September 25, 2016

Our month ends with one more special visitor to HMS. The Red Sox organization has developed a new reading program assembly where they send their mascot, Wally, out to schools to talk to students. Fifth grade teacher Mrs. Toman was able to leverage her connections with the organization to secure a visit this upcoming Thursday afternoon.  We are very lucky! Many thanks to Mrs. Toman!


photo from the Boston Red Sox

In honor of Wally’s visit, I’d like to start by showcasing a 2017 RICBA nominee.  If you’re looking for a list of books for your child to read, you probably want to start with this.  The goal is for students to read as many books on the list as possible. However, students are eligible to vote in February if they read at least 3 books.


Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues, (2015)

by Matt Tavares

Goodreads summary: Before Pedro Martinez pitched the Red Sox to a World Series championship, before he was named to the All-Star team eight times, before he won the Cy Young three times, he was a kid from a place called Manoguayabo in the Dominican Republic. Pedro loved baseball more than anything, and his older brother Ramon was the best pitcher he’d ever seen. He’d dream of the day he and his brother could play together in the major leagues—and here, Matt Tavares tells the story of how that dream came true. In a fitting homage to a modern day baseball star, the acclaimed author-illustrator examines both Pedro Martinez’s improbable rise to the top of his game and the power that comes from the deep bond between brothers.

Watch the Growing Up Pedro book trailer.

This next book is on our HMS Mock Caldecott list.  Some students read and discussed it last week and some will discover it this week. Inside the book jacket there is a detailed step-by-step as to how the illustrator created it. We are all in awe of the painstaking process it takes to create each picture.


The Secret Subway, (2016)

Words by Shana Corey, Pictures by Red Nose Studio

Goodreads summary: From an acclaimed author and a New York Times Best Illustrated artist comes the fascinating, little-known—and true!—story of New York City’s first subway.

New York City in the 1860s was a mess: crowded, disgusting, filled with garbage. You see, way back in 1860, there were no subways, just cobblestone streets. That is, until Alfred Ely Beach had the idea for a fan-powered train that would travel underground. On February 26, 1870, after fifty-eight days of drilling and painting and plastering, Beach unveiled his masterpiece—and throngs of visitors took turns swooshing down the track.

The Secret Subway will wow readers, just as Beach’s underground train wowed riders over a century ago.

Watch The Secret Subway book trailer.

Check out Red Nose Studio’s website and in particular the animation. Fascinating!

The next book I’d like to highlight is from a series my nephews introduced me to two years ago.  The Creature from My Closet series is a hybrid series (chapter books with pictures interspersed much like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series).  Main character Rob’s parents give him lots of books that he does not read. Instead, he tosses them in his closet that used to be his science lab.  One day a creature comes out that is a combination of a monster and a book.

The series titles consist of Wonkenstein, Potterwookie, Pinocula, Katfish, The Lord of the Hat, and Batneezer.


Batneezer, (2016)

by Obert Skye

Goodreads summary: For the first time, Rob Burnside knows when his closet is about to open–but he’s not prepared for what emerges. A mash-up of Ebenezer Scrooge and Lego Batman, this new visitor’s unusual antics are only one of Rob’s problems. While enduring visits by the ghosts of books past, present, and future, Rob learns some shocking news: A battle is brewing, and his school needs a hero. What he gets is so much more (Spoiler alert: All the creatures from past books come visit!)

Obert Skye doesn’t let his fans down in the hilarious final installment in the Creature from My Closet series.

Watch the Wonkenstein book trailer.

Watch the Pinocula book trailer.

This next book by Kate DiCamillo is on the “watch list” for a 2017 Newbery award.  I’m not sure about you, but I will read anything Kate DiCamillo puts out into the world.


Raymie Nightingale, (2016)

by Kate DiCamillo

Goodreads summary: Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Watch the Raymie Nightingale book trailer.

This next title is the most looked-at book that never gets checked out of the library. Students are very curious but are embarrassed to actually take it out the library door.  You may consider quietly buying one so your child can read and learn in the privacy of his/her own home.  Holiday gift idea?


The Human Body Book: An Illustrated Guide to Its Structure, Function, and Disorders, (2013)

by Steve Parker

Goodreads summary: Revealing and detailing all aspects of the body, from the secrets of DNA to the functions of every major body system, this all-in-one encyclopedic guide is packed with accessible health and medical information. Includes a 45-minute interactive DVD.

Featured Author and Illustrator of the Week


Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann

It is a thrill to have another wife-husband creative team joining the array of talent at 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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