Tag Archives: Mem Fox

Top 10 Remembrance Day Books

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With Halloween behind us, there are only a few school days before Remembrance Day. There are many books we can share in our classes to help children understand the significance and importance of this day and why we remember the men and women from all wars who have given their lives for our freedom. Some literal, some symbolic, some fictional, some factual –  here are my top Remembrance Day books for reading and sharing with students:

I love the inter-generational theme of this book as a young boy asks his grandfather questions about the war.  A perfect book for younger students that quietly honors the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom.
2. A Poppy is to Remember – Heather Patterson
Moving text and stunning illustrations by Governor General’s Award-winning artist Ron Lightburn explains the symbolism behind the poppy.  Bonus 5 page spread all about poem “In Flanders Fields” and Canada’s peace-keeping practices.
3. The Poppy Lady – Barbara Elizabeth Walsh
Why do we wear a poppy on Remembrance Day?  Against all odds,  in a day when women had few rights and opportunities Moina Belle Michael almost single-handedly launched a national campaign to establish the red poppy as the symbol of sacrifice and courage of America’s soldiers.  Gorgeous illustrations.
A tribute to the famous World War I poem, “In Flanders Fields”.  Informative and moving, weaving the words of the poems with fascinating information and stunning illustrations. This is the 2015 special edition that marks 100 years since the poem was written and includes additional information and a new cover.
5. Feathers and Fools – Mem Fox
A powerful, moving allegorical tale intended for older students.  This modern fable is about peacocks and swans who allow the fear of their differences to become so great that they end up destroying each other.  An excellent book for inferring and for text-to-world connections.
6. Why? – Nikoli Popov
A frog picks a flower;  a mouse wants it… and so begins this simple, profound tale about how war starts and ends.  This wordless picture book is one I have shared with many classes – perfect for practicing inferring and stimulating important discussions.
7. Enemy – A Book About Peace – David Cali and Serge Bloch
This poignant book has many layers of meaning but ultimately, it is the story that shows the humanity behind war.  Two soldiers, each in their own solitary bunker, wonder what the other is doing and eventually learn they are more alike than they are different.  Simple but oh, so powerful.
8. No!  – David McPhail
The word “No” repeated three times is the only written text in this otherwise wordless book with a powerful message.  In simple terms that anyone can understand, McPhail tackles the weighty subject of war and its effects on people. What’s more, he shows us what we can do to stand up and say NO.
This is a  very sad picture book that tells the true story of a tragedy at the Tokyo zoo during World War II and the painful decision one zoo-keeper has to make.  This story really shows the impacts of war not just on humans, but on animals.  Warning – Kleenex required.

10. What Does Peace Feel Like? – Vladamir Radunsky
What does peace feel like?  Sound like?  Look like?  An anti-war message told subtly through the five senses using similes and metaphors.   Great anchor book for writing!
 
11. Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan and Jon. J. Muth
Blowin’ in the Wind is a popular song during Remembrance Day assemblies.  Bob Dylan wrote the powerful lyrics to this iconic 1960’s song in 10 minutes; Jon Muth’s illustrations are stunning.  Together they create a wonderful way to introduce this message of protest, peace and freedom to younger students.
What books do you share with your students for Remembrance Day?
Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under Infer, Picture Book, Remembrance Day, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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.

This week, I have spent several days in Arizona at a hockey tournament with my younger son.  Luckily, our hotel was right across from a shopping mall that included a Barnes and Nobel – the American equivalent of Chapters.  So in-between hockey games, I snuck over to the mall to spend a few hours reading picture books!  Here are the books that caught my eye!

Isabella: Star of the Story

Isabella Star of the Story – Jennifer Fossberry

There were so many things to love about this book!   I love that Isabella loves books and the going to the library. I love the way she interacts and imagines her way through the books while she reads them. I love the references to classic children’s literature, including Peter Pan, Goldilocks, Dorothy, and Alice – perfect for Text-to-Text connections!  I really appreciated the information about the authors of these classic works that the author included at the back of the book. (Did you know that the  L. in L. Frank Baum stood for Lyman or that Dorothy’s shoes were originally silver?)  Delightful illustrations by Mike Litwin.  This is a WONDERFUL book!  (Apparently, there are other “Isabella” books in this series – but this is the first one I’ve read)

Born from the Heart

Born From the Heart – Berta Serrano

I was drawn in by the illustrations but was surprised to discover that this is a very endearing story about adoption and about the power of love that creates a family.  A lovely message that a child does not have to be born into a family, but that love is born when a new child arrives.  The illustrations are quirky but I think the message is beautiful.  This would make a lovely gift for adoptive parents.

Night Noises

Night Noises – Mem Fox

This book worked perfectly for a lesson I was doing with a grade 3 class who was learning the difference between inferring and predicting.  Predicting – what do you think is going to happen next?  Infering – what do you think is happening now.  This book invites the reader to do both – to predict what the “night noises” are that the woman is hearing – and also to infer some of her past experiences she is dreaming about.  After explaining the difference, we practiced predicting and inferring using the same book.  A perfect book for both strategies!

How to Babysit a Grandpa

How to Babysit a Grandpa – Jean Reagan

One of the chapters in my new book Nonfiction Writing Power is helping students with instructional (procedural) writing and I have included this book on my list of anchor books that model this form of writing.  While the intent of this book is to entertain, I like that it is written in present tense and includes a variety of instructional adjectives. transition words and tips.  I also liked the cleverness of the “reversed roles” of babysitting as the boy tells the reader how to take walks, eat snacks and provide entertainment.   A great read-aloud and one to remember when you are teaching this form of writing.

Weeds Find a Way

Weeds Find a Way – Cindy Jessie Elliott

Ooooooo – I discovered a hidden treasure!  This is a book that celebrates those pesky little weeds that grow in our gardens.  But the language is BEAUTIFUL – alliteration, similes, metaphors – this book has every writing technique you could ask for! And the illustrations – GORGEOUS!  This is a long overdue tribute to the lonely, unwanted weed that will make you think twice about using that weed killer this spring!  Loved it!  Great information included at the back about different types of weeds.

 The Wreck of the Zephyr 30th Anniversary Edition

The Wreck of the Zephyr – Chris Van Allsburg

Chris Van Allsburg ranks high on my list of favorite authors.   His books are an extraordinary combination of hauntingly life-like illustrations and subtle text.  His books have been my “go to” anchor books when teaching my intermediate students how to question and infer because Van Allsburg is a master of telling a story by not telling a story.  I always tell my students: “Some writers don’t tell us everything because they are leaving spaces for our thinking”.   The Wreck of the Zephyr was first published in 1983 but has been reissued to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Thirty years later, the story still captivates students with the story of a boy, a magical island and boats that fly – Classic Van Allsburg.

Pride of Baghdad

 Pride of Baghdad – Brian K. Vaughan

This book was recommended to me by a middle school teacher in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  It is a graphic novel that depicts the true story of a pride of lions that escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. It is a heartbreaking account of these lions, finally free, but lost, confused and hungry – roaming the streets of Bagdad struggling to survive.   So much can be inferred and paralleled to the circumstances that so many Afghans experienced during the war.  This would be an amazing book for students in upper middle or high school and an amazing anchor book for inferring and illustrating metaphor.

The Orenda

The Orenda – Joseph Boyden

I loved Canadian writer Joseph Boyden’s book Three Day Road so was anxious to read his latest novel.  I started to read this book on the plane.  It had a jolting, intense and graphic opening that has caught my attention.  So far, not a comfortable, but extremely compelling read that tells the epic story during the 17th century of the First Nations and European first contact.  I’m only about 40 pages into the 500 plus page book but will keep you posted!

Thanks for reading my post!   What have you been reading this week?

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Filed under Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Question