Back-to-School Giveaways & New Ways for Students to SPEAK UP

Octopus in Paperback! Plus: A HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Later today the custom paperback edition of THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN OCTOPUS releases from the non-profit First Book for just $3.85! If your school or program qualifies as Title I, you’re eligible to shop on the First Book marketplace and get fabulous discounts like this one. Here’s the link to the paperback of OCTOPUS, but it’s worth exploring their whole site because they stock amazing books for amazing prices.

To celebrate we’re doing a huge giveaway! FIVE DIFFERENT TITLE I SCHOOLS WILL WIN A CLASS SET OF THIRTY BOOKS EACH! The giveaway is happening on Twitter and Facebook. To enter: comment with your school name and retweet the original tweet and/or share the Facebook post to be entered! (Doing both means to get to enter twice!) The deadline is September 1st.


#TeamOctopus T-shirts for Everyone!

In June, the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union launched a community read of OCTOPUS, and as part of that a group of students decided to march in the July 4th parade to help spread the word. And something came up about how we should all have #TeamOctopus t-shirts… Well, thanks to many of you, we able to fundraise enough to provide t-shirts for all the kids that marched in the parade! And now those same t-shirts are for sale again, and the proceeds go to helping get the book into the hands of kids at Title 1 schools! 

Order your own shirt here!
(The sale ends on Monday, September 9th.) 

It is *quite* fun to meet up with fellow #TeamOctopus folks and all be wearing matching shirts! Here is a group of us at Nerdcamp in Michigan!


#TeamOctopus T-shirt GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win a Class Read Aloud Kit including:
 – A CLASS SET of #TeamOctopus T-shirts for all your students!
Check out the brand new #TeamOctopus Forum for directions to enter the giveaway.

Brand New #TeamOctopus Forum

This month we launched the #TeamOctopus Forum! This is a place you can:

  • Pair up with other classrooms reading OCTOPUS this year
  • Get ideas for social action projects that connect to the book
  • Pose questions to other teachers who have used OCTOPUS
  • And, of course, enter the giveaway for #TeamOctopus T-shirts for your students!

Check out the forum here:



At schools, I’m always talking with students about importance of speaking up, so I’m super excited to give students who have read OCTOPUS a new chance to share their voice with others. For this school year, students are invited to choose one of these prompts, and share what’s important to them! Their thoughts can be shared either through writing, speaking, or art. Then, if they’d like, it can be published on my website.

  1. People at Zoey’s school don’t understand her as a person and what her life’s like. Describe one thing about you or your life that people at school don’t know or understand.
  2. If you could change one thing about your world, what would you change? Why? Who would you need to talk to to start making that change? What would you say?
  3. You get to write your own version of a sequel! In your mind, what happens next––or down the road? (Your thoughts as a reader are just as valid as the author’s!)

Visit to submit student work!
It can be either a text submission, a photo, or a video. I can’t wait to receive them. Students might even get a little #TeamOctopus love in the mail in response!

Finally, check out this except from a song written by a student in South Carolina, inspired by the book! Isn’t it AMAZING???