• First, we’re having a GREAT time with the One School-One Book program…. Getting “thank you” notes from parents already about how it’s “forcing” some family reading time that they seemed to have lost over the years.
    — Paul Marinko - Principal at St. Paul's Lutheran School - Fort Wayne, IN
  • Since last spring, our entire school has excitedly embraced the One School, One Book Program. We will soon begin our spring selection: A Cricket in Times Square -- the third book we've adopted since the spring of 2010!

    We are so thrilled with the positive impact this program has had on our students, families, and staff
    — Laurie LaRue - First Grade Teacher at Edgewood School - Bristol, CT
  • I think the OSOB program is brilliant. My seven year-old attends Orleans Elementary in Massachusetts and they (we) are reading Masterpiece. Since the grades levels range from one to five at this school, finding a book to suit all is difficult. My daughter can follow the big picture somewhat but we have to reinforce what we’ve read because it’s a lot to take in for her.
    — Glenn Krzeminski - Parent of student at Orleans Elementary - Orleans, MA
  • The One District, One Book program promoted by Read To Them...is a powerful way to systemically address and promote a culture of literacy throughout the entire school system.

    My school actually adopted a hamster and even used it as “pet therapy” for many of the behaviorally challenged children in our school.
    — Kenny Moles of West Virginia

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

by Robert C. O’Brien (1973)

Robert C. O’Brien’s Newbery Award-winning Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is one of the longest books recommended for One School, One Book. It is a beguiling and unforgettable book that tells two stories. First we meet Mrs. Frisby, a mouse who lives on a farm, who must find new living quarters for her family, a task beyond her physical capabilities. Her search takes her to the mysterious, secretive, industrious rats who also live on the farm. And these rats — the rats from NIMH — turn out to have their own story, an unexpected, captivating tale of capture, experimentation, and escape — a story whose nine chapters are the secret heart of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

One might think that a chapter book 235 pages long is too much for younger children. And it is true that Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a more ambitious One School, One Book choice. But the story delights and captivates younger children because they are able to identify with the plight of animals. They empathize with Mrs. Frisby and her sick son as she visits a crow, an apothecary, an owl and eventually the rats. They may not understand what NIMH is exactly, but they still thrill to the plight of capture and escape (via air conditioning ducts). Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH eventually has larger themes to explore including independence and sacrifice.

It all sounds like a lot but that’s why it’s been charming readers — children and families alike — for decades. A fine example of how One School, One Book can bring families together, holding the attention of first graders and fifth graders simultaneously, thus building a culture of reading.

(O’Brien died in 1973, but his daughter, Jane Leslie Conly, wrote two worthy sequels, Racso and the Rats of NIMH and R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH.)


The following program elements are available for Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH:

  • a letter home to parents
  • a reading schedule
  • trivia questions
  • suggested activities
  • assembly ideas

As a participating member of One School, One Book you may have access to all of these documents. Here are some samples:

The sample documents are incomplete. They are designed to give you a quick peek at the documents for each title. For the complete and full versions of all documents, you must be a participating Read to Them school. Contact bruce.coffey@readtothem.org for more information.

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