Category Archives: Poetry

Top Ten Tuesday! Top 10 Nonfiction Poetry Collections

 

top 10

In honour of National Poetry Month, I have decided to do a TOP 10 post that features poetry, in particular, nonfiction poetry!  Poetry can bring science to life for young children and any one of these books can be linked up to a unit you are studying.  From Space, to Bees, to the Arctic and the Savannah, here is my collection of favorite poetry books that combine fascinating facts, delightful language and gorgeous illustrations.

  1. Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold Joyce Sidman

If you have never read a Joyce Sidman book, you have been missing out!   In my opinion she is the true Queen of Nonfiction Poetry so I have included two of her books on this list.  Winter Bees provides insight and information on how plants and animals cope with the cold, winter months told through lyrical poetry and gorgeous lino-cut illustrations.

2. Song of the Water Boatman and other Pond Poems Joyce Sidman

From algae to a nymph to a frog to a turtle,  Joyce Sidman examines the living things in and around a pond through poetry.  This would be a perfect book to compliment a unit of study on ponds or habitats.

3. Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars Douglas Florian

This collection of whimsical, factual poetry about astronomy is by my #1 information poet – Douglas Florian.   The book includes poems about each planet, as well as the moon, the sun, black holes, constellations, and other space topics.  Includes die-cut pages and a glossary of space terms, making this a perfect anchor book for your study of space and planets.

4. Out of This World:  Poems and Facts about Space – Amy E. Sklansky

Love the variety of different poetic forms, combined with fascinating space facts and gorgeous illustrations.  A perfect addition to your Space book collection and great anchor to start your study of space!

5. Un-BEE-lievables – Douglas Florian

In fourteen funny, fact-filled poems about honeybees, Douglas Florian (major poet crush on this man!) explores the fascinating and often unexpected wonders of these insects’ lifestyles, families, communities and their importance on our ecosystems.  Delightful paintings that will inspire some bee-autiful paintings from your students!

6. Seeds, Bees, Butterflies and More! Poems for Two VoicesCarole Gerber

Kids will have a blast performing these child-friendly poems.  These funny, rhyming poems offer a close-up view of the plant and insect worlds, with an amazing amount of information about them. The art is bright, colorful and fabulous!  A great book for teaching and performing!

7. A Strange Place to Call Home – the World’s Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals that Call Them Home – Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer’s fascinating poems, accompanied by Ed Young’s collage illustrations, feature unusual creatures whose adaptations allow them to live in challenging and often unappealing habitats.  There are helpful end notes which provide more information about each animal. I love how Singer uses a variety of poetic forms from free verse to haiku and sonnets (all defined at the back of the book).

8. When the Sun Shines on Antarctica and Other Poems about the Frozen ContinentIrene Latham

Brand new collection with poems about Antarctic life in the summer, including poems about plants, animals and landscape of this frigid climate.  Each page is accompanied by a paragraph of facts and an illustration that captures the frozen landscape.

9. Polar Bear, Arctic Hare: Poems of the Frozen North – Eileen Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli’s delightful collection of factual poems  about the Arctic can serve as an anchor for a more in-depth study of Arctic Animals (my favorite topic for nonfiction research writing!)  This collection is perfect for reading aloud to and with early primary students.  Spinelli’s playful writing style will tickle your tongue!    In the back of the book is a helpful list of Arctic facts about each animal.

10.  Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Watering Hole – Irene Latham

This collection of creative poems introduces a variety of grassland creatures who frequent this life-sustaining water source over the course of one day.  An accurate and vivid account of survival on the Savannah that  also includes a brief description of each animal on each double page spread.  Entertaining and fascinating!  I love the folk-art illustrations.

11. Silver Seeds – Paul Paolilli

While some may think acrostic poetry is easy to write, if done correctly, each new line is not necessarily a new sentence or word.  This collection of acrostic poems celebrating nature is my “go to” anchor book for teaching students how to write acrostic poems properly.  Simple, but profound poems and gorgeous illustrations.

MOON
Marvelous melon, whole,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Or sliced,
Offering sweet flavor to the
Night.

12. Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Poems About Creatures That Hide – David L. Harrison

This amazing book features nineteen different creatures organized into five categories, each poem highlights interesting facts about the behavior and habitat of a sea creature, reptile, amphibian, mammal, insect or bird. Laroche’s fascinating cut-paper illustrations bring the habitats to life.  A perfect book for introducing animal classification and adaptation to environment.

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

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Filed under Art, New Books, Poetry, Science, Social Studies, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Midsummer Magic

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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

I have not posted for many weeks so am happy to be back to share some of the amazing new books that I have discovered.  Summer days are passing by and I find myself deep in the bliss of stress-free days with time to enjoy my family and to read and to occasionally glance at my “summer to do list”!   Here are the books I have recently enjoyed…

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Wait – Antoinette Portis

A busy mom and a curious child, both interested in different things.  This gentle, quiet book reminds us to stop,  notice and appreciate.  A great companion to Sidewalk Flowers and Last Stop on Market Street. 

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Even Super Heroes Sleep – David Katz  (board book)

My two boys LOVED super heroes and would have LOVED this book when they were younger!  A perfect bedtime book for young Super Hero lovers with a nice balance between male and female super heroes.  Time to rest your super powers and go to sleep!

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Rufus the Writer – Elizabeth Bram

Instead of a lemonade stand, Rufus runs a story stand!  He writes personalized stories (included as “mini stories”)  for his friends and accepts whatever item of value they offer as payment.  Writing joy fills every page!  LOVE this book!  I’m already visualizing a Story Stand in my classroom! 

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In My Heart: A book of feelings – Jo Witek

A nice addition to books about Feelings.  This one has the added feature of a cut out heart in the center of the book which grows smaller as you turn the pages.  Different feelings are associated with a different color.  The bonus is that there are also  great examples of similes! 

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Night Animals Gianna Marino

Charming, funny, engaging!  This is an adorable story about frightened nocturnal critters who are afraid of each other.  Sparse text and wonderful illustrations.  Love the opossum who plays dead every time it is scared!  Would make a great read-aloud. 

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Look!  – Jeff Mack

I LOVE books that use very few words – perfect for teaching and practicing inferring!  This adorable book of friendship between a boy and a gorilla uses only two words to share an important message: Turn off the TV and LOOK at a book!

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Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse – Leslie Bulion

Clever, interesting, funny and gross!  This collection of poems about different body parts would make a great read-aloud to introduce your human body unit.  I love the wacky illustrations, the funny sidebars and the variety of different kinds of poems.  There’s even a nod to Shakespeare! Great!

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Anna, Banana and the Friendship Split – Anica Mrose Rissi

Wonderful new early chapter series about the joys and challenges of 3rd grade “besties”.  (BTW – Banana is the dog’s name!)Anna is my favorite kind of character–kind and thoughtful and has a deep strength. Very impressed with the depth of this little book and look forward to more in the series.

Thanks for stopping by!  Leave me a message and let me now which book(s) caught your eye!

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Filed under 2015 releases, Picture Book, Poetry

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Look What’s New for Spring!

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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 been a busy few weeks and I have not had a chance to do a post in a while!  I have, however, been discovering a lot of wonderful new picture books that I am excited to share this week!

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Swimming, Swimming – Gary Clement

“Swimming, swimming, in a swimming pool.  When days are hot, when days are cold, in a swimming pool”.  I love this almost wordless picture book by National Post’s political cartoonist Gary Clement as he shares his childhood memories of summer days swimming in the neighborhood pool with his friends. Delightful illustrations and a perfect book for making connections and inferring.

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I Don’t Like Koala – Sean Ferrell

What do you do when your stuffed animal creeps you out and won’t stop staring at you?  Adam does not like his cute, cuddly Koala.  No matter how many times he tries to get rid of it, Koala just keeps showing up!  A little scary, a little funny – and a great book about facing your fears.  Illustrations are hilarious – a little Tim Burton-ish!

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Look! – Jeff Mack

This clever book uses only two words but tells a great story – the perfect combination for practicing inferring!   A gorilla tries desperately to get the attention of a little boy,  who is transfixed by his TV, because he wants the boy to read to him.  Whoops!  Clumsy gorilla has broken the TV!  Now what will the little boy do?  Great messages in this one! 

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You Nest Here With Me – Jane Yolen

This book has soothing and rhythmic rhymes and the repeating phrase “You nest here with me”. A sweet introduction to different birds and different nests to young children. Gorgeous mixed media collage style of Melissa Sweet (The Right Word) add to the loveliness.  There are so many recent books about birds and nests that I think I shall do a special post just about birds soon!

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The Skunk – Mac Barnett

A skunk starts following a man around the city, resulting in a bizarre chase!  This book is a little weird, a little random but great fun to read.  The best part is that you have no idea what is going on until the end of the story!  Great for predicting and inferring!  Love Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations!

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Yard Sale – Eve Bunting

I loved this book before I even read it. Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo?  Together?  In one book?  Then I read it and I loved it around the block and back again.  I think this just might be my favorite book of the year so far.  Beautiful, tender, heart-breaking, up-lifting story about a family who is down-sizing to a smaller apartment, due to economic circumstances.   The little girl is sad to see so many of their possessions for sale, but learns that what matters most is having each other.  This is a definite Kleenex book.  Love.

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Red – Jan De Kinder

An innocent playground incident grows into a full-blown bullying incident.  This book focuses on the pain of the victim and the victim’s friend who does nothing to help.  In the end, we see and feel the courage of a girl who makes a difficult choice and stands up to put a stop to it.  Beautiful black, white and red illustrations.  This book would be a good one for classroom discussion.

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Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry – Vern Kousky

If you are looking for a book to launch your poetry unit – here it is!  This adorable book that introduces poetry to younger students includes great lines from Dickinson, Eliot, Keats, and Rossetti.  I especially like the message it portrays that sharing poetry can be a joyful experience.  “Otto now knows that poetry should be shared with more than just the moon and the stars. Poetry should be shared with everyone.”

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Enormous Smallness – A Story of E. E. Cummings – Matthew Burgess

Sigh.  Sigh again.  I love this book so much.  I know I say that a lot but ever since I memorized “Maggie and Millie and Mollie and May” in grade 6, I have loved e.e. cummings’ poetry.  This is a gorgeous, illustrated biography of E. E. Cummings. (I loved the different type-set shown  as well!)  Interesting, engaging story of his life, woven together with some of his most wonderful poems. A quiet, sensitive introduction to his life and his poetry.  This book is simple, yet very engaging and I felt his spirit when I read it. 

So those are the treasures I discovered this week!  Would love to hear which ones caught your eye!  Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under It's Monday, making connections, New Books, Poetry

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Fall Favorites

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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

Happy Thanksgiving for all of you reading this who celebrated today.  Fall is by far my favorite season – the colors, the changes in nature, the celebrations. I love to stock up on Fall books for the classroom and have collected many favorites over the years. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Fall Leaves – Loretta Holland

Wow – this new book is beautiful and innovative!  The artwork is stunning – bright, vibrant yet almost hypnotic.  The book is part poem, part play on words and part scientific facts.  The text can be read on two levels: each page has two large words, like “Flowers leave” “Birds Leave,” “Leaves Twist,” and “Fall Leaves.” , so the book can be shared with younger children like a poem. Then a few sentences that give more scientific explanations for older students.  This book would be great for inviting questions – questions about words, happenings, meanings.  A must have for your fall collection!

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Winter is Coming – Tony Johnston

Another newly released title, this book is among my favorite new fall books.  The illustrations are stunning and I love the quietness of this book.  The girl in this book is an observer and I love how she sits quietly and observes the changes around her one fall day, recording what she sees in her notebook.  Lots of references to the changes in the season and to animals preparing for winter.   A perfect book to inspire your students to go outside, sit quietly, and record what they see around them.

Awesome Autumn

Awesome Autumn – Bruce Goldstone

This amazing book came out last year and I’m excited to be able to share it again. It is a colorful celebration of the season, focusing on all aspects of the season – clothing, food, different types of leaves, celebration and a great section on the senses – sights, sounds, smells and feelings of fall. The photographs are bright and colorful and includes fun facts and activities.  Lots of great classroom connections with this book!

In November

In November – Cynthia Rylant

This has long been one of my favorite books to share with students in fall by one of my all time favorite authors.  A perfect anchor book for visualizing and for modeling creating images through the senses.   Cynthia Rylant describes the changes in nature and the connection to family and beautifully captures the beauty and the blessings of fall.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves – Julia Rawlinson

While many of the books on my list focus more on the observations and descriptions of fall,  this book actually tells an adorable story!  Fletcher is worried when all the leaves begin to fall off the tree and does everything he can to help, promising the tree he will somehow get them back on.  But when every last leaf falls off, Fletcher is discouraged.  Love the surprise wintery ending and the joy it brings Fletcher!

The Little Yellow Leaf

The Little Yellow Leaf – Carin Berger

A visually beautiful with a touching story.   Although he is watching other leaves swirl down from the tree, Little Yellow Leaf is not ready to fall.  He is alone and scared until he sees another “clinger”.  This is a story of friendship, of facing your fears and taking risks.  A quiet and thoughtful fall book – and the collage art is amazing. 

Fall Mixed Up

Fall Mixed Up – Bob Raczka

This fun, interactive and highly engaging books makes for an entertaining read-aloud!  Page by page, we explore the scenes, events, colors and changes of fall.  But what makes this book different is the mistakes that are “hidden” throughout the book!  Kids laugh out loud when “squirrels fly south for winter” and “Geese hibernate”!  Clever and fun!

Autumn is Here!

Autumn is Here!  – Heidi Pross Gray

This book makes you want to curl up by the fire and cozy up with a blanket!  Beautiful full color watercolor illustrations and whimsical text – this book is perfect for exploring the changes in nature and family life as autumn approaches.  Lovely repeating text and soft rhythms – this is a great writing anchor for K-2.   I love that this is one of four season books by the same author!

Wild Child

Wild Child – Lynn Plourde

This is one of my favorite fall read-alouds.  In the rhyming text,  Mother Earth trying  is trying to put her wild child, “Autumn” to bed.  The child keeps giving excuses not to go to bed – wanting something to eat, a song, pj’s.   Younger children will make connections to “bed time excuses” but I love using it to for older students as an example of  personification and alliteration.  Stunning illustrations and beautiful prose.  The book ends just as Autumn is falling asleep and Winter appears.  Lynne Plourde has written 3 other companion season books that follow the children of the seasons.

Autumnblings
Autumnblings – by Douglas Florian

No fall collection would be complete without a poetry book by the great Douglas Florian!  His poems are playful and funny and I love his painting illustrations.  I also like to use his books as anchors to introduce students to different types of poems and techniques; from alliteration and personification to acrositic and concrete poems – I will always find an example in his poems. He has a poetry collection for every season and this particular book is one of my favorites – I love to start the morning with a poem!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found a new fall book to add to your collection!  What are your fall favorites?

 

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, making connections, New Books, Picture Book, Poetry, Read-Aloud, Seasons

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Titles from Favorite Authors

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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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers

It’s been a while since I did a IMWAYR post.  April was a VERY busy month for me – the last full push of Pro. D. for the school year and I presented a lot of workshops.  Fortunately, May is not nearly as hectic so I hope to be able to post more regularly.

Here are a few titles I am excited to share – with several new releases from some of my favorite authors!

The Day I Lost My Superpowers – Michaël Escoffier

This book is DELIGHTFUL and would be a perfect book to add to your Mother’s Day collection!  The story is about a little girl who discovers she has “super powers” (her imagination at work!).   But when the super powers begin to disappear after a mishap,  she looks around for someone who might be able to help her get them back.  Lo and behold – who possess an amazing array of her own “super powers”?  Her superhero mom!  I love how the touching, yet subtle message of the special bond between parent and child.  The illustrations are charming and I really like the way the book doesn’t force a message but does so gently and with humour.

Have You Seen My Dragon?

Have You Seen My Dragon? – Steve Light

This book is a combination of a counting book, search and find book and story that is well worth a close read.  A boy searches through the city for his dragon and finds many interesting treasures along the way (20 to be exact!)  The detailed black and white ink drawings are well worth  exploring and I think students will enjoy joining in on the dragon search!  I liked reading the author’s note at the back where he explains how he got the idea for the story:  When he was a boy growing up in New York, he used the imagine that the steam coming up from the street grates was dragon smoke!

Nurse Clementine

Nurse Clementine – Simon James

I enjoy Simon James books – simple text and lovely colored ink illustrations.   His latest book is definitely one to use for practicing making connections with younger students.  I think many would be able to connect to the main character, Clementine, who is thrilled when she receives a nurse’s outfit and nurses kit for her birthday.  (I certainly remember when my son desperately wanted a doctor kit!)  With cap on and kit in hand, she proceeds to “fix” all the injuries in her family.  Her younger brother refuses her services until he gets stuck in a tree.  Sweet, simple, predictable – and a great read-aloud for early primary.

The Beginner's Guide to Running Away from Home

Beginner’s Guide To Running Away From Home – Jennifer Larue Wuget

In my new book Nonfiction Writing Power, one of the structures I explore is Instructional writing.  So I’m always on the look out for anchor books that teachers can use which model the language and form of instructional writing.  Guidebooks and handbooks are a great examples so I was excited to find this new title to add to my book list!   This humourous book has everything you will need to successfully run away – from what to pack to where to leave your note.  The character reminded me a little of Judith Voirst’s Alexander – a kid who is just at the end of his rope.  The illustrations have a Pixar feel that I think would appeal to kids.  This book is definitely for a slightly older crowd – I think gr 3-5’s will really appreciate the humour.

Poem Depot – Aisles of Smiles – Douglas Florian

I have a bad habit of using the word “favorite” too often when it comes to books!  But I would say that Douglas Florian is definitely my favorite children’s poet.  I am drawn to his humour, his creativity, his art.  I love that his poetry books are collections around a specific theme  – seasons, mammals, dinosaurs, baseball, pirates, trees, bees, space… you name it and he has written a poetry book about it!   I love that he explores different poetic devices and forms so that I can use them to help me teach poetry to my students.   In his latest book, Florain captures the everyday humor of kids’ lives with a collection of great read-aloud nonsense poems that are sure to keep you and your students laughing.

If – Rudyard Kipling   Illustrated by Giovannia Mamna

“IF” is a poem that Rudyard Kipling wrote for his 12 year old son in 1909.  (Sadly, his son would die a few years later in WWI)  It is an inspiring poem of life lessons – encouraging and thoughtful advice.  It’s a poem I could read over and over and think about it differently each time.  I remember reading the poem in high school but of course now, my experiences as an adult and a parent invite a completely different interpretation.  The watercolor illustrations are stunning.  While the tone and language may be challenging for independent reading – I can see how this poem would stimulate rich discussion, connections and inferences if guided as a shared read-aloud.

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Gravity – Jason Chin

Jason Chin is a remarkable.  Somehow, he manages to explore thought provoking concepts in a very accessible way.  In this book, he explores the concept of gravity – What makes things “stay put” on earth and not float away?  Why do things fall from above when we drop them?   As in his previous books, Redwood, Coral Reef and Island, his illustrations are captivating and mesmerizing.  I loved the simple text and larger print.  This would be an excellent book to introduce a unit on space or to invite questioning.

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Rules of Summer – Shaun Tan

Wow! Wow! Wow!  How can you not open up a book by Shaun Tan and not be completely blown away by the creativity, the depth, the layers of thinking that it invites?   In this new release he once again manages to challenge the mind and the imagination with his new book.  If any of you reading this are looking for a new book to teach INFERING – this is it!  AMAZING!  The book portrays two boys – and the lessons they each learned during the summer.  Each double page spread is one lesson – an image and a simple sentence – open to many interpretations.   There is a dark quality to the lessons as you go deeper into the book and this is certainly a book intended for an older audience.  Captivating illustrations with so much detail – a remarkable book!

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Our book club pick this past month was The Rosie Project.  For those of you who may not have read this clever, quirky charming love story – you should.  I don’t think I have laughed so hard reading a book – EVER!  At one point I was reading it on the plane and was literally shaking with laughter,  tears pouring down my cheeks.  Laugh out loud funny one minute and touchingly beautiful the next.  I fell in love with the hero Don Tillman –  the socially awkward genetics professor who narrates the story.  Don believes he is not wired for romance and not capable of the social rituals necessary for true love.  He is, we infer, on the spectrum of Asperger’s but doesn’t realize it.  At 39 he decides it is time to settle down so he  designs “The Wife Project” – a comprehensive and lengthy questionnaire to try to find the “perfect match”.  Enter Rosie – on a search of her own – who fails just about every question on his test but somehow manages to turn Don’s world upside down.   5 stars, 2 thumbs up, and gets a coveted place on the top shelf of my book case – where only my very favorites get to live!

And that’s what I’ve been reading lately!  I’d love for you to leave your thoughts about these books or any that you have been reading!

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Filed under Connect, Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Mother's Day, New Books, Picture Book, Poetry, Reading Power

It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? New Books for Spring!

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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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

After an extremely busy and eventful week (some amazing events and a few not!)  I am grateful I had the chance to take some time out to read some fantastic new picture books that I will be sharing with my students and staff in the coming weeks as we prepare for spring break and the last term of school.

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons – Jon Muth

What is not to love about this book?   Jon Muth is one of my favorite writer/illustrators.  I adore his soft watercolor pallet of colors and his gentle words.  This latest book is a charming collection of haiku poems to celebrate the seasons.  From careful observations of nature to insightful moments to nudge our thinking , I love every corner of this book.  Delightful.

Maple

Maple – Lori Nichols

In another charming book about seasons, we meet Maple – a sweet girl who is has a special bond with her namesake tree that her parents planted when she was born.  As Maple grows, the tree becomes an important part of her life and as she grows and changes through the seasons, so does her tree.  And when a baby sister arrives and won’t stop crying, Maple takes her outside and introduces her to her tree.  This is a wonderful book to celebrate a new baby.  An impressive debut picture book!

A Book of Babies – Il Sung Na

I loved Il Sung Na’s book Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit so was excited to see this new picture book about baby animals.  I am so drawn into his soft, charming illustrations  and simple, poetic text.  A baby duck takes the reader on a tour of different baby animals.  I like how each animal is distinguished by one unique feature:  father seahorse carry babies in their pouch, a baby zebra walks right away, baby fish are born with lots of brothers and sisters.  This would be a wonderful share for kindergarten and grade one students.

Spring is Here!

Spring is Here – Heidi Pross Gray

While there are numerous books about spring, I love the way this one weaves together both nature and family time.  The watercolor illustrations (have you inferred I am drawn to watercolor?) and rhythmic text creates a book that feels wholesome and excited about the coming of spring.

Poppleton In Spring

Poppleton in Spring – Cynthia Rylant

 I have so many wonderful memories of dear Poppleton and his friends Cherry Sue, Filmore and the wonderful characters in these beginning chapter book series by the profound Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Marc Teague.  Each book has three chapters – 3 short stories written featuring Poppleton the pig and his neighbours.   Some are funny, others tender and thoughtful.  In this book Poppleton does some spring cleaning, buys a new bike and stays up all night in a tent “noticing”.  I have many fond memories of reading Poppleton stories to my boys when they were younger and continue to spread Poppleton joy to the children at my school.  If you have never read a Poppleton story – I highly recommend it.

The Highest Number in the World

 The Highest Number in the World – Ray MacGregor

I live in a household where hockey takes precedent over pretty much anything else!  We were all up at four am to watch Canada play for gold at the Sochi games.  The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier is one of my all time favorite picture books.  There have been many hockey stories since but I have yet to find one that compares to it – until now.  This book is a gem.   It tells the story of a little girl who obsesses over the number 22 for her hockey jersey because it’s the number of her hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser.  Unfortunately, her new hockey team gives her the number 9 instead. She hates the jersey and wants to quit.  Enter her grandmother, who explains the important history of the number nine in hockey.   This is so much more than a hockey story – and the relationship between the granddaughter and grandmother brought tears to my eyes.  The illustrations are wonderful and full of detail – down to the NHL quilt set on her bed!  Whether you love hockey or not, this is a wonderful story.

Going Places

Going Place – Peter and Paul Reynolds

Peter H. Reynolds pairs up with his brother for a their first book together, filled with the same creative free-spirit theme of Reynolds’s other books.  It’s time for the annual “Going Places”  go-cart contest.  Time to grab a kit, put together your go-cart and race to the finish line.  Each child grabs a “go-cart kit” and puts together identical carts.  Maya, however, decides to be creative and think outside the box, creating her own version and crossing the finish line in her own way.  A perfect book for encouraging children to march to their own drum on their way to the finish line!

Say Hello Like This

Say Hello Like This! – Mary Murphy

The Kindergarten teachers at my school do a farm unit in the spring so I was excited to find this new book by Mary Murphy for them to use!  It is a wonderful, interactive book that will make a perfect read-aloud to introduce the different sounds that animals make.  I love the funny adjectives Murphy uses in this book which is a follow up to her book  A Kiss Like This!  A wonderful book for younger students – prepare yourself for a noisy read-aloud!Orangutangled

Orangutangled – Sudipta Bordham-Quallen

This book is simply a fun, frolicky, read-aloud!  Two hungry orangutans climb a tree for some mangoes and end up falling together in a sticky, goey mess.  Other animals try to help but end up getting tangled up as well.  The rhyming text works perfectly and I love the word play and the bright illustrations.  Another great read-aloud choice for the younger folk!

Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey – Jerry Spinelli

I am a big fan of Jerry Spinelli – Maniac Magee one of my favorite books to read to my class.  This one took me a while to get into – I was very confused at first and had to go back and reread several sections. I was once again amazed at his ability to weave characters we can identify with so well into a completely imaginative setting.  Hokey Pokey is an adult-less world of childhood and play – where kids play games, ride bikes, have adventures and follow the simple laws of the land.  Jack, the main character, experiences his world turn upside down when his beloved bike is stolen by a girl.  Without his bike, Jack feels lost and things start to go very wrong for him.  This book is reminiscent of Peter Pan – a boy who is struggling in the place between childhood and adolescence.   This story is unusual, it’s confusing in parts, and I’m still a little on the fence about it.  But it is certainly a book that is lingering in my thinking – a place where many great books have taken up residence.  I’d love to know what you think about it!

The Bear: A Novel

Bear – A Novel – Claire Cameron

This book is quite extraordinary.  It is written in first person, present tense in the voice of a 5 year old girl.  She and her brother are left alone to survive the elements after their parents are killed by a bear while out camping.  I was riveted by this story – many reminders of the child’s voice in ROOM.  I was also caught up by the emotional roller coaster of the story.  The description of the bear attack in the first 40 pages was completely terrifying – I had to stop reading it a few times.  While this book is considered an adult novel – I could really see it being read to a middle school class.  It is a story of survival and courage and I loved every moment of it.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  What have you been reading lately?

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Poetry, Read-Aloud, Seasons

It’s Monday – What are You Reading? Valentine Favorites

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.

It’s the week leading up to Valentine’s Day and I will be sharing some of my favorite Valentines books with my students.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

  Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch – Eileen Spinelli

Far and away my favorite Valentine book if all time!  This heart warming, tender story by Eileen Spinelli  brings tears to my eyes every year!  Mr. Hatch is a very lonely man.  One Valentine’s, the postman delivers a heart-shaped box of chocolates with a note that reads “Somebody Loves You”.  Mr. Hatch’s heart is filled with joy and he begins to pass the love he now feels to others by doing kind deeds.  But the postman returns to explain that he had accidently delivered the Valentine’s to the wrong house.  Mr. Hatch, realizing that it was a mistake, goes back to his solitary ways.  But those who had been touched by Mr. Hatch’s recent kindness, rally around their new friend and show him how much his new friendship means to them all.  This is SUCH a heartwarming book and captures the true spirit of love and kindness.  A must read for Valentine’s!

Penguin in Love

Penguin in Love – Salina Yoon

Sweet little Penguin is back – this time he is looking for love but ends up with a mitten!  The mitten leads him to the owner, another little penguin and so begins the love story between the two.  I adore this little Penguin and fell in love with him in Salina Yoon’s first book Penguin and Pinecone.  And while this book doesn’t quite live up to the first one, this book makes a wonderful book to share around Valentine’s.  I also love the connection to knitting that is woven through the story.

Lilly's Chocolate Heart

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart – Kevin Henkes

Lilly and the Purple Plastic Purse remains one of my all time favorite picture book.  There have been many Lily books since, and I admit I have not read them all.  But this recently published addition to the series has Lilly trying to decide where to hide her last chocolate Valentine’s heart.  It’s a delightful story and one that many chocolate savers will connect to!

Valentine’s Day – Gail Gibbons

This nonfiction book explains the history and traditions of Valentine’s Day for younger students, accompanied by classic Gail Gibbons illustrations.  A good one to share to younger students because it explains the origins of the day.

Mouse and Mole, Secret Valentine

Mouse and Mole Secret Valentine – Wong Herbert Yee

Mouse and Mole have secret crushes on each other.  While they prepare and deliver Valentine’s cards for their friends, they are prepare secret Valentines for each other.  This is a very sweet (Ok – mushy!) book about friendship and secret crushes.  Adorable illustrations and bonus instructions on making Valentine’s cards at the back.  Would be a perfect read-aloud for Gr. 2 and 3.

Snowy Valentine – David Petersen

This is an ADORABLE book!  Jasper the bunny is searching for the perfect Valentine’s present for his wife.  He goes through the woods, asking others what he should get.  In the end, the best gift is one that comes from the heart.  Sweet illustrations and a heartwarming story.

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink

Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Sink – Diane de Groat

This is a book I love to read to my class several days prior to Valentine’s day as it serves as an important reminder of treating others with kindness.  Gilbert signs cards for everyone in the class – except for the two people he doesn’t like because they have been mean to him in the past.  So he writes a few nasty comments on their cards which results in a lot of hurt feelings and name-blaming.  I have had some excellent class discussions stemming from this book.   (Gr. 2-4)

                                                                                       I Haiku You

I Haiku You – Betsy Snyder

Here is a delightful, charming collection of Haiku poems about many loves in a child’s life – love for a pet, a friend, stuffed toy and family.  Adorable illustrations accompany each poem.   Valentine cuteness!

So what Valentine’s books will you be sharing with your students this week?

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Filed under Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Picture Book, Poetry