In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! I enjoy keeping track of my reading and sharing with others each week. Since I had no internet or tv for the past two weeks, I did have a little opportunity to read some book treasures! I was quite excited about the results, starting to explore some books on the library shelves vs. just reading the new books. Also, I loved my fiction book selections this week, what fun they were to enjoy (and also quite distracting/engrossing)…
Parsley Rabbit’s Book about Books by Frances Watts, illustrated by David Legge – very cute, kid appealing book about books that is humorous enough to be informative but also readable. My son and I loved lifting flaps and “learning” about books. I’d recommend this one to anyone beginning lessons on book awareness.
Zak the Yak with Books on His Back by John Wood, illustrated by Abin Shrestha – This is an inspiring story about people and a yak working hard to bring books to children who want to read books but only have one in their entire school. The rhyming in the book is entertaining and fun for a read aloud and the author has the fantastic “Room to Read” program that he began and an amazing story accompanying his mission to get books into the hands of children that don’t have access to them. I was so excited to find and have the opportunity to read this book! Goodreads Summary: Zak, the Yak, loves to travel, and over a cup of tea with a new friend he hears the sad tale of local school children who are eager to learn but do not have the books or resources. Zak is determined to help the students.
April Underhill, Tooth Fairy by Bob Graham – Hilarious view on tooth fairies learning how to collect a tooth for the first time with a modern twist such as the fairies being able to carry around cell phones and other hints at the modern world. I enjoyed this cute quick read aloud with my son. Goodreads summary: April Underhill, seven-year-old tooth fairy, gets a call on her cell phone. This is it! Her first tooth collection. April and her little sister, Esme, must convince Mom and Dad to let them take on the task all by themselves. But soon, two tiny fairies fly off into the night, over a highway of thundering eighteen-wheelers, eager to prove how grown up they can be. As always, the charm is in the visual details: the pony-tailed, winged dad in baggy jeans; the snug fairy house with teeth dangling from the rafters like wind chimes. Once again, Bob Graham has crafted a tale of heartwarming adventure, magical yet very real.
The Children Who Loved Books by Peter Carnavas – Cute simple book about a family loving books, losing the love for a little while, and then falling back in love with reading all over again. Goodreads Summary: Angus and Lucy love books.They have hundreds of them.Then one day, all the books are taken away, and Angus and Lucy discover they need books more than they ever imagined. A warm and moving celebration of books and the way in which they bring us all together.
It’s a Miroocool by Christine Harris and Ann James – Beautiful illustrations in this touching book about a little girl trying her best to guide a tooth fairy to her home after her first tooth comes out. Goodreads Summary: Audrey lives in the outback, so when she loses her first tooth, she’s worried the tooth fairy will never find her! How will she let the tooth fairy know where she lives…and what will the tooth fairy leave her?
Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra by Stephen Costanza – I loved this glimpse into the history of Vivaldi, even the fictional portion – especially for the development of The Four Seasons… Special illustrations that made me say “wow” throughout the book. Goodreads Summary: Every day, Antonio Vivaldi composes a new orchestral piece, and every day, the orphan Candida transcribes Vivaldi’s masterpiece into sheet music for the Invisible Orchestra. Nobody notices Candida or appreciates her hard work. But one day Candida accidentally slips a poem she wrote into the sheet music and the girl so often behind the shadows gets recognized for her own talents. Vivaldi really did have an Invisible Orchestra made up of orphan girls he taught to play. This beautiful book pays tribute to their inspiration.
The Red Poppy by David Hill, illustrated by Fifi Colston – WWII – This picture book really puts you into the grim situations soldiers came into on the battlefield during the war. I never read any books about messenger dogs before, how they would be trained to quickly run messengers from troops on the battlefield back to the trenches when help was needed, etc.—little Nipper was the main dog in this story… It was touching to see how two soldiers from opposite sides could figure out how to communicate and help one another. This is another beautiful story that I think would be good for portraying empathy. Additionally shares the pointlessness (in my personal opinion) of the war in some places… There is a music cd accompanying the book with a song The Red Poppy by Rob Kennedy. Warning though, it is at least a 1 tissue book! Quite touching.
Recipe for Perfect Planet Pie by Kim Michelle Toft – for my PYP/IB friends, this book is perfect for those who are trying to find books that talk about ecosystems, fragile balance of life on earth, and a book that provides you with a simple text with a cute recipe theme (which I see many lesson plans blossoming from), additionally you can read the book with the helpful hint portion on every page which is informative and appropriate for each part of the recipe, and finally you have illustrations that are completely gorgeous that honestly made me pause and say “wow”, especially at the end. I additionally loved the glossary and action ideas at the end of the book. I just loved this book and would recommend it highly.
Kick It To Me by Neridah McMullin, illustrated by Peter Hudson – I think I hit a book that is from Australia but though I tried, it was a little out of context for me without background knowledge and appreciation. Very touching, interesting book about a child who was growing up in Australia next to an aboriginal settlement and learned how to play “Marn-grook” football. I’m glad to know someone who was quite important as an Australian sportsman. I realize that there is huge gaps in my knowledge of Australia/Australia’s history by reading this book. Made me want to learn more!
Mr. Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum by Terri rose Baynton – Very cute book with an interesting, intellectual, reflective, compassionate friendship portrayed through two friends whom I could not figure out if they were supposed to be a toy mouse and toy bear, real mouse/bear, etc. But I enjoyed the story because I appreciated how the bear empathized with his friend after he ruined his hope to sit in the clouds… Quite touching.
The Jade Necklace by Paul Yee, illustrated by Grace Lin – I found a book Grace Lin illustrated that I never saw before!! I was so excited to discover this title and am happy that I read it. Such a beautiful story of a girl who loses faith after her father is lost in the ocean after a typhoon and how she adjusts afterwards to poverty and moves to a new country. Beautiful story. Terrific for a provocation/discussion on loss, change, and impact on our lives by natural forces.
Belonging by Jeannie Baker – I love everything Jeannie Baker creates. Let’s just say that now. And Belonging was fantastic for watching the movement of bringing back native plants and animals to an urban community. My son loved this book and immediately requested that we reread the book once we finished reading it the first time. We loved watching the girl grow, watching the green arrive in the community, and then on the third read through the book, my son finally recognized how brilliant the artistic creation was in the book. “Wow, mom, every single thing was really created in this book… Like a collage…” Goodreads Summary: As in the author’s previous picture book, Window, this book is observed through the window of a house in a typical urban neighbourhood, each picture showing a year’s developments. This is Window in reverse, though, with the land being reclaimed from built-up concrete to a gradual greening, shown through the artist’s characteristic collage illustrations.
That Magnetic Dog by Bruce Whatley – I don’t know how I’d personally feel about having a dog that can magnetically attract food into it’s mouth. I do know that I loved the idea and the characters and the hilarious illustrations. Goodreads Summary: A family story with a humorous twist featuring Skitty, the dog. Skitty is magnetic-she attracts food and people. Everyone knows a dog like Skitty and will delight in this story and in Whatley’s soft, realistic illustrations.
Early Chapter Book:
Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 – The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi – Really enjoyed this book as a read aloud with my son. We’re already into book two! Goodreads Summary: When the three Grace children — Mallory, Jared, and Simon — and their mom move into Aunt Lucinda’s old house, readers know there’s magic afoot. The kids uncover a nest of assembled junk, and on a visit to the secret library via the dumbwaiter, Jared finds a note describing “my secret to all mankind.” After a few mysterious pranks that get blamed on Jared, the boy finally digs up the real prize: Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. Fortunately enough, the kids meet one of the critters listed in the guide — a brownie named Thimbletack — who makes it all “real” and helps provide the book’s suspenseful conclusion: “‘Throw the book away, toss it in a fire. If you do not heed, you will draw their ire.'”
Why I Hate School by Michael Fatarsky written by Kris Stanhope – 4th/5th Grade/Year 5/6 recommended– Have I mentioned that I’m at a new school in a new country? Well, I also am working with a published author! As soon as I heard this, I immediately checked this book out. It is a fantastic 4th-8th grade book that really taps into the point of view of a boy in a difficult situation coping with life with a book on why he hates school. The way Kris Stanhope reveals the different character’s points of view and life experience is brilliant. How the two main characters are tied to one another is heartbreaking and beautiful combined. I really loved this book and wish I could recommend it to kids who are having a rough time in life, kids who enjoy humor mixed with realistic fiction, and also would pass it to reluctant readers who enjoy books with snippets of illustrations mingled throughout. (But I would never compare this book with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, not the same style and Why I Hate School has higher quality writing and word choice.)
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – Adult book!– My goodness was this a distracting, absorbing, complicated, long book. And it is just the first in a long series that I immediately want to continue reading (but realistically know that I have other books to also enjoy.) I was quite impressed with the complicated, intertwined storylines in addition to the remorseless treatment of characters during the book. I’m curious to see how this book is adapted into the show- friends have told me that it is quite true to the book. This means I might me shutting my eyes here and there during the viewing of the show since portions are so violent and graphic. But I did love reading it! Goodreads Summary: Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
What am I reading now:
My Secret Diary- Dating, Dancing, Dreams and Dilemmas by Jacqueline Wilson – I normally read an author’s work before jumping into an autobiography about them, but since I saw over 20 copies of Jacqueline Wilson’s books get checked out over a three day period in my new library, I figured that I’d appreciate a glimpse at the author’s life before reading a few of her books. So far, I’m enjoying the book- Only from her life when she was 14 though. Goodreads Summary: In this wonderfully written memoir of Jacqueline Wilson’s life as a teenager, stories about family problems, first love, school life and friends build up a fascinating picture of a real teenager and her inner life. She uses extracts from her real diary to cover issues as diverse as how she created beehive hairdos to her troubled school life.
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