Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads Grade 10-12:

  • Divergent Series – Veronica Roth
  • The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer
  • Mortal Engines (The Hunger City Chronicles) – Philip Reeve
  • Stone Fox – John Reynolds Gardiner
  • Red Queen Series – Victoria Aveyard Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Recommended Reads Grade 7-9:

  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
    • A personal favourite of mine!!
  • Freak the Mighty – Rodman Philbrick
  • The False Prince Series – Jennifer Nielson
    • Another personal favourite!
  • Rule of 3 Series – Eric Walters
  • Treasure Island – (this is an awesome classic) – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Julie of the Wolves – Jean Craighead George
  • Iron Trial – Cassandra Clarke and Holly Black
  • Tunnels of Time – Mary Harelkin Bishop
    • Great read involving the Moose Jaw Tunnels, a Saskatchewan connection!

Recommended Reads Grade 3-6:

  • Wings of Fire Series – Tui T Sutherland
  • I Survived Series – Lauren Tarshis
  • Super Fudge – Judy Blume
  • Geronimo and Thea Stilton Books
  • Dog Man Series – Dav Pilkey
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
  • Babysitters Club – Ann M. Martin
  • Big Nate – Lincoln Peirce
  • Dear Dumb Diaries – Jim Benton
  • Mercy Watson Series – Kate DiCamillo
  • Eerie Elementary Series (Branches) – Jack Chabert
  • Notebook of Doom (Branches)– Troy Cummings
  • Dragon Masters (Branches) – Tracey West

*Branches by Scholastic has come out with some amazing new series for struggling and emerging young readers. They are high interest and introduce young readers to chapter books.

Recommended Reads Grade K-2:

  • If I had a Grypon – Vikki Vansickle
  • Elephant and Piggie – Mo Willems
  • Fly Guy – Tedd Arnold
  • Mother Bruce – Ryan T. Higgins
  • Monsters Love Underpants – Claire Freedman
  • No David! – David Shannon
  • The Hat – Jan Brett (Beautiful Illustrations)
  • Pig the Pug – Aaron Blabey
  • The Dot – Peter H Reynolds
  • Ready Freddy – Abby Klein
  • Bird and Squirrel – James Burks
  • Princess Pink(Branches) – Noah Z. Jones
  • Boris (Branches) – Andrew Joyner
  • Haggis and Tank (Branches) – Jessica Young
  • The Very Hungry Catepillar – Eric Carle

Picture Books for All Ages

Here is a list of books that I used in my mindfulness/stress unit. These books are mostly picture books but they are great to use for all ages. I used the books 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in my unit.

  1. Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
  2. I Am Peace by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds
  3. The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
  4. What Does it Mean to be Present by Rana DiOrio
  5. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
  6. Project You: More Than 50 Ways to Calm Down, de-Stress and Feel Great by Aubre Andrus and Karen Bluth
  7. Don’t Stress: How to Handle Life’s Little Problems by Helaine Becker
  8. I Have the Right to Be a Child by Alain Serres


Grade Level Books

A list of books for…

Grades k-2:

  1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  2. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  3. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  5. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  6. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  8. Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
  9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  10. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Grades 3-6:

  1. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  7. James and the Giant Peach: A Children’s Story by Roald Dahl
  8. Geronimo Stilton Books by Elisabetta Dami
  9. Junie B. Jones Books by Barbara Park
  10. Blubber by Judy Blume
  11. Judy Moody by Megan McDonald

Grades 7-9:

  1. Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan *Personal Favourite!*
  2. The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  3. Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  4.  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling *The rest of the Harry Potter Series as well*
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  7. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  8. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  9. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  10. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  11. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Grades 10-12:

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  3. Paper Towns by John Green
  4. Looking for Alaska  by John Green
  5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
  6. To Kill a Mockingbord by Harper Lee *Yes I know, you have to read this in grade 12 English BUT it is a good book!*
  7. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  9. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
  10. Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
  11. Legend by Marie Lu
  12. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
  13. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  14. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  15. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  16. A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
  17. Lord of The Flies by William Golding
  18. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

Mindfulness Lesson

Today I am teaching a lesson about Mindfulness for my grade 7/8’s that I am pre-interning with. I have already introduced mindfulness earlier in this unit, but we did not go into depth about. As a class we have just gone over the word “Mindfulness” in our unit’s vocabulary to add it to our class Word Wall. DYWKze9VwAA1_1Y.jpg-largeI thought that since the students have now created their S.M.A.R.T. goals and have begun working on their action plans it would be a great time for a lesson on mindfulness. Here is a copy of the presentation and lesson plan that I will be using for this Mindfulness lesson:

PowerPoint: Mindfulness PowerPoint

Lesson Plan: Mindfulness Lesson Plan

Now, while reading the rest of this post it is important that you keep an open mind. Be mindful and be respectful.

When I first started learning about mindfulness in university, I was very skeptical about it to be honest. I did not understand the concept, and I thought it was just another one-hit wonder phase that would fade out within the year. But oh boy, was I ever wrong.

I have learned so much about mindfulness as I prepared for this unit, as well as from the children’s books about mindfulness that I’ve been collecting. In a nut shell, mindfulness is about learning to respond  instead of blindly reacting in a situation. It is a simple concept, but it is not always easy.

To go more in depth, mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally to things as they are. I have learned that mindfulness helps us to accept the things that we cannot change in our lives. Often in our lives there are moments where pain is unavoidable. It is a sad fact, but it is the truth. Mindfulness allows us to suffer less. We can learn, with mindfulness, where to place our attention when we experience painful emotions or situations. Pain is just pain, an emotion, unless we give it the power to overcome our abilities and emotions.

I have also learned that mindfulness is trusting in your own experiences. Mindfulness does not require you to believe in anyone or anything. Instead, it simply encourages you to notice what is happening. You are the expert of your own life. You know you, better than anyone else. I can’t tell you what you are experience at this exact moment, and you can’t tell me. We might be sitting next to each other, in the same doctor’s office with children chatting and playing with the office phone ringing but our perception and judgements of this situations are likely going to be different. As we both sit there, we are both being mindful of our surroundings. You might find the children playing and chatting in the corner to be bothersome and the ringing of the phone to be annoying or frustrating. But I might find the noise of the children to be pleasant as I work in a school and those sounds are familiar and comforting to me as I am normally terrified of the doctor’s office.

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and I am the type of person who overthinks everything. I often overthink which then leads me to jump to conclusions and over-react in the most mild of situations. Through mindfulness, I have learned to take a minute, process the situation and evaluate my options to help me to respond thoughtfully instead of blindly reacting. On days where I feel off and out of place, I have learned to make a concerted effort to feel accepted and happy rather than becoming engulfed in my negative emotions.

I hope you might have learned or gained something useful from this post and that you might consider looking into, or even beginning to practice, mindfulness yourself.