June 18, 2017


As you’re thinking about your family’s summer reading and vacation plans, please consider audiobooks for trips and for any old day of the year. Think of audiobooks as “reading with your ears.” Here’s an infographic to support audiobooks:

SoundLearningInfographicAudiobooks can be downloaded using riezone.overdrive.com or requested in different audio formats through the https://catalog.oslri.net as long as you have a public library card. Library cards are free and easy to acquire by going into the library with your driver’s license. Your child is in the habit of searching for and placing holds on books he/she wants through our http://www.ricat.net catalog, so it makes sense that your child has his/his own public library card as well. You will need to help your child set up his/her online account by creating a pin number and deciding how your family wants to receive notifications (through phone messages or emails).

The American Library Association gives out the Odyssey award for outstanding audiobooks each year. Some may be for an older audience so be sure to investigate further. Your child will be familiar with popular titles when you look through the list of past winners link you find on the left-hand column of the page.

Mr. Sangiuliano and I will be hosting a Family Book Club at Hampden Meadows Library this summer on Wednesday, August 2nd at 5pm. We hope you will join us!  The book we chose is readily available at the public library. A local bookstore has ordered a bunch of copies as well.

The Rising Star of Rusty Nail, (2007)

by Lesley M.M. Blume


Goodreads summary: Franny Hansen is a 10-year-old piano prodigy living in Rusty Nail, Minnesota. Once the Coot Capitol of the world, in 1953 it’s just a run-of-the-mill town with one traffic light and a bizarre cast of characters. She’s long exhausted the talents of the town’s only piano teacher and seems destined to perform at church events and school assemblies, until a mysterious Russian woman arrives in Rusty Nail. Franny’s neighbors are convinced the “Commie” is a threat to their American way of life, but Franny’s not so sure. Could this stranger be her ticket out of Rusty Nail?

Lesley M. M. Blume returns with the poignant and laugh-out-loud funny story of one girl’s attempt to pursue the American dream in small town America.

Visit author Lesley M.M. Blume’s website.

Fifth grader Annabel brought me a book to read many, many months ago. She patiently asked several times if I had started it and I always replied that I had too many others I was reading and hadn’t gotten to it yet. Well, I finally took it home last week and am really excited to share it with you. It’s a fantasy book and it is terrific! If you enjoyed  the Jinx series by Sage Blackwell, you will enjoy this one. Our Series of Unfortunate Events fans will recognize the illustrator’s style right away.

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, (2010)

words by Jennifer Trafton and pictures by Brett Helquist


Goodreads summary: Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge leads (much to her chagrin) a very dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything . . . until the night she overhears a life-changing secret. It seems that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain in the center of the island, is not a mountain at all-it’s the belly of a sleeping giant, moving as the giant breathes. Now Persimmony and her new friend Worvil the Worrier have to convince all the island’s other quarreling inhabitants-including the silly Rumblebumps, the impeccably mannered Leafeaters, and the stubborn young king-that a giant is sleeping in their midst, and must not be woken. Enhanced with Brett Helquist’s dazzling illustrations, Jennifer Trafton’s rollicking debut tells the story of one brave girl’s efforts to make an entire island believe the impossible.

Visit author Jennifer Trafton’s website.

For our readers who enjoy man vs. nature stories, this one is right up their alley.

Terror at Bottle Creek, (2016)

By Watt Key


Goodreads summary: In this gritty, realistic wilderness adventure, thirteen-year-old Cort is caught in a battle against a Gulf Coast hurricane. Cort’s father is a local expert on hunting and swamp lore in lower Alabama who has been teaching his son everything he knows. But when a deadly Category 3 storm makes landfall, Cort must unexpectedly put his all skills-and bravery-to the test. One catastrophe seems to lead to another, leaving Cort and two neighbor girls to face the storm as best they can. Amid miles of storm-thrashed wetlands filled with dangerous, desperate wild animals, it’s up to Cort to win-or lose-the fight for their lives.

Watch a Terror at Bottle Creek book trailer.

I am looking forward to reading this one over the summer and thought many of our readers might enjoy it as well. It is also intriguing because our beloved author friend Barbara O’Connor lives in Asheville, NC!

Ashes to Asheville, (2017)

by Sarah Dooley


Goodreads summary: Two sisters take off on a wild road trip in this poignant tale for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree.

After Mama Lacy’s death, Fella was forced to move in with her grandmother, Mrs. Madison. The move brought Fella all sorts of comforts she wasn’t used to at home, but it also meant saying goodbye to her sister Zoey (a.k.a. Zany) and her other mother, Mama Shannon. Though Mama Shannon fought hard to keep Fella, it was no use. The marriage act is still a few years away and the courts thought Fella would be better off with a blood relation. Already heartbroken, Fella soon finds herself alone in Mrs. Madison’s house, grieving both the death of her mother and the loss of her entire family.
Then one night, Zany shows up at Mrs. Madison’s house determined to fulfill Mama Lacy’s dying wish: to have her ashes spread over the lawn of the last place they were all happy as a family. Of course, this means stealing Mama Lacy’s ashes and driving hundreds of miles in the middle of night to Asheville, North Carolina. Their adventure takes one disastrous turn after another, but their impulsive journey helps them rediscover the bonds that truly make them sisters.
A heartrending story of family torn apart and put back together again, Ashes to Asheville is an important, timely tale.

Visit author Sarah Dooley’s website.

We’ve been doing a book tasting to create our own personalized summer reading lists during our last two library classes of the school year. I wanted to feature the first in a hybrid series (six so far) that a lot of students seem interested in.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading (Charlie Joe Jackson #1), (2011)

words by Tommy Greenwald and pictures by J.P. Coovert


Goodreads summary: Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader ever born. And so far, he’s managed to get through life without ever reading an entire book from cover to cover. But now that he’s in middle school, avoiding reading isn’t as easy as it used to be. And when his friend Timmy McGibney decides that he’s tired of covering for him, Charlie Joe finds himself resorting to desperate measures to keep his perfect record intact.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald is the hilarious story of an avid non-reader and the extreme lengths to which he’ll go to get out of reading a book.

Watch the Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading book trailer.

This summer I wish you lots of time for fun, friends, family, and reading. I hope you read what interests you and makes you happy. I ask that you try the Reading Without Walls Challenge.


Anything you need to know about summer learning can be found on the district’s summer learning website.

If you’re moving on to another school, I hope you continue seeking out books you enjoy in the libraries of your future. Feel free to send me an email update about what you’re reading and enjoying at roym@barringtonschools.org.

And if you’re coming back to Hampden Meadows in August, please remember to take a “shelfie” with a book you really enjoyed reading over the summer. Bring your photo in the first week of school.  I cannot wait to paper the walls with your reading recommendations!

Happy summer!



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