Monday, March 9, 2015
Once again, I'm joining in with Jen from Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and other bloggers who share the books they have read the past week.
The imaginitive little hard-hat clad carpenter ants in this picture book had my kids laughing so hard and calling out "read it again" as soon as we finished. So we did! Even my ten-year-old came hovering at the door frame to listen and then climbed into bed with the rest of us! I borrowed this one from the library but they have requested that I buy it. Powerful endorsement!
Wow, wow, wow, I absolutely adored this book! Definitely my current favourite. I finished it and immediately started over again because I wanted to savour it a little longer. It made me want to be a teacher like Mr Daniels, to be that special person who sees past the defences. So insightful and full of memorable quotes. My two favourites:
"People act like the words "slow reader" tell them everything that's inside. Like I'm a can of soup and they can just read the list of ingredients and know everything about me. There's lots of stuff about the soup inside that they can't put on the label, like how it smells and tastes and makes you feel warm when you eat it. There's got to be more to me than just a kid who can't read well."
and the one on the dust jacket:
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Rudger is Amanda's imaginary friend and she is the only person who has ever seen him, that is, until the sinister Mr Bunting comes knocking at her front door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries and he now he is after Rudger. This story is funny, full of suspense and sometimes plain scary and creepy. Emily Gravett's illustrations are stunning and really bring the story to life. I particularly enjoyed the final few chapters, they took me by surprise!
Monday, March 2, 2015
I've had a few weeks off from IMWAYR while we moved interstate and were without internet, but now I'm ready to rejoin Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share the books I have been reading.
I had a big pile of books from the 2014 Children's Book Council of Australia list that I had collected but not read yet, so this was the perfect opportunity to get stuck into them! The official 2014 CBCA winners list can be found here, and the full list of shortlisted books can be found here. I've previously shared some of the books from the 2014 CBCA winners list, including Rules of Summer, The Swap, Banjo and Ruby Red and My Life as an Alphabet here.
I started with the winner from the Older Readers category:
Set in a wilderness education camp, Wildlife is a beautifully raw, honest, and sometimes heart-breaking coming-of-age story told from the perspectives of two very different female characters. Sibylla, who is struggling with typical teenage confusion over friendship, loyalty, love and social-acceptance, and Lou who is overcoming a tragic loss and trying to find the self courage to make new connections. This book is beautifully written, Fiona Wood manages to get the teenage voice just right. After reading the first few chapters it was easy to see why this book won the older reader category.
How cute is that cover? Sam Kinnison is a geeky film buff who loves horror-slasher movies and playing World of Warcraft. His world is flipped when super-cool and confident Camilla, daughter of a rock-star journalist arrives at school and becomes friends with him. This book is sweet and funny, I loved that it was told from a male point of view and that all the characters had vibrant personalities.
A Very Unusual Pursuit was the winner of the 2014 Younger Readers category. Aimed at the 9-12 year old age group, this is a wonderfully written historical fantasy with a strong female heroine. Young Birdie McAdam works for Alfred Bunce, the bogler. With her beautiful voice, she provides the bait that Alfred needs to hunt the child-eating Bogles infesting the houses of London. Catherine Jinks paints detailed descriptions of Victorian London and uses cockney accents and terms to create an authentic, fast-paced story which I found hard to put down.
An Honour Book in the Early Childhood category, I'm A Dirty Dinosaur boasts fun, repetitive and rhyming text. The mud-smeared illustrations will appeal to toddlers, especially the ones who love dinos!
This one has a sweet bedtime lullaby feel to it that reminded me of Time For Bed by Mem Fox.
Oh, I loved this one! The Silver Button was chosen as an Honour Book in the Picture Book category. Jodie is drawing a picture. As she adds the last button to the boot of her penguin, so many things are happening all around her. In her house, her street and the wider world. Some are insignificant, others are momentous. The whole book takes place in the space of just one minute. This book would be a great addition to units relating to the concept of time within the Year 1 Australian Curriculum: History.
King Pig was the other Honour Book in the Picture Book category. You can tell so much about what this book will be about from the cover, the facial expressions of the characters are fantastic. King Pig wants to know why the sheep don't like him. He tries wearing lovely clothes, which of course the sheep have to make for him...but still they don't like him. What can he do? A great reminder to be kind to others.
Toby straps his "parachute" onto his back every morning. He carries it everywhere, just in case he falls. One day he uses it to help someone else and starts to realise that maybe, he might not need it after all. A great story, with delightful illustrations that opens up opportunities to discuss anxiety and fears.
"When the enemy burned the library, everything burned". Everything except the one book that Peter's father had taken home to study. When Peter and his father are forced to flee the town, they take with them their treasure box, containing "no rubies, no silver, no gold", but instead a book about "our people, about us". With its beautiful, gentle illustrations, this book would support deep discussions about war and resilience. The Treasure Box bought tears to my eyes, it's a book that will stay with me.
The family lives on the windiest farm on Windy Hill. It is so windy that sometimes the pigs nearly blow away! Luckily, the family has a positive attitude (especially Grandpa) and Mum is an innovative thinker! The Windy Farm has a strong environmental message and could provoke some great discussions about sustainability in lower primary classrooms.
Unfortunately I haven't read any of the Information Books yet, but I will track those down for another time!