Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Bright Shiny New School Year and Elephant-Sized Good News!

Dear Wonderful Stone Families,

My name is Esme Raji Codell (also known as Ms. Esme), and I am your lucky school librarian!  I say I am lucky because I get to teach the finest children in all of Chicago from the finest castle of a school!  I am looking forward to another splendid year here at Stone.  I will continue to work hard to make the library space a welcoming one, and a place where children's recreational reading and informational needs are met. 

Those of you who had me last year know that the library is more than where we check out books...this is an active teaching, learning and creating place!  Overall, the library experience will prepare your child to be a lifelong reader and a thoughtful, capable, empathetic and responsible citizen of our country in this technological age.  You are invited to familiarize yourself with details of the library program here, where you'll find answers to questions about grading, procedures, borrowing and more, and if you would like to show support or be involved in the school library, click here to find out how...it definitely takes a village!  The school library is up and running, so please by sure to have a peek-a-book on Curriculum Night on September 20th and say hello to me and all of your child's resource teachers. We come to know some of our students over a nine year trajectory and every year is precious. 

We are starting off this school year with tremendous news to trumpet:  On Thursday, September 27th, Caldecott-winning author KEVIN HENKES will be visiting 1st and 2nd graders at our school!  Visit his website with your child and you'll find you may already be acquainted with his talent from titles like Lily's Purple Plastic Purse of Kitten's First Full Moon fame, but for this visit he is going to be sharing his brand new picture book, A Parade of Elephants, which is not even in stores yet!  Students may purchase a personalized, autographed copy of this title for keepsies in your home libraries, order forms are going home to those grade levels (others available on request), please return to your child's classroom teacher ASAP.  Elephant-sized thanks to our community partner, the always wonderful Book Cellar for making this visit possible!  Please support your local independent bookseller, especially this one who always does such magical things for our school.

1st and 2nd graders, please bring the LONGEST SOCK YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME to library during the week of September 10th in preparation of our pachyderm-inspired craft and jig!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Earth Explorers at the Chicago Public Library!

Wishing my wonderful Stone Bookworms the sunniest of summers and great adventures in and out of books!  Keep your reading skills sizzling during July and August by signing up for the Chicago Public Library Summer Reading Program, this year's theme is "EARTH EXPLORERS" and it's free, free, FREE! Find your local branch by clicking here, and reading recommendations for armchair summer travel from your own school library by clicking here!  Oh, the places you'll go...can't wait to see you in the fall and hear all about it.  Much love and happy reading!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Oscars Come to the Stone Library!

As part of our media literacy studies, students have been enjoying some film history and classic films in the third grade.  We have been fortunate this year to have a parent whose work was nominated for an Academy Award this year, and we were so fortunate to have her visit as a guest speaker via a student-run interview to share her experience and knowledge of the magical movie-making process to one of our third grade classes!

The big surprise is when I, your very own school librarian, was awarded an Oscar for my performance as Your Very Own School Librarian!  What a thrill! Tears!  Cheers!  I was finally able to thank my agent!  Thank goodness I was wearing my sparkly dress. 

We then held our own Oscars in which the third grade voted, and the winner for this year's best picture:  Singing in the Rain by a landslide!  What an upset for The Wizard of Oz (though the movie-book comparisons made the trip down the yellow brick road all worthwhile).  

In addition, while I still have the microphone, I want to thank the amazing parents who come to the school library to share their rare and exciting expertise.  We are so lucky to have parents like you at our school!  You are always welcome and invited. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bookmark Contest!

Thanks to the 100+ students who participated in the Stone Library's Bookmark Contest!  All of the entries were all soooo beautiful, the Junior Librarian judges just couldn't decide, so all of the participants were entered into a drawing and a winner of the $20 Amazon.com gift certificate was chosen at random, and ten more chosen at random to receive...what else...deluxe bookmarks!  Stone Bookworms are demonstrating good book care along with signature incomparable creativity. We always keep a place in our hearts and our school for reading!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Bigs and Littles!

Curious George College is in full vine-swing for the kindergarten, and one of our favorite parts is dictating dissertations of our very own Curious George adventures to be transcribed by our 8th grade friends.  We create wonderful things when we work together!  Thanks for the help, Bigs!  Bananas for everyone.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Parade of Books Coming in May!

Hooray, it's time for our 8th Annual Parade of Books! Can you believe it?  Time flies when we're having fun! This year's parade, in which children dress up as their favorite book characters and carry the book to match or create wearable book covers, will be held on Friday, May 25th and grades K through 3 will be participating. (Hints for homemade costumes here.)

You are welcome to watch the parade outside on the Stone playground at 2:00 (in case of rain, the parade will be held inside the school). Bring little brothers and sisters to cheer, and don't forget the camera! This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate Stone as a community of readers, and to create home-school connections.  We still are asking that costumes should be book related, and that each student carry a book related to the costume they are wearing. Chefs can carry cookbooks, Cleopatra can carry a book about ancient Egypt, baseball players can carry sport biographies, for just a few examples...and for more inspiration, check out some costumes from parades past here, or some ambitious online costume leads here and here!

So! Checklist for K-3 parents on May 25th:
* Please send your child to school with the book-related costume (or poster) in a bag, to be changed into (or carried) in the afternoon. Please keep it simple. Mark all belongings with name and room number.
* Please send your child to school with the corresponding book to carry in the parade.
* Cheer and take pictures on the school playground at 2:00, if you are available. If you are not available, we love you just the same, and we'll take pictures.

A gentle reminder:  This should not be a recycling of scary or licensed character-inspired Halloween costumes. Children should not wear masks (which also present a safety challenge when small children march), any horror themes involving blood (zombies or vampires), or television characters/video game characters that were cartoons before they were books.  The rule is that the character should have been in a book before a television show or movie!  As far as books to carry, there are some resources available in our school library and your child's classroom library, but this is also a perfect opportunity to visit the Chicago Public Library.

Additionally, We ask that this year parents please do not follow children back into the school after the parade, as this presents security issues. Thank you for your support and cooperation!  Can't wait to see what our creative community comes up with this year...every year has been so full of amazing surprises!

Ms. Demonte sporting stripes a la A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon.

We came.  We saw.  We marched.  We read!  Here's a small sampling of the day's fun.  Thanks to everyone who put such fine effort into making a costume!  What a spectacle!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Bookmark Contest!

Readers always make their mark in the world, but know better than to make marks in their books. To that end, the Junior Librarians and Ms. Esme are happy to host the death of the dog-ear via a Bookmark Making Contest for grades 2 through 5!

The rules:

  • Bookmark must be home-made, not store-bought or downloaded.
  • The bookmark must be able to be actually used in a book.
  • Please put your full name and room number somewhere on the bookmark.
  • Bookmarks must look like some effort was put into them, not just a scrap of paper.  Please do not use lined notebook paper for your bookmark.  See Ms. Esme if you need blank paper.
  • Bookmarks can be made of anything and use any kind of art supply or technique. Be creative!  Go crazy! Inspire other bookmark-makers! But please, no food, blood, or anything that smells on the bookmark.  

Bookmarks will be displayed on the bulletin board in the school library and returned to their owners after the contest.  All participants will have their name entered in a drawing for an Amazon.com gift certificate!  Kids may submit more than one bookmark for fun, but will only be entered once in the drawing.  Turn in your bookmark to Ms. Esme in the library by Friday, May 4!

Tassels are not necessary, but for those who would like to add one to the bookmark, check out this tutorial!  Sooo many cute ideas if you Google "DIY bookmark" or "homemade bookmark".  Can't wait to see what you design, you creative children you!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Student Authors and Illustrators!

We love our Stone authors and illustrators!  Please visit our collection of student-authored literature...poetry, scary stories, nonfiction and more!  These collectors' editions featuring Stone talent past and present are not available for circulation but can be enjoyed in our cozy library.  Sometimes, if we're lucky, one of our own authors will give a reading at the microphone!

And heads up, Stone Bookworms, we have many brand new titles ready to circulate!  Check out our recommended picks on display.  Will you be the first to take one of these shiny, fresh, new books home?  This month's bonus books feature Women's History and don't count toward your book limit, so read away! Special thanks to our team of extraordinary hard-working Junior Librarians for processing the new books on the double to get them to you!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Fox in Socks!

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss on what would have been his 114th birthday!  We celebrate his imagination with spirit week.  Here are some tootsies wiggling in wonderful Ms. Wynne's third grade in honor of Fox in Socks day!  The library will be hosting read-alouds of The Sneetches and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, but don't be surprised if you see signs of Seuss all over the school: Lorax, Red Fish and Blue Fish, and, ummm...maybe a few dozen cats in hats!  Keep reading, and oh, the places you'll go!  Check out inspiration for your own Seussical bash by clicking here, and read all about the author and play some zany games featuring Seuss favorites here!  Please also visit the author illustrator birthday board in the school library for celebrations all through the year.  With whom do you share a birthday?

In Katroo, every year, on the day you were born
They start the day right in the bright early morn
When the Birthday Honk-Honker hikes high up Mt. Zorn
and lets loose a big blast on the big Birthday Horn.
And the voice of the horn calls out loud as it plays:
"Wake up! For today is your Day of all Days!" 
— Happy Birthday to You!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! 2018 Newbery and Caldecott Awards Announced

Hooray, the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Awards have been announced!  These awards, selected by the American Library Association are like the Oscars of children's literature, prizes that celebrate the most distinguished contributions to writing (Newbery) and illustration (Caldecott) for children in the past year.

We are especially thrilled with the announcement that Matthew Cordell has won the Caldecott gold for Wolf in the SnowCordell is a special friend of Stone Academy, having visited us in 2013!  We knew you when, superstar!!!  This year's Newbery winner is Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. It's pleasing to see more diversity represented in these winners than some years past. Read about all the winners and honor books here!  Any families interested in donating this year's winners to our school library, these titles are on our Library Wishlist!

Thanks to Imagination Soup for our graphics!  

Also, more great news, Stone Bookworms! The 90-Second Newbery, a national film festival featuring movies created by children to honor award-winning books, is coming to Chicago!  The screening will be on Sunday, March 11, 2018 from 1:45-3:15 pm at the Harold Washington Library Center in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (400 S State Street). The library recommends reserving your free seats in advance to ensure admittance.  If you do attend, bring your ticket stub with your name and room on it to library class for ten bonus points toward your library grade!  Likewise, kids, if you and your friends make your own 90-Second Newbery, we will screen it in your library class and you will also get ten bonus points!  When it comes to award-winning books, all readers win!!!