September 18, 2016

This week we have a special visitor coming to HMS on Wednesday and Thursday courtesy of our tireless principal Mrs. McGee and a Barrington Education Foundation grant.  We are thrilled to welcome Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, the Platypus Police Squad series, co-author of Comics Squad: Recess!, many picture books, and his latest fan favorite, Jedi Academy: A New Class.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka likes when schools celebrate School Lunch Hero Day to recognize all those lunch ladies who work so hard behind the scenes to provide lunches to hungry students all over the country.  Usually it is celebrated in May, but with Jarrett’s visit, we will celebrate School Lunch Hero Day on Thursday, September 22nd.  Our very own lunch ladies, Ms. Liz and Ms. Antonietta, will get some special star treatment this Thursday!

Last week I highlighted Jedi Academy: A New Class. This week I’d like to highlight the latest  and last book from his Platypus Police Squad series.  This series is comprised of books that I call “hybrids” which are chapter books with pictures throughout, much like Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.


Never Say Narwhal (Platypus Police Squad #4) (2016)

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Goodreads summary: From Jarrett J. Krosoczka comes Never Say Narwhal, the final installment in the hilarious, high-action illustrated middle grade series featuring two platypus detectives, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and Jarrett’s own Lunch Lady series.

Frank Pandini Jr. is the mayor of Kalamazoo City, and everyone is celebrating—everyone except for Zengo, O’Malley, and Cooper, who can’t seem to close a single case. To make matters worse, a mysterious hulking shadow has appeared in waters around KC. Could this spell the end for the Platypus Police Squad?

Watch the Platypus Police Squad series book trailer.

The students of our school are crazy about The Land of Stories fantasy series by Chris Colfer.  I’m happy to report we are adding the latest title to our library catalog this week.


An Author’s Odyssey (The Land of Stories #5) (2016)

by Chris Colfer

Goodreads summary: In the highly anticipated continuation of the Land of Stories series, Conner learns that the only place to fight the Masked Man’s literary army is inside his own short stories!

When the twins and their friends enter worlds crafted from Conner’s imagination, finding allies no one else could have ever dreamed of, the race begins to put an end to the Masked Man’s reign of terror. Can the twins finally restore peace in the fairy tale world?

The RI Children’s Book Award nominee list is a great way to steer your child/student towards a great variety of titles that have been vetted by teachers and librarians in our state.  Students who read 3 titles or more before February will be eligible to vote for the 2017 winner.  This book opened my eyes to what a student could possibly be going through without teachers knowing.  Written by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, author of Small as an Elephant, this title is worth a read. I listened to an audio version through the public library this summer in the car.


Paper Things (2015)

by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Goodreads summary: When forced to choose between staying with her guardian and being with her big brother, Ari chose her big brother. There’s just one problem—Gage doesn’t actually have a place to live.

When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been “couch surfing,” staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama? Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have readers thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.

Watch Five Questions with author Jennifer Richard Jacobson.

This book is another 2017 RI Children’s Book Award nominee.  There were no book trailers available for this title so a fifth grader last year (now in the middle school) created a book trailer for the students of HMS to view. Pretty amazing, right?


Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (2015)

Words by Jonah Winter, Pictures by Shane W. Evans

Goodreads summary: An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America’s battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman’s fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.

If your child loves dogs, this book will let him/her experience life as a dog. Last spring author Victoria J. Coe came to Barrington Books for a Fenway and Hattie book signing. We were delighted when she walked us through some point of view exercises that let us get inside the mind of a dog.  You can try some of these exercises yourself on her author website.  I’m excited for students to get their hands on this book, especially now that we know the next one in the series comes out in January! We are adding another copy to the library catalog this week. Teachers, if you read this aloud to your students you can arrange a free Skype author visit with Victoria J. Coe before January.


Fenway and Hattie (2016)

by Victoria J. Coe

Goodreads summary: Fenway is an excitable and endlessly energetic Jack Russell terrier. He lives in the city with Food Lady, Fetch Man, and—of course—his beloved short human and best-friend-in-the-world, Hattie.

But when his family moves to the suburbs, Fenway faces a world of changes. He’s pretty pleased with the huge Dog Park behind his new home, but he’s not so happy about the Evil Squirrels that taunt him from the trees, the super-slippery Wicked Floor in the Eating Room, and the changes that have come over Hattie lately. Rather than playing with Fenway, she seems more interested in her new short human friend, Angel, and learning to play baseball. His friends in the Dog Park next door say Hattie is outgrowing him, but that can’t be right. And he’s going to prove it!

Watch the Fenway and Hattie book trailer.

Featured Author and Illustrator of the Week


Anika and Christopher Denise

We are proud to share our town with this literary power couple. Anika and Christopher Denise have collaborated on delightful picture books such as Pigs Love Potatoes, Stella and Bella Come Home, and Baking Day at Grandma’s.  Anika just released the wildly popular (and perfect for Halloween) Monster Trucks this summer complete with a book trailer created by a Hampden Meadows student. Christopher has illustrated many other books including Firefly Hollow and his latest, Lucy’s Lovey, being released September 27th. Anika and Christopher Denise will be attending the Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books and Authors at Lincoln School in Providence on Saturday, October 15th. They will be speaking about their craft and signing books at the festival.  We will be raffling off free admission tickets the week before the event. Click on both their names to learn more about them.


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