Category Archives: Music

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – I Can’t Keep Up!

IMWAYR

I’m happy to be joining in the weekly IMWAYR posts, hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers

Well… we are back in full swing at school but my Pro. D. workshops this week were still cancelled (or post-poned) as teachers were just getting settled into their new classes.  This meant I had a bonus day off – most of which I spent at one of my favorite places – United Library Services!  There, I get to fill a SHOPPING CART with BRAND NEW picture books to read through!  Heaven!  But there are SO many great new books – I’m having a hard time keeping up!  Here are a few of my favorites from the top of a very tall pile!

18635639

As an Oak Tree Grows – G. Brian Karas

This book is filled with so many teaching ideas I can hardly stand it!  The story follows the life of an Oak Tree from 1775 to present day.  Each page shows what has changed in the past 25 years – both in the tree and in the surrounding landscape.   I loved the timeline at the bottom of the page, showing each new era.  The illustrations are remarkable – and the book is large which allows the reader to take in all the details on each page.  The Oak tree grows while history transforms around it – from methods of agriculture,  transportation to uses of energy.  The poster included at the back of the book shows the rings on the oak tree representing the growth of the oak tree labeled and dated with many events and inventions that occurred while the tree grew.  This book is creative, unique and interesting!  A perfect link to a unit on growth and change in nature and in our world.

20696727

The Right Word – Roget and His Thesaurus  by Jen Bryant

Sigh.  Sigh again.  I love this book.  So so much.   This amazing picture book biography is about the life of brilliant scientist and word collector Peter Mark Roget. The book explores his extraordinary journey that turned his love of words into the publication of the most important reference books of all time. The illustrations are stunning! If you love words as much as I do – this is a must have for your biography collection!  Watch the book trailer here.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream – Bob Graham

I am a fan of Bob Graham books – I admire his ability to leave room for lots of deep thinking within his subtle text and detailed illustrations.  This book follows an endearing, curious sparrow on an unexpected journey as he travels across the world in a bag of rice from India to an urban setting (Australia?) The sparrow finds a family and invites a child to taste vanilla ice cream for the first time.  The soft pallet illustrations are classic Graham and I like how he uses a variety of closed panels with open drawings.  Don’t read this book too quickly – there is a lot to take in!

Uni the Unicorn

Uni the Unicorn – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

When I see Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a new book – I KNOW it’s going to be brilliant.  But I admit, when Maggie (from Kidsbooks) first showed me the cover  the cover of Uni the Unicorn, my heart sank a little bit.  Oh, I thought, these illustrations are not my thing.  They appeared too “Disney” like – rainbows, butterflies and unicorns.  What was she thinking?  But then I read the story and realized just how brilliant a story it was and how perfectly matched the illustrations were!  Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s latest book is a delightful twist to a familiar story. Uni is a unicorn who believes in her heart that little girls are real, despite the fact that her friends and parents say otherwise. Love the page where Uni is drawing pictures of “imaginary” little girls! Little girls will LOVE this story and make LOTS of connections! The illustrations are reminiscent of Pixar/Disney and will most certainly appeal to the unicorn loving children!   I was also thinking that if you added a cute little stuffed unicorn you have the perfect birthday party present!

20673509

If Kids Ruled the World – Linda Bailey

If Kids ruled the world, birthday cake would be good for you.  Your doctor would say “Don’t forget to eat your birthday cake so you’ll grow up strong and healthy!”  And so the story goes – page after page –  a “wish list” of a kid’s paradise!  This book is fun, playful, imaginative and I can just hear the “YES’s” coming from the class!   A perfect anchor book for inspiring writing and art!  Love!

Penguin and Pumpkin

Penguin and Pumpkin – Salina Yoon

I fell in love with Penguin when I first met him in Penguin and Pinecone.  There have been a few Penguin books since, but none have quite come close to that emotional connection I had with that first book.  This story is sweet with familiar bold block colored illustrations.  Penguin and friends take a journey to explore fall outside the North Pole. He brings a few sights and sounds for his baby brother to experience.  I loved the last page when it’s “snowing leaves”  but the story fell a little flat for me.

Brothers of the Wolf

Brothers of the Wolf – Caroll Simpson

This is a beautifully illustrated West Coast First Nations legend about two wolf cub brothers found and raised  as human children in a village on the Pacific.  One cub feels at home in the forest and the other – the sea.  They are separated when supernatural forces change them into Sea Wolf and Timber Wolf.  Although separated, they howl together into the night sky, waking up the moon and bringing light to the darkness of the world.  The story is visually stunning and is a perfect book for questioning. It would also be a great inspiration for creating first nations paintings.

I Wanna Go Home

I Wanna Go Home – Karen Kaufmann Orloff

I have shared Karen Orloff’s first hilarious book, I Wanna Iguana, for many years with students and teachers as an anchor book for persuasive writing. In it, young Alex writes letters to his mother, trying to convince her to let him have a pet iguana.  His mother writes back, with all the reasons why an iguana would not make a good pet.   In the second book,  I Wanna New Room, Alex is trying to persuade his mom to let him have his own room.  In this third book, and possibly the funniest, Alex is sent to his grandparent’s retirement community while his parents go on vacation.  His desperate emails to his parents go from complaining about being dragged to his grandpa’s bridge games to delight in eating ice cream before dinner!  I love the connection to grandparents in this book and the fact that Alex is now sending emails!   Hilarious read-aloud!

The Orchestra Pit

Orchestra Pit – Johanna Wright

What happens when an endearing snake accidently wanders into an orchestra pit instead of a snake pit?   A whole lot of playful chaos!  The snake proceeds to investigate various instruments and causes quite a commotion among the musicians.  This book is hysterical and would be a perfect way to introduce the different instruments in an orchestra to young children.  Lively, colorful illustrations and endearing expressions on the snake!  Love this!

Lucky

Lucky – David Mackintosh

I LOVED Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School when it first came out so was excited to see this new book by British author/illustrator David Mackintosh.  This book is hilarious and one that children who have ever “jumped to conclusions” will make connections to!  When Leo’s mom tells him that there will “be a surprise” at dinnertime – Leo and his brother, desperate to find out, begin coming up with all sorts of possibilities – a bike? a new car? a new TV? a swimming pool?  By the end of the day they are convinced that the surprise is an all-expense paid two week trip to Hawaii!  And of course when they get home from school and discover the real surprise, they are left feeling let down.  All children have experienced the feeling of getting their hopes up and then being let down  – but it’s how you handle your disappointment that creates the teachable moment in this book.   David Mackingtosh handles it with humour and the subtle message of how being grateful for what you already have is enough to make you feel “lucky”.  Brilliant!

17332435

The Boy on the Porch – Sharon Creech

I always tell my students that the greatest writers don’t tell us everything, but  “leave spaces for our thinking”.  Sharon Creech’s book is a perfect example of this – she doesn’t tell us evetyhing but provides us with spaces for asking questions and for thinking.  This book is beaurtifully written – simple, tender and powerful.  It is the story of a couple who discover a boy on their porch with only his name pinned to his shirt – “Jacob”.  (What are you wondering?… Who is he?  Where did he come from?  Why did his parents leave him?  Will they come back for him?   (So many questions!)  The boy does not speak but communicates through his extraordinary gift in music and art. Eventually, he is able to communicate with animals.  I read this book in one sitting and then I cried – not because it was sad but because it was so beautiful.  And because as I read it, I could not wait to hear my students filling in the spaces.   There is no better book to read.

Well, that’s it for now!  My pile of new books is only a little smaller now but I’d better stop!  Thanks for stopping by and please share the book that caught your eye!

14 Comments

Filed under Art, celebrating words, It's Monday, making connections, Music, New Books, Picture Book, Question, Social Studies, What Are You Reading?, Writing Anchors

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New treasures from Kids Can Press

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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers

Despite my heartbreak at the fact that I will not be sharing these books with my students tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day after that due to the ongoing teacher’s strike in B.C., I am happy to share them with you in the hopes that you are not on strike and can share them with YOUR students!

Kids Can Press is a prominent Canadian publishing company.  I am fortunate to be on their list of people who receives samples of some of their new releases twice a year.   Last week, their fall books arrived at my doorstep!  Book joy!  I’m happy to be featuring some of these books in my IMWAYR post today.

Stop, Thief!

Stop, Theif! by Heather Takavec

I instantly fell in love with the main character in this book – an adorable little dog named Max.  Max lives on a farm and one day the farmer asks Max to help him catch a thief who has been stealing carrots, lettuce, beans and cherries from the farm.  Max is eager to help and begins asking all the farm animals if they know who the unidentified thief is.  The humor, of course, is that all the animals Max asks tell him they know nothing about a thief, while they are eating carrots, beans and lettuce!  This is definitely a fun book that will have young children laughing.  A great addition to books about farm animals, as well as for practicing simple inferring.  Charming illustrations!

Super Red Riding Hood

Super Red Riding Hood – Claudia Davila
This book is a perfect blend of old and new and I really enjoyed this modern twist to a classic fairy tale. When Ruby puts on her red cloak – she becomes Super Red Riding Hood!  Strong and spunky female character and bright and colorful illustrations.  A perfect addition to your fractured fairy tale collection and a great read-aloud for primary students.
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
Hana Hashimoto – Sixth Violin – Chieri Uegaki
My friend Carrie Gelson has a special fondness for intergenerational picture books and books that promote the special bond between children and their grandparents.  I saw this book first on her blog (There’s a Book for That) and was excited to find it in my box of treasures from Kids Can Press.   It is a delightful story filled with so many wonderful themes – being creative, being determined, being brave.  Young Hana enters a violin talent contest and is determined to win.  Her Ojiichan (grandfather), himself a renouned violinist, is her strongest influence and plays a role in her efforts to face her fears.  I held my breath when she walks onto the stage and begins to play.  Beautiful writing, beautiful illustrations and a true celebration of music and family.
 Into the Woods (BIGFOOT Boy #1)The Sound of Thunder
Bigfoot Boy  – J. Torres
This graphic novel adventure series is action packed and perfect for readers grades 2-5.  The art is rich and colorful and the characters are humorous and fun.  What I like about this series is that it weaves aboriginal themes, characters and artifacts into the story.  In Into the Woods, the main character Rufus finds a totem necklace that turns him into a sasquatch.  In the Sound of Thunder, the story continues when someone steals the magic necklace from him.  His pal, Penny is a great addition to the second  book.  I am definitely going to share these with my librarian and get this series into our school!
Product Details
Loula and the Sister Recipe – Anne Villeneuve
This charming book is about a little girl who is tiring of her younger triplet brothers and asks her parents to “make her a sister”.  Her father explains, “Making a sister is . . . well, it’s like making a cake. You need the right ingredients…..a papa and a mama, butterflies in the stomach, a full moon, a candlelit supper, kisses and hugs and chocolate.”  Loula then proceeds to “follow the recipe” to make her own sister.  The ending will surprise you!  While reading it, I was visualizing a class listening to the story and possibly tricky side track conversations that might ensue about baby-making!  Other than that, I enjoyed the story, particularly the character of Loula – she is observent, determined, cheerful and very creative!  Apparently, this is the second Loula book but I will now be searching for the first.
The Best Part of The Day
The Best Part of the Day – Sarah Ban Breathnach
Part of my bedtime routine with my boys when they were little was to do “gratefuls” –  listing things and people we were grateful for that day. This book would have been the perfect addition to that ritual.  It is a lovely bedtime book I would recommend for parents but also a great book for making connections and one that would certainly stimulate younger children writing about the best part of their day.   The illustrations are gorgeous – detailed and meant for savoring.  The writing is lyrical with a simple rhyming scheme that young children would be reciting with you.  A perfect gift book for pre-school age children.
Little Elliot, Big City
Little Elliot, Big City -Mike Curato
There is nothing I don’t love about this charming book about the challenges an adorable polka dot elephant named Elliot faces in the big city.  This book includes SO many teachable topics – embracing differences, making friends, facing challenges and experiencing greatness. The illustrations are amazing! A must read aloud! (and serve cupcakes afterwards!)
Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success
Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success  by Regie Routman
I have just started reading Regie Routman’s new book called Read, Write and Lead.  My good friends in Kelowna, Lisa Wilson and Donna    , are using this book as a professional book study and have invited me to join in their discussions via Skype.  Regie Routman has had a strong influence on my teaching practice – I find her books practical and full of wisdom and I’ve used them both in my teaching and my writing.  This book looks at what is needed to create a supportive literacy community in your school and  increasing joy in teaching and learning.  It is definitely one I would recommend for a school book study and I am looking forward to implementing her ideas (as soon as the strike is over!)
Thanks for stopping by!  Please let me know which book caught your eye?

 

 

16 Comments

Filed under graphic novel, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, making connections, Music, New Books, Professional Books, Read-Aloud