January 14, 2017


I am downright bursting with things to share with you this week!


Mark Parisi has a book birthday (book publishing date) for Marty Pants 2: Keep Your Paws Off! on February 6th. And guess how he wants to celebrate it? That’s right…by coming to our school for an author visit! Mark Parisi has spent his career creating hilarious newspaper comics. Last year he debuted the first in his Marty Pants hybrid series much like Big Nate or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. We were his very first school visit and I know he felt the love. One of our students, Emma, now a fifth grader, was so inspired that she created a Marty Pants book trailer for him! I will send a separate email with a form if you would like to pre-order either of his books.

Marty Pants 2: Keep Your Paws Off!, (2018)

by Mark Parisi


Goodreads summary: Marty Pants is back! And in an unexpectedly hairy situation, Marty must put his deduction skills to the test as this new mystery might be leading to monstrous consequences.

When Marty finds a ripped page from his sister’s diary, the most crucial piece—revealing Marty’s true identity—is still locked inside his sister’s room. Undaunted, Marty pieces the clues together and comes to the most logical conclusion: he’s on a one-way trip to werewolfville!

Superhuman speed. Howling. Hairiness. The evidence is mounting against him, and with his werewolf powers growing stronger, Marty is determined to protect his classmates from himself before it’s too late—no matter what the cost!

The second book in the Marty Pants series from the award-winning cartoonist behind the “Off the Mark” strip, Mark Parisi, is perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and laughing a lot.

Watch Emma’s book trailer for the original Marty Pants to get a feel for this awesome series!


I’m so proud to report that we had a total of 20 entries for the Library of Congress Letters About Literature contest. That got me thinking of other outlets our students could use to channel their passions and talents. This weekend I spent time at the Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, MA celebrating the book launch of Victoria J. Coe’s delightful Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks.  This bookstore is owned by Peter H. Reynolds, author of The Dot and so many other beloved books.  He dedicates time and energy into helping children unleash their creativity. In fact, he cares so deeply about this cause that he has a magazine called HUTCH written by children that is published twice a year.


The deadline for the Spring issue is March 1. Here are the submission guidelines.  Last year one of our spectacular writers, Caroline, now a fifth grader, wrote a beautiful poem for the magazine. I hope this year we have even more students submit their amazing writing!

This book is a nonfiction title from the RI Children’s Book Award nominee list. It is truly amazing to read how this group of people recycled and re purposed materials to create a better life.

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, (2016)

words by Susan Hood and pictures by Sally Wern Comport


Goodreads summary: From award-winning author Susan Hood and illustrator Sally Wern Comport comes the extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash.

Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option…until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation.

Watch a book trailer for Ada’s Violin.

We have a lot of students who devour Mike Lupica’s books. I’m excited for those readers to get their hands on his latest book.

Lone Stars, (2017)

by Mike Lupica


Goodreads summary: An uplifting story about role models, football, and tackling fear set in the heart of Friday Night Lights country–from the bestselling author of HeatTravel Team, and Fantasy League.

Clay is a quarterback’s dream. When he zips across the field, arms outstretched, waiting for the ball to sail into his hands, there’s no denying him the catch. Like most Texans, Clay is never more at home than when playing football. And his coach, a former star player for the Dallas Cowboys, is just like a second father.

But as the football season kicks off, Clay begins to notice some odd behavior from his coach–lapses in his memory and strange mood swings. The conclusion is painful, but obvious: Coach Cooper is showing side effects of the many concussions he sustained during his playing days. As Clay’s season wears on, it becomes clear that the real victory will be to help his coach walk onto that famous star logo in the middle of Cowboys Field one last time–during a Thanksgiving day ceremony honoring him and his former Super Bowl-winning teammates.

In Lone Stars, #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica demonstrates once again that there is no children’s sports novelist today who can match his ability to weave a story of vivid sports action and heartfelt emotion. A touching story that proves life is bigger than a game. 

Watch a Today show clip of an interview with Mike Lupica discussing Lone Stars.

Sometimes the answers to our questions can be found in picture books. We truly never are too old for picture books. They can lead to very rich discussion. In fact, this month we are doing a Mock Caldecott unit and I’m so impressed with the thoughtful conversations I am listening in on.

Come With Me, (2017)

words by Holly M. McGhee and pictures by Pascal Lemaitre


Goodreads summary: When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do–her mama says, “Come with me,” and together they set out for the grocery, because one person doesn’t represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own–walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. “Come with me,” the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, it matters to the world.

Watch the Come With Me book trailer.

Remember Emma of the Marty Pants book trailer fame? Well, she was so moved by this next book that her family donated a copy to the library. She also created an incredible book trailer for it!  Way to go, Emma, and thank you! I’m sure this memoir will be extremely interesting to readers who enjoyed Wonder.

Ugly, (2013)

by Robert Hoge


Goodreads summary: Robert Hoge was born with a giant tumour on his forehead, severely distorted facial features and legs that were twisted and useless. His mother refused to look at her son, let alone bring him home. But home he went, to a life that, against the odds, was filled with joy, optimism and boyhood naughtiness.

Home for the Hoges was a bayside suburb of Brisbane. Robert’s parents, Mary and Vince, knew that his life would be difficult, but they were determined to give him a typical Australian childhood. So along with the regular, gruelling and often dangerous operations that made medical history and gradually improved Robert’s life, there were bad haircuts, visits to the local pool, school camps and dreams of summer sports.

Ugly is Robert’s account of his life, from the time of his birth to the arrival of his own daughter. It is a story of how the love and support of his family helped him to overcome incredible hardships. It is also the story of an extraordinary person living an ordinary life, which is perhaps his greatest achievement of all.

Watch Emma’s book trailer for Ugly.



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