March 11, 2018

Such exciting news!  The 2018 RI Children’s Book Award goes to Barbara O’Connor for Wish! So well deserved! For over a decade HMS hosted Barbara O’Connor for fourth grade author visits, and we have a very special connection and love for Barbara’s incredible writing. My favorite memory is a student asking if Barbara would have body guards when she entered the building. That’s what a celebrity she is in Barrington! Needless to say, we are thrilled to see her win this award!


Watch the RICBA video with Barbara’s special message to RI students.

In honor of WISH winning the 2018 RICBA award, all our books this week will feature dogs!


Our fifth graders have just started reading from the Battle of the Books cart and many are being introduced to the energetic Fenway from Victoria Coe’s Fenway and Hattie series.  And many have loved reading Finding Perfect and Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz. Well, have I got news for you. Victoria and Elly are great friends and have just embarked on a new YouTube series called Books in the Kitchen with Elly Swartz and Victoria J. Coe.


In this video, they will teach you how to make dog treats for your furry friends in honor of Fenway from Fenway and Hattie.

In this video, they will share Victoria’s own recipe for chocolate chip cookies in honor of Frankie from Smart Cookie.


This book is the first in a mystery series that should not be sitting on our shelves. I’m sure when readers discover this, there will be holds!

Smells Like Dog (Smells Like Dog #1), (2010)

by Suzanne Selfor


Goodreads summary: Meet Homer Pudding, an ordinary farm boy who’s got big dreams-to follow in the footsteps of his famous treasure-hunting uncle. But when Uncle Drake mysteriously disappears, Homer inherits two things: a lazy, droopy dog with no sense of smell, and a mystery.

Why would his uncle call this clumsy dog his “most treasured possession?” And why did he put a gold coin on the dog’s collar?

And who will continue Uncle Drake’s quest-to find the most coveted pirate treasure in the world?

Join Homer, his sister Gwendolyn, and Dog on an adventure that will test their wits and courage as they leave their peaceful farm and head into a world where ruthless treasure hunters hide around every corner. Where they discover that Dog has a hidden talent and that treasure might be closer than they ever imagined…

Watch the book trailer for Smells Like Dog.


This next book is a new hybrid title written by the same author of the Smells Like Dog mystery series. It is the first in a series. In fact, the next one comes out on April 17th. I’ll be sure to order it for our library!

Wedgie & Gizmo, (2017)

words by Suzanne Selfors and pictures by Barbara Fisinger


Goodreads summary: When a bouncy, barky dog and an evil genius guinea pig move into the same house, the laughs are nonstop! Wedgie is so excited, he can’t stop barking. He LOVES having new siblings and friends to protect. He LOVES guinea pigs like Gizmo! He also LOVES treats!

But Gizmo does not want to share his loyal human servant with a rump-sniffing beast! He does not want to live in a pink Barbie Playhouse. Or to be kissed and hugged by the girl human. Gizmo is an evil genius. He wants to take over the world and make all humans feel his wrath. But first he must destroy his archenemy, Wedgie, once and for all!

Watch the book trailer for Wedgie & Gizmo.

I just checked this brand new book out of the public library. It is based on a true story. I will be ordering it for our library because I know it will find a home in our readers’ hearts.

Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen, (2018)

words by Candace Fleming and pictures by Eric Rohmann


Goodreads summary: A heavily illustrated middle-grade novel based on real events about a canine movie star of the 1920s.

When movie director Larry Trimble travels to Berlin searching for his next big star–a dog!–he finds Etzel, a fierce, highly trained three-year-old German shepherd police dog. Larry sees past the snarls and growls and brings Etzel back to Hollywood, where he is renamed Strongheart. Along with screenwriter Jane Murfin, Larry grooms his protege to be a star of the silver screen–and he succeeds, starting with Strongheart’s first film, The Love Master, which is released in 1921. Strongheart is soon joined by a leading lady, a German shepherd named Lady Julie, and becomes a sensation.

But when Strongheart is accused of attacking a girl, he must prove his innocence–and it will take his best acting skills to do so.

Watch a video of the real Strongheart and Lady Julie from 1924.


If you are looking to read a book in verse, look no further than the incredibly talented Sharon Creech. Tip: If you know someone who is intimidated by chapter books, a book in verse is a great way to build their reading confidence. We have a “Novels in Verse” display with a complete list of titles our library owns.

Love that Dog (Jack #1), (2008)

by Sharon Creech


Goodreads summary: 

“I guess it does
look like a poem
when you see it
typed up
like that.”

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won’t stop giving her class poetry assignments — and Jack can’t avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.

Watch a book trailer for Love that Dog.


The last book of the week is a graphic novel based on a true story.

Laika, (2007)

by Nick Abadkis


Goodreads summary: Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth’s first space traveler. This is her journey.

Nick Abadzis masterfully blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, once a political prisoner, now a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program, and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life. This intense triangle is rendered with the pitch-perfect emotionality of classics like Because of Winn DixieShiloh, and Old Yeller.

Abadzis gives life to a pivotal moment in modern history, casting light on the hidden moment in modern history, casting light on the hidden moments of deep humanity behind the cold hard facts. It is so much more than history – Laika’s story will speak straight to your heart.

Watch a book trailer for Laika.



March 4, 2018

We have the results for the Hampden Meadows RI Children’s Book Award winner. Now we need to wait and see what the rest of the schools in the state vote for.


The first featured book of the week is a science fiction title. It came out in October and has already been optioned to become an animated TV series.

Watchdog, (2017)

by Will McIntosh


Goodreads summary: Thirteen-year-old twins Vick and Tara have built an incredible machine–a loyal robotic watchdog named Daisy. But, when local crime boss Ms. Alba schemes to add Daisy to her robot army, Vick and Tara must go to great lengths to protect their prized pet. Because Daisy is more than just any robot–she’s their constant protector, and together the three make a great team.

Vick and Tara are determined to stop the mob from tearing their little family apart. And they might just succeed! Sure, the evil Ms. Alba has more robot watchdogs, but none are as smart–or as faithful–as their Daisy. Plus, if things get too dangerous, Tara could always upgrade their pet. With her mechanical skills, she could make Daisy bigger, stronger, and a lot more intimidating!


This next book is from an author who lives in the nearby state of Connecticut. If you are looking for a realistic fiction book this might be the title for you.

The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley, (2018)

by April Stevens


Goodreads summary: Eleven-year-old Frances is an observer of both nature and people, just like her idol, the anthropologist Margaret Mead. She spends most of her time up on the rocks behind her house in her “rock world,” as Alvin, her kindhearted and well-read school bus driver, calls it. It’s the one place where Frances can truly be herself, and where she doesn’t have to think about her older sister, Christina, who is growing up and changing in ways that Frances can’t understand.

But when the unimaginable happens, Frances slowly discovers that perhaps the world outside her rugged, hidden paradise isn’t so bad after all, and that maybe–just maybe–she can find connection and camaraderie with the people who have surrounded her all along.


I’m sure our sports fans will be eager to get their hands on this new biography about a man who came from Africa to America

Tamba Hali, (2017)

by David Seigerman


Goodreads summary: Long before he was sacking quarterbacks, Tamba Hali was facing bigger challenges. Learn about his life in this second book in a brand-new nonfiction series about the childhoods of your favorite athletes.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali’s story seems almost unbelievable. He and his seven siblings fled war-torn Liberia to the Ivory Coast during his youth and later joined their father, a chemistry and physics professor, in New Jersey.

There Tamba played both basketball and soccer, but he didn’t discover football until a coach finally persuaded him to try out in high school. And the rest, as they say, was history. Tamba discovered that he had a real talent for it, landing him an athletic scholarship to Pennsylvania State University and a coveted spot on their football team.

Tamba went on to play in the NFL and finally brought his mother to the US from Liberia. His drive, dedication, and athletic ability are inspiring.

Watch a video of Tamba Hali game highlights.


Remember how clever and funny The Jolly Regina by Kara LaReau was? I was so smitten with it that we had a family book club and Skyped with this RI author last spring. Well, she’s done it again with this next title you will not want to miss!

The Uncanny Express (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters #2), (2018)

words by Kara LaReau and pictures by Jen Hill


Goodreads summary: Jaundice and Kale are back from their adventure on the high seas, and they are settling back into a quiet life in Dullsville, just the way they like it. The tea is tepid, the oatmeal is tasteless, and the socks are ripe for darning . . . until Aunt Shallot shows up and reveals herself to be anything but the dull relation they were expecting. Instead, she tells her nieces she is Magique, Queen of Magic, and she’s on her way to a big show and in need of two willing assistants. As Magique and the Bland sisters board the Uncanny Express, they meet a cast of mystifying characters. And when Magique goes missing, it’s up to Jaundice and Kale to solve the mystery—with the help of famous detective Hugo Fromage.

An inventive story in the tradition of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient ExpressThe
Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Uncanny Express has all the whimsy and humor that readers who are looking for an anything-but-bland adventure will love.


Made for Each Other: Why Dogs and People are Perfect Partners, (2018)

by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent


Goodreads summary: Dog lovers everywhere will enjoy this insightful, adorable, and fact-filled photographic picture-book exploration of why dogs really are a man’s best friend.

It’s no secret that people and pups are best friends. But did you know that this special bond dates back tens of thousands of years?

During that time, we have only grown closer. Now cutting-edge science is helping us learn why we’re so perfect together. Brain-imaging machines show how simply seeing you makes your dog’s brain light up in its reward center. And blood samples reveal how just a touch or a gaze between two devoted friends releases helpful hormones that de-stress both pooch and person. In fact, we really speak each other’s language–using pointing, barking, touch, and body movement.

Dogs make our lives better in so many ways. They keep us safe, rescue us in disasters, and guide us when we can’t see. But a dog’s most important job is to be its person’s best friend. And as we learn more about the similarities of people and our four-legged friends, it’s clear we are truly made for each other.

Watch a video of Dorothy Hinshaw Patent talk about the importance of informational books for kids.

February 25, 2018

Time for a Balanced Diet!


This week we will focus on the idea of a balanced reading diet. We will reflect on the genres we typically check out and set a goal to try other genres. I love that our readers have so much choice and variety in our library. I want to honor who we are as readers, but it’s also part of my job to gently nudge you to stretch yourselves. I’d like to try a modified version of Donalyn Miller’s 40-Book Challenge with our Hampden Meadows readers. I challenge students and adults to try our GENRE CHALLENGE for the next 8 weeks leading up to READING WEEK (April 23-26).

  • Can you challenge yourself to read at least 8 books?
  • Can you make a commitment to try genres you don’t typically check out?

I will have Genre Suggestion Sheets posted for everyone to provide suggestions for others. Anyone who takes up the challenge by reading at least 8 different genres and returning their GENRE CHALLENGE sheet by April 23rd will be eligible to win some fun Reading Week prizes!


Do you have a public library card? If not, stop by to get a free one. And be sure to set up your online account with a pin number with a parent so we can start accessing Overdrive for audiobooks and eBooks! I’ll show students how during this week’s lesson.

On the Friday before February vacation I got the chance to try #FirstChapterFriday (read aloud the first chapter of a book to entice students to read the rest for themselves) using this first showcased book with Ms. Killian’s students. They were hooked.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, (2018)

by Leslie Connor


Goodreads summary: From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Leslie Connor, comes a deeply poignant and beautifully crafted story about self-reliance, redemption, and hope.

Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.

But will anyone believe him?


We have a lot of students interested in history and in war in particular. This next title might be the book for them!

Code Word Courage, (2018)

by Kirby Larson


Goodreads summary: Billie has lived with her great-aunt ever since her mom passed away and her dad left. Billie’s big brother, Leo, is about to leave, too, for the warfront. But first, she gets one more weekend with him at the ranch.

Billie’s surprised when Leo brings home a fellow Marine from boot camp, Denny. She has so much to ask Leo — about losing her best friend and trying to find their father — but Denny, who is Navajo, or Diné, comes with something special: a gorgeous, but injured, stray dog. As Billie cares for the dog, whom they name Bear, she and Bear grow deeply attached to each other.

Soon enough, it’s time for Leo and Denny, a Navajo Code Talker, to ship out. Billie does her part for the war effort, but she worries whether Leo and Denny will make it home, whether she’ll find a new friend, and if her father will ever come back. Can Bear help Billie — and Denny — find what’s most important?

A powerful tale about unsung heroism on the WWII battlefield and the home front.


We have students completely hooked on the Erin Hunter series.  This is the latest outcrop of the powerhouse of titles. But beware, readers don’t just become fans but fanatics!

Broken Pride (Bravelands #1), (2017)

by Erin Hunter


Goodreads summary: Heed the call of the wild with this brand-new, action-packed animal fantasy series from the #1 nationally bestselling author of Warriors. Enter the Bravelands…and discover the Erin Hunter series you’ve been waiting for.

A lion cast out from his tribe.

An elephant who can read the bones of the dead.

A baboon rebelling against his destiny.

For generations, the animals of the African plains have followed a single rule: only kill to survive. But when an unthinkable act of betrayal shatters the peace, the fragile balance between predators and prey will rest in the paws of three unlikely heroes.

Set in an epic new world and told from three different animals’ points of view, Bravelands will thrill readers who love Spirit Animals and Wings of Fire, as well as the legion of dedicated fans who’ve made Erin Hunter a bestselling phenomenon.

Watch the Bravelands series book trailer.


This next book as well as the three before were all added to the HMS Library through the generosity of our HMS PTO’s Scholastic book fair.  A lot of our readers are information seekers. This will be the go-to book for them.

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2018 

by National Geographic


Goodreads summary: Kids can have fun keeping up with our quickly changing world with the New York Times best-selling Almanac, packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include three chapters on engineering and technology, space and Earth, and life sciences; a guide to New Orleans, just in time for its 300th birthday; an updated Fun and Games chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; all new weird-but-true facts, crafts, and activities; 18 Facts for 2018 feature in every chapter; updated reference material, and much more.


The last featured book of the week is a new to us graphic novel. It is for our Star Wars fans.

Vader (Star Wars: Darth Vader #1), (2015)

words by Kieron Gillen and pictures by Salvador Larroca


Goodreads summary: The original Dark Lord of the Sith stars in his first ongoing series! Ever since Darth Vader’s first on-screen appearance, he has become one of pop-culture’s most popular villains. Now, follow Vader straight from the ending of A NEW HOPE (and the pages of the new STAR WARS comic book) into his own solo adventures — showing the Empire’s war with the Rebel Alliance from the other side! But when a Dark Lord needs help, who can he turn to? As Vader pursues a very personal vengeance against the Rebels and investigates the Emperor’s secret machinations, he clashes with weapons scavenger Aphra and deadly Battle Droids, and returns to Geonosis to build an army. But some very powerful people don’t want him to learn the truths he seeks! Guest-starring Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett and more!


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.

FullSizeRender (1).jpeg

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

Dapper (2)

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

Screenshot 2018-01-25 at 7.52.49 PM.png
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.