Category Archives: 2017 releases

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? New Books for Back to School 2017

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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

Back to school means lots of new books for new lessons!  Here are a few of the great new titles I’ve been reading!

Imagine – John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Amnesty International illustrated by Jean Jullien

John Lennon’s iconic song has been transformed into a beautiful picture book and has been published in partnership with Amnesty International for the International Day of Peace on September 21st.   Like the song that inspired it, Imagine invites people to imagine a world at peace, a world of kindness.   As Yoko Ono says in her foreword, “Every small, good thing that we do can help change the world for the better.”   An Imagine website has been launched in nine countries and five languages. Visitors, including young children, can submit their own messages of peace, read those from around the world, and share messages of peace and hope on their social media programs.  Please consider inviting your students to participate.

Carson Crosses Canada

Carson Crosses Canada – Linda Bailey

Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey is a delightful book celebrating Canada! Annie and her dog Carson are on a road trip across Canada from BC to Newfoundland to visit Annie’s sister. Along the way, they stop and visit many amazing sites and see the unique landscape of each province. This book is lively and fun with simple text and bright, whimsical illustrations. I loved the map of her journey and the end papers! This would make a great anchor book to introduce a unit on Canada in your primary class or celebrate Canada 150!

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Picture the Sky – Barbara Reid

So excited to see this companion book to Picture a Tree.  In her classic colorful Plasticine style, Barbara Reid explores the stories of the sky – from the weather, to the stars,to the seasons, and to our imagination – in all its moods and colors.  The sky is all around us, but it is always changing.   This book is perfect for visualizing!

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In the Middle of Fall – Kevin Henkes

This wonderful new book by Kevin Henkes will have your senses tingling!  The colors are vibrant and simplistic, it features adorable woodland creatures, and is everything you could want in a book about the changing seasons.  I also liked the fact that it focuses on mid-late fall, when all the changes have already happened.   Great anchor for writing as well – lots of triple scoop words and similes – “the apples are like ornaments”.   I love fall and I love this book!

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Nerdy Birdy Tweets – Aaron Reynolds

Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds Is an important book to read to students. Nerdy Birdy learns a valuable lesson about the impact of social media on friendship and the dangers of and posting things about someone else without their permission, Great anchor book to start the conversation about digital citizenship and being responsible and respectful when using social media.

Lovely

Lovely Jess Hong

A celebration of diversity – in all its shapes and sizes!  Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly – we are all LOVELY!  Colorful, bold illustrations and simple text.  This is a great book to build classroom community!

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Hello, Harvest Moon – Ralph Fletcher

If you are looking for an anchor book for descriptive, sensory language – look no further!  Ralph Fletcher’s new book (companion to Twilight Comes Twice) follows the moon as it rises and describes all the things it shines on.  Gorgeous illustrations and filled with rich, descriptive language and literary devices.  I would definitely use select pages from this book to do a “Found Poetry” lesson.  (Children highlight favorite words from the text, then use the words to write their own poem.  Additional words can be added.)

“With silent slippers
it climbs the night stairs,
lifting free of the treetops
to start working its magic,
staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow.”

There's nothing to do

There’s Nothing To Do!  – Dav Petty

Loved this third book in the Frog series!  (I Don’t Want to Be a Frog! and I Don’t Want to Be Big! are the first two).  This Frog cracks me up, and all three books will have kids laughing out loud.  This book features Frog dealing with boredom and, while his friends make lots of suggestions, turns out that sometimes nothing is the best thing to do! Sweet message and great voice.

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Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt

Wow!  LOVE this book.  The story follows two young children who are curious about why they look the way they do wand why other people look how they do.  It is a celebration of diversity and humanity, about love and compassion for one another, despite color of skin or our appearance.  I’m using it tomorrow with my grade 2’s and 3’s as we explore self identity.  Love the deep-thinking questions and the powerful message.

THinking Cap

Sarabella’s Thinking Cap – Judy Schachner

Loved this book for so many reasons.  One – the illustrations are GORGEOUS (I predict a Caldecott nomination!) Second – the story about a girl who has trouble focusing because she spends so much time in her “Imagination Pocket” – is one that many children will be able to connect to.  Third – the supportive teacher who helps her design her own “thinking cap” which helps transform her creative imagination into something visible.  A wonderful story celebrating daydreaming, imagination, and one great teacher!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lots of great books out there for you to share!  Hope you found one that you can share in your classroom!  Happy reading, everyone!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2017 releases, Canada, Connect, Diversity, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Read-Aloud, Writing Strategies

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2017 Fall Releases from Kidscan Press (part 1)

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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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It’s like Christmas in August when I find a box of brand new picture books from the outstanding Canadian Publishing Company Kids Can Press on my doorstep!  I’m excited to share the first post featuring some of their new books for fall 2017!  This week I will be focusing on fiction picture books – next week nonfiction!

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No Room for Baby! – Emile Jadoul

A perfect fit for new big brothers and sisters.  Full of reassurance that there will always be room in our home and our hearts for a new addition.  Simple text and adorable penguin characters.  A great connect book for K’s and 1’s who may be “expecting” a new sibling.

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Goodnight Hockey, Fans! – Andrew Larsen

Bedtime comes at the worst times – especially in the middle of a hockey game!  Of course, when this young hockey fan is told to go to bed, he can’t sleep!  After his parents tuck him in, he shines his flashlight on his hockey equipment and trophies and listens to the hockey announcer on the radio.  As he drifts off to sleep, he dreams his is playing hockey on his favorite team.  This is a must have book for young hockey fans and would make a perfect connect book for having kids share what they do when they can’t fall asleep!

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Middle Bear – Susanna Isern

Being “middle-sized” is not very fun – too young to hang with your older brother and too old to play baby games with your younger one.  This middle child is longing to feel special and be noticed.  I love the message that no matter what size or age, we all have our own unique gifts.  Heartwarming story and unique illustrations.

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Captain Monty Takes the Plunge – Jennifer Mook-Sang

A delightful tale of adventure and courage on the high seas!  Captain Monty is a scary pirate – and he also STINKS because he never takes a bath.  And he never takes a bath because he can’t swim!   A frolicking story with a great message about overcoming your fears.  Vibrant illustrations, lots of action and a sweet love story with a Mermaid named Meg!

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Me, Me, Me – Annika Dunklee

I was excited to see this follow up to Annika Dunklee’s book Me, Too!  This book continues the relationship of a delightful trio of multicultural friends – Annie, Lillemor and Lilianne.  In this story, problems arise when the girls enter a school talent show as a singing group and Annie starts making all the decisions about song choice, dance moves and costumes.  This is a wonderful connect book for talking about friendship issues, cooperation and teamwork.  I love the authentic dialogue and the snippets of other languages in the text.  Great read-aloud!

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The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia Margriet Ruurs

This is a beautiful book based on a true story about a young boy named Aaron who rescues a baby elephant.  Gorgeous illustrations and with facts included about elephants and the dangers from poaching and destroying their habitat and information at the back about how we can help endangered animals.  Engaging story of compassion and hope for intermediate students.  The book is longer than most picture books and could be read over several days.  Great for inspiring passion projects or a study of endangered animals.

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Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament – Anne Renaud

In case you have ever wondered where the potato chip came from – this book has the answer!  Based on the true story of a chef who accidentally invents potato chips when a customer keeps returning his potatoes and asking for them to be thinner and crispier.   Clever, funny, entertaining!  Love the tongue-in-cheek humour.  (Be warned – you will crave potato chips after reading!)

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The Tiny Tale of Little Pea – Davide Cali

“Even the littlest among us can make a big mark.”  I loved this book and the adorable character of Little Pea!  Little Pea is very small, but very happy.  He doesn’t realize that his small stature makes him different from others until he gets to school (Think Will Farrell in Elf!) and discovers the world is not very inclusive of small people.  In the end, Little Pea remains true to himself and learns there is always something we can find that we are good at.  Great for discussion as there are many themes you could infer from this book.

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Shelter – Celine Claire

If I could pick a favorite from the pile, this would be it!  Such a beautiful illustrated book (reminded me of my childhood illustrated copy of Winnie the Pooh) with a meaningful message of kindness, compassion and community.  As animals prepare for a coming storm, two lone bears are searching for shelter, but no one offers to help, including the fox family.  When the storm arrives, the fox family must leave their den to find a safer shelter – and the turn to the two bears for help.  A perfect book for the start of the year with the message of “treat others how you would like to be treated”.  Gentle and heartwarming.  With older students you could compare this story to Stone Soup and discuss the different ways the community acts.

Thanks for stopping by!

Would love to know which book(s) caught your eye!

 

 

 

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Filed under 2017 releases, Animals, Connect, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Read-Aloud, Social Responsibility

Picture Book 10 for 10 (2017) – 10 New Picture Books for Your Reading Power Collection!

 

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I’m excited to be, once again, participating in this summer’s 10 for 10 Picture Book celebration! #pb10for10   This annual celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.  Hard to believe this is my fifth year of participating in this event! (you can read my 2016 post here2015 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.  It is an amazing opportunity to explore new picture books related to a wide range of themes.  (It can also be a little hard on your bank account, if you are anything like me!)

This year, as with my previous 10 for 10 posts, I have organized my post to feature new releases that support Reading Power strategies.  I have included two books for each: 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!

(Please note that I have received advanced copies of a few of these titles so some might only be available for pre-order.)

CONNECT

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Now Antoinette Portis

This is a beautiful new book from Canadian writer/illustrator Antoinette Portis. Such a sweet story about a girl whose favorite things are whatever she’s currently experiencing. I would definitely use this with for connecting to favorite things (personal preferences),  but could also be used for inferring a deeper meaning about living in the moment.  Great for mindfulness and gratitude.

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There Might Be Lobsters – Carolyn Crimi

This is a wonderful story about dealing with fears and anxiety. Sukie is a very small dog with a really big fear of almost everything, especially lobster.  Spending a day at the beach with her favorite person is a nightmare for Sukie as she thinks about all the dangers that might be there.  When her favorite toy, “Chunka Munka” (love the name!) starts to drift into the tide, Sukie must face her fears!  I love that this book is told from the dog’s perspective and also you need to read it out loud just so you can say “Chunka Munka” lots of times!  Great illustrations!

QUESTION

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Questions AskedJostein Gaarder

Well, you can’t get a better book for introducing deep-thinking questions to your class than a book filled with them!  This book introduces readers to rather complex philosophical questions in a simple format.  Gorgeous,  soft-pallet paintings that capture the emotions of this little boy wandering and pondering through an open landscape.  This would be more suited for older students and would stimulate deep-thinking conversations.

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Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of SecretsPei-Yu Chang

What could be in his suitcase? This is the question readers wonder as they read this historical picture book based on the life and persecution Walter Benjamin – a Jewish philosopher forced to flee the Nazi occupied Germany during WWII.   When asked why he couldn’t just leave the suitcase behind, he responds:  “The contents of this case can change everything.”   But in the end, we never know what was inside – the perfect starting point for discussing possibilities. Such an important story depicting a world where ideas and opposition are seen as dangerous by those in power.  This is a book I would definitely recommend for units on WWII with intermediate or middle school. Incredible paper cut and mixed media illustrations.

VISUALIZE

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A River – Marc Martin

Oooooo… this book is stunning!  Gorgeous illustrations, detailed poetic text.. this book is a magical journey of a young girl in a silver boat following a river through jungles, farmland and eventually the sea.   But I think it could also be a wonderful introduction to the geography of rivers and their tributaries and habitats.    A marvelous, gentle journey to visualize!

Things to Do – Elaine Magliaro

This is a delightful book, perfect for visualizing but could also be used for making connections and an anchor book for “How To”  writing.  Reads like a collection of “How To” poems centered around a child’s day, capturing little things in life as well as different weather and seasons. Lovely vocabulary (great triple scoops!) and gorgeous illustrations.  This book is pure joy!  LOVE this one!

INFER

Draw the Line – Kathryn Otoshi

The amazing Katheryn Otoshi (author of One, Two, and Zero) has, once again, given us a book filled with rich discussion points.  Draw the Line is so much more than a book about lines.  It is a beautiful wordless picture book about friendship, creativity, community, conflict, resolution – and a “line” connecting us all.  A must have book for inferring, connecting, transform…. Brilliant!

Town is By the Sea – Joanne Schwartz

A simple, poetic story set in the early 1900’s in Cape Bretton, Nova Scotia tells of the challenging life of a mining family.  A young boy goes about his daily activities in the sunshine by the sea while, in contrast, his father works underground in the mines.  The writing is so beautifully descriptive and would be a great anchor book for descriptive, sensory writing or Visualizing, but also Inferring.  The words are lulling and almost haunting and the illustrations are gorgeous.

TRANSFORM

Life – Cynthia Rylant

Cynthia Rylant is definitely one of my top favorite children’s writers. I find her books to be so life-affirming, full of wonder and hope. Her new book “Life” is simply stunning. “What do you love about life?” is the question asked to many different animals. Through their responses, we are gifted with a wonderful message about life: how it constantly changes, the beauty of it, the darkness, and the wonders all around it. Simple, lyrical text and beautiful illustrations by Brendan Wenzel – it is a calm and reassuring book.  I would use the “one word” activity for this book with the word “Life”.  Give the word to the students before and after reading and see how their thinking changes.   Love.

Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt

This gorgeous book celebrates diversity and identity in the most respectful and thoughtful while exploring the deep question – Why am I me?  Would be great for both young children but would stimulate great discussions and writing responses from an older class.  A great “Me to We” book as readers are invited to imagine a world where there is no you or me, only we.

La La La: A Story of Hope – Kate DiCamillo

Just had to include this almost wordless picture book by the great Kate DiCamillo that tells the story of a lonely young girl who is longing to be heard.  The illustrations are endearing, gentle and filled with emotion.  This book invites inferences because of the sparse text, connections to being lonely and the desire to belong, and transforming because of the hopefulness that you feel.  As I always say – I know when a book is good when I don’t know where to put it!  And here is a perfect example of that!

 

There you have it!  My 2017 Picture Book 10 for 10!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found one or two books to add to your Reading Power collection!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2017 releases, Connect, Infer, New Books, Picture Book 10 for 10, Reading Power, Transform, Visualize

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books about Lines! (Who knew there were so many?)

top 10What is a line?  Think about it for a moment.  It starts and it stops… or does it?   A line, on one hand, is a simple mark or stroke on a surface.  But when you start thinking about it, you realize how many different lines there are and how many ways we use the word in both expressions and to describe things….

“A fine line”, “crossed the line”, “line in the sand”, “over the line”, “end of the line”, “you’re out of line”, “draw the line”, “read between the lines“, clothes line, number line, time line, line-up, line change (in hockey), line dancing, the bottom line, border line, line of longitude, line of latitude, fault line, deadline, enemy line, battle line, line of fire, tan line, fishing line, telephone line, blood line, zip line, party line, front line, line from a poem or story, dotted line, underline, inter-lined, straight line, crooked line, squiggly line, long line, stand in line, line-by-line….Phew!  That’s a lot of lines!

I thought about how this concept of “line” would make an interesting inquiry project – “What is a line?”  With a little imagination, a line can be…just about anything you want!   What a great way to connect art, story and imagination.  Fascinated by the concept, I started my search for picture books about lines… and it didn’t take long to fill up my top ten list!  Any of these books could be used as anchors for art, writing – or both!

1, Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crocket Johnson

First published in 1955, this gentle book really started it off: the idea that a child with an imagination and thirst for adventure could use purple crayon lines to create his own imaginary world.  Add a few obstacles, some humour, a moose and some pie – and you have yourself a classic!

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2. The Line – Paula Bossio

This wordless picture book takes the reader on an adventure of a little girl discovering a line. As the girl follows the line, the reader discovers what adventure awaits her.  A perfect story starter for early-elementary as they begin to explore narrative, either by using one of the girl’s creations in the story or by coming up with their own way of turning the line into something.

3. The Squiggle – Carole Lexa Schaefer

A little girl, a piece of string and a big imagination – from a Dragon Dance to the Great Wall of China, food, and other items she experiences – I love the diversity in this book as well as the beautiful brush stroked illustrations.  A great anchor for drawing and writing!  What will your squiggle be?

4. Follow the Line –  Laura Ljungkvist

This is the first in a series of books by Scandanavian artist Laura Ljungkvist in which she explores one continuous line throughout an entire book.  In this book, a single line begins on the front cover and winds its way across each page as we flow from city to the country, from the sky to the ocean, from morning till night.  Each page is packed with color, objects, buildings, animals and amazingness!

5. Follow the Line to School – Laura Ljungkvist

In this book, we follow a single line on a playful romp through the school.  From the library to the science corner – this is an interactive, creative and fun way to engage the reader.  I like that the text also prompts the reader with questions…. “Here is the class pet.  I wonder what kind of animal it is?”… “Now we’re in the lunch room. What will you eat for lunch today?”    Other books in this series include:  Follow the Line Around the World and Follow the Line Through the House. 

6. Lines That Wiggle – Candace Whitman

“Lines are everywhere you look!”  All sort of lines and their uses are explained in this book through cartoon characters, e.g. curvy, wiggly, wavy, etc. This book would be a great anchor book for introducing line vocabulary and also to inspire some great line drawings.   I also like that it inspires kids to look closer at things and notice lines in everyday things.  Here is the link youtube version:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SqFA…

7. Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words – Ruth Rocha

Translated from Portuguese by Brazil’s most famous children’s authors, this charming picture book tells the story of a boy who sees squiggles and lines that don’t exactly make pictures and he can’t quite decipher. But when he starts school, he realizes that those confusing squiggles and lines were actually letters!   Sweet look at the beginning to read for early primary.

8. A Squiggly Story – Andrew Larsen

A great introduction to the writing process!  While the last book focused on the beginning reader, this one playfully and imaginatively explores a young child’s process of learning to express himself through writing.  I love the message of finding your own voice and that everyone has a story inside us – tell it, draw it, squiggle it!

9. The Lines on Nana’s Face – Simona Ciraolo

In this heartfelt book,  we see lines as memories and stories of a well-lived life.  As a little girl points to a line on her nana’s face, Nana tells her a story.  A celebration of family, grandparents, memories and life stories – this beautiful book makes me teary every time I read it.

Lines – Suzy Lee

WOW!  This brand new release is a truly stunning wordless picture book.  With gorgeous, simple pencil drawing, the reader follows a skater who is tracing lines on the ice.  As the lines on the ice get more complicated, the skater leads readers to unexpected places!  Magical…. astounding… charming….as soon as I finished, I started reading it again.   I LOVE this book!  (Thank you, Groundwood Press, for sending me this pre-release copy)

And here are two to more LINE books to watch for this fall….

Draw the Line – Kathryn Otoshi

The amazing Katheryn Otoshi (author of One, Two, and Zero) has, once again, given us a book filled with rich discussion points.  Draw the Line is so much more than a book about lines.  It is a beautiful wordless picture book about friendship, creativity, community, conflict, resolution – and a “line” connecting us all.  A must have book for inferring, connecting, transform…. Brilliant!

Free the Lines – Clayton Junior

Another thought-provoking wordless picture book that will inspire rich discussions in an upper elementary classroom.  This one focuses on an environmental theme, specifically ethics in the fishing industry.  Told through extraordinary lined drawings, Clayton tells a story of a small cat fishing in a small boat on a large ocean who runs into a huge, smoke-belching trawler, who sets out enormous nets and catches all the fish.  How the cat solves the problem is one that could be up for debate. It truly is amazing how much you can say in a picture book without a single word of text – a perfect book for inferring (ie. what are you inferring the tile means?) and questioning both the story and the message.  Watch for this one!

And there you have it – books about lines that I hope will inspire you and your students draw, squiggle, swirl and write with and about lines!  Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

 

Image result for the line paula bossio
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Filed under 2017 releases, Art, Infer, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday, wordless, Writing Strategies

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 New Spring Picture Books Worth Reading and Sharing!

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It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for another  Top 10 Tuesday post!  This week, I’m featuring some of the amazing new picture books I have discovered this Spring.  Enjoy!

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1. The Treasure Box – Margaret Wild

“When the enemy burned the library, everything burned.”   This extraordinary book tells the story of a young boy and his father who save a book after their library is destroyed by war.  Powerful and heart-breaking story of resilience in the face of the atrocities of war.  Haunting.

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2. That Neighbor Kid – Daniel Miyares

A gentle, nearly wordless picture book of a new friendship that forms when a young girl moves into a new neighbourhood just as the boy next door is planning to build a tree house.  Friendship develops as the tree house is constructed.  Charming!  I love how the soft black and white illustrations are gradually include color as the story develops.

3. The Book No One Ever Read – Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke, acclaimed author of the InkWorld series and The Thief Lord, shares what it is like to be a book- told through the minds of the books themselves.  Imaginative, enchanting,  and a great message!

4. Twinkle – Nick Bland

A charming,  tender and beautifully illustrated story about a shooting star that falls down from the night sky into Penny Pasketti’s back yard.  When it’s time for Star to “fall up” into the night sky, Penny finds a way to send her new friend home.

5. Places to Be – Mac Barnett

Two fuzzy friends explore a wide range of experiences and emotions in this adorable book, reminiscent of The Quiet Book and the Loud Book.  I love the whimsical illustrations and the introduction of new emotion vocabulary – jubilant, awestruck, or sullen.  Great Connect book!

6. Town is By the Sea – Joanne Schwartz

A simple, poetic story set in the early 1900’s in Cape Bretton, Nova Scotia tells of the challenging life of a mining family.  A young boy goes about his daily activities in the sunshine by the sea while, in contrast, his father works underground in the mines.  The writing is so beautifully descriptive and would be a great anchor book for descriptive, sensory writing or Visualizing, but also Inferring.  The words are lulling and almost haunting and the illustrations are gorgeous. 

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7. The Last Tree – Ingrid Chabbert

“When I got home, I lost myself in my books. To see some green, some leaves… some happiness.”   Simple, thought-provoking story about environmental awareness, reminiscent of The Lorax.    A father tells his son about the days when he used to run amongst the grass and trees, instead of living in the concrete world they both live in.  This is a must add to your “Earth Day” collection!

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8. Little Fox in the Forest – Stephanie Graegin

So much book love for this one!  Adorable wordless picture book in large graphic novel panels tells the story of a young girl who brings her favorite Fox stuffy for show-and-tell.  At recess, a sneaky fox snitches the fox from the bench.  Lots of details to pour over again and again.  Heart-warming!  Delightful!

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9. The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do – Ashley Spires

Lou is fearless, full of adventure and up for anything… except climbing trees.  Encouragement and perseverance are the themes of this latest delightful book by Ashley Spires (author of The Most Magnificent Thing).  Love the nameless sidekick cat!

10.  The Book of Mistakes – Corinna Luyken

Here’s the perfect book for the Creative Thinking competency!  Gorgeous illustrations and poetic language in a large format make this a great book for sharing. Corrina Luyken explores the creative process, perseverance, accepting mistakes, making the best of a situation… so much packed between the covers of this beautiful book!  Lots to think about, to infer, and to transform our thinking!  So inspiring!  A great “gifting” book for anyone who loves to draw, create or design.  LOVE!

10.  Green Green – A Community Gardening Story – Marie Lamba

This story by Marie Lamba is a wonderful and inspiring book about children who join forces together to build a community garden.  Gorgeous illustrations and lovely rhyming text.  Wonderful details on each page to inspire discussion with primary students about the environment, community, and taking care of our Earth.  Two page information spread at the back gives information about how to make more “green” in your world and the importance of gardens to bees and butterflies.  Great!

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10. The Good for Nothing Button – Charise Mericle Harper

Yellow Bird has a button that does… nothing!  If you need a good giggle – you will get it with this third Elephant and Piggie Like early reader series!  What a hoot!  The Imaginative, playful and a perfect read-aloud for an early primary class.

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

( And yes,  I lost track of my book count!  Turns out it is Top 12 Tuesday today!)

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Filed under 2017 releases, Connect, Earth Day, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Visualize, Writing Anchors

Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten New Middle Grade Novels Worth Reading

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With only a few months left until the end of the school year, you may be looking for that “just right” end of the year read-aloud for your class to send them off into the summer bursting with book love!  There are many amazing new books that I have fallen in love with and hope you do, too!  Here are my top ten favorite new books to fill your classroom and your hearts with book joy.

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1. A Boy Called Bat – Elana K. Arnold

Bixby Alexander Tam, or Bat, is great at Math and knows more about animals than anyone in his class, but he is not great at making friends. When his mom, a veterinarian, brings home a baby skunk, Bat becomes the best skunk care-taker ever, all while trying to navigate his world. A Boy Called Bat by Elana K Arnold is a charming story for your younger middle grades (Gr. 4-5, possibly gr. 3) I like that this book has a character most likely on the autism spectrum, without the book being about that. The story focuses more on Bat’s love of animals and how this empathy for animals helps him connect to his classmates. This book is tender, heartwarming and funny with an amazing character you and your students will fall in love with. Major warm fuzziness.

2. Orphan Island – Laurel Snyder

This  book is not available until the end of May but it is a MUST read!  So much to love about this deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.  I was completely captivated by the writing, the themes, the story – I could not put this book down.  So much emotion and pain and beauty.  WOW.   Perfect read-aloud for grade 5-6 level that will stimulate lots of discussions.

3. See You In the Cosmos – Jack Cheng

A “road trip” novel, narrated by space-obsessed 11 year old Alex through a series of Podcasts.  There have been a lot of books written through letters, emails, situation reports – but this is the first I have read that is written in podcasts. Protagonist Alex travels to a large rocket festival with hopes to launch a rocket into space carrying a golden iPod.  His a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe is funny and moving.  

4. The Ethan I Was Before – Ali Sandish

Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous debut middle grade novel.  So much emotion in this hauntingly beautiful book – I cried in many places.  Ethan is a haunted, broken boy,  filled with grief and guilt about an undefined accident that happened to his best friend.  This is a book of loss, love, guilt, resilience and forgiveness.  It is a multi-layered plot but the story strands all weave together in the end.  Fast paced and beautifully written.

5. Short – Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting By 7’s author Holly Goldberg Sloan’s new book is a endearing novel about a short girl who is cast in her first theater role as a munchkin in a summer production of Wizard of Oz.  Julia has such an authentic voice that had me laughing one minute and welling up the next.  Loved the realistic “musical production” setting and would be a great connect book for students involved in theater or school productions.

6. Hello Universe – Erin Entrada Kelly

So much to love about this book that takes place almost entirely in a single day with an unusual cast of characters who come together for a strange adventure.  I love the diversity of the characters, the combination of reality, adventure and magic, the weaving in of Filipino culture and stories (told by a whimsical grandmother), the charming, witty narrative, the themes of family, friendship and believing in yourself… I could go on and on but just read it!

7. Me and Marvin Gardens Amy Sarig King

This book is the perfect way to approach environmental issues with the middle grade audience!  (think Hoot by Carl Hiassen).  Me and Marvin Gardens is a cleverly written story about a changing world and the changing environment.  I believe I found a class discussion could come from almost every page!  While filled with important environmental issues, it is also a coming-of-age story as sixth-grade Obe must overcome fear and deal with bullies.  Excellent choice for a read-aloud!

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The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street – Lindsay Currie

Ahhhhhhh!  This book is CREE-PY!  But Oh, SOOOO good!  If you like history, mystery and scary stories – this is for you!  As well you will find…Friendship, humor, suspense, emotion, family, heart.  So well written.. and oh, and did I mention it was scary????

9. Amina’s Voice – Hena Khan

An excellent story filled with many issues middle grade readers will connect to – changing friendships, parental restrictions, having the courage to try new things and trying to find your own path.   I loved how Amina’s culture, faith and experiences being a Pakistani American Muslim are woven into the story in such a natural way.  Great writing and memorable characters. 

1o. Chester and Gus – Cammie McGovern

Written from the point of view of Chester, a therapy dog in training, as he tries to build a relationship with his human, Gus, who happens to be autistic. This book will make you laugh, cry and want to hug every dog you meet.  The power of this dog’s love for Gus will steal your heart.  LOVED this book SO much!

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

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Filed under 2017 releases, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Great Book Finds from Toronto!

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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

Last week, I was presenting at RFTLOI (Reading For the Love Of It) conference in Toronto.  One of my favorite parts about the conference is book browsing (and buying) at the publishers displays.  Here are some of my favorite new books I squished into my suitcase!

josephine

I am Josephine (and I am a living thing) – Jan Thornhill

A charming introduction to the concept of classification in the natural world for early primary students.  The combination of science and search-and-find works brilliantly and I love the colorful cheerful, cheery illustrations!

The Tree: An Environmental Fable – Neal Layton

When a family wants to cut down a tree and build a house, what will happen to the animal nests and burrows?  A sweet, simple tale about harmony in the natural world with a gentle message of taking care of the environment.

Teacup – Rebecca Young

Stunningly beautiful book about loss, redemption, adventure, hope – so breathtaking that it made me quite teary.  A young boy leaves his home and sets off to begin again.  Before he leaves, he fills a teacup with soil  from his home.  This is a book filled with subtle messages and would be an excellent choice for teaching inferring, symbolism and metaphor.  Gorgeous illustrations and poetic language – LOVE this book.

The Wolf-Birds – Willow Dawson

This book is fascinating!  Set in the winter woods and based on scientific data and anecdotal reports from Aboriginal hunters, the book explores the fascinating symbiotic relationship shared by wolves and ravens.  Gorgeous, calming illustrations and beautiful language – a perfect introduction to survival and the circle of life.

Abigail, the Whale – David Cali & Sonja Bougaeva

I was immediately attracted too the cover of this book and the adorable illustrations.    As a child, I was very chubby and was teased a lot for being a “butterball”.  I completely connected to this heartfelt story of Abigail, who is teased at swimming lessons because of her round frame and called “a whale”.  Her swimming teacher gives her some support and advice on how to “think light”.  This is a tale of positive thinking and would be a great starting point for a discussion about teasing, self-esteem, empathy, and perspective.

A Change of Heart — Alice Walsh

This year, I have been developing a unit called “Reading and Thinking Across Canada”, using picture books that tell true stories of Canadian events.  This book fits perfectly into the theme – and tells the remarkable true story of Lanier Philips, a US soldier in WWII who escaped the racism and segregation of his hometown in Georgia, survived a shipwreck, became an honorary Newfoundlander and went on to become a civil rights activist.  REMARKABLE!

The Stone Thrower – Jael Ealey Richardson

Another remarkable true story about an unknown Canadian hero..The Stone Thrower is the true story of Ohio-born Chuck Early who, despite his outstanding record as a high school and college quarterback, is rejected by racist NFL and instead plays for the Canadian Football League where he is named a Most Valuable Player. Themes of segregation, poverty, resilience and civil rights all tied up into an inspiring sports story – what more could you ask for?

My Beautiful Birds – Suzanne Del Rizzo

When Canadian author Suzanne Del Rizzo was looking for something to read to her own children that would explain the Syrian Civil War, she came across an article about a young Syrian refugee who found solace in a connection with wild birds at the Za’atari refugee camp. And so she wrote this book.  This book is gorgeous – textured filo illustrations reminiscent of Barbara Reid and a gentle, moving story that illuminates how this crisis is impacting children. It shows the reality of refugee camps and the struggle of families uprooted who are trying to redefine “home”. 

Lost and Found Cat – Doug Kuntz & Amy Shrodes

A true, heartwarming story about an Iraqi refugee family who is separated from and eventually reunited with their beloved family cat.  Such an amazing story it is hard to believe it is true – but it is.  Your students will break into spontaneous applause when you read the last page!   Will also inspire discussions about what it means to be a refugee.

Bob, Not Bob! (to be read as though you have the worst cold ever)   – Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick

This book made me laugh so much!  A little boy is stuffed, snuffly and sick in bed with a terrible cold.  All he wants is his mom – but when he calls his mom – it comes out “bob” – and soon the slobbery family dog comes running!  LOL!  A great read aloud!  Cracked me right up!

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

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Filed under 2017 releases, Canada, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Links to content, New Books, Refugee, Science, social justice