to cut it down and use it for the town Christmas celebration.

   8. The Wish Tree – Kyo Maclear

Despite his brother and sister’s disbelief, a little boy sets off to find a “Wish Tree” with his friend “Boggan” – his little red toboggan.  This is a perfect seasonal tale that mixes adventure, magic, and friendship with dreamy illustrations.

                                                 9..  Santa’s Underwear – Marty Rhodes Figley

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa cannot find his underwear!  This is a hilarious story with hilarious illustations.  I love the “romp” Santa takes through other holidays (Vanentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.)  as he searches for his Christmas undies!  LOL!

            

       The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats                    A Poem for Peter – Andrea Davis Pinkney

The iconic book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats was first released in 1962 and still remains one of “go to” books for winter reading.  This year, Andrea Davis Pinkney gives us the story behind this story in the gorgeous book A Poem for Peter.  What a great “pair” to be shared with students, children or grandchildren.

10   The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present – Harriet Muncaster

Thumbelina meets ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas!  When I was very young, I loved reading books with miniature characters and this  story would definitely have made my list of all-time favorites!  Delightful and determined Clementine is a teeny-tiny girl who lives with a regular sized family.  She is trying to let Santa know that she is very small and that the toys he leaves are always too large for her.  Sweet story, darling heroine – LOVE!

             And there are my top 10 (plus 2!) new holiday books for sharing and gifting!

                   Thanks for stopping by… which book has caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, Christmas, Holiday books, Homelessness, New Books, Picture Book, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Much Needed Book Joy

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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

Well, it’s been quite a week.  Lots of emotion, lots of fear, lots of unknowns…  I found myself being drawn into the negative events on the news and became swept up by it all.

And so, this weekend I turned off the news and turned to books… A distraction? Perhaps. But reading these brand new picture books brought me pieces of joy, as they always do. And joy was what I needed this week.

(A big thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me a box of joy!)

How to Be A Hero – Florence Parry Heide

What does it mean to be a hero?  Fame?  Cover of a magazine?   What does it take?  Bravery? Brains? Kissing a princess?   Gideon learns a good hero keeps their eyes open to the world.  Empowering, delightful and love the boy-centered fairy tale.

The Storybook Knight – Helen Docherty

“Leo was a gentle knight in thought and word and deed. While other knights liked fighting, Leo liked to sit and read.”

A charming story with the perfect message – violence is not the answer – books are!  With a gentle rhyme, we meet a Leo, the mouse, whose parents would rather him be swinging his sword rather than turning a page.  So Leo heads off to tame the  dangerous dragon… with a stack of books!   Love!

  The Wish Tree – Kyo Maclear

Sweet seasonal book with a tender message about believing in something when no one else seems to.  Poetic text and lovely illustrations.

Good Morning, City – Pat Kiernan

This book is written by Pat Kiernan, well-known morning anchor on NY1, New York City’s 24-hour news channel.  (Being from the west coast of Canada, I was not familiar with him, but apparently he was born in Calgary!)  It describes a city waking up and all the activities from early to mid-morning.  I really enjoyed the short, poetic descriptions combined with sound words. A great choice for visualizing and is now on my list of anchor books for when I teach onomatopoeia!  Beautiful illustrations with amazing use of light gradually brightening on each page. This is definitely one to check out!

Sleep Tight Farm – A Farm Prepares for Winter – Eugenie Doyle

Gentle, lyrical story about a farm getting ready for winter. Helps children understand this season of the year, and how the work of one season prepares for another. Stunning illustrations.  Lovely author’s note at the back.

Real Cowboys – Kate Hoefler

I love this gentle telling of the wonders of the west.  Soft poetic text and lovely illustrations.  I really liked the focus on positive personality traits: real cowboys cry; they are good listeners, willing to ask for help, patient and hard workers.  This book is quiet and moving with a subtle, but important lesson on empathy. 

Before Morning – Joyce Sidman

I adore everything Joyce Sidman writes… so was excited to see her new book about a family’s anticipation of a “snow day” following a snow storm.   This book is one you will need to pour over – with much of the story being told through the details in the illustrations – perfect for inferring!  I appreciated that Joyce Sidman includes an explanation of what an “invocation” poem is (poem that invites something to happen) inspiriting students to write their own!  Gorgeous “scratch-board” illustrations by Beth Krommes.

First Snow – Bomi Park

This book, translated from Korean, is quiet and charming, and captures the magic of snow and childhood wonder.  Simple, soft, and beautiful. 

Samson in the Snow – Philip C. Stead

Another gentle story of friendship from Philip Stead, this one about a woolly mammoth, a bird, a mouse and some dandelions.  Oh, how I love the quiet, gentle, kind and hopeful way he tells a story.  Gorgeous illustrations.

It Is Not Time for Sleeping ( A Bedtime Story) – Lisa Graff

Rhythmic, cumulative text describes a young child going through his nightly bedtime routines.  A perfect bedtime story – but also great for making connections in an early primary class.  Charming illustrations by Lauren Castillo. 

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

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Filed under 2016 releases, Family, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, making connections, New Books, Winter Books

Ten for Ten 2016: Top 10 New Picture Books for Your Reading Power Collection

This annual summer celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. This is my forth year of participating in this event – you can read my 2015 post here2014 post here and 2013 here.   Each year, the blogging community chooses 10 picture books on a range of themes – from diversity, to bullying, to writing, to conservation.  For the past 3 years, I have organized my 10 for 10 post around Reading Power – featuring two new releases for each RP strategy: Connecting, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, and Transform (synthesizing).  The response has been positive each year, so I am continuing the tradition!  For those who are already using RP, these would be my recommendations for adding or replenishing your collection this year!

CONNECT

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 Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

Connecting to names, origin of names, father-son relationships and family.  I love the voice in this delightful book.  Gorgeous illustrations and perfect for your aboriginal collection as well.

2. The Class – Boni Ashburn

Follow 20 different students from 19 different homes as they get ready kindergarten.  This book is a true celebration of diversity with children from many different backgrounds, morning rituals, routines, families, and ways of getting ready to go to school. Adorable illustrations and a perfect ‘CONNECT’ book for your early primary students.

QUESTION

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3. The Night Gardener – The Tan Brothers

Who keeps cutting the trees into animal sculptures during the night?  It is the magical mystery this book will slowly reveal.  Another book with illustrations you will linger over and a unique and creative story that will have your students wondering.

4. Follow the Moon Home – Deborah Hopkinson & Philippe Cousteau

How can a community save the sea turtles of the South Carolina coast?  Powerful story of how young people can make a difference – inspiring and beautiful.  Could also be used for Transform.

VISUALIZE

5. Finding Wild – Megan Wagner

Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. This book is so full of triple scoop words, I can hardly stand it! Perfect for visualizing and an anchor book for descriptive writing.

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6. I Hear a Pickle – Rachel Isadora

Sweet, simple introduction to the five senses for early primary students.  Great for teaching that visualizing is not just about what we see!

INFER

7. The Whale – Ethan Murrow & Vita Murrow

Wow – this book is truly a remarkable pencil-sketch wordless picture book.  Two children are out to prove that the rumored Giant Spotted Whale in their town is real or a myth.  This is a book where you really need to take your time to read the pictures.  The newspaper headlines also help to tell the story and are perfect for practicing inferring.

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Grandad’s Island – Benji Davies

Benji Davis gifts us with an extraordinary, thought-provoking book about life, death and love.  Poignant, gracefully told story about a young boy trying to understand why his grandfather is no longer in his life.  What makes it so touching is how subtle the message is – leaving the reader with spaces to wonder and to think.

TRANSFORM

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Ada’s Violin – Susan Hood

The extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash. Inspiring and filled with hope.

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10. Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story – Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

How can throwing away a worn-down pencil hurt anyone? How can wastefulness lead to violence? With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others.  A wonderful transforming story.

There you have it!  My top 10 for 10 picture books for 2016!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under 2016 releases, New Books, Picture Book 10 for 10, Reading Power

Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Favorite Middle Grade Novels (Gr. 5-8) of 2016 (So Far!)

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It’s Tuesday, so I’m posting my own version of the Top 10 list!  I’ve been getting several requests from teacher friends for recommendations for middle grade read-alouds so I have put together a list of my top ten favorites from 2016.  There are so many extraordinary books to chose from and always difficult to narrow it down to just 10 (I ended up with 12!) Please note that even though I have included it on a list of my favorites, before reading aloud to your class, please read it through yourself to ensure it is a good fit for you and your class.

OK… grab a Kleenex box and here we go….

1. Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo

From one of my favorite writers comes a simple, strong and whimsical story of three friends during the summer of 1975.  A tale of friendship, perseverance, poverty, loss and growing up. I loved the characters, all of them – Love Raymie. Love Beverly. Love Louisiana. LOVE Louisiana’s Grannie.   While this is not my favorite KD book, it is high on my list of favorites of 2016.

2. The Boy at the Top of the Mountain – John B0yne

From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes another story depicting the horrors of WWII.  After his father, a drunken German soldier, is killed by a train and his French mother dies of consumption, seven-yr. old orphan Pierrot is eventually taken in by his aunt, a housekeeper in large mountain retreat in Austria. While younger readers may not realize without some prompting, adult readers quickly infer that the home is that of Adolph Hitler.  I read this book in one sitting – could not put it down.  I would suggest pre-reading it to ensure appropriate content for your class, as there are some violent and tense scenes.  For older students, it would stimulate discussions around innocence corrupted, the attractions of power, and the resilience of youth.

3. Pax – Sara Pennypacker

Oh, this book.  This book.  A boy, a fox, a war – tender, so beautiful, so emotional.  So many ideas and themes are wrapped around the words: friendship, love, trust, betrayal, loyalty, war, peace.  Please read and share this book.

4. The Seventh Wish – Kate Messner

I highly recommend this book as a read-aloud in a grade upper elementary class.  A modern day fairy tale about a young Irish dancer who, trying to make some money to buy herself a new dance dress, catches a magic fish that grants wishes if she’ll let it go.   Sounds a little simple – but this book is so much more.  At times you will laugh, at times your heart will be breaking.   This book looks at family dynamics, addiction, middle school, and Irish dancing with insight and tenderness.   I follow Kate Messner on social media and know that she received some backlash from some schools about her including the subject of heroin addiction.  While I understand some may not be comfortable with this subject matter, I admire the way she presents this real-life problem gently and honestly.

5. The Wild Robot – Peter Brown

What would happen if a robot happened to arrive on an island that is humming with wildlife?  How would it survive?  And so begins this unique, unexpected and delightful survival story that somehow manages to hit many ‘hot topics’ including: disability, climate change, civilization, violence in nature, gun violence, balance in nature. While this sounds heavy handed – it’s not!  Peter Brown has created a very readable, authentic story with a unique voice given to all the creatures on the island.  This book is powerful and gentle and would make a great read-aloud in a grade 4-5 class.

6. Ms. Bixby’s Last Day – John David Anderson

The story of a brilliant teacher who sees the good in every single student, especially the little things that others don’t see. When her career gets cut short because of a cancer diagnosis, three boys decide to give her a good-bye party to remember.  I love the different voices in this book, as we discover through each boy, just why Ms. Bixby is so special to them.  Yes, you will cry – but you will also laugh along with your students.   I love this book.

7. Maybe a Fox – Kathi Appelt

Wow.  This story of grief and loss is haunting and magical; sad and heart-wrenching.  It is the story of two sisters, Jules and Sylvie, who are being raised by their father after their mother dies.  I loved the exquisite writing; I loved characters; I loved the fox; I loved the way the human world and the animal/nature world intersect; I loved the way death and grief (one of the sisters dies early in the book) are treated with dignity, grace and love. I cried and so will you.

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8. Hour of Bees – Lindsay Eager

I feel like a broken record but this book is extraordinary and lingers with you long after you finish it.  It has a wonderful setting (N ew Mexico desert), a fantastic group of characters, and completely enchanting magical elements. Oh, and did I mention beautiful writing? Instead of spending the summer before junior high with her friends in Albuquerque, Carolina is stuck in the New Mexico desert, with her mom, dad, little brother, half-sister Alta, and Grandpa Serge who she’s meeting for the very first time. Serge is suffering from dementia, and the family has come to help sell his house and move him to a seniors facility.  Caroline is drawn into Grandpa through his magical stories of the desert and soon the line between reality and magic becomes blurred.  Original, thought-provoking and beautifully written.

9. When Friendship Followed Me Home – Paul Griffin

Here is another book that takes you on an emotional roller coaster – one minute I was laughing, the next I was tearing up.  WOW.  Ben is a twelve year old, former foster child who has finally found a loving home and mother. Ben rescues a scruffy dog he names Flip and befriends a librarian’s daughter named Halley. When everything in Ben’s life suddenly changes, he discovers the true meaning of family and friendship.   I loved the characters in this book and the writing and dialogue is beautiful and authentic.  It’s a tear jerker and tackles some difficult issues, including foster care, physical abuse, cancer, and grief.  Recommended for mature grade 6 and up.

10. Save Me A Seat – Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan

This book is a realistic story set in a school and told in two different voices, making it a great choice for a read-aloud.  Joe and Ravi are struggling at school for completely different reasons: Ravi is a recent immigrant trying to fit in and Joe has some learning difficulties and is often bullied.  Over the course of a week, Ravi and Joe find common ground and a bond in their differences. Great book for making connections.  I loved the authentic voice and diversity of each character.  The added bonus was learning a bit more about their cultures from the descriptions of food – from school lunches to meals at home.   There are even recipes included at the end!

                                              AND BECAUSE I HAD TROUBLE COUNTING TO TEN…

11. The Land of Forgotten Girls – Erin Entrada Kelly

The school where I teach is attended by many Filipino families, so I was excited to read this book about two Filipino sisters. It is another heart-breaker but also a celebration of stories and sisters. Sol and her younger sister Ming live in poverty in Louisiana with their abusive stepmother after their father returns to the Philippines. Sol tells fairy tales which interweave with the plot and help give the sisters strength. A moving book for middle grade readers that highlights themes of sisterhood, friendship, survival and imagination.  As a mother, I found it difficult to read in parts, but the book is ultimately hopeful with strong female characters.

12. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary – Laura Shovan

Wow – this book, written in verse, is extraordinary, creative and unique.   You really need to read it to appreciate how amazing it is.  From start to finish, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary is completely delightful in every way. Through the voices of 18 very real and very lovable fifth graders, we experience their individual stories as well as the collective story of their class during a very momentous year in the history of their school – their school is being torn down.  So many authentic, diverse voices of family, culture, friendship and personality.  A perfect book for making connections and a must read-aloud book!

 There are SO MANY amazing new novels to read and share with your class this year!

Thanks for stopping by.  Would love to know which book has caught your eye!

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Filed under 2016 releases, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Read-Aloud

IMWAYR – It’s Monday! What are You Reading? – Hot Off the Press: More Amazing New Releases

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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

It’s hard to keep up with all the amazing books that are being released this summer!  Here are some of the new picture books I read this week.

1. The Summer Nick Taught Cats to Read – Curtis Manley & Kate Berube

An adorable story about a determined boy who teaches his two cats to read.  A perfect way to illustrate that not all readers learn the same way and that finding the ‘just right book’ for every reader is an important part of the process.  A delightful book to celebrate reading!

2. Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles

– Deborah Hopkinson & Philippe Cousteau

WOW!  Take note of this book!  It is ah-mazing!  So much to love about this book, written by the grandson of Jacques Cousteu.  I especially love that it combines so many amazing ‘teachable’ themes including: creative problem solving, animal activism, young people making a difference, community as well as fascinating sea turtle facts woven into the story. This one’s a winner!

3. On The Farm, At The Market – G. Brian Karas

A delightful, informative look at how produce gets from the farm to the farmers market to a restaurant.  This book would make a great introduction to farmer’s markets, gardening, community and farming.  Charming illustrations.

4. More-Igami – Dori Kleber

This book totally surprised me when I read it!  It is the story about a little boy named Joey who loves folding things.  When he tries to make an origami crane, his determined effort unfortunately results in a lot of frustration and crumpled paper.  (Think ‘Most Magnificent Thing‘) A lovely book about perseverance and passion and would also inspire some origami art! Lovely illustrations by G. Brian Karas – who has been busy as the previous book was written and illustrated by him as well!  Instructions in the back to make an origami ladybug (a little odd because the book was about a crane! )

5. Come Home, Angus – Patrick Downes

Great book dealing with how to manage when sometimes our small frustrations can lead to big emotions.  Clever clues in the illustrations to help capture the growing emotion in Angus.  I like that even when Angus runs away, Mom is never far behind him.

6. The Class – Boni Ashburn

Well, I know that there are hundreds of ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’ books to choose from but I couldn’t help myself – this one is must have this year!  What makes this one special is we follow 20 different students from 19 different homes as they get ready kindergarten.  This book is a true celebration of diversity with children from many different backgrounds, morning rituals, routines, families, and ways of getting ready to go to school. Adorable illustrations and a perfect ‘CONNECT’ book!

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This is My Dollhouse – Giselle Potter

A celebration of imagination and creativity!  A young girl creates a detailed dollhouse out of a cardboard box but worries her friend will not like it as much as a ‘real’ dollhouse.  When I was younger, my sister and I spent hours designing houses for our dolls and stuffies – I would have loved this book then, and I love it now!  Would be a great book to inspire creative thinking and play!

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Yaks Yak – Animal Word Pairings – Linda Sue Park

A funny, playful look at homophones through animal pairings and word play.  On each page, animals act out the version of their names as verbs – Fish fish with lines and hooks; Bats swing bats at baseballs; Slugs try to slug one another with boxing gloves.  I loved the chart at the end of the book which gives the etymology for each of the words.   Great fun and if you love words, like I do, you will love this book!

7. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog – Lisa Papp

This is a delightful little story which highlights the use of therapy dogs in libraries to help reluctant readers. Madeline Finn doesn’t like to read because she doesn’t read well.  But Bonnie, the beautiful dog who comes to the library, listens patiently and doesn’t laugh when she stumbles on some of the words.  Unconditional love and suppport goes a long way when you are struggling reader.

8. Ada’s Violin – The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay – Susan Hood

For those of you who do not know this story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay- it is a must read and a must share with your class.  This non-fiction picture books tells the remarkable true story about a visionary teacher who finds a way to help children escape their lives of extreme poverty through music. A beautifully told, hopeful, inspiring story with gorgeous colorful collage art.  My personal connection to this book is that my next-door neighbour is involved in a recycled instrument campaign here in Vancouver and hosted this group when they came to play here in May.  When they left, they presented him with one of their recylcled instruments – one of only 4 that they have ever given away.  The documentary film Landfill Harmonic about this extraordinary journey will be released this fall.  You can watch (and share) an inspiring 4 minute video, with the ‘real’ Ada  here or a longer report 60 Minutes did on this story here.

9. Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story – Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

This book has not yet been released but I was fortunate enough to read the a copy of the ARC that Kidsbooks had. It is a powerful and poignant story of the damage of wastefulness.  It is an important one to share with your students and would be a great companion book to Ada’s Violin.   With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  This is definitely a Transform book and I would use the ‘one word’ activity with it – using the word WASTE.  

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

Which book or books have caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, Back to School, Diverse Children's Books, Emotions, Family, Farmer's Market, homographs, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Weekend Bookstore Bliss!

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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

My husband:  How’s the beer on the deck?

Me:  I’m still in the book store.

My husband:  You are a nerd.

Me:  And proud of it.

I experienced book bliss this weekend when I spent over two blissful hours in Mosaic Books in Kelowna.   From the fiction, to the bargain tables, to the travel biographies, and ending with the children’s section – I was in book heaven!

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Here are just a few of the books that caught my eye (and some I had to buy!)

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The Toad Elise Gravel

I squealed with delight when I saw that Elise Gravel had added another book to her ever-so-popular-cannot-keep-these-books-on-the-book-shelf Disgusting Critter series.  A perfect balance between information and humour with a splash of gross topped off with delightful illustrations!  LOVE!

School’s First Day of School – Adam Rex

Charming and whimsical, mark this as a wonderful new back to school read-aloud.   Told from the point of view of the school, this is a fresh perspective on first day jitters!  Delightful illustrations by Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street)

Circle – Jeannie Baker

With a wheelchaired-boy’s wish to fly as the starting point, we follow the incredible journey of godwits as they travel from Australia and New Zealand to the Arctic where they look for places to eat and breed.  Jeannie Baker’s collage illustrations are stunning and I was happy to find more detailed information about the birds at the back of the book.

Lion Lessons – Jon Agee

Witty and charming book that teaches you the seven steps to becoming a great lion and earning a lion diploma!   This would make an excellent participation read-aloud, as younger readers can practice the steps of ‘looking fierce’ and ‘pouncing around’!  What fun!

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Douglas, You Need Glasses! – Ged Adamson

Adorable story about a near-sighted dog who needs glasses.  Gentle and humorous, children will laugh when Douglas mistakes leaves for squirrels and steps in the wet cement because he couldn’t read the sign.  And yes, the print on the cover is blurry!

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Let Me Finish! – Minh Le

Adorable book about a little boy who can’t read a book without someone spoiling the ending for him. Sparse text and lively illustrations – this book will make a wonderful read-aloud for younger students and a good reminder for older students of how NOT to give a book talk!  27064352

Louise and Andie and the Art of Friendship – Kelly Light

In this follow-up to Louise Loves Art, this book explores making new friends, and the challenges friends face when they don’t see things in quite the same way.   I appreciated the realistic approach to their friendship fight and the hurt feelings that many students will connect to. I also liked that Andie was an Andy Warhol fan!

Ideas Are All Around Us – Philip C. Stead

The latest from one of my favorite authors, this book is inspiring and beautiful.  In it, an author and his dog go for a walk and discover stories everywhere.  This would make an excellent anchor book for writing workshop and discussing where ideas for writing come from.

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Be Frank With Me – Julia Clairborne Johnson

Our last book club read of the summer was  a delightful read, with quirky, charming characters.  I fell in love with young Frank, an eccentric,on-the-spectrum, friendless 9-year old boy who has very little connection with his grade four classmates because he dresses in 1930’s movie star costumes and has the wit and sophistication of an adult.  Frank is being looked after by a young publisher’s assistant while his reclusive mother, the once famous Mimi Banning, completes her first book in decades.   This book is light-hearted, touching and thoroughly entertaining.  A wonderful debut novel and a perfect summer read.

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The Book of Speculation – Erika Swyler

And from the bargain fiction table at Mosaic, I picked up this 2015 release.  I was drawn in by the cover and started making connections to  The Night Circus  when I read...”A wonderful tale of mystery, magic, carnivals, mermaids, tarot and through it all is the book of speculation linking the lives of two families.”  Sounds intriguing, I loved Night Circus – and it was on sale!  I’ll keep you posted!

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

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Filed under 2016 releases, Book Club, Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Read-Aloud, Writing Anchors

Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Book Covers for Inviting Questions!

top 10

 

I always tell students, when practicing the strategy of questioning, that ‘good readers start asking questions even before they start reading’   Book covers are a great way to get your students thinking and wondering about a story.   There are some books that invite readers to wonder; captivating illustrations that stimulate our thinking, our imagination and our curiosity.  One look at the cover and questions come tumbling out.  Below are my top 10 books to use for questioning – the first five are new releases and the remaining five are old favorites.  I guarantee, if you hold up one of these books and ask your students, ‘What are you wondering?” you will be amazed at what happens!

(Just for a change, rather than summarizing each book, I have included authentic student-asked questions for each.  You will just have to read the books yourself to find the answers!)

1. The Whale – Ethan Murrow

What are they looking at?  Where are they?  Do they know where the whale is?  Are they in a boat or on land? Are they brother and sister or friends?  Are they scared?  Is the whale coming closer?

2. The Bear and the Piano – David Litchfield

Does the bear know how to play the piano?   How long has the piano been sitting there?   Is the bear going to play a sad song or a jazzy one?  Are they on a stage?  Is this a pretend play or is it real?  Is this a magical piano?  Do any other animals know there is a piano out there?

3. The Night Gardener – The Fan Brothers

Who is that boy?  Is he the gardener?  How old is he?  Is that owl going to come to life?  How did the tree get that way?  Does the tree only look like that at night?  Can the tree owl talk?  Can it fly?  Is the boy telling the owl a secret?

4. The Parachute – Danny Parker

Is that a boy or a girl?  What is he looking at?  Where is the bottom?  Is that a tree house?  How tall is that ladder?  Is he stuck?  Does he have the parachute or does he need one?  How is he going to get down?  Is he scared to be so high up or does he like it up there?

5. The Typewriter – Bill Thomson

What is that?  Why is the bee so big?  Is that a real bee or kind of a fake one?  What is that black thing?  Is that a briefcase?  Is that a clown bee?  Is that kind of one of those bee rides?

6. Phileas’s Fortune: A Story About Self-Expression Agnes de Lestrade

Is that a boy or a girl?  What is the fortune?  What is that shadow ?  What is coming out of that mountain?  Is that a horn?  What’s coming out of that horn?  What is in her hand?   Is she going to try to catch those things?  Where does she live?  

6. June 29, 1999 – David Wiesner

What’s in those baskets?  Why are the plants flying?  Hey – that’s my birthday!  How long have they been in the air for?  How big are those balloons?  Is someone controlling them?  Where are they going?  How many balloons are there?  

7. The Wretched Stone – Chris Van Allsburg

Who is that guy?  Is he flying or jumping?  Is he dreaming or really happening like that?  Is he magic?  What is a wretched stone?  What does wretched mean?  Is he going to fall in the water?  Is someone going to catch him?  Is he scared?

8. Mr. Bear and the Bear – Frances Thomas

Who is Mr. Bear?  Is this Mr. Bear or the bear?  Is this bear wild and dangerous?  What is the bear looking at?  Does the bear turn into Mr. Bear?  Is the bear mad or sad?

9. Two Frogs – Chris Wormell

What’s going on with these two guys?  I mean frogs but they kind of look like guys.  Is that one gonna hit the other one with that stick?  Why is one of them smiling and then the other one looks kind of scared?  Do they know each other?  How do frogs float like that like they are just kind of hanging there?  Is that the bully frog?

the egg

10. The Egg – M.P. Robertson

What’s in that egg?  Does his mom know there is a gigantic egg in his room?  Is the boy reading to the egg or just reading to his quiet self?  How long does the boy have to sit on the egg?  Is it going to hatch soon?  Where did the egg come from?  What book is he reading?  

What are your favorite books to inspire “COVER QUESTIONS”?

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

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Filed under 2016 releases, Picture Book, Question