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.

April 1, 2018

We are about 3 weeks away from Reading Week and our author visits from Melissa Stewart and Sarah Albee! Students have been reading their books after book check-out time in the library to prepare for the visit!

Sarah Albee had a brand new book come out last week. I’m working on getting her to do a book signing at Barrington Books after school on Wednesday, April 25th. Fingers crossed it works out because kids of all ages will love this one!

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.

Watch the Dog Days of History book trailer.


Speaking of dogs, here is a new book by Dan Gemeinhart. I loved The Honest Truth and Some Kind of Courage, and can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

Good Dog, (2018)

by Dan Gemeinhart


Goodreads summary: Brodie didn’t remember the exact moment that he died. But he did remember the exact moment that he woke up afterward. When he woke up he was already running.

In his awe-inspiring new novel, acclaimed author Dan Gemeinhart brings his signature blend of action, heart, and beautiful, deliberate prose to the story of a good dog who can’t move on to the afterlife until the boy he loves is safe.

Watch the book trailer for Good Dog.


Thanks to Netflix, the Series of Unfortunate Events series is making a comeback in library circulation stats. A student politely asked me to PLEASE include this series in the next Book Bites post since Season 2 begins this weekend. I am partial to book five, The Austere Academy, so this trailer made me chuckle. And where does the time go? This book came out in 2000? Eek!

The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5), (2000)

by Lemony Snicket


Goodreads summary: 

Dear Reader,

If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don’t. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.

Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system.

It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night’s sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Watch the trailer for Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events.


A Boy Called Bat is a terrific 2017 book that is now on the 2019 RI Children’s Book Award list. My hope is that you will read that first and then read this next book about Bat.

Bat and the Waiting Game, (2018)

words by Elana K. Arnold and pictures by Charles Santoso


Goodreads summary: In the tradition of Clementine and Ramona Quimby, meet Bat. Author Elana K. Arnold returns with another irresistible story of friendship in this widely acclaimed series starring an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world—even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor.

When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons, Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends, and Bat wants everything to go back to normal.

He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance. . . .


This last featured book cannot arrive soon enough. My fourth grade teacher heart is slightly obsessed. It’s an amazing mentor text for writing Haiku but it also incorporates so many science concepts and features of national parks that fourth graders study!

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up, (2018)

words by Sally M. Walker and pictures by William Grill


Goodreads summary: 

Rocks, fossils, earthquakes.
Seventeen short syllables?
Earth Science haiku!

In a stunning combination of haiku and impressionistic (but accurate) art, this one-of-a-kind book encourages readers to think playfully about our planet and its wondrous processes. Sibert Medal-winning author Sally M. Walker covers Earth’s many marvels — fossilized skeletons of plants and animals, terrific volcanic eruptions, the never-ending hydrologic cycle — in sometimes straightforward, sometimes metaphoric three-line haikus. Expertly drawn art by William Grill, author-illustrator of Shackleton’s Journey, provides a visual reference for each poem. In clear and creative back matter, Walker and Grill further use their skills to provide additional detailed explanations for the science behind each concept. A unique, artistic intersection of poetry and science, Earth Verse is sure to enthrall any and all readers interested in the world around them.

March 25, 2018


We are officially one month away from HMS Reading Week and our author visits with Melissa Stewart (Grade 4) and Sarah Albee (Grade 5). 

Looking for something fun to do this Sunday afternoon? Why not take a ride to Jeff Kinney’s bookstore to meet two fabulous authors with new books? Ammi-Joan Paquette (of Two Truths and a Lie fame) will team up with RI’s very own Kara LaReau (of Bland Sisters fame) for a book party. See this link for more details.

The Train of Lost Things, (2018)

by Ammi-Joan Paquette


Goodreads summary: A magical story about a boy’s love for his dying father and his journey to the mythic Train of Lost Things, where beloved lost objects are rescued and protected until they can be returned. Perfect for fans of The Phantom Tollbooth, The Bridge to Terabithia, and Lost in the Sun.

Marty cherishes the extra-special birthday present his dad gave him — a jean jacket on which he’s afixed numerous buttons — because it’s a tie to his father, who is sick and doesn’t have much time left. So when his jacket goes missing, Marty is devastated. When his dad tells him the story of the Train of Lost Things, a magical train that flies through the air collecting objects lost by kids, Marty is sure that the train must be real, and that if he can just find the train and get his jacket back, he can make his dad better as well.

It turns out that the train is real — and it’s gone out of control! Instead of just collecting things that have been accidentally lost, the train has been stealing things. Along with Dina and Star, the girls he meets aboard the train, Marty needs to figure out what’s going on and help set it right. As he searches for his jacket, and for a way to fix the train, Marty begins to wonder whether he’s looking for the right things after all. And he realizes that sometimes you need to escape reality in order to let it sink in.

In this achingly beautiful adventure, it is the power of memories, and the love between a father and son, that ultimately save the day.


I’m really excited about this latest book by the author of the Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja series. Any book that starts out talking about a peanut butter cup is a book for me!

The Super Life of Ben Braver, (2018)

by Marcus Emerson


Goodreads summary: Ben Braver is an ordinary kid. All he wants to do is finish his summer watching awesome TV shows and eating his favorite candy. But when some kid screams for help, Ben, like his favorite comic book heroes, tries to save the day. Let’s just say it ends badly. But it does lead him to a secret school where kids with super abilities learn to control their powers. Ben’s never had any powers—and never thought he could be special. So when he’s offered a spot at the school, Ben realizes this is his chance to become the superhero he’s always dreamed of. Packed with black-and-white art and comic strips throughout.

Watch The Super Life of Ben Braver book trailer.


Restart by Gordon Korman has been the top hold of the school year. He wrote a past RICBA nominee entitled Ungifted, and now I’m happy to report that we just acquired the sequel.

Supergifted, (2018)

by Gordon Korman


Goodreads summary: The highly anticipated sequel to Ungifted from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Gordon Korman.

Donovan Curtis has never been what anyone would call “gifted.” But his genius friend Noah Youkilis is actually supergifted, with one of the highest IQs around. After years at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, all Noah dreams of is the opportunity to fail if he wants to. And he’s landed in the perfect place to do it—Donovan’s school.

Almost immediately, Noah finds himself on the wrong side of cheerleading captain Megan Mercury and alpha jock Hash “Hashtag” Taggart. Sticking up for Noah lands Donovan in the middle of a huge feud with Hashtag. He’s told to stay away from the sports star—or else.

That should be the end of it, but when a freak incident suddenly makes Donovan a hero, he can’t tell anyone about it since Hashtag is involved. So Noah steps in and becomes “Superkid.” Now he’s gone from nerd to titan at school. And it may have gone more than a little bit to his head.

This funny and heartwarming sequel to Ungifted, which has become a word-of-mouth hit, cleverly sends up our ideas about intelligence, heroism, and popularity.

Watch Mrs. Read for Fun book talk Supergifted.


Sometimes a book or series sits on the shelves of the library and I think to myself, “This should be checked out and enjoyed by a student. What a waste to see it here!” If you are a fantasy reader, you need to know about this trilogy!

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1) (2012)

by Jennifer A. Nielsen


Goodreads summary: In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

Watch The False Prince book trailer.


Fifth grader Molly created a book trailer for one of her favorite books. This one is a true classic!

Ramona the Pest, (1968)

by Beverly Cleary


Goodreads summary: This is the second title in the hugely popular series about Ramona Quimby. Ramona doesn’t think she’s a pest – she knows that she isn’t a pest on purpose. So how in the world does Ramona get in trouble? Why does Davy run away whenever Ramona comes near him? And how does she manage to disrupt the whole kindergarten class during their rest time? Beverly Cleary is one of America’s most popular authors and has won many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. Ramona the Pest is being published to coincide with the publication of the lastest Ramona title, Ramona’s World.

Watch Molly’s book trailer for Ramona the Pest.



Our fifth grade friend Emma has been at it again. She recently made a book trailer for Marty Pants 2: Keep Your Paws Off. My son and I just finished reading this and we had a few belly laughs. Now the countdown is on for Marty Pants 3 to come out in November!

Marty Pants 2: Keep Your Paws Off!

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 Marty Pants: Keep Your Paws Off!


March 18, 2018

Five more weeks until Reading Week! How are you doing with your Genre Challenge? 8 different genres in 8 weeks! If you need a copy they are available at the HMS circulation desk. Many readers have posted their Genre Challenge sheets on the front of the circulation desk to inspire others to try it and provide some recommendations.

The first book of the week has been highly anticipated by our readers. And good news! We have two copies ready for our readers and two more on the way!

The Wild Robot Escapes, (2018)

by Peter Brown


Goodreads summary: The sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Wild Robot, by award-winning author Peter Brown.

Shipwrecked on a remote, wild island, Robot Roz learned from the unwelcoming animal inhabitants and adapted to her surroundings–but can she survive the challenges of the civilized world and find her way home to Brightbill and the island?

From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed sequel to his New York Times bestselling The Wild Robot, about what happens when nature and technology collide.

Listen to an audio clip from chapter one of  The Wild Robot Escapes.


This new realistic fiction book is for our hockey fans.

Checked, (2018)

by Cynthia Kadohata


Goodreads summary: Hockey is Conor’s life. His whole life. He’ll say it himself, he’s a hockey beast. It’s his dad’s whole life too—and Conor is sure that’s why his stepmom, Jenny, left. There are very few things Conor and his dad love more than the game, and one of those things is their Doberman, Sinbad. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor chooses to put his hockey lessons and practices on hold so they can pay for Sinbad’s chemotherapy.

But without hockey to distract him, Conor begins to notice more. Like his dad’s crying bouts, and his friend’s difficult family life. And then Conor notices one more thing: without hockey, the one thing that makes him feel special, is he really special at all?


Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece, (2017)

words by Marc Harshman and Anna Egan Smucker and pictures by LeUyen Pham


Publisher’s Weekly: A warm tribute to the creative genius and style of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this picture book takes readers through his process of designing and building the famous home Fallingwater, which helped revive his stalled career, in the 1930s. Harshman (One Big Family) and Smucker (Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward) deliver an often lyrical narration of Fallingwater’s progression. From its inspiration in nature to the sweeping, finished house that sits above a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania, the dwelling is “A house like no other,/ where sun can shine,/ where balconies fly,/ where falling water/ is heard from every room.” The spare text and Pham’s energetic illustrations advance the story steadily. Wright drafts a concept design on deadline as nervous assistants look on; later, builders “Pry and dig and lift,/ stone upon stone upon stone./ Choose and fit and stack,/ stone upon stone upon stone.” Earth tones and blue hues evoke the calm grandeur of the finished, futuristic-looking structure as it soars out and over the waterfall. Author and illustrator notes flesh out additional details about the now-conserved public attraction. Ages 7–10.

Take a brief tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.


Fourth grader Colin created an impressive and creative book trailer for our next title of the week. I’m sure his book trailer will inspire others to try this format! Maybe we can get Colin to run a “Lunch and Learn” for anyone interested in learning how to create these!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia #1), (1950)

by C.S. Lewis


Goodreads summary: They open a door and enter a world.

NARNIA…the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…the place where the adventure begins. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever.

Watch Colin’s book trailer for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.


This next book is the latest installment in a popular hybrid series.

Whiskerella (Hamster Princess #5),  (2018)

by Ursula Vernon


Goodreads summary: A funny, feminist twist on the Cinderella fairy tale for fans of fractured fairy tales.

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is not the kind of princess who enjoys fancy dresses or extravagant parties. Cliff-diving, fractions, and whacking people with swords are more her thing. So when she’s forced to attend a boring ball in honor of a visiting ambassador, Harriet is less than thrilled–until a bewitchingly beautiful stranger arrives. Who is she? And where did she come from? The mystery leads to a not-so-wicked stepsister, an incontinent lizard, and a fairy’s spell that’s really more of a curse. Luckily, Harriet knows a thing or two about curses…

Smart, funny, and filled with swashbuckling adventure, book five in the critically acclaimed Hamster Princess series is a hilariously re-told fairy tale for the modern age.

We have watched this one before but here is a book trailer for the Princess Harriet hybrid series.


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.