Category Archives: Uncategorized

Decommissioning AFFL

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

So with the graduation of our original AFFL members we have decided to decommission the AFFL name.  This blog will no longer be updated and will exist only as a time capsule of our three years as the AFFL reading club.

The spirit and heart of AFFL will not die though, they will continue within the new reading group called the SMS Inklings.  Please jump over to Mr. Hutchinson’s website to find out more about the Inklings and other reading adventures.

Read on,



Muggle Quidditch for the Win


Purple Puffskeins

Purple Puffskeins

Muggle QuidditchHello Fantasy Lovers,

Muggle Quidditch was a huge success.  Our only problems were the extreme heat and loosing the Snitch in our final match.  I can’t wait to try again next school year.  Remember AFFL members, you are always welcome back here at SMS, keep track of our blogs and let Mr. H know anytime you want to visit.

If you or your parents have any pictures they would like to share, please send them on and I will add them to the site.

Read on,

Mr. H

Big News from Jennifer Nielsen and Muggle Quidditch

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

So first of all we got a very kind note from Jennifer Nielsen…

Okay, so I really love this. What an awesome idea and the map already looks very cool. It’s a sad thought that AFFL is coming to a close, but with you in charge, I have no doubt that your next group will be even greater.


For Kenna and Abby, what I’ve done is come up with 25 names they can use for the map, placed however they think is best. I’ll leave it to your group to come up with other place names. Sometimes it’s helpful to go to an actual map and see how other places name their towns. Also, think about the personalities of the different countries and that can help in determining the sound of the names.


If it’s helpful, know this about the countries:


Bymar tends to be a very good country. It has limited resources but is loyal to its friends. They are a reliable ally.

Gelyn is not a war making country, but they are highly motivated by trade and finances. Their part in the war was to secure access to the northern border of Carthya to widen their trade routes.

Avenia are war mongers, thieves, and pirates. If modern day thieves and gangs started a country, this would be it.

Carthya is rich in resources and has traditionally been safe due to its friendship with Bymar and Mendenwal. It is probably more philosophically advanced, though has not been militarily prepared over the last generation.

Mendenwal is large in area and resources. It is a financially strong country and more advanced in their technology. However, with an aging king, they are due for big changes in the future. 


So here are the place names I’ve come up with. If I ever continue this series, be aware that I may end up using these. And I would love to see your finished map that includes names you’ve come up with as well. Thank you for letting me be a part of this project!


These are the numbers for each country that we need names for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABymar – 4 (Lyneth, Odella)

Gelyn – 11 (Borsten, Grymshuck, Dinari, Kellinton, Tickabinga)

Avenia – 14 (Devil’s Hook, Pockit, Batchtown, Crew Haven, Corkscrew)

Carthya – 7 (Ashvale, Wynwood, Sunchester, Rowbury)

Mendenwal – 34 (Lowenthal, Eekenbleek,  Shapper’s Glen, Harrenshade, Fidelio, Balystook, Vendingham, Twinbridge, Racketts)



Best wishes,


Jennifer Nielsen

How about that?


The other big news is our Muggle Quidditch game that we will play next Wednesday.  AFFL will play under the name The Purple Puffskeins.  I have attached a note to help parents understand what we are up to and invite you all to a celebratory/victory trip to Goodberrys.

SMS Guys Read Muggle Quidditch End of the Year Spectacular

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Read on,

Mr. H

Next Meeting

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

So we just had a colossal mistake, we meaning me.  Sorry about the confusion of our last meeting.  To make up for that, let’s try to have an AFFL meeting on Wednesday June 18.  That will allow us to finish off our work on The Ascendance Trilogy Risk game and prepare for our final meeting and Muggle Quidditch.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Read on,

Mr. H

Rain Date

Hello Fantasy. Lovers,

Unfortunately we lost our AFFL meeting today due to inclement weather in the area. That was a bummer as I was looking forward to another tracking challenge and possibly a Battle of Falstan Lake attempt.

We will meet next week, same time, same chanel, so be ready. Remember you need to procure some darts and balloons if this Falstan Lake challenge is going to work. I managed to find a few darts and three balloons, but we need more, so get on it.

I will see you next Wednesday, let me know if you have any questions.

Read On,
Mr. H

Shadow Throne Tracking Challenge

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

At our last AFFL meeting we attempted our second try at a tracking game based on The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen. In the story a few characters have to track Amarinda through the woods. We have adapted that scene to fit our AFFL sensibilities.

Check out our video of this attempt.  You will find we need to amend the rules just a touch, or spend some time in tracking school.

Next week we are going to try again with another AFFL member hiding and the rest of us hunting.  I hope it will work just a tad better with the few tweaks we are working on.

We are also working on a challenge based on the Battle of Falstan Lake, also from The Shadow Throne.  Check back soon to see what we get up to.

Read on,

Mr. H

Sourwoods Challenge

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

I have been sitting on this video for a few weeks and have had some issues getting it uploaded to You Tube, but over track out I finally got it working and wanted to share it with you now.

Enjoy The Sourwoods Challenge…

I am really looking forward to the release of The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier.  I can’t wait to see the reaction from the public as they start to explore this great story.

I plan to have more fun with this novel in the next few weeks, so check back in to see what we get up to.

Read on,

Mr. H

Ascendance Trilogy Cover Challenge

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

As we begin The Shadow Throne, or book three in the Ascendance Trilogy, I thought we would look at the different versions of the covers.  Take the following poll and share your thinking.


Mr. H

Wildwood…The Beginning and End?

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

It has been a very long time since we have had a meeting or updated our blog.  I blame that on our long winter break and or recent southern snowocalypse.  Today, though is a big day in AFFL history.  Do you remember when we called ourselves the Super Secret Book Club?  Do you remember this?

Today is the day that Wildwood Imperium is published.  We started this whole club three years ago with the first book in the Wildwood Chronicles and now find ourselves at the end of both the series and our club.

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Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis will be at Malaprop’s Books in Asheville on Saturday (we now unfortunately have school that day) and I recently visited Asheville with my family.  So I have a preordered copy waiting at Malaprops for their visit and hopefully early next week I will have a signed copy for my bookshelf.

I know I’m super excited to read the conclusion and I propose that we end our time in AFFL with the conclusions of the False Prince trilogy and Wildwood Imperium.

A poetic and fitting end if you ask me, what are your thoughts?

See you tomorrow.

Read on,

Mr. H

Mr. H

Book Drive

Hello Fantasy Lovers,

As you may know our school is currently running a food drive through the Healthy Living department and many of you are bringing canned food to help local families at Thanksgiving time.

I was thinking about this food drive recently and thought how could we add something to this gift and help make some kids holiday a little richer.  Then it hit me…books.  Not old second hand books, but brand new scholastic books!

I have some points on my Scholastic account and I am going to be picking out some books, with your help of course, to add to the deliveries our PE department with make at the end of the month.

So if you would like to help in this endeavour you are welcome to make an online order at Scholastic Books and use my classroom order code, GKDV8.  I would like to have the order finalized by November 13, so we have ample time to get the books back the the school and off to the PE department.

See you at the next meeting,

Mr. H