April 29, 2018

How is it that we are entering the month of May this week? Where did this school year go? I am feverishly sifting through new titles to order so that we can do an EPIC book tasting at the end of the school year to create individualized summer reading lists based on books that get us excited!

Here is a new series by Newbery winner Adam Gidwitz. I have a feeling it will not be on the shelf very often!

The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society #1), (2018)

words by Adam Gidwitz and pictures by Hatem Aly


Goodreads summary: Elliot Eisner isn’t exactly excited about starting at a brand-new school in a brand-new town; he’d much rather stay at home and read a book. But things take an unexpected turn when he finds out his weird new teacher, Professor Fauna, has planned a field trip for Elliot’s very first day. Along with a new friend–brave, outspoken Uchenna Devereaux–Elliot gets caught up in a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a duo of conniving, greedy billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers.

Watch the Unicorn Rescue Society book trailer.


Here’s a graphic novel everyone has been waiting for. I’m sorry it took me this long to bring it to your attention!

Waking the Monsters (HiLo #4), (2018)

by Judd Winick


Goodreads summary: DJ and Gina are TOTALLY ordinary kids. But Hilo isn’t! Has Hilo finally met his match? Not if D.J. and Gina can help it! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Mega Robot Monsters are suddenly waking up all over and they’re TOO BIG and TOO STRONG for Hilo to fight on his own! Luckily, he doesn’t have to! He has GINA and some brand new SUPER POWERS on his side! Being heroes can be super fun – but it can also be SUPER dangerous! And the closer Hilo and Gina get to saving their world from the monsters –
the closer Hilo gets to the dark secret of his past. Does he really want to know? Do WE?!

I couldn’t find a book trailer for his latest graphic novel, but here is the HiLo intro book trailer.


I was at the Barrington Public Library and this gem was on display. I’m eagerly reading it now. Last year I had the chance to hear Katherine Paterson talk about writing this book and I’ve been intrigued by the nationwide literacy campaign this story is about ever since.

My Brigadista Year, (2017)

By Katherine Paterson


Goodreads summary: When thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to join Premier Castro’s army of young literacy teachers, her mother screeches to high heaven, and her father roars like a lion. Lora has barely been outside of Havana — why would she throw away her life in a remote shack with no electricity, sleeping on a hammock in somebody’s kitchen? But Lora is stubborn: didn’t her parents teach her to share what she has with someone in need? Surprisingly, Lora’s abuela takes her side, even as she makes Lora promise to come home if things get too hard. But how will Lora know for sure when that time has come? Shining light on a little-known moment in history, Katherine Paterson traces a young teen’s coming-of-age journey from a sheltered life to a singular mission: teaching fellow Cubans of all ages to read and write, while helping with the work of their daily lives and sharing the dangers posed by counterrevolutionaries hiding in the hills nearby. Inspired by true accounts, the novel includes an author’s note and a timeline of Cuban history.

Watch Katherine Paterson discuss My Brigadista Year.


I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but there is something really inviting about this one, isn’t there? I cannot wait to crack this one open.

Just Like Jackie, (2018)

by Katherine Paterson


Goodreads summary: For as long as Robinson Hart can remember, it’s just been her and Grandpa. Robbie knows they look like an odd pair, because her blond hair and pale skin don’t match his dark complexion—but those differences don’t mean anything to her. And though she wishes Grandpa would tell her more about the rest of her family, she’s learned over the years that he doesn’t like to talk about the past.

But Grandpa’s memory is starting to get bad, and Robbie’s worried that soon he won’t remember their family—including her—at all. She’s sure that he would get better if she could stay out of trouble, but it’s hard to keep her fists to herself when bullies like Alex Carter make fun of her for not having a mom or for looking so different from Grandpa. It’s up to Robbie to learn how to deal with her anger and to keep her family together—no matter what.


If you are around on Saturday, April 28 (Independent Bookstore Day) you can stop by Barrington Books from 10:30am to noon to meet the really fun author (and good friend of Sarah Albee) of this new realistic fiction book.

Lights Camera Disaster, (2018)

by Erin Dionne


Goodreads summary: Hester Greene loves making movies. With her camera in hand, she can focus, make decisions, and have the control she lacks in life, where her executive function disorder (think extreme ADHD plus anxiety) sabotages her every move.
But middle school is not a movie, and if her last-ditch attempt to save her language-arts grade–and her chance to pass eighth grade, period–doesn’t work, Hess could lose her friends, her year, even her camera. It will take more than a cool training montage to get her life together, but by thinking outside the frame, she just might craft a whole new ending.
Written partially in script form, with STOP/PAUSE/PLAY/REWIND moments throughout, this laugh-out-loud story will speak to any budding filmmaker, or unintentional troublemaker, in every act of their lives.


April 22, 2018


It’s an exciting week at HMS! If you have completed your GENRE CHALLENGE with at least 8 DIFFERENT genres you don’t typically read, bring it to the library on Monday. So far we have 31 entries including students and adults! We have really great prizes thanks to the generous families who donated, and names will be picked every day this week!


Melissa Stewart is our first nonfiction visiting author of the week. She will be here on Monday and Tuesday. As I walk by the plants growing in the portable greenhouse in the foyer, I think of Melissa’s new book.

A Seed is the Start, (2018)

by Melissa Stewart


Goodreads summary: Beautiful photography and lyrical text pair with comprehensive picture captions in award-winning author Melissa Stewart’s story about the surprisingly diverse world of seeds. Learn all about the plant cycle, from how seeds grow, the fascinating ways they travel, and what it takes for a seed to become a plant.

Meet seeds that pop, hop, creep, and explode in this vividly illustrated introduction to the simplest concepts of botany. The story, which is perfect for elementary school Common Core learning, carefully highlights the many ways that seeds get from here to there, engaging children’s curiosity with strong action verbs. Stunning photographs with fact-packed captions provide supporting details, explaining the role of seed features and functions in creating new generations of plants. Complete with an illustrated glossary and back matter featuring more resources, this book inspires wonder as it encourages budding botanists of all ages to look with new eyes at plants and their seeds.

In honor of Melissa’s new book, we added this mug to Melissa’s welcome basket:


Watch Melissa talk about why nonfiction is so important for teachers to have accessible to students. Oh, and remember that Nerd Camp I told you I’ve been to in the summer. Colby Sharp, the teacher who introduces Melissa is the guy who runs Nerd Camp Michigan.


GREAT NEWS! Sarah Albee will be at Barrington Books doing a book signing for this next book on Thursday, April 26th from 4:00 – 5:30pm. Come by to see her! She’s so much fun, and this next book is amazing! I know we’ve already talked about it but kids go crazy for this book trailer!

Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends, (2018)

by Sarah Albee


Goodreads summary: What is it we love about dogs so much? From ancient times to the present, dogs have guarded us, worked with us, marched off to war with us, and of course, just sat on the couch with us for a cuddle. Throughout the course of human history, this partnership deepened from dogs doing a service into friendship. Dogs have been by our side through it all, and this book tracks our common story from wild wolves in ancient civilizations to modern-day breeds, highlighting famous pooches of the past and present along the way.

In honor of Sarah’s new book, we added this mug to Sarah’s welcome basket:


Watch the Dog Days of History book trailer.


My students know that my reading life could use some more fantasy titles. I tend to go for realistic fiction and historical fiction if given the chance. But I find myself completely enamored of this next book. I’m almost finished with it and can’t wait to talk it up to everyone I know! I’m thrilled to discover it’s the first in a series to come!!! A blurb on the back cover says it’s for fans of Percy Jackson and I agree.

The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1), (2018)

by Sayantani Dasgupta



(But she doesn’t know it yet.)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish later that day and a rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories—like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess—and a wealth of secrets about her origin they’ve kept hidden.

To complicate matters, two crushworthy Indian princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’re here to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and slay demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld (who may or may not want to kill her) and the rakkhosh queen (who definitely does) in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…

Watch the book trailer for The Serpent’s Secret.


Now that we are on the subject of strong girls who can take on tough situations, let’s look at a recommendation from fourth grader Violet. I will be purchasing this series for our library based on her suggestion.

Moving Target (Moving Target #1), (2015)

by Christina Diaz Gonzalez


Goodreads summary: Cassie Arroyo, an American studying in Rome, has her world ripped apart when someone tries to kill her father, an art history professor at an Italian university. Is she their next target?

Cassie sets out to uncover what is happening, only to learn that she is a member of an ancient bloodline that enables her to use the Spear of Destiny—a legendary object that can alter the future. Now running from a secret organization intent on killing those from her bloodline, Cassie must—with the help of some friends—decipher the clues that will lead her to the Spear.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez has created a fast-paced thrill-ride of a book, rich with riddles and myth, that young readers will not want to put down.

Watch Violet’s impressive book trailer for Moving Target.


This week I’m taking my show on the road and bringing a cart to classrooms since our authors will be visiting with students in the library. During part of the lesson I’ll be reading a book to the students as a way to foster discussion about being responsible online citizens and what it means to be a good friend. This is the book I’ll be using.

Nerdy Birdy Tweets, (2017)

words by Aaron Reynolds and pictures by Matt Davies


Goodreads summary: Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends.

One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.




April 8, 2018

On Monday, April 2, Kwame Alexander’s bus stopped at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, MA for the first stop on his Rebound tour on the day his book came out into the world.  It was incredible to be in the audience as he chatted and read from his new book. He even had a very talented musician named Randy who accompanied him with music! After about an hour Jeff Kinney interviewed him a bit with some friendly banter. Jeff showed Kwame his Nickelodeon award which prompted Kwame to get someone to retrieve his Newbery medal from the bus! Look for the blue case in the third picture to see it for yourself!




I should remind you to read 2015 Newbery winner The Crossover first and then dive into the prequel which will give you a glimpse into the childhood of Josh and Jordan Bell’s dad. I promise you that you will NOT be disappointed!

Rebound, (2018)

by Kwame Alexander


Goodreads summary: Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshipping, basketball star his sons look up to.


I do love a new take on a fairy tale. This new picture book just arrived at our library.

Jack and the Beanstalk and the French Fries, (2017)

by Mark Teague


Goodreads summary: Jack and the townsfolk are tired of eating beans–bean salad, refried beans, bean ice cream, and more!

So Jack climbs up the magic beanstalk to find something else to eat. Jack meets a giant who is also sick of eating beans and would rather devour Jack instead.


Readers and bean lovers of all ages will be laughing out loud as Jack cooks up a plan with a delicious twist in this fun-filled fractured fairy tale.


I haven’t read this one yet but this just arrived at our library. It’s a fantasy book with an interesting concept. Would you steal time if you could?

How Oscar Indigo Broke the Universe (And Put It Back Together Again), 2017

by David Teague


Goodreads summary: From David Teague, the coauthor of the critically acclaimed Saving Lucas Biggs, comes a funny and sweet story about learning to have courage even when it feels like the world is ending.

Oscar Indigo has never been good at baseball, so naturally he’s nervous when he has to fill in for his team’s injured All-Star, Lourdes. Luckily, Oscar has a mysterious gold watch that can stop time, which he uses to fake a game-winning home run. Now Oscar’s the underdog hero of his town and even Lourdes wants to be his friend.

But the universe is a precarious place, and you can’t just steal time without any consequences. If Oscar doesn’t find a way to return the time he stole, the universe will unwind completely.

Oscar wants nothing more than to ask Lourdes for help, but what would a baseball star like her think of a guy whose fake home run actually destroyed the universe? But as he and Lourdes grow closer, Oscar understands that it isn’t always what you do that makes you special—but who you are. And that confidence just might be the key to fixing the universe.


April is poetry month. Here’s a poetry book you want to know about.

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, (2017)

by Nikki Grimes


Goodreads summary: In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance — including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era — by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using “The Golden Shovel” poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking.

This special book also includes original artwork in full-color from some of today’s most exciting African American illustrators, who have created pieces of art based on Nikki’s original poems. Featuring art by: Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Nikki Grimes, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon.

A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author’s note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish, but a wonderful resource and reference as well.


A fifth grader named Caleb created a book trailer for a wildly popular comic strip (turned into graphic novel collections) beloved by students and I’m sure their parents too. Here is just one book from our Peanuts collection.

Peanuts: Friends Forever, (2015)

by Charles Schultz


Goodreads summary: “It’s good to have a friend.”—Snoopy

Everyone loves Peanuts! And now to celebrate the sixty-fifth anniversary of characters known around the world comes Peanuts: Friends Forever, an original collection of full-color comic strips featuring the whole gang. Charlie Brown ponders Life. Linus waits up all night for the Great Pumpkin. Peppermint Patty tries (and fails) to whip the baseball team into shape. Lucy proves time and again that she cannot be trusted with a football. Through ups and down, these beloved friends remind us why Charles M. Schulz’s cherished creation remains the most popular comic series of all time.

Watch Caleb’s Peanuts book trailer.