Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Case Against Sugar (Gary Taubes)


I have had periods of time where I have not eaten sugar and I have felt a significant difference. The trouble I have had is when I try to have a little bit, I can't seem to stop. I'm not good at moderation, I guess. This book really persuades me that it is worth trying to totally quit eating sugar. I've done a lot of reading about the brain and the effects of exercise. It persuaded me to start an exercise streak...which I'm still on (Day 670 today!). I think I need to start a no sugar streak. I've been trying to figure out a good time to start - when it will be easier. I'm not sure there is an easier time. Sugar is so pervasive!!

So.....Day 1 today!

Goodreads says:

From the best-selling author of Why We Get Fat, a groundbreaking, eye-opening expose that makes the convincing case that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium: backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us very sick.

Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions; nearly 10% of children are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. And sugar is at the root of these, and other, critical society-wide, health-related problems. With his signature command of both science and straight talk, Gary Taubes delves into Americans' history with sugar: its uses as a preservative, as an additive in cigarettes, the contemporary overuse of high-fructose corn syrup. He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets. He clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about the relationship between sugar and weight loss; and provides the perspective necessary to make informed decisions about sugar as individuals and as a society.

Fatty Legs (Chisty Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton)


Education is in a bit of a change and we are moving towards a greater expectation to teach issues and history around First Nations so I'm always looking for books that bit the bill. I have had this one on my shelf for a while. I read the first couple of chapters when considering it for grade three book club and decided not to have it as a book suggestion because I was worried it would get into uncomfortable issues around residential schools. However, now that I have finished it, I realize I'd be quite comfortable reading it with my class. I think if we don't do it for book club I might see if I could find a way to do it as a novel study. It seems to have enough of the issues but not get into sexual abuse. I really like her focus on wanting to learn to read. There are lots of good topics for discussion in this book.

Goodreads says:

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact.

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools.

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls -- all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school.

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity.

Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artwork from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Monday, March 12, 2018


This is going to be a good reading week. I can feel it! This week I plan to re-read Crenshaw and find examples of signposts for book club. I also need to figure out what our next two books should be! Would love it if anyone has suggestions.

I'm working through these two books still (Once We Were Brothers and The Ripple Effect).
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I'm listening to The Case Against Sugar on audio book and really loving it. I need to get started on 419 by Will Ferguson. It is our next book club book!

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Four Tendencies (Gretchen Rubin)


I'm really enjoying Gretchen Rubin's books. I'm starting to realize I don't have to fit in other people's pigeon holes. Learning more about myself and what works best for me is liberating! It also helps me understand relationships I have. I have close family who are definitely obligers. They do things and then complain about having to do them. I have never understood why they do things and then feel so put upon.....just don't do it! I understand now that they are obligers. I've learned that I'm an upholder/questioner. I especially appreciated her chapters about how to get along with different profiles of the tendencies. Brilliant read!

I would love a book on tendencies focused on children.

Goodreads says:
In this groundbreaking analysis of personality type, bestselling author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin reveals the one simple question that will transform what you do at home, at work, and in life.

During her multibook investigation into understanding human nature, Gretchen Rubin realized that by asking the seemingly dry question "How do I respond to expectations?" we gain explosive self-knowledge. She discovered that based on their answer, people fit into Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so using this framework allows us to make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively.

More than 600,000 people have taken her online quiz, and managers, doctors, teachers, spouses, and parents already use the framework to help people make significant, lasting change.

The Four Tendencies hold practical answers if you've ever thought...

· People can rely on me, but I can't rely on myself.
· How can I help someone to follow good advice?
· People say I ask too many questions.
· How do I work with someone who refuses to do what I ask or who keeps telling me what to do?

With sharp insight, compelling research, and hilarious examples, The Four Tendencies will help you get happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative. It's far easier to succeed when you know what works for you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Tree That Grew to the Moon (Eugenie Fernandes)


We have been talking a lot about genre in my class. This story is full of 'what if' conversations. It is a great exercise for kids to talk about all the crazy, good, bad things that could happen if something continues. The illustrations in this story are great and the kids in my class were quite captured by the conversation between the girl and her mom.

The author was born in New York but now lives in Ontario, so we'll claim her as Canadian. She also wrote Little Toby and the Big Hair, which, as someone with lots of hair, has always had a special place in my heart!
Little Toby and the Big Hair by Eugenie Fernandes

Goodreads says:

If Lena plants a baby tree in her bedroom, and sprinkles it with a little imagination, anything could happen. It might even grow to the moon!

Monday, March 5, 2018


It's report card season and I'm so distracted!! I really just want to read - especially when I have report cards to write. However, I better get that done first. Then I'm ready for these!

I need to finish The Four Tendencies this week:

I'm listening to this one as an audio book. I love it!

Once We Were Brothers is in the, "would you just finish this book already???!!!" bin.

I've been dabbling in The Ripple Effect for a while and it's time to finish it:

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Crenshaw (Katherine Applegate)

April 2016: Wow. This is an intense story. Poverty is hard on parents. I was especially struck with how hard it is on kids too. I had thought this would be a One School One Book choice. The topic certainly would be timely given our economy and the oil industry right now. However, just like Jacksons parents, my instinct is to not expose kids to sad stories of homelessness, hunger and other financial struggles. I am not sure I would read it with kids younger than grade three.

I think this would make a great novel study. I can imagine great discussions could come out of this story. We could even start a food drive for the food bank. Good character project!

I loved the cover for this book. Jackson has an imaginary friend who helps him through hard times. That seems right. 

Reread March 2018
Questions to bring up at book club:
- Why do you think Jackson's parents don't tell him everything about their troubles? Should parents tell their kids more?
Jackson wasn't honest with his friend about their situation. Wasn't he doing just what his parents were doing?
Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
How can imaginary friends help kids?
Why did the author choose a cat as an imaginary friend? Cats are often not that friendly. They don't mind being alone.
Was Crenshaw a typical cat? He really didnt like dogs....???what else?
Why did the author make him so silly? (He loved jelly beans, bubble baths, etc)

Goodreads summary:

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.