Monday, May 29, 2017


Yes. I'm still reading this one. I'm not being very serious about it though. I do need to get serious.

The latest Newberry winner! I'm excited to read this one.
Last week I heard Deborah Ellis speak. With all the work AB Ed is doing to get teachers to understand first nations' issues, I thought this would be a great read to start with.

Upside Down Magic (Sarah Mlynowski)

One of my grade 4 students gave this book to me MONTHS ago because he thought it would be good for book club. He'd ask me what I thought of it and I'd embarrassingly say I wasn't quite finished it yet (Why didn't I just say I hadn't started it yet??!) I finally started reading it and he's right! It is a great book.   Even better, when the kids in my class saw it on my desk, they were all excited. One, who NEVER comes to book club came to me and said, "Mrs. Ackroyd, I'd so excited about what we're reading next for book club!" Turns out, it is Upside Down Magic she is excited about. Guess we better read it!

It's a bit of Harry Potter and a bit of The Quirks. In this one adults are definitely on the outskirts of the story. I was a little sad that they never got their magic under control so that they could go to the school they wanted to go to. Although, maybe I should read the rest of the books in the series....

The magical characters, as told by Nory, the main character:

p. 87 This is Upside-Down Magic class, she thought. A Freezer, A Fierce, a girl who shrinks things, a girl who wets things, a boy who sees sound waves, two wonky Fluxers and a Flyer who can't come down from the ceiling.

Goodreads summary:

From New York Times bestselling authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins comes the hilarious and heartfelt story of a group of magical misfits.

Nory Horace is nine years old. She's resourceful, she's brave, she likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she's able to transform into many different animals. Unfortunately, Nory's shape-shifting talent is a bit wonky. And when she flunks out of her own father's magic academy, Nory's forced to enter public school, where she meets a group of kids whose magic is, well, different.

This new, offbeat series from hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Darkest Dark (Chris Hadfield)

This is a beautiful book! It is by the astronaut, Chris Hadfield. It talks about his fear of the dark, being inspired by other astronauts and overcoming his fear of the dark. And best of all: he has a pug!

 Chris Hadfield is very inspiring. And best of all, he is a great advocate for literacy. McLeans's magazine wrote a great article about him.

“For the first time, Chris could see the power and mystery and velvety black beauty of the dark.

And, he realized, you’re never really alone there.
Your dreams are always with you, just waiting.
Big dreams, about the kind of person you want to be.”


Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan's lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible. 
Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem--at night, Chris doesn't feel so brave. He's afraid of the dark.
But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is--and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair (Patricia Polacco)

Another great Patricia Polacco! And once again, there were gasps when they started to figure out the story. These are a joy to read to a class!

Goodreads summary:

How much TV is too much TV? Welcome to Triple Creek, where the townspeople watch TV day and night. They watch it when they're eating, working, playing, and sleeping. They even use TVs to teach the kids at school. But when Eli's eccentric Aunt Chip (who refuses to own a TV) discovers that her nephew and her neighbors don't remember how to read, she pulls the plug on the whole town?using books that have been piled high to build a dam to spread the magic of reading all around.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Something About Hensleys (Patricia Polacco)

Patricia Polacco has a magic story telling gift. Every my toughest students who don't seem to enjoy story time get drawn into her stories. My students even gasped as the two girls were walking down the street and came across a kitten while having just what they needed to catch the kitten.

I started off telling my class how my husband's family lives in a very small town and everyone loves to go to The Merc. You find all sorts of cool things at The Merc....just like at Hensley's. This is a historical fiction book. The author says she is still loyal to Hensley's because of her great experiences there.

Goodreads summary:

There's something about Hensley's! No matter what you need, that general store is sure to have it. It's almost magical the way the manager, Old John, seems to know what the townsfolk need before they do! But then a new family moves to town. The youngest child, Molly, has asthma--but her mother doesn't have money to treat her, or for anything else. But leave it to Old John to find a way to use Hensley's to give the family exactly what it needs, even if it can't be boxed or bagged.
A true--and truly moving--story about an unforgettable general store and about the extraordinary power one person's acts of kindness can have on another.
About the Author: Patricia Polacco lives in Union City, Michigan.

Monday, May 22, 2017


One of my grade 4 students gave this book to me MONTHS ago because he thought it would be good for book club. He'd ask me what I thought of it and I'd embarrassingly say I wasn't quite finished it yet (Why didn't I just say I hadn't started it yet??!) I finally started reading it and he's right! It is a great book. 

I will probably always be working on this book. I need to just get serious and read it and get on with life! I know it's a good one. Why do I hesitate??

Sunday, May 21, 2017

El Deafo (CeceBell)

This is our grade 3 book club book this month. It's perfect timing because in science we are doing a unit on Hearing and Sound.

I appreciate being able to read books like this and hear about things from someone's perspective. I hope I'm not as insensitive as people she knew growing up!

Goodreads summary:

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school--in the the teacher's the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it's just another way of feeling different... and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Something From Nothing (Phoebe Gilman)

This story fits well with our Open Court unit on money.

We loved the little story under the story.

Goodreads summary:

The blanket Joseph's grandfather made him is transformed into many things as the years go by: a jacket, a vest, a tie, a handkerchief--and finally a button. Gilman's modern adaptation and lively illustrations turn this favorite Jewish tale into a contemporary classic.

Buy this book

Monday, May 15, 2017


It's the same as last week.
It makes me sad. I just haven't had time to read!
It must be May :(
Hurry up summer!! I need my reading time.

Friday, May 12, 2017

What Moms Can't Do (Douglas Wood)

Warning: Don't read this book with a bunch of kids if you're not ready to hear some funny mom stories. Almost every page, someone said, "That's true! You know, my mom...." and they'd have something that related to each page. The story goes through a mom's day from a kid's perspective. Quite well done. Apparently, there's a What Dads Can't Do as well. We will have to find it.

Goodreads summary:

Shows a child pondering the many problems that mothers must deal with in the course of a normal day.

Buy this book

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard (Jennifer K. Mann)

I should have read this one ahead of time. It made me sad. I didn't like that this kid is working so hard for public recognition and feels like she will just measure up. In the end, she does get recognized for her talents. I wondered what my students thought about it. It has potential for a great discussion.

Goodreads summary:

Rose’s teacher gives stars for spelling and neatness and giving the right answer, but Rose can’t manage to do any of those things right. Will she ever get a star from Mrs. Benson?

Rose is a distracted and creative soul. She does her best at school, but sometimes her mind wanders, and she answers the wrong question. Her reading voice is quiet, not strong and loud. And her desk—well, keeping her desk neat is a challenge. When it’s time to make thank-you cards for a class visitor, Rose’s art supplies turn her workspace—and her—into a colorful mess. But her artistic skills shine through in the gorgeous oversize card she creates. Could she possibly get a star after all? A cheerful and empowering picture book for the child whose talents lie in unconventional areas, and those still searching for their strengths.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors (Adam Rex)

This is hilarious. Great illustrations. Fabulous word play. We got a lot of good laughs out of this book. We especially loved that our AP came in to read it to us! Afterwards, spontaneous games of rock paper scissors broke out all over the place.

Goodreads summary:

From New York Times bestselling creators Drew Daywalt, author of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, and Adam Rex, author-illustrator of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, comes a laugh-out-loud hilarious picture book about the epic tale of the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors.

You’ve played the game. Now read the legend of how it all began . . .

Long ago, in an ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of Backyard, there lived a warrior named ROCK.

Meanwhile in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office, a second great warrior sought the glory of battle. And his name was PAPER.

At the same time, in the Kitchen Realm, in the tiny village of Junk Drawer, lived a third warrior. They called her SCISSORS.

These three were the strongest, smartest, and fastest in all the land. Time and again they beat the most fearsome opponents they could find: an apricot, a computer printer—even frozen, breaded, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets! But when the warriors finally meet each other, the most epic round of battles begins . . . and never ends. That is why, to this day, children around the world honor these worthy adversaries by playing ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Oddrey (Dae Whamond)

So cute! My kids said, "I get it! I know why she's called Oddrey."

Reminded me of Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon.

Be proud of who you are! There's no one like you.

Goodreads summary:

From Blue Spruce Award–winning author-illustrator Dave Whamond comes the story of Oddrey, a young girl who is a little bit different from everybody else. Every aspect of Oddrey’s world is a study in playful curiosity. Her adventures and flights of fancy, however, are often a source of some teasing at the hands of her classmates. Her technicolor snow sculpture has the rest of the playground gaping in disbelief. Her drawing of blue apples is met with a stern look from her teacher. But Oddrey, never one to let anything get her down, faces all of these discouragements with optimism and offhanded grace.
So when her class production of The Wizard of Oz is cast and Oddrey is given the rather spiritless role of a tree, she decides to make the best of the situation and vows to be the most unique tree ever. Sadly, her teacher has other ideas, and Oddrey dons an uninspired costume and sways in the back row. But when her classmates start forgetting their lines, knocking down props, and suffering from stage fright, Oddrey steps in to save the show — not by stealing it, but by helping her classmates rise to the occasion. 

Read Anything Good Lately? (Susan Allen and Jane Lindaman)

This would be a great introduction to a lesson on genres or the importance of reading. 26 different ideas for kinds of books and where to read them. Great illustrations!

Goodreads summary:

Readers, have you ever thought about the many kinds of books or periodicals or brochures or other things that you read? This charming picture book takes you on an alphabetical stroll through a surprising variety of forms that you reading can take--and suggests some very nice places where you can do that reading.

Monday, May 8, 2017


I'm not doing a good job of carving out time for reading lately. These are two books I'm still working on:

This is our Grade 3 book club book. It's a quick read. I just need to get the time to focus on it.

This is my book club book this month.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Alphabet Thief (Bill Richardson)

Clever! Great for phonemic awareness. It is full of all sorts of puns too, which are great for discussion in class.

It was interesting to see who could quickly figure out what the new words would be when the letters were taken by the alphabet thief.

And best of all, it's a Canadian author! Thanks for helping me get to my goal of 150 Canadian books this year :)

Goodreads summary:

The alphabet thief stole all of the B’s, and all of the bowls became owls…

When night falls, along comes a peculiar thief who steals each letter of the alphabet, creating a topsy-turvy world as she goes. It seems that no one can stop her, until the Z’s finally send her to sleep so that all the other letters can scamper back to where they belong.

Bill Richardson’s zany rhymes and Roxanna Bikadoroff’s hilarious illustrations will delight young readers with the silly fun they can have with language — and may even inspire budding young writers and artists to create their own word games.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Princess and the Pizza

This story is quite funny. I like the independence the princess shows. My students loved the twists on the Princess and the Pea (the princess rolls her eyes at the fact that they're using the old pea under the mattress trick to see if she really is a princess). A bunch of princesses show up to compete for the chance to marry the prince. There's the one whose always tripping on her hair, the one who has all these strange little men with her, etc. In the end, she turns down the chance to marry the prince (he was named you can imagine how much personality he had) and opens her own pizza shop instead.

Goodreads summary:

An out of work princess must prepare a feast fit for a prince.