Cherry Blossom Festival

April 20th

I just returned home from my trip to Japan with my friend Nobuko. Nobuko’s Aunt Hana and Uncle Kenji invited us to stay with them in Tokyo for spring break. From the get-go, I knew it was going to be fun. In the airport, Nobuko and I saw a very large man wearing a green robe called a kimono. On this feet he wore wooden clogs called geta. His long hair was pulled back into a ponytail and he was listening to music through tiny earphones. Nobuko told me this man was a sumo wrestler. Read more…

A turn on the wheel

February 22nd

Annie and James and I just returned home from spending the long weekend at the potter Sabra Ellerby’s farm in Snow Ridge. We had an awesome time! Sabra is teaching Annie’s brother Billy how to turn pottery on the wheel, and sometimes Annie and James and I go with him to learn how to make pottery too. Our latest project was Face jugs. Mugs, really. read more…

My trip to Kyiv

December 14th

I am home from my fabuloso trip to Kyiv with my all-girl chorus, where we performed the Negro spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and the traditional Ukrainian folk song “Carol of the Bells.” We performed at St. Nicholas’ Cathedral in front of girls from all around the world, and it was an awesome experience! I had to sing a solo part, which made me nervous, but I mustered up the courage and sang with all my heart. read more

Summer vacation

July 26th

I had the most awesome summer vacation of my life! I traveled with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins up to Lake Temagami in northern Ontario, Canada and stayed two weeks at Camp Mukwa. Before I tell all about my vacation I’m happy to report that my best friend, Annie Pooler, and her family finally moved back to the neighborhood. For the past year Annie and her family were living in Washington, DC. When I saw Annie yesterday, I was so happy I had tears in my eyes. read more

Dear diary…

April 19th

So much has happened since the last time I wrote in my blog. For one, thank goodness my cats, Beetle and Honey Bear, are home safe and sound! Yesterday Dad and I looked everywhere, but they were nowhere to be found. And last night the rain poured out of the sky in buckets, and I cried like a baby. I kept asking myself, “What if Beetle and Honey Bear are hurt or in trouble?” It was too painful for me to think I might never see them again. read more

    About Melody West

    Melody West is a thoughtful and intelligent young girl who lives in the small and picturesque town of Maplewood with her parents and two cats, Beetle and Honey Bear.

    Sugoi! is the companion blog to The Adventurous Melody West book series by author Francesca Rappa and published by Caitboo Books.

    The word sugoi (pronounced "su-goy") comes from the Japanese language and means amazing, cool, great, awesome!

    Museum Tours

    Reading clubs and other small groups can request a tour of the beautiful North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) with the author of Melody West. Tours touch upon themes in the book series appropriate to children in 3rd to 5th grades. Learn more.


    The Melody West series is available at the North Carolina Museum of Art and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. The series can also be purchased online at

    (eBook version available)

    About the author
    Francesca Rappa is a classical pianist and composer, who studied foreign languages and literatures in college. An avid student of art history, one of her greatest pleasures is to conduct tours for schoolchildren as a senior docent at the beautiful North Carolina Museum of Art.

    Contact Melody at: