February 16, 2018

It’s February break and for anyone not going away, you may be looking for activities to keep the family occupied. Be sure to check the public library website for museum passes when planning your “stay-cation.” Here are some events you might want to check out within an hour’s driving distance!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Weaver Library – East Providence, RI

12:00 -2:00pm Star Wars Trivia. Dress up like your favorite Star Wars character (optional) and get pictures taken with 501st Legion and Rebel Alliance.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Barrington Public Library – Barrington, RI

1pm – Peter Boie the Magician for Non-Believers


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cranston Public Library – Knightsville Branch – Cranston, RI

11:00am – 6:00pm Edible Olympic Drop-In Craft


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Robert Beverly Hale Library – South Kingstown, RI

2:00 – 5:00pm Family Game Day – plenty of board games and party games for everyone!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Warwick Public Library – Warwick, RI

2:30 – 3:30pm Go for the Gold BINGO! (pre-registration is required)


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cranston Public Library – William Hall Branch – Cranston, RI

2:30 – 4:00pm Quidditch Training


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Newport Public Library – Newport, RI

3:00pm Coding with Bee-Bots


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library – Burrillville, RI

4:30 – 5:30pm – Pokemon Club


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Newport Public Library – Newport, RI

10:30am Hand Sewing with Dancing Threads RI


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Barrington Public Library – Barrington, RI

2-4pm Providence Film Festival Screening



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Portsmouth Free Public Library – Portsmouth, RI

10:00 – 11:00am Hand Sewing with Stitchery (pre-registration is required) Register here.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Barrington Public Library – Barrington, RI

10:30am -12:30pm Providence Film Festival Screening


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Blue Bunny Bookstore – Dedham, MA

10:30am – Book signing event with Julie Falatko, author of Snappsy the Alligator, our 2017 HMS MOCK CALDECOTT WINNER!



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library – Burrillville, RI

6:00 – 7:00pm Literacy Tails – Read to a credentialed therapy dog (pre-registration required)


Friday, February 23, 2018

Osamequin Nature Preserve – Barrington, RI

10:00am – 12:00pm – Family Scavenger Hunt (pre-registration required) Click here to register.



Friday, February 23, 2018

Newport Public Library – Newport, RI

2:30pm – Kids’ Winter Olympics


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Blue Bunny Bookstore – Dedham, MA

11am – Come see Elly Swartz at a cookie party and signing for her new book Smart Cookie!


Saturday, February 24, 2018

An Unlikely Story – Plainville, MA

2pm – Come see Mark Parisi at a book event and signing for Marty Pants: Keep Your Paws Off! You might even catch a glimpse of bookstore-owner and author Jeff Kinney!


Sunday, February 25, 2018

An Unlikely Story – Plainville, MA

2pm – Come by to meet New England Patriots player and author Malcolm Mitchell at his book event and signing of The Magician’s Hat.




February 11, 2018


We will celebrate our reading community and love of books this Valentine’s week when the Scholastic Book Fair sets up shop at our school! Families are invited to a special event called TACO TUESDAY from 5-7pm on Tuesday, February 13th at Hampden Meadows. Paco’s Tacos food truck will be out front with plenty of room in the cafeteria for a pleasurable dining experience. Bring your family by to shop for books and have a yummy dinner with friends! For your convenience, the HMS PTO meeting will take place in the library at 7pm.

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The American Library Association’s midwinter conference is livestreaming the Youth Media Awards from Colorado on Monday at 10am. Now that our students have had an opportunity to read so many potential Caldecott nominees and vote for themselves, they’ll be excited to find out which books get awarded shiny medals.  I am so grateful to the authors and illustrators who share their talent and hard work with our children. I hope they realize that the way these readers connect with their books is much more meaningful than any book sticker.


Claymates, (2017)

words by Dev Petty and art by Lauren Eldridge



The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, (2017)

words by Drew Daywalt and pictures by Adam Rex



Red and Lulu, (2017)

by Matt Tavares


This week we start with a very apt title for the week of Valentine’s Day. It is already loved by the kid lit world and I think you may fall for it too. I envision teachers reading this aloud and then having students create their own unique ideas of what love is. What an awesome Valentine gift for families – a book created by a class inspired by this book!

Love, (2018)

words by Matt de la Pena and pictures by Loren Long


Goodreads summary: From Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long comes a story about the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all.
“In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.

A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life.”

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

Watch the book trailer for Love.


This next title is a hybrid written by Obert Skye whose hybrid series The Creature from My Closet series is popular at HMS.  As soon as this one went on display it was scooped up by an eager reader.

Mutant Bunny Island, (2017)

words by Obert Skye and pictures by EduardoVieira


Goodreads summary:  Obert Skye, author of the bestselling Leven Thumps series, delivers a delightful mixture of offbeat mystery and laugh-out-loud humor in this thoroughly inventive adventure complete with comic-style illustrations, the first in a trilogy.

Ten-year-old Perry Owens has learned everything he needs to know from comic books. So when Perry receives a troubling message from his favorite uncle, Zeke, he knows exactly what’s wrong. Obviously, evil newts wearing trench coats must have kidnapped Zeke. Now they’re holding him hostage somewhere on Bunny Island, the remote vacation destination that Zeke calls home.

On his own, Perry travels to Bunny Island, where dozens of bunnies are running wild. One in particular doesn’t seem quite right. A creature this cute shouldn’t exist in nature. Are there truly evil newts on the loose, or something much stranger…and more disturbingly adorable?

The library recently purchased 35 “Who Was/Is” titles so currently I believe we own every title in the series. This biography series is perfect for readers thirsty for information on the lives of famous people.  For the complete HMS list as of February 2018 click here.

Who Is Sonia Sotomayor? (2017)

words by Megan Stine and pictures by Dede Putra and Nancy Harrison


Goodreads summary: The truly inspiring story of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

Outspoken, energetic, and fun, Sonia Sotomayor has managed to turn every struggle in life into a triumph. Born in the Bronx to immigrant parents from Puerto Rico, Sonia found out at age nine that she had diabetes, a serious illness now but an even more dangerous one fifty years ago. How did young Sonia handle the devastating news? She learned to give herself her daily insulin shots and became determined to make the most out of her life. It was the popular sixties TV show Perry Mason that made Sonia want to become a lawyer. Not only a lawyer, but a judge! Her remarkable career was capped in 2009 when President Barack Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court, only the third woman and first Hispanic justice in the court’s history. Stories of Sotomayor’s career are hardly dry legal stuff–she once hopped on a motorcycle to chase down counterfeiters and was the judge whose ruling ended the Major League baseball strike in 1995.

Click here to check out the “Who Was/Is?” website.

This is a new graphic novel to our library. It is the first in a series by the author of the Just Grace series.

The Amazing Crafty Cat, (2017)

by Charise Mericle Harper


Goodreads summary: Sometimes school can be scary and even embarrassing, but not today. Today is Birdie’s birthday, and everything will be perfect! Birdie’s panda-riffic cupcakes are beautiful, and there’s one for everyone. She will be the star of the class. But then . . . disaster! A trip and fall on the way to school means no more cupcakes! Who can save the day? Who can make the class smile again? This is a job for Birdie’s alter ego . . . the Amazing Crafty Cat!

After a quick transformation, Birdie is ready. She’s not afraid of sticky paws or paper cuts. She’s not afraid of anything, even Anya, the class bully. It’s time to get crafting!

From Just Grace and Fashion Kitty author Charise Mericle Harper comes the first volume in a hilarious, charming, and sweet graphic novel trilogy for young readers about a little girl who can craft her way out of any situation. Each volume includes fun and simple instructions for do-it-yourself crafting activities. Get your paws ready for crafty time!

Check out author Charise Mericle Harper’s website.



February 4, 2018

Whoo’s Reading has begun!



It’s a really great time of year at Hampden Meadows because on Friday, February 2nd our PTO kicked off the Whoo’s Reading fundraiser. Reading is a gift, and I have the unique honor and privilege of getting to discover the reading lives of every student in our school. This month all of you have the ability to peek into the reading lives of each other. You can recommend, learn, ask questions, and provide positive comments about what your peers are reading. If a title in a classmate’s post sounds interesting, be sure to place a hold on it! Let’s have some fun and celebrate the gift of reading! As a reminder, reading takes all kinds of forms:

  • reading to self
  • reading with someone
  • someone reading to you
  • reading to a sibling, neighbor or pet
  • audiobooks
  • eBooks
  • reading of your choice
  • pushing yourself to go outside of your comfort zone to try a new genre
  • setting a goal to read at least 3 – 5 books from the RI Children’s Book Award list

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On Tuesday afternoon we will welcome Mark Parisi, author of the wildly popular Marty Pants series. Mark will also be signing books at the Barrington Books Garden City location Tuesday night from 6:30-8pm. He will be scheduling a time to come to the Barrington location very soon so I will keep you posted.


Have you read at least 3 books from the RI Children’s Book Award list? If so, you will be able to vote on a winner this month.

Fortune Falls, (2016)

by Jenny Goebel


Goodreads summary:Welcome to Fortune Falls, a magical town where superstitions are real. Four-leaf clovers really do bring good fortune, and owning a rabbit’s foot is the secret to success.

However, there aren’t enough charms in the universe to help Sadie Bleeker. She can’t pass a ladder without walking under it, and black cats won’t leave her alone.

That’s because Sadie is an Unlucky. And things will only get worse as she gets older, which is why Unluckies are sent away at age twelve to protect those around them.

Sadie can’t stand the thought of leaving home, so she and her friend, Cooper, devise a plan to reverse her bad luck. But when their scheme accidentally results in a broken mirror, the situation turns dire. Because for Sadie, seven years bad luck isn’t an inconvenience-it’s practically a death sentence.

Can a girl who’s never so much as found a single lucky penny change her fortune? Or will she be forced to celebrate her twelfth birthday by saying farewell to everyone she loves?

Watch a book trailer for Fortune Falls.

Adults may remember a t.v. showed called Doogie Howser, M.D. about a boy so smart he graduates from medical school and becomes the first teenage doctor. Neil Patrick Harris has gone on to earn a very healthy acting resume. Now he’s branching out into the publishing industry. Yet as soon as I saw this book waiting for me on the shelves of The Blue Bunny bookstore, I said to myself, “Our library needs that Doogie book!”

The Magic Misfits, (2017)

by Neil Patrick Harris


Goodreads summary: From beloved award-winning actor, Neil Patrick Harris, comes the magical first book in a new series with plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.

After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded kids. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series.

I could go on and on about the many benefits of picture books for readers of every age. This one will teach you about a little known art technique used to try to save the lives of many.

Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion, (2017)

words by Chris Barton and pictures by Victo Ngai


Goodreads summary:This nonfiction picture book explores art, desperation, and one man’s incredible idea for saving ships from German torpedoes in World War I. Dazzle camouflage transformed ordinary British and American ships into eye-popping masterpieces.

I’m not quite sure if this will work to watch at school, but Lerner Book Publishers has posted a Dazzle Ships book trailer on their Facebook page. Hopefully you can watch it from home.

This last book of the week is for anyone who knows the strong love an owner has for their pet. Rosie has experienced loss but she is determined to take back some control of her life. Written by RI’s own Kimberly Newton Fusco, you’ll be happy to get your hands on this one! If you read and loved Wish by Barbara O’Connor, I know you’ll enjoy this.

Chasing Augustus, (2017)

by Kimberly Newton Fusco


Goodreads summary: A sweetly satisfying novel about a girl and her lost dog, perfect for fans of Jennifer E. Holm and Kirby Larson.

Rosie’s led a charmed life with her loving dad, who runs the town donut shop. It’s true her mother abandoned them when Rosie was just a baby, but her dad’s all she’s ever needed. But now that her father’s had a stroke, Rosie lives with her tough-as-nails grandfather. And her beloved dog, Gloaty Gus, has just gone missing.

Rosie’s determined to find him. With the help of a new friend and her own determination, she’ll follow the trail anywhere . . . no matter where it leads. If she doesn’t drive the whole world crazy in the meantime.

Kimberly Newton Fusco’s tender story brings to life a feisty, unsinkable, unstoppable, unforgettable girl who knows she’s a fighter . . . if she can only figure out who’s already on her side.

A talented fourth grader named Keta would like to recommend a fantasy series she is really enjoying. I love that our students are beginning to recommend to their peers through their very own amazing book trailer creations!

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) , (2015)

by Rick Riordan


Goodreads summary: Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Watch a book trailer for The Sword of Summer by our very own incredible Keta.

January 28, 2018

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Author Elly Swartz visiting some of our fifth graders earlier this year

I’d like to start this week with a book I’m really excited to get into the hands of our readers on Tuesday. Elly Swartz was invited by Ms. Safran to come visit her class this year, and while she was here she also visited with some of her super fans. Elly is bubbly, kind, and knowledgeable. You can tell she loves the opportunity to connect with her readers. Many of our students have loved Finding Perfect and have been eagerly anticipating Elly’s latest middle grade novel.

Smart Cookie, (2018)

by Elly Swartz


Goodreads summary: Sometimes you need to keep a few secrets.

Frankie knows she’ll be in big trouble if Dad discovers she secretly posted a dating profile for him online. But she’s determined to find him a wife, even if she ends up grounded for life. Frankie wants what she had before Mom died. A family of three. Two is a pair of socks or the wheels on a bicycle or a busy weekend at the B&B where Frankie and Dad live. Three is a family. And Frankie’s is missing a piece.

But Operation Mom is harder to pull off than Frankie expects. None of the Possibles are very momish, the B&B’s guests keep canceling, Frankie’s getting the silent treatment from her once best friend, and there’s a maybe-ghost hanging around. Worst of all, Gram and Dad are definitely hiding secrets of their own.

If a smart cookie like Frankie wants to save the B&B and find her missing piece, she’s going to have to figure out what secrets are worth keeping and when it’s time to let go.

Author Wendy Mass says, “Smart Cookie has all the right ingredients: humor, mystery, friendship, ghosts, and an extra helping of heart.”

Visit author Elly Swartz’s website.

This fantasy book is a nominee on the RI Children’s Book Award list. Although I haven’t gotten the chance to read this one yet, it comes highly recommended by my librarian friend Mrs. Walsh and fifth grader Emma. In fact, Emma loved it so much she created a book trailer. Wait until you watch it. It is so professional!

Ollie’s Odyssey, (2016)

words by William Joyce and pictures by Moonbot


Goodreads summary: Can a beloved but lost stuffed rabbit save himself and other Losts from becoming the most feared designation of all: The Forgotten? Find out in this epic quest from the author of The Guardians series and the creative force behind The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

Oswald is a favorite. Of all the toys in Billy’s home, the stuffed rabbit takes top rank: everywhere Billy goes, so goes Oz. But being a favorite is more than a privilege—it’s also fraught with danger. Because of Zozo.

Zozo has never been a favorite. An amusement park prize who was never chosen, Zozo has grown so bitter that, when the amusement park closes, he seeks revenge on every toy lucky enough to be a favorite. He wants them all to become The Lost, and even better, Forgotten.

When Billy accidentally leaves Oz under the table at a wedding, Oz finds himself on an unplanned adventure, kidnapped by the nefarious Zozo and his gang of creeps and faced with the momentous task of saving not only himself, but all the other stuffies who are “lost” as well…

With nods to Toy Story and Knuffle Bunny, but with that insoucient joie de vivre that is all William Joyce’s and Moonbot’s own, here’s a look at what REALLY goes on with your stuffed animals when the lights are out.

Watch Emma’s book trailer for Ollie’s Odyssey.

This next book is oh so good! It is a great contender for the Sibert medal, which is given for most distinguished informational text. Check out Melissa Stewart’s blog for Sibert lists around the country (including ours).

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, (2017)

words by Cynthia Levinson and pictures by Vanessa Brantley Newton


Goodreads summary: Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference.

Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else.

So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il!

Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Watch The Youngest Marcher book trailer.

Do you ever read a book where you find yourself laughing out loud? When I read this series my husband checks on me to see what I’m laughing about all by myself.

The Terrible Two Go Wild, (2018)

words by Mac Barnett and Jory John and pictures by Kevin Cornell


Goodreads summary: Everyone’s favorite pranksters are at it again! School’s out, and Miles and Niles are running wild in the woods outside town: climbing trees, exploring caves, and, yes, pranking. But these leafy, lazy days of mischief darken when bully Josh Barkin and his cadets from a nearby kids’ boot camp discover the merrymakers—and vow to destroy them. Are our heroes’ sharp minds any match for these hooligans’ hard fists? The latest installment of the witty, on-target illustrated series is another “fast paced, laugh-out-loud novel” (School Library Journal) that proves once again that, in the hands of the powerless, pranks can be tools of justice—plus, they’re funny.

Watch the book trailer for the original The Terrible Two.

Do you like history? We have students who are obsessed with this clever graphic novel series that centers around historical events. Here is Nathan Hale’s latest and seventh in the series.

Raid of No Return: A World War II Tale of the Doolittle Raid, (2017)

by Nathan Hale


Goodreads summary: Nathan Hale tackles a topic fans have been asking about for years: World War II.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target.

After the bombing, some pilots crashed, some were captured, and many ended up in mainland China and were carried to safety by Chinese villagers, being hunted by Japanese forces all the while. With tales of high-flying action and bravery, Raid of No Return is a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime.

Watch the Raid of No Return book trailer.

January 21, 2018

Family Book Club Announcement

Mr. Sangiuliano and I will be hosting the next family book club on Thursday, March 1st from 7:45am to 8:30am. This is a great opportunity for you and your child to be exposed to literature and open a wonderful dialogue. We have decided to read the book with the most holds this school year. We hope you can join us! If you are interested in ordering your own paperback copy you can go to Scholastic Book Clubs and use my class code: GTZ84 for Item #61T4. Please place your order by January 26 so that we can get the books and start reading!

Restart, (2017)

by Gordon Korman


Goodreads summary: Chase’s memory just went out the window.

Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.

He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.

One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.

Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.

Watch a Restart book trailer.

This poetry book is on the list of RI Children’s Book Award nominees. If you are trying to be sure you read at least three titles to qualify to vote, this book would be a great choice!

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems, (2016)

by Bob Raczka


Goodreads summary: Who says words need to be concrete? This collection shapes poems in surprising and delightful ways.

Concrete poetry is a perennially popular poetic form because they are fun to look at. But by using the arrangement of the words on the page to convey the meaning of the poem, concrete or shape poems are also easy to write! From the author of the incredibly inventive Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word comes another clever collection that shows kids how to look at words and poetry in a whole new way.

Check out author Bob Raczka’s website.

This is next series is beloved by so many of our readers. Fans of fantasy will really enjoy this. And now they are turning the series into graphic novel form which is equally exciting. I’m hoping the graphic novels may nudge some of our students to give this amazing series a try for themselves. Our talented fourth grader Eilidh (pronounced “Ay-lee”) created the fantastic book trailer below.

Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #1: The Dragonet Prophecy, (2018)

words by Tui T. Sutherland and pictures by Mike Holmes


Goodreads summary: Not every dragonet wants a destiny …
Clay has grown up under the mountain, chosen along with four other dragonets to fulfill a mysterious prophecy and end the war between the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia. He’s not so sure about the prophecy part, but Clay can’t imagine not living with the other dragonets; they’re his best friends.
So when one of the dragonets is threatened, all five spring into action. Together, they will choose freedom over fate, leave the mountain, and fulfill their destiny — on their own terms.
The New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series takes flight in this first graphic novel edition, adapted by the author with art by Mike Holmes.

Watch the Wings of Fire book trailer by Eilidh.

This next book is on our HMS Mock Caldecott list. However, the other night a group of librarians and teachers chose it as the RI Mock Newbery winner for 2018. It’s on a lot of people’s radar and you probably want to check it out for yourself.

Her Right Foot, (2017)

words by Dave Eggers and pictures by Shawn Harris


Goodreads summary: “I want to hold this book in one hand and a torch in the other and stand on an island someplace so everyone can see.” —Lemony Snicket

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty. Have you seen her?

She’s in New York.
She’s holding a torch.
And she’s in mid-stride, moving forward.
But why?
In this fascinating, fun take on nonfiction, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential to an entire country’s creation.

Watch the Her Right Foot book trailer.

Our readers are crazy about the Dog Man books so we are prepared with 5 copies of his latest graphic novel!

Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4), (2017)

by Dav Pilkey


Goodreads summary: Hot diggity dog! Dog Man, the newest hero from Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants, is back — and this time he’s not alone. The heroic hound with a real nose for justice now has a furry feline sidekick, and together they have a mystery to sniff out! When a new kitty sitter arrives and a glamorous movie starlet goes missing, it’s up to Dog Man and Cat Kid to save the day! Will these heroes stay hot on the trail, or will Petey, the World’s Most Evil Cat, send them barking up the wrong tree?

Watch the Dog Man and Cat Kid book trailer.


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.


January 7, 2018

Happy New Year!



This first title is from the RI Children’s Book Award nominee list. Remember that you need to read at least 3 titles to vote in February (which is only a month away). My goal is for every student in our school to qualify to vote! Here’s a list of nominees created by librarian Michele Steever.

A Long Pitch Home, (2016)

by Natalie Dias Lorenzi


Goodreads summary: Ten-year-old Bilal liked his life back home in Pakistan. He was a star on his cricket team. But when his father suddenly sends the family to live with their aunt and uncle in America, nothing is familiar. While Bilal tries to keep up with his cousin Jalaal by joining a baseball league and practicing his English, he wonders when his father will join the family in Virginia. Maybe if Bilal can prove himself on the pitcher’s mound, his father will make it to see him play. But playing baseball means navigating relationships with the guys, and with Jordan, the only girl on the team—the player no one but Bilal wants to be friends with.

Watch a book trailer for A Long Pitch Home.

This next title is on our HMS Mock Newbery list. However, I would not be surprised to see it win a Schneider Family Book Award. I really liked Annabelle and felt that she had a good sense of humor through a tough time in her family.

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes, (2017)

by Mary E. Lambert


Goodreads summary: Annabelle has a secret . . . a secret so big she won’t allow friends within five miles of her home. Her mom collects things. Their house is overflowing with stuff. It gives Annabelle’s sister nightmares, her brother spends as much time as he can at friends’ houses, and her dad buries himself in his work.

So when a stack of newspapers falls on Annabelle’s sister, it sparks a catastrophic fight between their parents–one that might tear them all apart–and Annabelle starts to think that things at home finally need to change.

Is it possible for her to clean up the family’s mess? Or are they really, truly broken?

Mary E. Lambert’s moving and heart-breakingly funny debut novel about the things we hold dear–and the things we let go–will resonate with anyone whose life has ever felt just a little too messy.

This next book is on our HMS Mock Caldecott nominee list. I’m reading it to every class to kick off our Mock Caldecott unit. I’m sure we will see awards on this beautiful book in February.

Hey, Black Child, (2017)

words by Useni Eugene Perkins and pictures by Bryan Collier


Goodreads summary: Six-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier brings this classic, inspirational poem to life, written by poet Useni Eugene Perkins.

Hey black child,
Do you know who you are?
Who really are?
Do you know you can be
What you want to be
If you try to be
What you can be?

This lyrical, empowering poem celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young people to dream big and achieve their goals.

This nonfiction book is perfect for our animal lovers. Kids love learning more about the animals they care about.

Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear, (2017)

words by Jennifer Ward and pictures by Jing Jing Tsong


Goodreads summary: Some animals wear feathers.
Some animals wear hair.
Some animals wear prickly spines
and roam without a care!

At first glance, a wild animal’s appearance may seem simple. But there is fascinating science behind every part of an animal’s physique—from its nose to its toes! Author Jennifer Ward explores different kinds of fur, feathers, skin, and scales in this nonfiction picture book.

The last book of the week is the third in a terrific series by Victoria J. Coe. If your child likes dogs, he/she will love getting in the mind of a dog. Fenway is extremely loyal and has lots of energy!

Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks, (2018)

by Victoria J. Coe


Goodreads summary: Fenway’s dog’s-eye-view of the world is as enthusiastic as ever, but his favorite short human is not acting the way he expects–and he doesn’t like it one bit!

Fenway’s life is pretty great, except for the strange stripey chipmunks that have suddenly appeared in the Dog Park behind his house. He’s determined to catch them, but one of their hiding places contains some stinging insects. Ouch! Fenway thinks he can take care of this injury himself, but his humans don’t let him. They take him to the Place of Fear and then Hattie doesn’t even help him take off the Cone of Doom!

Fenway never would have expected Hattie to do these things to him. Doesn’t she love him anymore? But even though his family is acting weird, Fenway is determined do whatever it takes to make them all happy again.

Watch the Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks book trailer.