April 22

Fantastic New Picture Books

Here’s a few of our newly arrived picture books, guaranteed to get you right in the feels. Synopsis from the publishers.

Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal, 2017 This book is about your heart. (the little bit inside of you that makes you, you!) The words we listen to can affect how we feel. Some words can do amazing things and make us happy. And some words can really hurt us (we all know what sort of words those are). Our words have power, and we can choose to use them to make the world a better place.


Most People by Michael Leannah. Pictures by J.E. Morris 2017 

The world can be a scary place. Anxious adults want children to be aware of dangers, but shouldn’t kids be aware of kindness too? Michael Leannah wrote Most People as an antidote to the scary words and images kids hear and see every day.
Jennifer Morris’s emotive, diverting characters provide the perfect complement to Leannah’s words, leading us through the crowded streets of an urban day in the company of two pairs of siblings (one of color). We see what they see: the hulking dude with tattoos and chains assisting an elderly lady onto the bus; the goth teenager with piercings and purple Mohawk returning a lost wallet to its owner; and the myriad interactions of daily existence, most of them well intended. This reassuring picture book is a courageous, constructive response to the dystopian world of the news media.

I Love My Purse by Belle DeMont. Art by Sonja Wimmer 2017

Charlie loves the bright red purse that his grandmother let him have. One day, he decides to take it to school. First his father, then his friends, and even the crossing guard question him about his “strange” choice. After all, boys don’t carry purses. They point out that they, too, have things they like, but that doesn’t mean they go out in public wearing them. But Charlie isn’t deterred.

Before long, his unselfconscious determination to carry a purse starts to affect those around him. His father puts on his favorite, though unconventional, Hawaiian shirt to go to work; his friend Charlotte paints her face, and the crossing guard wears a pair of sparkly shoes. Thanks to Charlie, everyone around him realizes that it isn’t always necessary to conform to societal norms. It’s more important to be true to yourself. With its humorous, energetic illustrations, this book is ideal as a read-aloud or as a story for emerging readers. It can also be used as a starting point for a discussion about gender roles.

Once in a Blue Moon by Danielle Daniel 2017

Inspired by the expression “once in a blue moon,” Danielle Daniel has created a book of short poems, each one describing a rare or special experience that turns an ordinary day into a memorable one. She describes the thrill of seeing a double rainbow, the Northern Lights or a shooting star as well as quieter pleasures such as spotting a turtle basking in the sun or a family of ducks waddling across the road.

In simple words and delightful naïve images, Once in a Blue Moon celebrates the magical moments that can be found in the beauty and wonders of nature. With the same simple yet sophisticated design as Danielle’s award-winning picture book Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, this book is a very accessible and inviting introduction to poetry for young readers.


Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed. Illustrated by Stasia Burrington 2018

A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts!

When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering. She wanted to be an astronaut. Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”

Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space. This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.

I Can Do Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t. By Diane Dillon 2018

Like most girls and boys, Zoe enthusiastically embraces the wonders of our world and its infinite possibilities. “I can be anything I want to be!” she tells us, presenting herself in a range of careers. “But what if you fail?” asks a voice of doubt that attempts to undermine her confidence.

Bold and sassy, Zoe swats the voice away at every turn, declaring her certainty with a charisma that will encourage us all to silence the fears projected onto us by our world. Why can’t a girl grow up to be President? Zoe can! When the voice of doubt continues, Zoe knows exactly what to say: “Go away, voice… I can be anything… but first, I have to learn to read. And don’t tell me I can’t!”

Award-winner Diane Dillon has created a winning character who defies anything to hold her back from achieving her goals. And the key to Zoe’s future success begins when Zoe defiantly opens her book, making it clear that both confidence and reading are tools we all need to make our dreams come true.

Bonus Book…

Skin Again by Bell Hooks and illustrated by Chris Raschka, 2014 – new edition 2017. The skin I’m in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story. The skin I’m in is just a covering. If you want to know who I am, you have got to come inside and open your heart way wide.



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April 21

Celebrating Sakura: Cherry Blossoms

This week as part of our Japanese theme, some classes read Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Paul Robert Weston.  Students have begun to decorate our cherry tree using different shades of pink tissue. We also made some petals out of Japanese origami paper. The tree was painted onto the bulletin board paper and the trunk was cut out and taped onto the wall. Classes continue to add flowers. 

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April 17

The Salmon Run in our Hallways

Students have been learning about salmon through Clayton Gauthier’s book The Salmon Run. With Mr. Gauthier’s permission we have been looking at his designs for inspiration. We are completing an art installation outside based on this work. We have also been decorating our hallways.


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April 2

World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd. Here are twelve of the great resources available in the Vanier LC. Synopsis provided by the publishers.

un/FAIR by Steven Harper (2016) It’s difficult enough to live in the neighborhood “freakazoid” house. It’s even more difficult when you’re autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you. So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble. But even his newfound power doesn’t help him anticipate that the fair folk-undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs-want him dead, dead, dead. Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history-and himself. Except as Ryan’s power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos and power and family. And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010) Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.

Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is.

By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy’s struggles-and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.

My Friend Has Autism by Amanda Tourville (2010). My friend Zack has autism. But that doesn’t matter to us. We talk about airplanes, build models, and enjoy hanging out at each other’s house. I’m glad Zack is my friend!

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March 13

Six Steps to Superimposing Lego Creations into a Cityscape

Students in Grade 2 and 3 used Lego to show their learning about skyscrapers in Tokyo. They cooperatively created a neon-lit street scene in Akihabara. As a group, we used Superimpose App to place our buildings into a Japanese photograph. No green screen required. Here is how we did it:

1. Begin by importing a background from photos using the square icon on the top left.

2. Repeat by importing a foreground from photos, again using the square icon on the top left.

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March 4

Showing Learning about Japan: Mixed Media

Students in Grade 1 showed their learning about Japan by using the drawing app Doodle Buddy. Instead of exporting from the app and uploading to Dropbox, students used a frame placed on top of their work and used the camera of another iPad to take a photo. We are looking forward to figuring out other ways that we can combine media to show learning.

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February 22

Morphing into characters with Face Film App

In the Learning Commons, we shared Danielle Daniel’s book Sometimes I feel like a Fox. The paperback edition is in a larger format which makes the pictures more visible in a group. Students discussed which character they connected with the most on that day. We used FaceFilm App to show ourselves in the characters.

Morphing into character connections from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

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