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Our Teacher Is a Vampire and Other (Not) True Stories
by Mary Amato
Eric Brace, Illustrator

Trade Binding | 256 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823435531 | 03-31-2016

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FIFTH | Age: 8 to 12

Themes: Humor, School, Writing
Recommendations: A, K, PW, SLJ

CCSS Codes:
RF.4.3, 4, 4a, 4b
RL.4.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10
SL.4.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
W.4.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 9a, 10
L.4.3, 3a, 3b, 4, 4a, 5, 6

About the Book

Award-winning author Mary Amato has created another funny and engaging novel set in an elementary school. This time a notebook passed from student to student becomes a repository for whild rumors, heartfelt confessions, and truly creative writing.

It all begins when Alexander H. Gory Jr. passes around a notebook in which he reveals a tantalizing secret: he has proof that their teacher, Mrs. Penrose, is a vampire. Soon the entire class is speculating and adding their opinions to the notebook until . . . it lands in Mrs. Penrose's hands. It turns out that Mrs. Penrose has been keeping a secret: she is expecting a baby. But since the notebook is encouraging her students to write and improving their spelling and grammar, Mrs. Penrose allows it to continue circulating as long as some basic rules are followed.

The notebook becomes a place for make jokes, poems and stories. When Mrs. Penrose's baby comes too soon, and she is replaced by a no-nonsense substitute, the students express their fears for their teacher, their frustrations and their hopes.


"Readers will appreciate how the characters' writing improves as they discover the rewards of collaboration and acceptance, as well as the healing power of the written word.—Publishers Weekly

"Amato has crafted an enjoyable and often humorous metanovel. . . . Great fun, especially for budding writers; they'll find kindred spirits within.—Kirkus Reviews

"More than just an engaging and appealing story, this is likely to be an inspiration to budding writers and their teachers.Booklist

"An entertaining and inspiring novel and particularly good as a read-aloud for younger middle grade classes.—School Library Journal

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. Describe the structure of the book. Why do you think author Mary Amato wrote this story in group correspondence rather than as a narrative? RL.4-5.5

2. How does Mary Amato develop the personalities of the students in the class? RL-4-5.3

3. Whom do you relate to in Mrs. Penroseā€™s class? Explain. What did you learn from the students through their writing? RL.4-5.1, 2, 3

4. Describe how the plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond to change as the plot moves towards resolution. RL.4-5.3

About the Author
Mary Amato

Educators' Guide
An Educator's Guide filled with classroom activities and online resources.