New London School Explosion

A BIG thanks to Ron Rozelle for the great chat on Saturday!

Hi fellow readers!

I hope you had the chance to log in and check out our webchat with Ron Rozelle on Saturday at noon.  If you missed it, you can find the chat archived here.

Also, we had a special treat on Saturday and had the pleasure of meeting Ron Rozelle’s friend Zack Kibodeaux.  He wrote/sang a beautiful song about the 1937 New London School Explosion called, “A Voice in Ramah.”  Check out Zack and his band here – the song is beautiful!  (Zack’s father was Ron Rozelle’s research assistant on the project – his dad is a pretty amazing historian, from what I’ve heard!)

Thanks for all of the great feedback about Ron Rozelle’s fantastic work, My Boys and Girls Are in There:  The 1937 New London School Explosion.  Stay tuned for our next book title to be announced!!!

Get your questions ready for Ron Rozelle!

Rozelle_FC_S12 (1)Hello fellow readers!

I hope you are all getting your questions ready for Ron Rozelle – remember our web chat with him will be on Saturday, October 5th at noon!  Don’t miss it!

Remember, if you received a free copy, we ask that you participate in the web chat with Mr. Rozelle, or send in your questions early.

Here is the link to the webchat on Saturday:

Here’s what some others have had to say about Rozelle’s amazing work:

“Rozelle has never written a bad book . . . . My Boys and Girls Are In There ranks among his best. Its strength lies in Rozelle’s ability to personalize details. He presents the slender margin between life and death that day.”–Galveston Daily News

“Using oral histories, contemporary news reports, and legal documents, Rozelle vividly re-creates the tragedy in East Texas.”–Austin American Statesman

” . . . a sleeper hit . . . “–Dallas Morning News

“It’s a hard going, a difficult business indeed, being a survivor.”

Rozelle_FC_S12 (1)How many of y’all have finished the book?!  Wasn’t it FANTASTIC?

Ron Rozelle’s writing style really made an impact on my emotional journey reading this beautifully written story.  The terrible, tragic events unfold before us, and while reading Rozelle’s words, I felt as if I could see the faces, hear the pain and feel the concrete dust in my lungs. I think it is especially important that Rozelle focuses on those living, the ones left behind and tells their stories so beautifully.

The New London Museum (mentioned in the book) has an amazing website that everyone should spend some time perusing around.  Here is a link to their website.  (They kindly put us on their homepage!)

I am looking forward to having Miles Tolar, Museum Director of the New London Museum, participate with us in the online web chat.  Don’t miss this opportunity Saturday, October 5th at noon!

What are your thoughts about the book so far?  I can’t wait to hear your feedback!

Make sure to get your FREE copy of My Boys and Girls Are in There!

Rozelle_FC_S12 (1)Good morning readers!!!

I hope all of you are enjoying Ron Rozelle’s fantastic work, My Boys and Girls Are in There:  The 1937 New London School Explosion.

We still have a few books to give away!!!  Please comment below if you would like a FREE copy, courtesy of Texas A&M Press!  Don’t forget to email your address to

Click here to check out this newsreel clip about the tragedy.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the live web chat with Ron Rozelle October 5th!

Happy Reading!

Our newest book!

Welcome back book group members!

Are you ready to start the next adventure?  We are very excited to announce the next book we will be reading!

Our next book is…..Ron Rozelle’s My Boys and Girls are in There:  The 1937 New London School Explosion.  Rozelle is the author of seven previous books, and has been featured at the Texas Book Festival.  Rozelle earned the 2012 Robert A. Calvert Book Prize, presented by Texas A&M University and was a 2013 Writers League of Texas finalist.

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Here is a little information about the book, courtesy of Texas A&M Press:

On March 18, 1937, a spark ignited a vast pool of natural gas that had collected beneath the school building in New London, a tiny community in East Texas. The resulting explosion leveled the four-year-old structure and resulted in a death toll of more than three hundred—most of them children. To this day, it is the worst school disaster in the history of the United States. The tragedy and its aftermath were the first big stories covered by Walter Cronkite, then a young wire service reporter stationed in Dallas. He would later say that no war story he ever covered—during World War II or Vietnam—was as heart-wrenching.

In the weeks following the tragedy, a fact-finding committee sought to determine who was to blame. It soon became apparent that the New London school district had, along with almost all local businesses and residents, tapped into pipelines carrying unrefined gas from the plentiful oil fields of the area. It was technically illegal, but natural gas was in abundance in the “Oil Patch.” The jerry-rigged conduits leaked the odorless “green” gas that would destroy the school.

A long-term effect of the disaster was the shared guilt experienced—for the rest of their lives—by most of the survivors. There is, perhaps, no better example than Bill Thompson, who was in his fifth grade English class and “in the mood to flirt” with Billie Sue Hall, who was sitting two seats away. Thompson asked another girl to trade seats with him. She agreed—and was killed in the explosion, while Thompson and Hall both survived and lived long lives, never quite coming to terms with their good fortune.

My Boys and Girls Are in There: The 1937 New London School Explosion is a meticulous, candid account by veteran educator and experienced author Ron Rozelle. Unfolding with the narrative pace of a novel, the story woven by Rozelle—beginning with the title—combines the anguished words of eyewitnesses with telling details from the historical and legal record. Released to coincide with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New London School disaster, My Boys and Girls Are in There paints an intensely human portrait of this horrific event.

Need to buy the book?  Click here.

But, wait!  Holli Koster at Texas A&M Press has given us 10 FREE copies to give away!  The first 10 people to comment “I want a copy of the book” below will be mailed a free copy as soon as possible.  Don’t forget to email your mailing address to  As usual, if you receive a free copy of the book, we ask that you participate in the live web chat with Ron Rozelle on October 5th.

Are you excited yet?  I know I am!

Happy Reading Y’all!