Tag Archives: Antoinette Portis

Favorite Picture Books of 2017

Happy New Year, everyone!  It’s been months since I last posted… any spare writing time was spent trying to finish my new book so I  didn’t have time to blog.  But now the book is FINISHED!  (what a relief!)  So I hope to get back into my routine of regular blog posts!

Before launching into some of the new books for this year, I thought I would do a recap of my favorites from 2017 –  in case you have missed any of these great titles!  Nearly impossible to narrow it down – and I’m sure I’ve missed many but, in no particular order, here my favorite picture books of the last year….

 

King of the Sky – Nicola Davies

King of the Sky is a beautiful, moving story that touches on immigration and inter-generational relationships.   It is the story of a young, displaced boy from Italy and a retired, elderly Welsh coal miner who races pigeons. The book is a gentle meditation on loneliness, courage, and finding your place in the world when you feel out of place.  I love everything Nicola Davies writes – this sweet story is one of my favorites.  Gorgeous illustrations.

31145066

Now – Antoinette Portis

Love this peaceful book about mindfulness, living in the moment, and appreciating what’s in front of you.  A little girl takes readers on a delightful journey that shows all her favorites and ends with an especially lovely one.  Love the bright autumn pallet.  This would be a perfect book for primary students for making connections to favorite things; with intermediates, I would use it for inferring a deeper message.

Questions Asked – Jostein Gaarder

Any book that promotes deep thinking and deep questions is going to be on my list of favorites!   This gorgeous book poses some of life’s most difficult, unanswerable questions in quiet and nonthreatening ways, opening the possibility for further thought and discussion.  A perfect book for introducing deep thinking questions.

A Different Pond – Bao Phi

This book combines family and cultural traditions, inter-generational relationships, and the challenges of the immigration experience all in one.  Beautifully crafted – so quiet and honest, with subtle text and beautiful imagery.  Bao Phi tells the story of an early early morning fishing trip with his father. The trip is not for recreation; it is for food.  There are so many quiet references to the challenges of the immigration experience (Bao makes reference to his father’s English, how hard his parents have to work, how everything costs so much).  This would make an excellent book for inferring and a focus on the hardships of immigration.

The Antlered Ship – Dashka Slater

A gorgeous epic filled with equal parts adventure and philosophy, this is one of those books that caught me by surprise when I first read it.  This sweet story features a curious fox who seeks answers to many big questions. Together, with his unlikely group of animal friends, they embark on a wondrous adventure.  Stunning illustrations by the Fan brothers – each page is its own piece of artwork.   Love the lessons in kindness, boldness and friendship.

9781572842243_f563b.jpg

Crown – An Ode to the Fresh Cut – Derrick Barnes

This book made me smile a big wide smile and brought a bit of a tear to my eye at the same time.  It is just that good.  In a simple way, it is the story of a young black “tween” getting a haircut from the local barber.  But underneath it is a powerful message about dignity and empowerment and the feeling of importance.  Rich, beautiful, and joyful.

35169327

Here We Are:  Notes for Living on Planet Earth – Oliver Jeffers

“Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.”   This beautiful book is a message to our little citizens about the mysterious world that they live in and how to understand and take care of it. Originally written as a message to his new born son, add this to your shopping list for any new babies being born, or for birthday presents for the littlest ones in your life!  Simple message for children but equally important and surprisingly deep message for grown-ups.  Gorgeous illustrations.

34002082

Windows – Julia Denos

A warm little book about neighborhoods and the people within them. It’s a story about a child walking through a neighborhood and noticing people in the windows.  Comfort, belonging, community – all wrapped up in this beautifully illustrated book.

32333301

    That Neighbor Kid – Daniel Miyares

In this almost wordless picture book, a young girl curiously watches her new neighbor begin a creative project.  While he struggles with his plans, she offers her help.   A celebration of creativity, friendship, collaboration and determination.  Love the way the illustrations begin as black and white and, as the friendship blossoms, so does the color.

The Bad Seed – Jory John

This humorous tale of a bad sunflower seed who eventually turns good makes a great read-aloud for primary students.  Sunflower is a BAAAAAAAAAD seed!  How BAAAAAAAAD?  He cuts in line, lies, doesn’t listen, has no manners…the list goes on!   I like how this book explores how he got to be so bad as well as focusing on his transformation to the “good side”.   Expressive illustrations – lots of laughs but great message.

                                                    Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt

Another stunning book that poses philosophical questions – this one with a deep pondering on identity and diversity.  Gorgeous mixed-media illustrations in an urban setting and great examples of point of view and inner dialogue.  Great discussion starter.

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. Love.

29102937

Wolf in the Snow – Matthew Cordell

So many great moments, great emotions and great sound effects in this moving, nearly wordless picture book about friendship, kindness, and compassion.  So much to love about this tale of a young girl who gets lost in the woods in deep winter as a wolf cub gets separated from her pack. The cub is afraid and in danger and the girl carries her to her mother. But the girl is now hopelessly lost, and in even greater danger. The pack, sensing this danger, howls to help the girl’s parents find her.  This is a must read, must share and must have little book.   (Kleenex required)

33506796

Come With Me – Holly M. McGhee

What can we do to make the world just a little bit better, despite the fear, devastation and hatred we see everyday?  In this timely book, a young girl, frightened by what she is seeing on TV, asks her parents what she can do to make the world a better place. They respond by telling her and showing her that every person can make a difference by being kind, brave and showing compassion.  “Come with me…we can make this world better together.”  A wonderful book for launching a compassion project.

33163368

When’s My Birthday? – Julie Fogliano

I so enjoyed this enthusiastic celebration of all things birthday!  Perfectly captures the agony and ecstasy of waiting for that one special day.   This book has rhyme and repetition; it’s bouncy and infectious and full of joy!  A great connect book for children – and even better one for parents!  “How many more days til my birthday?”

This House, Once – Deborah Freedman
Thought-provoking and beautifully poetic story about a house – and the oak tree, bricks and stones that it once was.  Though-provoking book invites readers to think about where things come from and what nature provides.  Soft, quiet, dreamy.  A note to readers at the back is great for promoting discussions.
There you have it!  So many more I could add but have to stop somewhere!  What were your favorite picture books of 2017?  Would love to hear your titles!
Watch for upcoming lists featuring favorite novels and early chapter books of 2017!

Continue reading

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under 2017 releases, Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Question

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

 

2d031-pb10for10015

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

31145066

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.

31625794

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

31626341

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.

32333021

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

25222590

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Comments

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

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books About Boxes! (Yes… I said boxes!)

top 10

Well, it’s June… and that means trying to finish up all of the school projects and units that need to be complete.  It also means some days, we need our students to be engaged and excited about school, even though our classrooms are stifling and summer is calling.  Why not give them an empty box and let their creative imaginations take over?  This idea came to me when I read Jane Yolen’s new book What To Do With A Box .  It’s an inspiring book about the endless things you can do with a simple box.   Of course, that got me thinking about other books about boxes.  It didn’t take long before a new top 10 list was born!

1. What To Do With A Box – Jane Yolen

The book that started it all…. if you give a child a box, who knows what will happen?  Imaginative, magical, inspiring.

2.  A Box Story – Kenneth Kit Lamug

What can you do with a plain brown box? Everything imaginable!  Simple, charming little book about a plain brown box.  Will definitely inspire children to experiment with their own empty boxes.

3. The Secret Box – Barbara Lehman

Secret messages, magic and adventure await readers in this wordless book by the amazing Barbara Lehman.

4. Not a Box – Antoinette Portis

Full of imagination and humour, this interactive pattern book focuses on a very creative, very imaginative bunny being asked about a box by his friends.  To which he replies, “This is NOT a box.  It’s a ……”

5. The Nowhere Box – Sam Zuppardi

Endearing story of a little boy named George who is trying to escape his pestering brothers so he tells them he is “going newhere” and hides in a washing machine box.   Love the underlying theme about appreciating siblings, no matter how annoying they seem to be.

6.  Christina Katerina & the Box – Patricia Lee Gauch

A new refrigerator for Mom…. a huge box for Christina…. to turn into a castle, a playhouse or anything!  Delightful, imaginative and inspiring!  This book was a classic when I was younger and has been recently re-issued.

7. Gramma & Grampa Live in a Box – Bambi Prunch

When “face-to-face” time between grandparents and grandchildren is limited, what better way to connect than through “a box”.  Perfect book for any grandparents who find themselves at a distance from those they love.  Also great for connecting and inferring (never explicitly says what the box is!)  Skype anyone?

8. Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes – Jeanette Winter

I adore any picture book biography by Jeanette Winter.  In this very simple picture book, she tells about unique New York artist, Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), who made shadow boxes filled with objects he found while selling textiles door to door.  Fascinating and inspiring look at different ways we share our stories.

9. The Houdini Box  – Brian Selznick

The compelling story of Harry Houdini, the magician who amazed the world with his great escapes. This is a short chapter book for grades 2-5, complete with amazing illustrations by the extraordinarily talented author of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck and  The Marvels.

10. The Memory Box – Mary Bahr

When a grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he starts a memory box for his grandchild to keep the memories of the times they have shared.  Tender way to teach children about the changes they might experience with their own grandparents.

10. The Cardboard Box Books – Roger Priddy

Great nonfiction book and perfect teaching tool for turning those cardboard boxes into creative inventions.

And there you have it- a whole lot of books about boxes!  Try reading one, passing out boxes and let the creations begin!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Creating, Top 10 Tuesday

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

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 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…

22718683

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. 

24944881

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!

23395640

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! 

Image result for in my heart a book of feelings cover

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! 

23281685

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. 

22521929

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!

23116069

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!

22729454

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!

9 Comments

Filed under 2015 releases, Picture Book, Poetry