Saturday, June 2, 2018

Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts (Susan Cain)


Every teacher and parent should read this book. I can't tell you how often I've had conversations with people about what we should do about a kid who is a loner recess. Embarrassingly, I've also talked to parents and their children about how their child doesn't participate in classroom discussions. This book gives great ideas for ways to include and honor kids who are introverts. Kids would do well to read this book too. She has a lot of ideas for ways to do things that are hard for kids that lead towards the introvert life.

Goodreads says:
The monumental bestseller Quiet has been recast in a new edition that empowers introverted kids and teens 

Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation when she published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. With her inspiring book, she permanently changed the way we see introverts and the way introverts see themselves.

The original book focused on the workplace, and Susan realized that a version for and about kids was also badly needed. This book is all about kids' world—school, extracurriculars, family life, and friendship. You’ll read about actual kids who have tackled the challenges of not being extroverted and who have made a mark in their own quiet way. You’ll hear Susan Cain’s own story, and you’ll be able to make use of the tips at the end of each chapter. There’s even a guide at the end of the book for parents and teachers.

This insightful, accessible, and empowering book, illustrated with amusing comic-style art, will be eye-opening to extroverts and introverts alike.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


I started this book on the weekend. I was sick this weekend so I didn't do as much reading as I would have liked to. I should try to get it finished this week:


But first....I want to read The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from North Korea! The Calgary Public Library has these "cafes" where they get together and discuss a great book. This discussion is on Wednesday. Can I read it in two days? Time will tell!


And then I should get started on next month's book club book, Three Day Road - a great Canadian novel:


Monday, May 21, 2018

FINISH: Give Yourself the Gift of Done (John Acuff)


It's kind of ironic that it has taken me a couple of attempts to read this book. I was introduced to it by a Better Than Before group I'm in on Facebook. Initially, I was turned off by the title. My mom always poo poo-ed the word 'done' unless it was used with baking. I don't even know if that is correct or not. My mother's voice is always in my head though when someone says, "Are you done?" or "When will this be done?" It's sure to earn a scowled look, even if it's just in my mind.

I got past the title and read the first chapter. His first chapter talks about cutting your goals in half. My goal-oriented (feverish?) self was totally turned off. How is a person supposed to accomplish anything if they cut their goals in half? I put the book away.

Today I had a bunch of cleaning and cooking to do and wanted something to listen to and it had come up on my audio books borrowed from the library so I decided to give it a go again. I quite enjoyed it this time! He has a great sense of humor and really doesn't like perfectionist tendencies - something I totally agree with. I liked his ideas for getting rid of distractions, tracing progress (he calls it keeping data), not being afraid to finish and looking out for other goals to work on once you meet your goal.

I really am a starter. I have a ton of ideas, but I get mired down in the doing. I really enjoyed his book. He had some good ideas for me.

Goodreads summary:

Year after year, readers pulled me aside at events and said, “I’ve never had a problem starting. I’ve started a million things, but I never finish them. Why can’t I finish?
According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. You’ve practically got a better shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina than you do at finishing your goals. 

For years, I thought my problem was that I didn’t try hard enough. So I started getting up earlier. I drank enough energy drinks to kill a horse. I hired a life coach and ate more superfoods. Nothing worked, although I did develop a pretty nice eyelid tremor from all the caffeine. It was like my eye was waving at you, very, very quickly. 

Then, while leading a thirty-day online course to help people work on their goals, I learned something surprising: The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite— they took the pressure off. 

Why? Because the sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism. We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underper­form our aspirations. 

The strategies in this book are counterintuitive and might feel like cheating. But they’re based on studies conducted by a university researcher with hundreds of participants. You might not guess that having more fun, eliminating your secret rules, and choosing something to bomb intentionally works. But the data says otherwise. People who have fun are 43 percent more successful! Imagine if your diet, guitar playing, or small business was 43 percent more suc­cessful just by following a few simple principles. 

If you’re tired of being a chronic starter and want to become a consistent finisher, you have two options: You can continue to beat yourself up and try harder, since this time that will work. Or you can give yourself the gift of done.

Monday, May 7, 2018


I'm re-reading The One and Only Ivan because it is our grade 3 book club choice. I love this book.


I am reading A House in the Sky again for my community book club:

A House in the Sky

And last of all, I plan to finish Once We Were Shadows, a book written by a lady I know!

When We Were Shadows

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Wishtree (Katherine Applegate)

Katherine Applegate has done it again. This is a beautiful book! The narrator is a tree. The tree's neighboorhood has a "newcomer" family move into the neighborhood and someone carves the words "leave" into her trunk. The tree is resourceful and communicates with animals and other trees and they gather their resources to solve some of the friendship issues. Unfortunately, someone wants to cut down the tree, so their time is limited.

This is a great book to talk about empathy as well. What would it be like to be the family that is being threatened or to have no friends?

Activity ideas:

  • Make a big tree (on paper) and make wishes
    • one for yourself, one for someone else

Goodreads says:

Trees can't tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this "wishtree" watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red's experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever

Monday, April 23, 2018

Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L`Engle)

Reread April 23, 2018
This is the third time reading this book. We did it for book club this month in conjunction with the new movie coming out. I haven`t seen the movie yet. I plan to. In the meantime, I have to say that every time I read this book I appreciate it a little bit more. It wasn`t a huge hit with our grade three students. They thought it was kind of boring. It got low ratings from all but one student (a science crazy student). 

I think there`s a lot more in this book than I even realize so far. I`m looking forward to reading it again one day!

March 15, 2015
There are so many awesome themes in this book. We read it with our grade three book club. I was a little leery to read it with them. I wasn't sure they were old enough. I can't remember how old I was when I first read A Wrinkle in Time, but I do remember that I didn't really understand it and didn't enjoy it that much. When our book club met, after reading it, I was pleasantly surprised with the number of children who read it. Not only that, we had an amazing discussion. Lesson learned. Don't underestimate!

It was a great introduction to science fiction. 

Themes: love, courage, working together, being proud to be yourself, individuality, love conquers all and more.

Later we watched the movie as well. That is an intense movie. It made me want to read the book again!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Gone Without a Trace (Mary Torjussen)

Gone Without A Trace

Every week I have my students write down the name of the book they're reading this week (an attempt at getting them in the habit of IMWAYR). I often tell them about the book I'm reading. I had just started this one on the weekend so on Monday I told them a little about it: A husband (he was actually a boyfriend...but I told them he was a husband...) disappears. I told them how everything about him was gone: her number in his phone, his email address in her contacts. Everything that was his was gone and all that was hers was put back where it was before he moved in. She tried calling him at work - but he no longer worked there. She called his mother - but she had moved. I was definitely hooked by the story line. My class was definitely hooked. They asked me if they could read it too.


As the story wears on, you wonder if it was the MIL. You wonder about the people she works with. There are a few people I had my eyes on as the guilty ones. Boy was I wrong. In the end, as the story unfolds, it turns out SHE is abusive and he left to protect himself. I can't tell my students about how it ends. It was so surprising - and so dysfunctional! I'm going to have to make something up to tell my students.

This book was picked for the community book club that I joined a few months ago. It definitely made for a good discussion!

Goodreads says:

GONE WITHOUT A TRACE by Mary Torjussen is a chilling, twisty, compulsive thriller about a woman whose boyfriend has vanished. Fans of I LET YOU GO and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN will be gripped.

No one ever disappears completely...

You leave for work one morning.

Another day in your normal life.

Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone.
His belongings have disappeared.
He hasn't been at work for weeks.
It's as if he never existed.

But that's not possible, is it?

And there is worse still to come.

Because just as you are searching for him
someone is also watching you.