Category Archives: Award Winner

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Award Winners and Recent Favorites

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 that time of year when many book awards are being announced.  I am excited to share some of these books with you, along with a few of my recent favorites!  Happy reading week, everyone!

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      SWEEP – The Story of a Girl and Her Monster Jonathon Auxier.

WINNER:   Governor General Award for Best Young People’s Literature for 2018.

Wow. I can’t say enough good things about this stunning story of courage, sacrifice, child exploitation, unconditional love, and civil disobedience mixed with just the right amount of historical elements and sprinkled with magic. Set in the late 1800’s in Victorian England, it is the story of Nan Sparrow, a young chimney sweep who is struggling to survive after her father disappears. She befriends and forms a remarkable bond with Charlie, a golem made from ash, and in the process, they save each other. I cried. Yes, I did. And you will, too. It’s heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, funny and poignant and just beautiful in every way.  This is my new favorite middle grade read-aloud for 2018!  

“We are saved by saving others.”   (One of the MANY quotes from this book)

 

Town is the Sea – Joanne Schwartz Illustrated by Sydney Smith

WINNER:  2018 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.  

Beautiful, simple story of a young boy who spends his day in the bright village by the sea, contrasted with his own father’s day spent in the darkness of a coal mine.   A wonderful anchor book for exploring stories across Canada – this one capturing a mall mining town in 1950s’ Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

When the Moon Comes Paul Harbridge   Illustrated by Matt James

WINNER:  2018 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

The author shares his own childhood memories of playing pond hockey on frozen backyard rinks.  Whether you are a hockey fan or not, this book celebrates a sense of adventure and the magic of time spent outdoors.  Gorgeous figurative language makes this a wonderful anchor book for descriptive writing and capturing small moments.  The illustrations are stunning.

They Say Blue Jillian Tamaki

WINNER:  2018 Governor General’s Literary award for illustrated literature for young people. 

Gorgeous, gentle, poetic exploration of colour and nature from a young child’s point of view.  This book would make an amazing anchor to stimulate writing about color.  Stunning illustrations.

Le Chemain de La Montagne – Marianne Dubuc

WINNER:  2018 Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature  (French).

While I don’t read or speak French, I did read the English translation of this book (see cover below) and can understand why it was selected for this award.  When Mrs. Badger becomes too tired to continue her daily friendship visits up the mountain, she passes the torch to Leo, an adorably cute cat, to the walk.  A gentle, tender little story that captures so many wonderful themes: the circle of life, friendship, learning from elders, sharing wisdom, and exploring and celebrating nature. Love this one.  Originally in French, translated into English.

Up the Mountain Path – Marianne Dubuc

A Big Mooncake for Little Star – Grace Lin

Such a gorgeous book!  A young child bakes a Mooncake with her mom. She’s told not allowed to eat it, but, she does nibble on it a little bit everyday.   A unique and intriguing way to explain the phases of the moon.  Simple black and yellow illustrations evokes a soothing feeling of nighttime.  Love Little Star’s and her mother’s black pajamas with big yellow stars on!  Don’t forget to check out the end papers!

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Blue – Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I loved Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s celebration of the color green in her picture book “GREEN” using gorgeous illustrations and clever cut-outs. (The book earned her a Caldecott award) In her companion book, “BLUE” she layers her celebration of color with a poignant story of a boy and his dog. I was astonished of the emotion this book – the sadness, love and hope I felt as I read it. Watch the video below (may require Kleenex) A beautiful story to share. Great anchor for inferring and also would be a wonderful anchor for color writing. Brilliant.    Watch the book video here. 

Zola’s Elephant – Randall de Seve

A girl imagines the new neighbors have an elephant — surely that is what must be in the large moving box – so there is no need to go over and introduce herself.  This is a charming, whimsical story about a new friendships and a wild imagination.  Rich, detailed illustrations by Caldecott Honor illustrator Pamela Zagerenski weave uniquely into the story.

Thank you, Omu! – Oge Mora

One of my favorite new reads this week, this is a beautiful picture book about community and the spirit of sharing told with a lovely folk tale rhythm.  A generous grandmother makes a delicious stew and shares it generously with various members of her diverse community.  When she ends up having nothing left for her own supper, the community comes together to return the favour and bring delicious food to her.  This has the feel of a classic tale and will make a perfect read aloud.  Beautiful, colorful, cut paper collage illustrations.

Imagine – Juan Felipe Herrera 

I was drawn in by the cover of this book and the illustrations by one of my favorite illustrator, Lauren Castillo.  This is a picture book biography of US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera…written as a poem.  It is filled with beautiful language and a beautiful message about following your dreams.  The poet’s journey begins as a child of a migrant family, then a boy feeding chickens, a youngster recording new words, a teenager turning those words into songs.  Lauren Castillo is a favorite illustrator of mine and her pictures bring this book to life.

The Patchwork Bike – Maxine Beneba Clarke

“This is the village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home. These are my crazy brothers and this is our fed-up mum.”

And so begins this joyful, uplifting testimony to ingenuity and the ability of kids to have fun and hope even in challenging circumstances.   This is a simple story of a girl talking about her neighborhood, her family, and her most prized possession – a bike made up of bits and pieces of scraps she and her brothers found.  The illustrations by Van Thanh Rudd are so creative – scraps on cardboard.  This book exudes JOY!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope a few books caught your eye!

 

 

 

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Filed under 2018 releases, Award Winner, Community, Diversity, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Novels, Moon stories, New Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Februrary Fun!

IMWAYR

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers.

I have discovered some wonderful new picture books this week that I’m excited to share!

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Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall

I love books that have different layers of interpretation and I can see Red as having the potential to stimulate some deep discussions with older children. Red is a crayon who doesn’t fit in – he has a bright red label, but never quite feels as if he belongs and is miserable. The reason is – he’s actually a blue crayon with a red label. Readers know this, but Red doesn’t realize until a new friend offers him some insight on his true color. This story is simple, clever celebration of inner diversity. Simple prose, colorful illustrations – this book is a gem! 

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I Don’t Want to Be A Frog! – Dave Petty

I absolutely LOVED this book!  It’s hilarious and carries a great message about self esteem and self acceptance.  Little Frog does NOT want to be a frog – in fact he would rather be ANY other animal than a slimy, wet, bug eating frog!  Beautiful illustrations, funny and I am already thinking it would be a great writing anchor for “What Animal Would You Rather Be?”   Fantastic book!

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Click Clack Peep! – Doreen Cronin

Here’s another “Click, Clack” book to add to my collection, and while it doesn’t quite live up to the original “Click, Clack, Moo!” – I enjoyed it very much!  The story centers around a little duck who is not going to sleep.  The cows, and all the animals provide amusing suggestions on how to get this little duck to sleep, while Farmer Brown has no clue what is going on.  This book would make a great gift for new parents! 

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The Bear Ate Your Sandwich – Julia Sarcone-Roach

This is a VERY clever book with a surprise ending that your students will love but likely not suspect!    You left your sandwich on a park bench while you left to play with your friends and when you come back – it’s gone.  What happened to it?  And so begins the detailed recounting of what happened to your sandwich – a bear at it!  Or did it?  Hilarious and fun – this book is a perfect read-aloud and would make an excellent anchor for re-telling an event in sequence with lots of examples of transition words. 

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One Big Pair of Underwear – Laura Gehl

Fun, rhyming text and hilarious illustrations – this is an excellent book for teaching counting and the importance of sharing!  Silly and fun – and we all know how much kids love listening to us read the word “underwear”!

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Sick Simon – Dan Krall

Simon is sick but he still goes to school… and spreads his germs to everyone!  Hmmm…I was not quite sure about this one because the illustrations were pretty disgusting – graphic illustrations of phlegm and mucus – Blech!  But I believe that was intentional!  This is a must book for the classroom during cold and flu season as it is an effective way to talk about germs and how illness is spread.   

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Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons – Sara Levine

“Have you ever wondered what we would look like if we didn’t have any bones? It wouldn’t be pretty.” These are the first lines from this interesting, interactive Nonfiction book. A conversational, question-answer format, this book introduces young readers to different skeletons – from humans to animals. Great for introducing comparing and a perfect read-aloud in a primary classroom. Engaging, interesting and fun!  Thank you, Carrie Gelson, for introducing me to this book!

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Lulu’s Mysterious Mission – Judith Viorst

I first learned of this book from our amazing teacher-librarian at my school.  She told me how much her own two girls had loved this beginning chapter series and now it was a very popular book in our library.  I also noticed on Alyson Beecher’s blog post Kid Lit Frenzy  that it had recently won a Cybil award (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards) for best early chapter book 2014.  And who doesn’t love anything written by Judith Viorst?  So… I knew I had to read it!  This is actually the third installment in the Lulu series – and begins with Lulu’s parents going out of town and leaving her with a babysitter – Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinsky!  Lulu is NOT pleased and concocts many different plans to bring her parents home, until Ms. Solinsky reveals a secret!  This book has simple enough text for beginning readers but is chocker-block full of fun!  I loved it and am now going to put my name on the wait list in our library for the other two!

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 The Crossover – Kwame Alexander

Josh Bell
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame
Folks call me that
’cause my game’s acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame.
My hair is long, my height’s tall.
See, I’m the next Kevin Durant,
LeBron, and Chris Paul.

WOW! Oh Wow! From the second you start reading this book, you will not be able to stop! Basketball loving, dread-locked Josh Bell stole my heart and he will steal yours. This book was recently awarded the Newberry for 2015 and has been getting a lot of buzz. I was reluctant because I don’t really like basketball and am not a huge fan of books in verse. But this book is nothing like anything I’ve ever read: dazzling characters with amazing voices; rollicking, rhyming, bouncing rhythm; extraordinary writing; a powerful ending; themes of sportsmanship, family, siblings, coming of age, diversity, death, courage… This book is brilliant, funny, poignant, entertaining. And in case you haven’t inferred – I LOVED this book! YOU MUST READ IT! And if you teach grades 6-9 (I’d go as low as grade 5) YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK TO YOUR CLASS! Okay, I’ll stop.

Extended book trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BONWz5Ao82E

Funny clip by the author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO2-u1258UU

 

Thanks for stopping by!  What book(s) caught your eye?  I’d love to know!

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Filed under Award Winner, Beginning Chapter Book, Book in Verse, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Sports