Thursday, January 14, 2016

Author Tom Watson Coming to Stone!

We are thrilled that author Tom Watson, creator of the best-selling STICK DOG series, will be visiting 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders at Stone Academy on Wednesday, February 3rd!  His books are full of good humor and themes of friendship and leadership, and are sure to appeal to fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate, all animal lovers and kids who love to draw!  How lucky are we to be hosting?  Thanks to our friends at The Book Stall in Winnetka for this opportunity.

In library, we will be exploring the author and his books in a fun research treasure hunt! Book order forms will be going home in the next week, and reflect a 10% discount.   Please send all order forms to the library on or before Monday, February 1st, and all checks should be made out to The Book Stall.

Please, please do consider purchasing a copy of the book, as this supports one of our local independent booksellers and continues our positive relationships with local businesses and publishers.  It's also a great way to build home book collections which have been correlated to student achievement.   Most of all, when our students meet the authors they always want to read the book right away, and owning an autographed copy of a book is very special!  Donations to the school collection are also welcome, to ensure that our whole school community has access and keeps those pages turning.  Thank you!

UPDATE 2/4:  
The visit was a huge success!  The third grade enjoyed making Stick Dog ears to get in the mood and to make sure the author felt welcome.  A special doggy treat was that Tom Watson let us all illustrate right along with him and learn how to draw some of his favorite characters from his books. He then autographed all of our drawings!  He has inspired so much artwork...and even some sequels of our own.  We have the complete set of the Stick Dog series in the library and are taking reserves, so keep those pages turning!  Thank you, Tom Watson and The Book Stall, and extra gratitude and hugs to the Crank family and Ms. Switzer for their special support during this event.  Bow WOW!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Jan Brett Contest! Help Us Win!

Please help Stone Academy win a FREE visit from kindergarten's favorite author, Jan Brett!  Just visit and enter your name, email address, Stone Academy and our address: 6239 N. Leavitt Street, Chicago, IL 60659.  One entry per person is allowed, and the contest ends April 4th.  Please spread the word to friends and family, feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter!

In library, we will be enjoying The Trouble with Trolls and dramatizing The Mitten.  Please check out more of her collection at the Chicago Public Library.  One of the distinctive features of Jan Brett's books are her beautiful borders, decorated frames around the illustration.  When you share Jan Brett books at home, please talk about all the little treasures Jan Brett has hidden in the borders and how they add to the story!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Major Children's Book Awards Announced!

Tra-laaaa, the Oscars of the children's book world have been announced, also known as the Newbery (for writing) and the Caldecott (for illustration) from the American Library Association.  This is an especially auspicious year because it is the first time a Hispanic author has won the Newbery in the history of the award, and the first time in many years that a Newbery award has gone to a picture book that has also won a Caldecott!

Please check out the complete list of winners here:  There are lots of great booklists here besides the two biggies, including the Coretta Scott King award featuring books that feature African American authors and illustrators, the Prinz for young adult literature and, my favorite, the Sibert award for non-fiction.

And the NPR story here, for your listening pleasure:

Nice slide show of big winners here:

We already have many of the books that were chosen as winners in our library collection, isn't that lucky?  Others will be on order as funds become available.  Remember, prizes or not, the biggest winners are the books that excite our children to keep turning pages!

A Friendly Reminder...

Be prepared for a snow day!  Visit the library!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

PLANETESME PICKS: Best Books of 2016

For a long time, I have been saying that children's books are our best hope for equalizing education in America.  A great book in the hands of a rich child is the same great book in the hands of a poor child.  But more than that, books in thoughtful combination are an education in and of themselves.  I love making these annual lists, because I can only imagine how a child who experiences these titles will be changed, and change is the definition of learning.  Through what will new lenses will the child view the world after experiencing this art?  What biographies will inspire them, what mentors will fly through space and time to scaffold their own dreams and efforts?  How will they view and understand the natural world?  What new friends will they find inside books that will inform them to know how to connect and empathize with people outside of books?  What will make them laugh, cry, think?  After perusing hundreds of books this year with my teacher-librarian eye, these are the finest that I spy.  I hope read in any combination, they will be building blocks...building books! an individual ready to meet and embrace the world.

Most perfect book likely to win all sorts of awards:  Swan:  The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Chronicle)

Personal favorite book that I clutch to my chest and sigh:  The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes (Flying Eye)

Most delightful read-aloud:  Winston & George by John Miller, illustrated by Giuliano Cucco (Enchanted Lion)

Best book for kids destined to watch Downton Abbey some day:  Daisy Saves the Day by Shirley Hughes (Candlewick)

Make your own category and please share it in the comments, with any of your favorites or the past year or from these lists below! Links are for informational use; please remember to support your local independent bookseller or visit your school and public libraries.

Picture Books:
Animal Beauty by Kristin Roskifte (Eerdmans)
Animal Supermarket by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (Eerdmans)
Beep!  Beep!  Go to Sleep! By Todd Tarpley, illustrated by John Rocco (Little, Brown)
Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd (Chronicle)
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt (Tundra)
Cats Are Cats by Valeri Gorbachev (Holiday House)
Daisy Saves the Day by Shirley Hughes (Candlewick)
Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer, illustrated by Christine Davenier (Doubleday)
Dinosaur Rocket! By Penny Dale (Nosy Crow)
Doctor Nice by Valeri Gorbachev (Holiday House)
Finders Keepers by Keiko Kasza (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Fowl Play by Travis Nichols (Chronicle)
Happy Birthday, Cupcake! By Terry Border (Philomel)
Have You Seen My Monster?  by Steve Light (Candlewick)
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt (Doubleday)
I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge)
It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon by Jarrett J. Krozoczka (Knopf)

The Kind-Hearted Monster
by Max Velhuijs (NorthSouth)
Leo:  A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Chronicle)
Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar, illustrated by Troy Cummings (Random House)
Little Tree by Loren Long (Philomel)
Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Ali Pye (Nosy Crow)
My Wild Family by Laurent Moreau (Chronicle)
One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail (Atheneum)
Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard and Tanya Simon, illustrated by Mark Siegel (Roaring Brook)
P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis (Peachtree)
Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera (Chronicle)
Poppy’s Best Paper by Susan Eaddy, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet (Charlesbridge)
Red:  A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (Greenwillow)
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins (Chronicle)
Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram, illustrated by Chuck Groenink (Schwartz & Wade)
Seen and Not Heard by Katie May Green (Candlewick)
Sharing the Bread:  An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry (Schwartz & Wade)
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Groundwood)
Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-Ups by Stephanie Clarkson, illustrated by Brigette Barrager (Orchard)
Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Raphaelle Barbanegre (Tundra)
Some Things I’ve Lost by Cybele Young (Groundwood)
Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Roaring Brook)
Sunday Shopping by Sally Derby, illustrated by Shadra Strickland (Lee and Low)
Tacky and the Haunted Igloo by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger (HMH)
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf)
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)
The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood (HMH)
The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery (Putnam)
The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown)
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney (Sterling)
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes (Flying Eye)
Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida (Atheneum)
The Sea Tiger by Victoria Turnbull (Templar)
The Sheepover by John and Jennifer Churchman (Little, Brown)
The Story of Snowflake and Inkdrop by Pierdomenico Baccalario (Enchanted Lion)
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (Simon & Schuster)
So Cozy by Lerryn Korda (Candlewick)
The Turnip by Jan Brett (Putnam)
Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng (Groundwood)
The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski (HMH)
The White Book by Minibombo (Candlewick)
The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna (Enchanted Lion)
There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle (Random House)
Too Many Toys! By Heidi Deedman (Candlewick)
Tough Guys Have Feelings, Too by Keith Negley (Flying Eye)
Troll and the Oliver by Adam Stower (Templar)
Use Your Imagination by Nicola O’Byrne (Nosy Crow)
Where Bear? by Sophie Henn (Philomel)
Who Done It?  By Olivier Tallec (Chronicle)
Whose Shoe?  by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Clarion)
Wild About Us! By Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Janet Stevens (HMH)
Winston & George by John Miller, illustrated by Giuliano Cucco (Enchanted Lion)
Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers (Toon Books)
Yard Sale by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Lauren Castillo (Candlewick)

100 Pablo Picassos by Violet LeMay (Duopress)
A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long (Chronicle)
A Tower of Giraffes: Animals in Groups by Anna Wright (Charlesbridge)
An A from Miss Keller by Patricia Polacco (Putnam)
Are You My Dinner? By Tracey West (Smithsonian)
Bigfoot is Missing! By J. Patrick Lewis and Ken Nesbitt, illustrated by Minalima (Chronicle)
Book:  MyAutobiography by John Agard, illustrated by Neil Packer (Candlewick)
Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward:  How the Pretzel Was Born by Anna Egan Smucker, illustrated by Amanda Hall (Eerdmans)
The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (Arthur Levine/Scholastic)
Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice by Marilyn Sadler, illustrated by Eric Comstock  (Katherine Tegen Books)
Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook by Paul Yee, illustrated by Shaoli Wang (Crocodile Books)
Counting Lions by Katie Cotton, illustrated by Stephen Walton (Candlewick)

The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects
 by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka (Candlewick)
Design Line: History of Men and Women’s Fashion by Sanna Mander (Big Picture Press)
Drum Dream Girl:  HowOne Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez (HMH)
Eat Your U.S. History Homework:  Recipes for Revolutionary Minds by Ann McCallum, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez (Charlesbridge)
Enormous Smallness:  A Story of e.e. cummings by Matthre Burgess, illustrated by Kris DiGiacomo (Enchanted Lion)
Finding Winnie:  TheTrue Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Little Brown)
Flutter and Hum/Aleteo y Zumbido:  Animal Poems/Poemas de Animales by Julie Paschkis (Henry Holt)
Flying Cars by Andrew Glass (Clarion)
The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Dr. Tererai Trent, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (Viking)
Home by Carson Ellis (Candlewick)
The House that Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Kathryn Brown (Henry Holt)
I Don’t Like Snakes by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Luciano Lozano (Candlewick)
Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome by Brad Montague and Robby Novak (Harper)
Mad About Monkeys by Owen Davey (Flying Eye Books)
The Maine Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Lee White (Candlewick)
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner, illustrated by John Parra (Chronicle)
Mesmerized:  HowBenjamin Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno (Candlewick)
The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin (Henry Holt)
Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert, illustrated by Lisa Brown (Clarion)
My Leaf Book by Monica Wellington (Dial)
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and The Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Milbrook)
Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane on the Bayou Story by Caroline Starr Rose and Rob Dunlavey (Schwartz & Wade)
The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell, illustrated by Joan Rankin (McElderberry Books)
Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre (Beach Lane)
Santa Clauses:  ShortPoems from the North Pole by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Chuck Groenink (Carolrhoda)
Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers’ Journey from Slave to Artist by Barbara Herkert, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Swan:  The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Chronicle)
Trapped!  A Whale’s Rescue by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor (Charlesbridge)
Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews, illustrated by Brian Collier (Abrams)
Water is Water:  A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook)
Where Did My Clothes Come From? By Chris Butterworth, illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti (Candlewick)
Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain?  By Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Brigette Barrager (Blue Apple)

Intermediate reads:  
All the Answers by Kate Messner (Bloomsbury)
After the Ashes by Sara K. Joiner (Holiday House)
Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith (Schwartz & Wade)
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Holt)
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (Dial)
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic)
Fish in a Tree by Linda Mulally Hunt (Nancy Paulsen Books)
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic)
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)
Isle of the Lost:  A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz (Disney Hyperion)
Lilliput by Sam Gayton and Alice Ratterree (Peachtree)
Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose (Candlewick)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougal (HarperCollins)
The Peddler's Road by Matthew Cody (Knopf)
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (Dial)
The Safest Lie by Angela Cerrito (Holiday House)
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (Disney Hyperion)
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall (Knopf)
Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper (Atheneum)
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Reminder, wonderful children: see me personally in the library for chapter books and middle school/young adult fiction for extra assistance! I can help you find the "just right" book and help you to locate all of the latest in your favorite series (yes, including Land of Stories, Amulet and Big Nate)!  Students who need extra time for book selection are invited to come to the library after the morning announcements any day except Tuesday, and the library is also usually open to browsers between 12:30 and 1:00.

This article/list was partially reprinted from The PlanetEsme Plan, your school librarian's personal book-loving web page.  Happy reading in the coming year, dear book-loving friends !