Thursday, March 26, 2020

"By the Book" with today's guest, Mrs. Raftelis, Title I teacher and champion reader!

Many thanks to Mrs. Raftelis for sharing her thoughts for our RES By the Book feature.

“Ramona did not consider herself to be a pest. People who called her a pest did not understand that a littler person sometimes had to be a little bit noisier and a little bit stubborn in order to be noticed at all.”
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?
I loved to read as a child! My mom would take us to the
library every week to get our books. I can still remember the stone library and picture the children’s room in my head. The book I remember having the biggest impact on me was Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved the history woven into a story of a real pioneer family. I think this reading experience sparked my love of historical fiction which is to this day my favorite genre. I also loved Beverly Cleary books, especially anything about Ramona! When I became a teacher, her stories became staples in my class library for shared reading. 

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

My favorite place to read is the beach! I love sitting in the sun and melting into a good book.  I also never travel without at least 2 books packed in my carry on luggage. I find reading the best way to relax and pass time while waiting in an airport terminal or flying to my next destination. 
Mrs. Raftelis and her children at the beach.

What's the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?
Something interesting I’ve learned from a book recently is the story of how a community saved church bells from being confiscated during World War II in Germany. The book is called the Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker. I didn’t realize this was a true story until the end of the book. The story illustrates the good in humanity even during dark times. 

You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

The invitations for my literary dinner party would go to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and Mem Fox. I would love to chat with Ms. Wilder about her childhood and sort through her stories for facts versus fiction. I would extend an invitation to Ms. Alcott because I’ve  recently watched the movie Little Women. It reminded me how much I really enjoyed that story. I plan to reread it when I can lay my hands on a copy. Finally, I chose Mem Fox because she’s one of my favorite children’s authors. I’ve watched video clips of her talking about how she comes up with her ideas for books. I think she’s funny and has a fabulous accent. I’d love to talk more about creating children’s literature with her at my dinner party. 

Do you share the love of a good book with Mrs. Raftelis? Please share comments below. Thank you!


  1. All three of my kids enjoyed your classroom. They were good readers back then. Technology has taken that away. I miss listening to them do their reading at night. Thanks for the memory. Also a big fan of Little Prarie.

  2. Oh my goodness! I love the Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was younger too. So much that I loved playing "prairie" and "old fashioned school" in my neighbor's garage. Papa was one of my favorite characters

  3. Not only did I love the Little House books, but also Little Women! It is such a great book, and the new movie is a great take on it!

  4. The Ramona books were, and still are, some of my favorite books.

  5. I loved the Ramona series as well! Little House on the Prairie was also a favorite! I remember getting the Scholastic order forms and wanting to buy everything listed! We were limited to one book and it was so hard to make that decision!

  6. Natalie loved the Nurse Nancy book when she was little it was in our playroom, the kids would pretend to play doctor with band aids too. When she went to the doctors she told them she would like to be a doctor or nurse too. Ahhhh simpler times!!!!