May 20, 2018

I cannot believe this week is already here. It is the last week of the year that students will check out books from the Hampden Meadows Library. When students take books out, they get to keep them for two weeks. That means books will be coming back in by June 8th. We will be sending out reminders and gathering books back to do inventory. But the fun will not end in June. You can be sure I have lots of excitement in store for the students!

Our first book of the week is the first in a mystery series. It will be part of our summer reading book tasting.

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls, (2017)

by Beth McMullen


Goodreads summary: A girl discovers her boarding school is actually an elite spy-training program, and she must learn the skills of the trade in order to find her mother in this action-packed middle grade debut.

After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results. But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…

Watch a book review of Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls.


Here is a new fantasy book we have just acquired. How cute is this cover?

His Royal Whiskers, (2017)

words by Sam Gayton and pictures by Sydney Hanson


Goodreads summary: A young alchemist and a giant cat stage a meow-tiny to take down an evil czar in this charming middle grade adventure.

Something bad has happened to Prince Alexander, the only heir to the mighty Petrossian Empire.

Something worse than kidnapping.

Something worse than murder.

Somehow, the Prince has been miraculously transformed into a fluffy kitten—and a large one, at that. Giant, in fact. Dinosaur-sized.

Why has this terrible catastrophe happened? Who are the boy and girl brewing secret potions down in the palace kitchens? And how are they possibly going to avoid getting their heads chopped off?


This is a brand new picture book by my talented pal Josh Funk. I am sure so many of our coding fans and readers will enjoy it!

How to Code a Sandcastle, (2018)

words by Josh Funk and pictures by Sara Palacios


Goodreads summary: From the computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code comes this lively and funny story introducing kids to computer coding concepts.

Pearl and her trusty rust-proof robot, Pascal, need to build a sandcastle before summer vacation is over, and they’re going to do it using code. Pearl breaks the big we-need-a-sandcastle problem into smaller steps, then uses conditionals, loops, and other basic coding concepts to tell Pascal exactly what to do. But building a sandcastle isn’t as easy as it sounds when surfboards, mischievous dogs, and coding mishaps get in the way! Just when it looks like the sandcastle might never work, Pearl uses her coding skills to save the day and create something even better: a gorgeous sandcastle kingdom!

Watch a book trailer for How to Code a Sandcastle.


This next book is an inspiring biography picture book about a very talented and very determined golfer.

Charlie Takes His Shot: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf, (2018)

words by Nancy Churnin and pictures by John Joven


Goodreads summary: Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

Watch a video about Charlie Sifford.


The last book of the week is a graphic novel we are getting soon. Just in time with kids who are already thinking about summer camp!

Be Prepared, (2018)

by Vera Brosgol


Goodreads summary: A gripping and hilarious middle-grade summer camp memoir from the author of Anya’s Ghost.

All Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp.

Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell, and Victoria Jamieson, Vera Brosgol’s Be Prepared is a funny and relatable middle-grade graphic novel about navigating your own culture, struggling to belong, and the value of true friendship.

Watch the book trailer for Be Prepared.

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