October 1, 2017


Each week I’ve been highlighting Mock Newbery titles. I’d like to introduce our first ever HMS Mock Newbery book club. Some members may be able to meet at lunch. Other members have the opportunity to meet virtually. This book club is open to everyone in our reading community – students, staff and parents. If you like to read books and would like to weigh in on books you’ve read, you are welcome to join! Here is the link to the virtual book club. If you are interested in taking part in lunch discussion, please fill out this form. You can access the list of our HMS Mock Newbery nominees. here. It includes the Newbery criteria to help guide your virtual discussion.

This week’s Mock Newbery title really wormed its way into my heart. I read it at the beginning of the summer and I’m still thinking about it.

Georgia Rules, (2017)

by Nanci Turner Steveson


Goodreads: Perfect for fans of One for the Murphys and The Penderwicks, this poignant and moving middle grade novel tells the story of a girl who moves to a new town and meets an unforgettable family—one that will change her and her mother’s lives forever.

Magnolia Grace never wanted to leave Georgia. She never wanted to move with her mama to the farm her daddy owned before he died. But now here she is, in a tiny Vermont town where everybody sings the praises of the father Maggie never knew.

Then Maggie meets the Parker family—two moms, six kids, plus a pony. The Parkers are loud and wild, ask lots of questions, and don’t follow any of the rules Maggie grew up with in Georgia. Suddenly Maggie has questions too—questions about her father, and why Mama kept him away for so long. In her search for answers, Maggie will learn that families are like patchwork quilts, sewn together by love, and all the more beautiful for their different colors.

This incredible book is on our Mock Caldecott list.  A few classrooms read it at the beginning of the school year. My hope is that everyone gets a chance to read it aloud this school year.

Claymates, (2017)

words by Dav Petty and art by Lauren Eldridge


Goodreads: Meet the claymates: two balls of clay that can become anything–even best friends! 

What can you do with two blobs of clay? Create something amazing! But don’t leave them alone for too long. Things might get a little crazy.

In this photographic friendship adventure, the claymates squish, smash, and sculpt themselves into the funniest shapes imaginable. But can they fix a giant mess before they’re caught in the act?

Watch the Claymates book trailer.

This next book is written by a talented husband and wife author-illustrator team who will be at the RI Festival of Children’s Books and Authors being held at Lincoln School in Providence on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00am to 5:30pm.

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage, (2016)

words by Selina Alko and pictures by Sean Qualls


Goodreads: For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia.

This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state’s laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents’ love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court – and won!

Watch a book trailer for The Case for Loving.

The next book featured this week is a title from the RI Children’s Book Award list, an award chosen strictly by children for children. There are 20 nominees. Children in grades 3-5 who read at least 3 books from the list are eligible to vote in February.  Librarian Michelle Steever created a handy sheet to track which titles you read.

Sadie’s Story (Backyard Witch #1), (2015)

by Christine Heppermann


Goodreads summary: A must-have for newly independent readers and fans of Ivy + Bean and Clementine! The first of a new series starring three young girls and a mysterious visitor who appears exactly when you need her—with just the right amount of magic.

Sadie has two best friends: Jess and Maya. But Jess can only take one friend on vacation with her, and Sadie is the one who gets left behind. How will Sadie ever survive the days of loneliness and boredom? But wait . . . what is that in her old playhouse in the backyard? A witch has moved in! A kind and funny witch, who’s looking for her own two lost friends. Together, Sadie and the witch have a curious adventure, one that makes Sadie see her neighborhood—and herself—with new eyes. Acclaimed authors Ron Koertge and Christine Heppermann—writing together and for younger readers for the first time—have created a heroine to rival Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Ms. Frizzle. Short chapters, a satisfying mystery, gentle humor, magical dazzle, and adorable black-and-white illustrations throughout by debut artist Deborah Marcero make this an ideal pick for readers of Ivy + Bean, Just Grace, and Kate DiCamillo’s young novels.

The last book of the week is by our visiting author Melissa Stewart. It is jam-packed with interesting information where animals are categorized in unexpected ways!

Can An Aardvark Bark? (2017)

words by Melissa Stewart and pictures by Steve Jenkins


Kirkus review:  Barks, grunts, squeals, whines, bellows, growls, and laughs—all kinds of animals use all kinds of sounds to communicate.

This collection of animal vocalizations will delight readers and listeners. Prolific science writer Stewart always chooses appealing facts, but what makes this collection work so well is the skillful presentation by both author and illustrator. There’s a question: “Can an aardvark bark?” And an answer: “No, but it can grunt.” A short paragraph tells when and why it makes that sound. The next spread reveals some different grunting species and what their grunts might mean. The next two spreads introduce barks and squeals. Just when listeners or readers begin to see a pattern of question and answer, it’s disrupted: “Can a porcupine whine? Why yes, it can!” The surprise adds just enough tension to keep the audience going through growls, bellows, and laughs. A final page asks listeners and readers if they can make the same noises. Jenkins’ characteristic cut-and–torn-paper collages are a perfect accompaniment. These sharp-edged, accurate images, set on plain white backgrounds, show beautifully. The highlighted animals—aardvark, New Zealand fur seal, wild boar, porcupine, dingo, giraffe, and kangaroo—are shown on double-page spreads, each followed by four other, equally interesting species. The final page includes portraits, an invitation for identification.

Don’t share this engaging read-aloud in a quiet library.

Watch the book trailer for Can An Aardvark Bark?


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