Aligned with the CCSS through the Pearson Social Sciences curriculum adopted by New York, Night of the Spadefoot Toads will be read by every 5th grader in the system in support of their work with Ecosystems. **

Ages 8-12


“A riot of sound rises and falls all around them. They’re surrounded by this crazy orchestra – the wind in the trees, the thunder in the sky, the rain pattering on the pool and their jackets, the spring peepers chirping in the distance.

And these little spadefoot toads right before them are leading the symphony.”

“Harley's appealing story shows readers that adults and children can connect in meaningful friendships, and reminds them that conservation can begin in their own backyards.” Kirkus Reviews



This satisfying story explores the powerful impact of our actions on the world around us.

When his father takes a new job in Massachusetts, Ben Moroney must leave behind his best friend Tony, a western banded gecko named Lenny, and worst of all, the desert home he has loved and explored.

Ben's adjustment to his new environment is not going well until he unexpectedly finds a kindred spirit in his eccentric fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. Together they explore the varied habitats on her rural property, and she introduces him to the elusive and endangered Eastern spadefoot toads that make their home there.

When Ben discovers that Mrs. Tibbets's relatives plan to sell the land to developers, he knows he must try to stop them. As Ben's obsession with saving the spadefoot toads' habitat grows, his schoolwork suffers and his relationships with his family and new friends are strained. One foolish, impulsive act threatens to destroy his friendship with Mrs. Tibbets—and maybe even her career. But just when it seems things can't get any worse, Ben finds a way to meet his responsibilities to the people around him and learns what it means to feel "at home."




**"Hi, I am a fifth grade teacher in the South Bronx teaching Night of the Spadefoot Toad and my fifth graders are having an absolute blast reading this book. It is relatable to them in so many ways (even though you would think inner city kids can't relate at all). The book is so powerful! I am so glad that they found this book and are having us read it. Kudos to Mr. Harley. If he is ever in NYC - The South Bronx, we'd love to meet him!"
Mr. Leibowitz

“...the main character is a well-developed, realistic 'child hero.'” ―School Library Journal


“...I found myself pulled into this intriguing novel right from the start. The characters are well-drawn and realistic...This is a sure winner for middle-grade readers who like to read about kids like themselves or have an interest in animals and the environment.” ―Great Books for Kids and Teens blog


“...It is so refreshing reading about this little guy that has so much passion about saving this habitat. The author is not just an amazing story teller, he has written a tale about a legitimate cause...” ―It's About Time MaMaw blog




Green Earth Book Award - Newton Marasco Foundation 2009

KIND Children's Honorable Mention - Humane Society Youth 2009-10

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (honor book, Language Arts K-6 novels) 2009

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List - Kansas National Education Association 2009

Keystone to Reading Book Award (nominee) - Keystone State Reading Association 2009-10

Volunteer State Book Awards (nominee) - Tennesee Association of School Librarians 2010-11

Prairie Pasque Children's Book Award (nominee) - South Dakota Library Association 2010-11

Golden Sower Award (nominee) - Nebraska Library Association 2011-12

Night of the Spadefoot Toads