“Dear Mrs. Spotswood,”

Mrs. Spotswood (the kindergarten teacher and my partner) was away this week. We are a pretty tight group and as the children dealt with the change in the room you could feel Mrs. Spotswood’s absence in the air. You could see it on some faces, feel it through some very tight hugs, and witness it through some behaviors. We all miss her.

So at story time I brought out one of my favorites. DEAR MR. BLUEBERRY by Simon James.Image


Emily writes to her teacher asking for advice on how to care for a whale that she’s discovered in her pond. I’m proud to say the children in my class know it well. It’s brought up discussions regarding imagination and whale facts etc. But this time, after reading the story, I pointed out to the children that it takes place in the summer.

“Would Emily see Mr. Blueberry in the summer?”



“Because there’s no school.”

“Why do you think she might be writing to him?”

“Because she misses him.”

So on a large piece of paper I wrote, “Dear Mrs. Spotswood” and I put it on our word wall.

The letters and the pictures started streaming in. “Dear Mrs. Spotswood, I miss you.”

“Dear Mrs. Spotswood, I love you.

P.S. When are you coming back?”

The next day we read the very funny DEAR MRS. LARUE by Mark Teague.Image http://www.amazon.ca/Dear-Mrs-LaRue-Obedience-Paperback/dp/0545315204 about a dog who writes persuasive letters home to his owner trying to get her to spring him from obedience school. Again I drew the children’s attention to “Dear Mrs. Spotswood” still on the word wall. Some children tried their hand at letter writing for the first time. Others were working on their second or third letter or picture.

And the day after that we read the very silly CLICK, CLACK, MOO, COWS THAT TYPE by Doreen Cronin.Image



I’ve seen some terrific evidence of literacy throughout the week. The children understand the format of letter writing and have had lots of practice creating their own letters. But more importantly, they’ve learned that when you express your feelings through written words and with pictures, it can help you deal with those feelings.

“Dear Mrs. Spotswood. We miss you and we love you!”






I couldn’t be more thrilled and honoured to have WILLOW FINDS A WAY amongst the list of terrific books nominated for the 2014 Blue Spruce Awards! I’m counting the days until I get to meet all of these terrific authors and illustrators!
Here’s the official list:
A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton & Karen Patkau
I Dare You Not to Yawn by Hélène Boudreau& Serge Bloch
If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay
In the Tree House by Andrew Larsen & Dusan Petricic
Mr. Zinger’s Hat by Cary Fagan & Dusan Petricic
Oddrey by Dave Whamond
Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe by Wallace Edwards
Willow Finds a Way by Lana Button & Tania Howells


Willow Finds a Way


2014 Blue Spruce Nominee

2012 Publisher’s Weekly’s Selected Listing for Bullying Resources

Willow is thrilled the whole class — including her! — is invited to classmate Kristabelle’s fantastic birthday party, until the bossy birthday girl starts crossing guests off the list when they dare cross her. There are many books on bullying, but Willow’s story offers a unique look at how to handle the situation as a bystander.


Chapters, Indigo http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/willow-finds-a-way/9781554538423-item.html

Amazon.ca http://www.amazon.ca/Willow-Finds-Way-Lana-Button/dp/1554538424

Amazon.com  http://www.amazon.com/Willow-Finds-Way-Lana-Button/product-reviews/1554538424

Praise for Willow Finds a Way

The Globe and Mail “It’s easy to forget that my kids think their problems are as massive as I think my own are. Button never does. To her enormous credit, she’s written a book that speaks directly to their experience.”

WILLOW FINDS A WAY. Text copyright 2013 by Lana Button Illustrations copyright 2013 by Tania Howells. Kids Can Press Ltd.