Tag Archives: Bill Thomson

Ten for Ten 2016: Top 10 New Picture Books for Your Reading Power Collection

This annual summer celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. This is my forth year of participating in this event – you can read my 2015 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.  For the past 3 years, I have organized my 10 for 10 post around Reading Power – featuring two new releases for each RP strategy: 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!

CONNECT

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 Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

Connecting to names, origin of names, father-son relationships and family.  I love the voice in this delightful book.  Gorgeous illustrations and perfect for your aboriginal collection as well.

2. The Class – Boni Ashburn

Follow 20 different students from 19 different homes as they get ready kindergarten.  This book is a true celebration of diversity with children from many different backgrounds, morning rituals, routines, families, and ways of getting ready to go to school. Adorable illustrations and a perfect ‘CONNECT’ book for your early primary students.

QUESTION

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3. The Night Gardener – The Tan Brothers

Who keeps cutting the trees into animal sculptures during the night?  It is the magical mystery this book will slowly reveal.  Another book with illustrations you will linger over and a unique and creative story that will have your students wondering.

4. Follow the Moon Home – Deborah Hopkinson & Philippe Cousteau

How can a community save the sea turtles of the South Carolina coast?  Powerful story of how young people can make a difference – inspiring and beautiful.  Could also be used for Transform.

VISUALIZE

5. Finding Wild – Megan Wagner

Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. This book is so full of triple scoop words, I can hardly stand it! Perfect for visualizing and an anchor book for descriptive writing.

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6. I Hear a Pickle – Rachel Isadora

Sweet, simple introduction to the five senses for early primary students.  Great for teaching that visualizing is not just about what we see!

INFER

7. The Whale – Ethan Murrow & Vita Murrow

Wow – this book is truly a remarkable pencil-sketch wordless picture book.  Two children are out to prove that the rumored Giant Spotted Whale in their town is real or a myth.  This is a book where you really need to take your time to read the pictures.  The newspaper headlines also help to tell the story and are perfect for practicing inferring.

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Grandad’s Island – Benji Davies

Benji Davis gifts us with an extraordinary, thought-provoking book about life, death and love.  Poignant, gracefully told story about a young boy trying to understand why his grandfather is no longer in his life.  What makes it so touching is how subtle the message is – leaving the reader with spaces to wonder and to think.

TRANSFORM

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Ada’s Violin – Susan Hood

The extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash. Inspiring and filled with hope.

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10. Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story – Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

How can throwing away a worn-down pencil hurt anyone? How can wastefulness lead to violence? With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others.  A wonderful transforming story.

There you have it!  My top 10 for 10 picture books for 2016!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under 2016 releases, New Books, Picture Book 10 for 10, Reading Power

Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Book Covers for Inviting Questions!

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I always tell students, when practicing the strategy of questioning, that ‘good readers start asking questions even before they start reading’   Book covers are a great way to get your students thinking and wondering about a story.   There are some books that invite readers to wonder; captivating illustrations that stimulate our thinking, our imagination and our curiosity.  One look at the cover and questions come tumbling out.  Below are my top 10 books to use for questioning – the first five are new releases and the remaining five are old favorites.  I guarantee, if you hold up one of these books and ask your students, ‘What are you wondering?” you will be amazed at what happens!

(Just for a change, rather than summarizing each book, I have included authentic student-asked questions for each.  You will just have to read the books yourself to find the answers!)

1. The Whale – Ethan Murrow

What are they looking at?  Where are they?  Do they know where the whale is?  Are they in a boat or on land? Are they brother and sister or friends?  Are they scared?  Is the whale coming closer?

2. The Bear and the Piano – David Litchfield

Does the bear know how to play the piano?   How long has the piano been sitting there?   Is the bear going to play a sad song or a jazzy one?  Are they on a stage?  Is this a pretend play or is it real?  Is this a magical piano?  Do any other animals know there is a piano out there?

3. The Night Gardener – The Fan Brothers

Who is that boy?  Is he the gardener?  How old is he?  Is that owl going to come to life?  How did the tree get that way?  Does the tree only look like that at night?  Can the tree owl talk?  Can it fly?  Is the boy telling the owl a secret?

4. The Parachute – Danny Parker

Is that a boy or a girl?  What is he looking at?  Where is the bottom?  Is that a tree house?  How tall is that ladder?  Is he stuck?  Does he have the parachute or does he need one?  How is he going to get down?  Is he scared to be so high up or does he like it up there?

5. The Typewriter – Bill Thomson

What is that?  Why is the bee so big?  Is that a real bee or kind of a fake one?  What is that black thing?  Is that a briefcase?  Is that a clown bee?  Is that kind of one of those bee rides?

6. Phileas’s Fortune: A Story About Self-Expression Agnes de Lestrade

Is that a boy or a girl?  What is the fortune?  What is that shadow ?  What is coming out of that mountain?  Is that a horn?  What’s coming out of that horn?  What is in her hand?   Is she going to try to catch those things?  Where does she live?  

6. June 29, 1999 – David Wiesner

What’s in those baskets?  Why are the plants flying?  Hey – that’s my birthday!  How long have they been in the air for?  How big are those balloons?  Is someone controlling them?  Where are they going?  How many balloons are there?  

7. The Wretched Stone – Chris Van Allsburg

Who is that guy?  Is he flying or jumping?  Is he dreaming or really happening like that?  Is he magic?  What is a wretched stone?  What does wretched mean?  Is he going to fall in the water?  Is someone going to catch him?  Is he scared?

8. Mr. Bear and the Bear – Frances Thomas

Who is Mr. Bear?  Is this Mr. Bear or the bear?  Is this bear wild and dangerous?  What is the bear looking at?  Does the bear turn into Mr. Bear?  Is the bear mad or sad?

9. Two Frogs – Chris Wormell

What’s going on with these two guys?  I mean frogs but they kind of look like guys.  Is that one gonna hit the other one with that stick?  Why is one of them smiling and then the other one looks kind of scared?  Do they know each other?  How do frogs float like that like they are just kind of hanging there?  Is that the bully frog?

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10. The Egg – M.P. Robertson

What’s in that egg?  Does his mom know there is a gigantic egg in his room?  Is the boy reading to the egg or just reading to his quiet self?  How long does the boy have to sit on the egg?  Is it going to hatch soon?  Where did the egg come from?  What book is he reading?  

What are your favorite books to inspire “COVER QUESTIONS”?

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

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Filed under 2016 releases, Picture Book, Question

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Releases for Summer (PART 1)

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

It has been a busy end of the school year with many events (son’s graduation, hubby’s hernia surgery, etc) which have taken precedent over book blogging!  There are now SO many new books that I want to share, I can hardly stand it!  So this week will be the beginning of a two part “new releases” posts featuring some of the latest and greatest 2016 picture books.

What Do you Do With a Problem – Kobi Yamada

Beautiful message, gorgeous illustrations.  A great companion to What Do You Do with an Idea?  This is a must have book for you school library and will help readers transform their thinking about problems. This would make a great book to launch an inquiry project!

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Hannah and Sugar – Kate Berube

This is a debut picture book by author/illustrator Kate Berube.  Beautiful illustrations to accompany a charming, heartwarming story about a young girl overcoming her fear of dogs.  I am excited to see more by this author as she clearly “gets” kids.  Perfect for making connections.

Dylan, the Villan – K.G. Campbell

This laugh-out-loud book is sure to be a hit in your school library and classroom!  It has a Pixar- cartoon-like scenes give it a comic book feel.  Great story  showing the results of two super-villain in a sabotage-show-down classroom power struggle.  Delightful!

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The Airport Book – Lisa Brown

I LOVE everything about this book! It is simple, useful and entertaining !  In it, we follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport.  Delightful  illustrations with so many wonderful details, including a lost-and-found sock-monkey.  This book will be a great book for making connections.

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What To Do With A Box – Jane Yolen

This new book by the great Jane Yolen was the inspiration of my Top Ten Tuesday post last week  featuring books about boxes!  You can view the post here. This delightful rhyming story, beautifully illustrated by Chris Sheban explores the potential of an empty box.  Box + Imagination = MAGIC!

There is a Tribe of Kids – Lane Smith

Wow, wow, wow.  Lane Smith has done it again.  I am not sure how his simple tales are layered with so much to think about.  Here are some words I would use to describe his new book, which pays tribute to the imaginative journey we call “childhood”:  clever, creative, thoughtful, humourous, enchanting, whimsical, playful, meditative, emotional, joyful.  And the icing on the cake is the gorgeous illustrations and amazing language.  Wow again.

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A Morning With Grandpa – Sylvia Liu

A charming, heartwarming tribute to the special bond between grandchild and grandparent as they practice the ancient art of Tai Chi.   Wonderful characters – happy, wiggly and tumbly “Mei Mei” and loving, patient, understanding “Gong Gong”.  I especially love the lyrical language, beautiful metaphors and lovely illustrations.  Would be perfect for making connections and an excellent anchor to inspire writing about grandparents.

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Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

Another wow and huge thumbs up for this first picture book by the amazing Sherman Alexie (The Absolute Diary of a Part Time Indian).  Thunder Boy, Jr. is a lovely story about a boy searching for his own identity and to distinguish himself from his father. The text is flooded with love and wonder, and the illustrations are absolutely perfect.  For those B.C. teachers reading this – here is a wonderful addition to your Aboriginal collection.

Teeny Tiny Toady – Jill Esbaum

If you are looking for a great new read-aloud that will have your kids laughing and cheering – you need Teeny Tiny Toady!  Delightful story of brains vs. brawns and a little-sister-saves-the-day storyline.  As well as the fast-paced plot, I loved the wonderful sound words and  rollicking rhythm.  Here’s to Girl Power wrapped up in a tiny pink frog!

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The Typewriter – Bill Thomson

I always get excited to see a new book by Bill Thomson, as they are usually perfect wordless picture books for practicing questioning and inferring.  This book does include 9 words and is filled with Thomson’s  stunning, life-like illustrations that take the reader on a magical journey with three children after they discover an old typewriter.  I’m already thinking of a writing lesson, based on a single word- what word would you write?

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This is Not a Picture Book – Sergio Ruzzier

“All these words carry you away … and then … they bring you home … where they stay with you forever.”  How could I not love a book about the trans-formative power of reading?  Quirky, charming book  with lovely watercolor illustrations.   Note:  Pay attention to the end papers – brilliant!

            There you have it!  Tune in next week for Part 2 of my New Releases for Summer!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which new book has caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Picture Book

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Picture Books for the New Year – Part 1

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.

Well – it’s the beginning of a new year and I thought I’d celebrate with sharing some newly released picture books that I’m very excited about! There are too many to share in one post – so I’ll complete the list next week!  Here we go….

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The Mischievians – William Joyce

Oh, the connections I made to this book!  Have you have ever wondered who is responsible for all the things that happen around your house that nobody seems to be able to explain?  Like where the remote control went, what happened to homework, why there are so many single socks in the laundry and why songs stick in your head.  Well, this book has the answer –  It is the pesky little “Mischievians” at work again!  This book is classic Joyce – funny, clever and fun!  I can’t wait for my students to think up some of their own “mischievian” happenings!

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The Colourblind Chameleon – Laura Kantor

How can you not smile at this adorable little face?   And how can you not laugh when you read that this poor wee chameleon is colorblind so while his fellow chameleon’s are changing color for camouflage, his color changes results in the exact opposite!  Because he cannot distinguish colors, he ends up changing into some outrageous shades where he stands out instead of blending in.  Poor thing!  He is left feeling alone and discriminated against.  I loved this book and have developed a huge case of reptile love! The book is bright and colorful with a rhyming text that makes it a perfect read-aloud for younger children.

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Dot – Randi Zuckerberg

This past summer, I discovered a few books that shared a similar theme of breaking free of being “plugged in” to electronic devises – Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino and Hello, Hello! by Matthew Cordell.  Meet Dot – she is a spunky, device savy gal – who knows how to tweet, swipe, tag and tap her way through just about every electronic device she can get her hands one!   One day, she is sent outside on a technology-free adventure to re-connct with her friends.  What I loved about this book is the realistic message about enjoying BOTH life and technology.  I also enjoyed the author’s clever double meanings to the words “tweet”, “tap” and “surf”!  And in case you were wondering, yes, the author Randi Zuckerberg is the sister of Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg!

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Paul Meets Bernadette – Rosy Lamb

My, oh my, this is one for my special shelf.  This is a book about seeing the world in a different way.  simple, imaginative, beautiful. The oil painting illustrations are remarkable.  Paul is a fish who swims around his fish bowl in circles.  Enter Bernadette – who shows him a different perspective on the world and helps Paul see things in a whole new way.  This is a gentle love story that I fell in love with.

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The Nowhere Box – Sam Zuppardi

So much to love about this book!  What child cannot relate to being constantly bugged by a sibling?  And what child has at some point used a large cardboard box to create a secret fort, space ship or castle.  George is constantly being followed by his younger brothers.  His solution?  The Nowhere Box!  In it, he can be a pirate, a king, a pilot!  In the end, playing alone turns out to be not so fun.  The illustrations in this book are extraordinary – there is something very textural about them and I kept wanting to run my hands over the pages to “feel” them!

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ABC’s From the Whippety Wood: The Magic in Nature – Pamela Harden

From Acorn Fairies to Zillo the Zebra Unicorn – this is a whimsical, wonderful ABC book to add to your Alphabet book collection!  A celebration of nature with beautiful illustrations and creative characters for each letter of the alphabet.   Lovely!

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Fossil – Bill Thomson

Wow! Wow!  So so so so good!  A boy and his dog discover some stones while out walking. When one of the stones breaks open to reveal a fossil from a prehistoric plant the boy gathers as many stones as he can find and begins breaking them apart. The result is magical!   This is a wordless picture book with extraordinarily detailed and life-like illustrations.  It almost feels as if you are wearing 3D glasses!  I loved Bill Thomson’s last wordless picture book Chalk and found it a wonderful anchor book for practicing questioning and inferring.  This book has the added bonus of being a Segway into discussions about fossils, dinosaurs, and other aspects of science.  This is a must have for your wordless book collection!

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Once Upon a Memory – Nina Ladin

My students, family and friends roll their eyes whenever I say “This is my FAVORITE new book” because I tend to say it a lot.  But this is TRULY my FAVORITE new book!  LOVE LOVE LOVE this book SO SO MUCH!  Why do I love it so much?  First, the images are captivating, soft, gentle, quiet, sweet.  I want to climb inside the book and stay for a while.  Second – this is a story about memory – but gifts us with so much more – questions about nature, about life, about transitions, about the origins of objects, about life.  This book is begging to be used in a classroom – a treasure for lessons on inventions or discussing imagination and asking the question:  What will you remember?  I will certainly remember this book for a long time.

There you have it – part one of my “new books for a new year”!  Hope you found a few titles you might want to read and share.

What have you been reading this week?

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, New Books, Picture Book