#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

My partner and I were away in Oliver for a week of resting and relaxing. We missed our babies terribly, but I managed to get some sewing, knitting, and cleaning done there. We had dinners with friends and laughed a lot. Back in Vancouver, first thing after unpacking the car, I ran downstairs to enjoy some snuggle and play time with my granddaughter Ada. She was as happy to see me as I was to see her!


5 stars
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

This book packs such delightful emotional punch. I love the connection to Little Red Riding Hood and how it upends our stereotype of wolves. I was teary eyed at the happy ending. I went through the book a couple more times and yup, it worked everytime, even though I knew what was coming.

5 stars
Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli

Just wow! There is so much about this wordless picture book I adore. On the surface it's the simple story of someone (who just happens to be a crocodile) getting up and heading off to work in the morning. Where he works is a delightful surprise.
However, the book is so much more than this. It captures snapshots in time of the crocodile's routines and commute. Each moment is a world of activity to get lost in. On the commuter train you can't help but wonder who all these people and animals are and where they are on their way to. If you look closely at the monkey compound you will notice a lot of very human kinds of behaviour.
Honestly, this turns out to be a not so simple book that you can spend hours pouring over.
And then, there's that ending.


3.5 stars
How to Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy

Beautiful art is accompanied by fascinating information about the life of an elephant. 
I liked it well enough but found it disconcerting at the end with the announcement about a new baby coming. How the heck did that happen? I even went back to see if I had missed a page. Nope. I wish there had been information about how the bull elephants knew when to meet up with the females when mating occurs. After reading that the herd was composed of females and young I wondered how the males knew it was time to leave, and how they would get together again. I guess I will have to do my own research.


5 stars
The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (HiLo #1) by Judd Winick & Guy Major (Colorist)

This was fabulous! It has adorable characters placed in a science fiction setting. The pages are gorgeously coloured with brilliant action scenes. I love the silliness that is countered with witty remarks, and strong emotional connections between the characters. I am now a fan of Judd Winick’s work and plan to read more! The good thing about being late to the Hilo party is that I won’t have to wait to read more of the series.


4 stars
The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh & Dianne Down (Narrator)

I am a sucker for really good, realistic, middle grade novels, especially ones that show us how we can be our best selves.
This is one of them.
It’s quiet and thoughtful although it does have some tense moments. Beatrix is an exuberant character who is passionate about poetry, music, and her relationship with her best friend, S. When that relationship falls apart at the beginning of seventh grade, Bea loses herself for awhile. While hiding from S and her new group of girls, she ends up connecting to Will, Briggs, and other individuals involved in the school paper.
It’s the relationship between Bea and Will (who seems to be on the autism spectrum) that most fascinated me. Where Bea is passionate and spontaneous, Will is analytical and rigid. I appreciate how their ‘friendship’ helps each of them become more self aware. Their relationship is not in any way romantic. That may or may not be where here friendship with Briggs is headed.
Will’s fascination with labyrinths drives much of the plot. It also leads to philosophical understandings for the characters and the readers.
Best of all, it has a satisfying conclusion even though it doesn’t end up the way I expected.


5 stars
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin & Tom Phelan (Narrator) (MG/YA)

Riley Cavanaugh is gender fluid character whose assigned sex is never identified. Riley is a sympathetic character who is witty, compassionate, and smart. On the suggestion of their therapist, Riley creates an anonymous blog, writing about their life under the pseudonym Alex. The blog becomes an overnight sensation, but someone knows that Alex is Riley, and starts threatening them. Riley's parents don't know about the blog or Riley's gender fluid identity. Mr Cavanaugh, Riley's father, is in the middle of a tight election when the information is leaked and used against him.
I really liked this one. I liked the romantic relationship between Riley and Bec, and friendship between Riley and Solo. Although it is YA, and there is a violent incident near the end of the book, I would comfortably pass this on to students in grades 6 and 7. Ultimately it is a positive book with positive characters that will educate readers about what it means to be gender fluid.

4 stars
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf & Mark Bramhall (Narrator)

This book broke my heart a bit. It tells of the relationship between two elderly people, Addie and Louis, who have lost their partners. What begins as a way to help each other deal with their loneliness grows into friendship and eventually love. The two of them end up looking after Addie's grandson while the parents are separated. Unfortunately the boy's father is an ass. The book is definitely worth reading, but also frustrating. I plan to read more Kent Haruf. I just discovered that this has been made into a movie. I'm contemplating whether or not to watch it. 

4 stars
Still Life by Louise Penny by Louise Penny & Ralph Cosham (Narrator)

I finally got around to Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache's series.
One autumn my partner and I travelled through the Gaspe Peninsula in Southern Quebec. This novel took me back into that landscape and those towns. If we had had any inkling that the people would be as charming as these characters, we might have stayed.
I’m especially looking forward to getting to know Chief Inspector Armand Gamache better in the next books!

Honestly with all the adult authors I'm getting around to reading, I may just have to devote my entire life doing nothing but reading!


Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway by Wendelin Van Draanen and narrated by Tara Sands is the audiobook I've got on the go. This series is my go to when I've been immersed in intense literature. I'm in the middle of Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar. I didn't put The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman in my book bag so I'll get back to that this week. I'm still taking Palestine by Joe Sacco in small doses. I've just begun This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.


I hope to get to Celia's Song by Lee Maracle and The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch.


#MustReadIn2018 6/25 1 in process
#MustReadNFIn2018 2/12
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 2/25 1 in progress
Goodreads Reading Challenge 67/333


#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

I worked as a substitute teacher three days last week. I had forgotten how exhausting it is to just be in a classroom. My praise goes out to all the teachers who do this work day after day with such positive energy. You are all superheros!
My partner and I have retreated to our Oliver home for a bit of rest, relaxation and reading while I recover. 


My granddaughter, Ada, is really keeping me on my toes in the reading department these days. If I am elected to calm her down before bedtime, (not an easy task for this little go getter,) I have to hide the books I am planning to read or else she isn't satisfied with the one we have and wants the others instead. Now that she has discovered my hiding place beside my chair she climbs over the chair head first to search for them. It's hard to get through a book because she is fascinated with banging on the cover to make sounds and turning the pages. She also manages to rub her hands on them and make a noise. I have no idea how she does it because I sure can't get the same sound. 

4 stars
Fifteen Animals! by Sandra Boynton

The best part of this book is that from an adult perspective, it is fun to read over and over again. Ada seems to like the rhythm of the poetry and of course that I make the animal sounds. I liked the surprise ending. Maybe if I learn the song in the video below she will be more attentive.

5 stars
Black Bear Red Fox by Julie Flett (Artist)

I am a fan of anything by Julie Flett. There is something about her use of colour that seems to calm my rambunctious granddaughter down when we read them. (well for a few pages anyway) Both the Cree (with a pronunciations guide) and English words are given for the different animals. The background of the page with these words is the colour mentioned. See below how gorgeous it is.

3 stars
Things That Go by Jane Foster

I like this one more than Ada does, but I admit that I am fascinated by all of Jane Foster's illustrations. Even my saying the sounds of the different vehicles in my most exciting voice didn't entertain her much though.

3 stars
Black and White by Jane Foster

I meant to read this one with Everett last week because he is a calmer baby who sits back and takes the world in while Ada just barges into it. I am hoping this is just a phase for her. Please tell me that it is. She did focus for a few pages, but that is about it. Isn't it amazing how powerful their little personalities are at this age?


3 stars
My Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories (Duck, Duck, Porcupine!) by Salina Yoon

These three charming stories of three little friends will be wonderful for students who are just becoming readers. Each tale is loaded with humour and sweetness. I only wish there was more expression in the characters faces.


5 stars
La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman and Michael Sheen (Narrator)

Just Wow! This tells the story of two children who rescue and look after the infant Lyra when she is threatened by different groups and individuals. It reminded me of why I fell in love with the Dark Materials trilogy in the first place.
It was such a joy to be back in Philip Pullman's world. Everything is vividly real. All these characters, the main and secondary ones, are richly drawn and compelling. Michael Sheen’s narration is perfection. At the same time as I couldn’t stop listening, I also didn’t want this tale to end.
While this story wrapped up satisfactory, it left me gnashing my teeth that I have to wait for the next one.

3 stars
Fairest of All (Whatever After #1) by Sarah Mlynowski & Emily Eiden (Narrator)

Two siblings, Abby and Jonah, have moved to a new community and Abby is having a hard time adapting. Then they discover an old mirror in the basement and end up accidentally being drawn into the land of Snow White. They disrupt the original story and end up staying until it is fixed.  
I’m wondering why I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. I liked the characters and the plot twists. I really appreciated the feminist ending. I suspect my lack of satisfaction has to do with having just finished reading Philip Pullman’s new book and anything that followed would be pale in comparison.

5 stars
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour & Jorjeana Marie (Narrator)

Holy Carumba but this is one mighty fine book! That I wept reveals how emotionally invested I was in Marin, the protagonist.
I started listening to this book while Randy and I were on our way to Oliver. I listen to audiobooks all the time while traveling, but honestly, this time the world outside the story just disappeared. That’s how compelling and all encompassing it is.
The story is loaded with grief and loss, but it’s also layered with love and mystery. It’s impossible not to love these characters as though they are real people.
There is a reason a book wins the Michael Printz award. Read this and you will understand why.


I'm between audiobooks right now. I've been reading The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman just when I am at schools during reading time, but I haven't made much progress. Palestine by Joe Sacco is an emotionally exhausting read that I can only do in small doses.


Symptoms of Being Human is on my device ready for me to start listening to tomorrow when I head out for a walk, or start my next sewing project. Because of how intense Palestine is, I've renewed This Is Not A Border: Reportage & Reflection From the Palestine Festival of Literature and put it aside for a bit. I may return it to the library unread. I plan to get to Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar for sure this week. I've also just picked up a collection of fabulous picture books that I plan to get to.


#MustReadIn2018 6/25 1 in process
#MustReadNFIn2018 2/12
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 2/25
Goodreads Reading Challenge 58/333


#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

The group of jurors I was lucky to be part of managed to come up with winners for the Cybil Graphic Novel awards. It was not easy. All of the contenders, especially at the elementary level, were fabulous reads. Stay tuned for Wednesday when the winners will be announced.


The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

This book is very clever. It shows readers that through our mistakes we can achieve big things. It also reveals how mistakes that might seem insurmountable in the moment, can become insignificant when we look at the big picture. It all works because while the text is minimal, the gorgeous illustrations are laden with meaning.

Claymates by Dev Petty & Lauren Eldridge (Illustrator)

This is laugh out loud fun! I can't wait to read this to a group of children this coming week. When a clay artist leaves her work alone it comes to life. There is a playful mischievousness to their shenanigans that I know will appeal to children of many ages.

I Wrote You a Note by Lizi Boyd

I appreciate Liza Boyd's unique illustrations in this book a lot. I like that all the different creatures viewed the note from their own unique perspectives. I'm just kind of confused as to how many notes the girl wrote before it was magically received by the recipient for who it was intended.

Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

This wordless picture book tells of a wee owl and bat who become friends, much to the chagrin of their mothers. When troubles hit both families, the adults and the rest of clans learn to appreciate one another.
Through this fiction, an important truth about how the world evolves socially is revealed. If you are lucky enough for your children to go to a multicultural school, they will make friends with all kinds of students who are different from them. As adults who are interested in our children's friends, we can't help but get to know and appreciate their families. This is how immigrants are regularly integrated into life here in Canada.


Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

I ended up loving this book much more than I anticipated. It’s got fabulous characters placed in a dystopian, futuristic Korean world. I loved the concept of genetic engineering to create superhumans who still have the capacity to choose what is right. I appreciated the creative technology and the numerous political and criminal factions warring with each other. This is a love story. There is traditional romantic love, but also aspects of love on all kinds of levels. It's these friendships and family bonds that are most fascinating. I handed this off to my Korean daughter in law to see what she has to say.

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali & Ariana Delawari (Narrator)

I really liked the collection of characters in this book. Still, there were times when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue reading because I was worried Janna’s assaulter would try again and be successful. I’m glad I went on because ultimately this is the story of a young woman’s empowerment. I think Muslim readers will see themselves in this book, but it is also a coming of age story that will resonate for all kinds of people.


I'm totally enthralled by the audiobook, La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman and Michael Sheen (Narrator.) I'm reading The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. Now that I've finished with the Cybil graphic novels, I've finally started Palestine by Joe Sacco. Talk about intense!


I think Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski will be the next audiobook. Kellee's (from Unleashing Readers) enthusiasm for the series convinced me to give one a try. I have Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar and This Is Not A Border: Reportage & Reflection From the Palestine Festival of Literature due back at the library soon so I will try to get to those. 


#MustReadIn2018 6/25 1 in process

#MustReadNFIn2018 2/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 2/25

Cybil Graphic Novels 12/12

Goodreads Reading Challenge 50/333

#IMWAYR February 5, 2018

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

Last week when I went to pick up a graphic novel from a different library branch, I wandered over into the baby book section. The area was teeming with moms and tots. While looking for Jane Whittingham's book, (see below) I overheard a conversation between two moms. One was going through a pile of books that her little person was bringing to her. She confessed to the other mom that she only brought home books that she could stand to read over and over again. I think this is an important aspect in any book for children.

I am hosting book club Monday afternoon. I will get around to reading and responding to everyone's posts, but it might not be right away!


I read a lot of books with my seven month old grandbabies, but will try to just highlight what is new or if the reaction is exceptional. 

Wild One by Jane Whittingham & Noel Tuazon (Illustrator)

Jane at Raincity Librarian, is one of our fellow bloggers from my home town of Vancouver BC. This isn't strictly a board book, but it is constructed to be very durable. It didn't quite work for my darling little girl, but she loved the noise flapping these pages makes. I can imagine my grandchildren being wild like this when they are a bit older.

Dance Baby Dance by Andrea Spalding

This didn't engage my granddaughter nearly as much as Super Bowl on TV did. I'll try it again later, but it seems like too much text for a seven month old.

We All Count: A Book Of Ojibway Numbers by Jason Adair

The gorgeous illustrations entertain my little ones and me, even it they are not really ready to understand counting.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.& Eric Carle (Illustrator)

This is a larger version of board book that I purchased to go along with the quilts I made for the babies. I've read this book more times than I can imagine across the years. These days I am seeing it with fresh eyes when I share it with my grandbabies. Ada, who is 7 1/2 months adores it. She makes cooing and screeching noises and tries to eat or taste the illustrations. My two year old great nephew 'reads this one' by chanting the animal names when he comes to the pages. You can see below how much Ada loves it this in these photos.  


This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson & Suzy Lee (Illustrator)

The text is a celebration of everyday moments, but it is Suzy Lee’s illustrations that take this book to a spectacular level. I adore that the book begins with a black and white pallet that adds colour with each turn of the page and culminates in a glorious homage to backyard play.


Island: A Story of the Galápagos by Jason Chin

When Jason Chin mixes science with his imagination, he makes learning about the world around us into a fascinating adventure.

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books by Michelle Markel & Nancy Carpenter (Illustrator)

This delightful book tells the story of John Newbery and his role in facilitating the publication of children's literature.


A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore & Fisher Stevens (Narrator)

I can't believe that I hadn't read anything by Christopher Moore before I read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, as one of my #MustRead novels last year. I have become a fan. This story of a widower with a newborn baby who discovers that he has been nominated to collect the souls of the dead is hilarious and sweet.


Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough by Doug Saunders

We are meeting to talk about this book today. The basic premise is that Canada, for all kinds of reasons, needs more people. It delves into the history of immigration before finally explaining that we need to increase our population to 100 million people, but that we also need to invest in specific infrastructure to ensure we maintain the kind of successful multiculturalism we have enjoyed so far.


The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner

I adored this book the first time round and while this reread isn't quite as fresh, I loved it as much, if not more, this time. The characters are brilliantly sweet and hilarious. Clinking on the title will take you to my original blog post about it.

Soupy Leaves Home by Cecil Castellucci & Jose Pimienta (Illustrations)

This one stood up to rereading as well. This historical novel set in the 1930's, features Pearl, a young girl who runs away from an abusive family. She becomes Soupy, a boy, and takes to the hobo life under the tutelage of Ramshackle, an ailing old man. Ramshackle teaches Soupy how to dream and find goodness and beauty all around them. Through their journey Soupy finds self worth and confidence.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale (Goodreads Author), LeUyen Pham (Illustrations), Jane Poole (Color)

This is another book that was as good if not better the second time round. I love that it deals with what it means to be popular, provides a model for how to extract yourself from bullying through exclusion, and highlights the kinds of behaviours that are truly admirable.

The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo, Dice Tsutsumi

This is an intriguing story about a young pig who maintains a windmill that keeps a killing fog away from his village. It is dark but still compelling. The book is based on an Oscar nominated animation film that you can see here. The film is a kind of prequel for the novel, although we learn more about how the pig ended up in this situation.


I've barely started Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali.


Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh is waiting for me to find time to start. The next audiobook will be La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman and Michael Sheen (narrator)


#MustReadIn2018 6/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 2/12 

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 2/25

Cybil Graphic Novels 12/12 

Goodreads Reading Challenge 44/333