December 17, 2017

Holiday Card Request


It’s an exciting time of year when holiday cards from near and far arrive in the mail. When the holidays are over, instead of recycling please consider sending in your cards to the library (this excludes family photo cards please). Our library council would like to re-purpose the front covers of the cards into bookmarks for next year.

The first book of the week is from the 2018 RI Children’s Book Award nominee list.

The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place, (2016)

words by Bill Doyle and pictures by Colin Jack


Goodreads summary: Modern Family meets Supermarket Sweep in this laugh-out-loud, winner-takes-all adventure for young middle grade readers!

One lucky family is about to win BIG!

The prize? Twenty minutes to grab anything, maybe even everything, from Mr. King Kashman’s world-famous megastore. It’s eleven-year-old Cal’s chance to score the haul of a lifetime! But before he can get to the Final Round, he’ll have to trick—er, that is, convince—his precocious nine-year-old sister, Imo, and mischievous little brother, Bug, to compete in a series of crazy challenges. Cal’s family may be smart and funny, kind and loyal, always brave and they never quit—but do they really have what it takes to be PRIZE WINNERS? There’s only one way to find out…Let the contest begin!

Watch a book trailer for The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place.

This next book is on our HMS Mock Newbery list. I really enjoyed it and think kids will enjoy it too. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it win a Schneider Family Book Award.

Forget Me Not, (2017)

By Ellie Terry


Goodreads summary: A girl with Tourette syndrome starts a new school and tries to hide her quirks in this debut middle-grade novel in verse.

Calliope June has Tourette syndrome. Sometimes she can’t control the noises that come out of her mouth, or even her body language. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But soon the kids in her class realize she’s different. Only her neighbor, who is also the class president, sees her as she truly is—a quirky kid, and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Callie navigates school, she must also face her mother’s new relationship and the fact that she might be moving again—just as she’s starting to make friends and finally accept her differences. This story of being true to yourself will speak to a wide audience.

Watch the Forget Me Not book trailer.

The next featured book is near and dear to our students’ hearts because Matt Tavares visited third graders last spring and gave them a sneak peek. This gorgeous HMS Mock Caldecott nominee is sure to warm your heart and become part of your holiday book collection.

Red and Lulu, (2017)

by Matt Tavares


Goodreads summary: Separation and miles cannot keep a determined cardinal from his loved one in an ode to serendipity and belief that is destined to be a new Christmas classic.
Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree. It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cozy in the cold months, and once a year the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. But one day, something unthinkable happens, and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each another again. Luckily, it’s just the season for miracles. . . . From Matt Tavares comes a heart-tugging story combining the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love.

Watch the Red and Lulu book trailer.

Fans of Charlotte’s Web will delight in this picture book biography beautifully illustrated by the talented Lauren Castillo.

A Boy, A Mouse and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White, (2017)

words by Barbara Herkert and pictures by Lauren Castillo


Goodreads summary: A lyrical biography of E. B. White, beloved author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, written by Barbara Herkert and illustrated by Caldecott honoree Lauren Castillo.

When young Elwyn White lay in bed as a sickly child, a bold house mouse befriended him. When the time came for kindergarten, an anxious Elwyn longed for the farm, where animal friends awaited him at the end of each day. Propelled by his fascination with the outside world, he began to jot down his reflections in a journal. Writing filled him with joy, and words became his world.

Today, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web are beloved classics of children’s literature, and E. B. White is recognized as one of the finest American writers of all time.

A Special Dedication

Kevin Robinson

Our community is mourning the loss of Kevin Robinson, a bright light that was extinguished far too soon. Although K-Rob was famous for his unbelievable work ethic and outstanding accomplishments, he always had a way of reflecting his light onto others to encourage everyone to be their best selves. His genuine love for his family,  career, giving back to others, and life were contagious. When he came to our school for an assembly, his message was so inspiring and motivating that everyone left better for being in his presence.

Kevin Robinson earned a place in the 2018 Guinness World Records Book.

We have Guinness World Records books in our library although you’ll rarely find them on our shelves. They are well-loved, always checked out, and don’t hold up over time. Therefore, we will be purchasing a few 2018 Guinness World Records books. However, one will be dedicated to Kevin Robinson’s memory and will be shelved in the reference section for all to access without fear of wear and tear. As the cover below says, we did meet a real-life superhero. May he rest in peace.

Guinness World Records 2018, (2017)

By Guinness World Records


Watch a Kevin Robinson video tribute.



December 10, 2017


During your child’s next library class I will be talking up a national writing contest sponsored by the Library of Congress. I hope your child will consider writing a letter to a favorite author (dead or alive) about how a book has changed their thinking and/or positively impacted them in some way. The details of the contest are here. I will also provide a paper copy for any students who are interested. We have some very thoughtful readers at our school and it would be great to get lots of entries!

This first featured book of the week is from the RI Children’s Book Award nominee list. It is an amazing picture book biography that we actually had on our HMS Mock Caldecott nominee list last year.

Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, (2016)

words by Chris Barton and pictures by Don Tate


Goodreads summary: A cool idea with a big splash.

You know the Super Soaker. It’s one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.

A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson’s life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.

Watch a Whoosh! book trailer.

If anyone has read Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, you know it’s one of those books that is just so good it will stay with you for a very long time. Well, she has done it again with this next book. I love how Holly Goldberg Sloan captures real life – you do a lot of laughing but you also do some crying. You will become smitten with Julia who truly is a character. This title is on our Mock Newbery list.

Short, (2017)

by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Goodreads summary: Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive – one of the adults with dwarfism who’ve joined the production’s motley crew of Munchkins – and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia’s own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn’t want to fade into the background and it’s a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!

Watch a Short book trailer.

This next book is so beautiful it may just become the book you buy for every future baby shower. You’ll recognize the gorgeous illustration style of Caldecott-winner Brendan Wenzel. This book is one of our HMS Mock Caldecott nominees.

Life, (2017)

words by Cynthia Rylant and pictures by Brendan Wenzel


Goodreads summary: Cynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel explore the beauty and tenacity of life.

Life begins small, then grows…

There are so many wonderful things about life, both in good times and in times of struggle. Through the eyes of the world’s animals—including elephants, monkeys, whales, and more—Cynthia Rylant offers a moving meditation on finding beauty around us every day and finding strength in adversity. Brendan Wenzel’s stunning landscapes and engaging creatures make this an inspiring and intriguing gift for readers of all ages.

Speaking of gorgeous books, here is a nonfiction picture book I wish I could gift every teacher who has his/her students research national parks.  Beautiful and informative, Jason Chin’s book is on our “Sibert Smackdown” list! See this post for details.

Grand Canyon, (2017)

by Jason Chin


Goodreads summary: Rivers wind through earth, cutting down and eroding the soil for millions of years, creating a cavity in the ground 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and more than a mile deep known as the Grand Canyon.

Home to an astonishing variety of plants and animals that have lived and evolved within its walls for millennia, the Grand Canyon is much more than just a hole in the ground. Follow a father and daughter as they make their way through the cavernous wonder, discovering life both present and past.

Weave in and out of time as perfectly placed die cuts show you that a fossil today was a creature much long ago, perhaps in a completely different environment. Complete with a spectacular double gatefold, an intricate map and extensive back matter.

There is no book trailer but you can check out Jason Chin’s website.

I’d like to end by featuring an incredible series that is not getting enough love and attention.  For students who love fantasy and humor this could be the next series for them!

A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes #1), (2012)

words by Christopher Healey and pictures by Todd Harris


Goodreads summary: Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun.

Watch the book trailer for A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

December 3, 2017

Shelli Paroline
Braden Lamb

We have an exciting week ahead at HMS! We will welcome graphic novelists Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb on Friday morning for an interactive assembly. It is a perfect fit for us because graphic novels are always dominating the monthly top circulation statistics.

The first featured book is on the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award list. It is a perfect pick for students who enjoy realistic fiction. If your child is looking for recommendations this is the perfect place to start. This list of 20 nominees was carefully chosen by a committee of librarians and teachers.

Weekends with Max and His Dad, (2016)

words by Linda Urban and pictures by Katie Kath


Goodreads summary: Max and his dad love their weekends together. Weekends mean pancakes, pizza, spy games, dog-walking, school projects, and surprising neighbors! Every weekend presents a small adventure as Max gets to know his dad’s new neighborhood—and learns some new ways of thinking about home.        Acclaimed author Linda Urban deftly portrays a third-grader’s inner world during a time of transition in this sweet and funny illustrated story that bridges the early reader and middle grade novel.

There is no book trailer, but here is the link to author Linda Urban’s website.

This next title is on our Mock Newbery list. It is a great story told from a unique perspective.

Wishtree, (2017)

words by Katherine Applegate and pictures by Charles Santoso


Goodreads summary: Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

Watch the Wishtree book trailer.

This title is on our Mock Caldecott list. I can’t wait to read this with students and hear their thoughts on it.

Flashlight Night, (2017)

words by Matt Forrest Esenwine and pictures by Fred Koehler


Goodreads summary: Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their tree house–braver, closer, and wiser than before–to read the books that inspired their adventure.

This biography is worth a read. You’ll learn about a brilliant mind and also about the origin of a coding word we use today.

There is no book trailer, but you can visit the websites of Matt Forrest Esenwine and Fred Koehler.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, (2017)

words by Laurie Wallmark and pictures by Katy Wu


Goodreads summary: If you’ve got a good idea, and you know it’s going to work, go ahead and do it.” The picture book biography of Grace Hopper—the boundary-breaking woman who revolutionized computer science.

Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English,” and throughout her life succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly is “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys.

Watch a Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code book trailer.

I really enjoyed this last featured story about a veterinarian who takes care of all animals, but specializes in magical animals. Ooh, it’s a good one!

The Unicorn in the Barn, (2017)

words by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and pictures by Rebecca Green


Goodreads summary: For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away.
One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead.
When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed.
A tender tale of love, loss, and the connections we make, The Unicorn in the Barn shows us that sometimes ordinary life takes extraordinary turns.

Watch a book trailer for The Unicorn in the Barn.