Saturday, December 17, 2011


A special thanks to the Stone School Library's Booklover's Club, which has been meeting an hour before school several days a week to take care of the library and to do everything fun related to books and reading (and an occasional cup of cocoa), for their dedication in creating a dance interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl"  for the holiday assembly.  Though the story is a sad one, I think we agreed it captures the true spirit of the season, and of Andersen's story:  look closely at others, and see what we can do to help them and to be kind; each individual is so valuable. I thought everyone did a beautiful job. (Sniff, sniff.)

Honestly, I wish we could do dance interpretations all day!  Music, dance, story, and me yelling at everyone to try again!  What could be better?  It's nearly heavenly.  Thanks again to my wonderful troupe/group, and best wishes for a great winter break from the library!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Author Visit: Annie Barrows!

On November 17th, the second, third and fourth grades enjoyed a special visit with author Annie Barrows, on tour for her nationally best-selling Ivy and Bean series. Two hundred Stone booklovers were rapt with both attention and admiration as the author read aloud from her latest, Ivy and Bean No News is Good News, shared many funny stories about her own growing up and her inspirations for writing, and answered student questions. She then autographed about a hundred copies of her books for children who had ordered her titles, and the pages are still turning! Fans can continue their author visit in cyberspace at Thank you to Chronicle Books and The Book Cellar for making this visit possible!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shadow Puppet Plays Starring Middle Schoolers!

The seventh graders did an extraordinary job performing shadow puppet shows that they designed based on folklore from around the world inspired from our collection and from the "1001 Stories" site at the Oxford Story Museum.  Teamwork, narration, puppet design and higher level synthesizing skills merged and manifested in delightful performances for each other, and several of the more exceptional ones had encores as a special Halloween treat for the kindergarten.  Some of the puppets had moving parts, and some of the shows incorporated music!  We were inspired by the Indonesian shadow puppets on loan to us from one of our Stone families (thank you!). What a wonderful chance to experience "story" as a gift to one another, both as part of the global oral tradition and within our own wonderful school.  Great job, seventh grade!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Thanks to everyone who attended our annual Family Reading Night! Dancing elephants, tightrope-walking clowns and flirty puppy-dogs among an imaginative cast of marionettes, I think it's safe to say "delighted" was the unanimous response that the showcased performance by professional puppeteer Dave Herzog received:

Who could ask for anything more?  But more was what we had, with a choice of two sessions from a long menu of reading fun, including a storytime with the popular Fireman Rob...

or with gifted public librarian Stephanie Lorfel from the Northtown Branch (who also offered library card sign-up!)...

or bilingual books read by Ms. Begum (in Urdu) and Ms. Lugo (in Spanish)...

or a rousing (and hilarious!) fairy-tale performance given by the Primary Team...


Or a visit to the always well-attended Haunted House Museum in the school library, followed by spooky stories delivered to a crowd by our own esteemed principal Ms. Onofrio and dear V.P. Mr. Brandon (who knew he could rap so well to Shake Dem Halloween Bones?)...

What a great way to get to know each other, and celebrate one another as the community of readers that is STONE!  Special and heartfelt thanks to all our special guests, and to the Reading Committee, our supportive administration and of course all of our families for making this night so magical and memorable.  Hope this evening serves as an inspiration to turn many more pages!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Haunted House/Autumn House Museum!

One hundred and twenty-seven students (to date), across all grade levels, have participated in our second annual Haunted House-Autumn House Museum! Students were invited to make their own haunted or autumnally-themed house (or apartment building or beauty shop or school store or sports stadium or theater or bakery or what-all) and bring it for display in the library. The only limitations were no blood, no decapitations, and no valuables or real food attached (cockroaches are too scary, even for Halloween). Children were welcome to work with friends, or to approach it as a family project, and the project could be modified as needed to respect the faith backgrounds of all. The children's imaginations took the lead! I am so proud of the resourceful use of items from around the house, and for the sense of humor that would have done the Addams Family proud; I had a good laugh, morbid as it may be, at the graveyard filled with the names of favorite authors of illustrators! Of course, R.'s "haunted library" diorama has permanent residence with us (thanks, R.!)...we like a good ghost story all year round, so it will always be seasonal. I am so pleased with the feeling of pride the children have shown when dropping off their original creations, the satisfaction that comes from making something truly all your own.  Kudos and many, many thanks to all participants and their supporters, you truly did a boo-tiful job!

Ms. Demonte inspired me as I was thinking of mixing it up a bit next year, as variety is the spice of life and we hope to encourage more older children to participate. Pumpkins, anyone?

Please pick up all houses (we will be sending home the smaller ones) on October 31st. Thank you!

And if you're looking for great Halloween reads, or want to check out some of the spooky folklore we are sharing in storytimes, please click here!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Parade 2011!

Well, I don't think that could have gone any better!!!  The Stone community of readers was absolutely carbonated with excitement about our book parade that took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 12!  Mother Nature is obviously also a book-lover, as she provided a storybook-perfect warm autumn day as a backdrop for over two hundred kindergarten through third-grade participants, fully costumed as favorite book characters and carrying corresponding titles.  After marching through all three floors to the cacophony of cheering upper-grade crowds, the children continued their merry march around the playground, beneath the flashing bulbs of parental paparazzi. It was really quite amazing, all the way from "Once Upon a Time" to "Happily Ever After." The effort and imagination that went into the costumes speaks to the commitment of our parent body, the energy of our staff and the wonderfulness of our truly amazing and inimitable children (if I do say so myself).  I'm so glad  we took the time to remember that children still love to pretend, and that they can use that power to connect with the characters in the books they enjoy.  Read on!
Parade of Books, 2011

More pictures will be posted, but here are a few for starters, just click on the picture/link above...and please share yours as jpg's on a disk, I will add them to an online album and also share for yearbook. Thank you again for a memorable and joyful afternoon, Stone Bookworms!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Parade of Readers!

The Stone Scholastic Academy primary grades (k-3) are marching together in our first (hopefully annual) Costume Book Parade on Wednesday, October 12th at 2:00 p.m., dressed as favorite book characters and rallying for a love of reading!  You are welcome to watch the parade outside at 2:00; 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. 

Please help by working with your child to make something to wear that fits our theme. Children should bring a copy of the book they are representing to carry in the parade.   Please, let's avoid superheroes, cartoon characters or horror-related costumes; this is not a Halloween party.  The rule of thumb is that the character should come from something that was a book first, not a cartoon or a movie.  For children whose religions do not permit children to wear costumes, they may instead carry a poster they create based on a favorite book (see "placards" below if you want to get fancy).

This is also a great opportunity to visit the Chicago Public Library together, to explore options and check out books.  All Stone Academy superstars are expected to have a library card in their name.  Our closest library is the Northtown Branch, 6435 North California, (312) 744-2292. 

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing, using household items to make a fun costume in less than an hour!

• Cut "ears" out of construction paper, leaving a little extra length at the bottom of each ear.  Fold a flap at the bottom of the ear and tape to a plastic headband.  Great for bears, pigs, cats, etc.!

• Examples of easy costumes:
mouse ears + pink tutu + pink ribbon + eyebrow pencil whiskers = Angelina Ballerina by Helen Craig
mouse ears + blue overalls  + a bag of chocolate chip cookies  + eyebrow pencil whiskers = If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Straw hat + black ribbon + red coat + white socks + black shoes = Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
bear ears + overalls with one strap undone = Corduroy by Don Freeman
red material + basket = Little Red Riding Hood
Floppy hat decorated with tissue paper flowers + apron = Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

• Paper bags can be magical!  Design a gown from one like The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, or cut out a cowboy vest and don a cowboy hat like Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg!

• You can make googly eyes for Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel or Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by  Bernard Waber from egg cartons!  Attach two egg receptacles to a half-paper plate colored green, to be tied around the forehead!  Wear a green turtleneck, pants or tights!  Add green felt spikes for dinosaur or dragon characters!

• Fairy tale costumes are fun and easy!  Construction paper crowns sparkling with glitter or aluminum foil for kings and queens...scarf capes for paper rolled into cone-shapes with a scarf at the top for princesses, or decorated with silver moons for wizards...aluminum foil stars on foil-covered sticks for wands...wicked witches are storybook characters that can be recycled for Halloween!

• Beauty secret!  Pippi Longstocking's braids stick out with the help of pipe cleaners!

• An alternative to a disguise is to make a placard!  Take two pieces of poster board, punch two holes at the top of each piece and tie yard to attach the boards, leaving about 3-5 inches of "give" on the yarn, so your child can slip the boards over the head, carrying the boards on the shoulders.  Your child can then decorate the poster board like a favorite book!  A walking advertisement!

• There are so many classic characters from classic books:  Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, King Arthur, Oliver Twist, Curious George...which was your favorite as a child?  Now is a great time to read it aloud!

• And don't forget, readers of non-fiction are real readers, too!  How about an alien costume if your child loves a book about outer space?  A chef carrying a cookbook?  A famous person carrying his or her biography?  A favorite animal carrying a book featuring that animal?  

Need more ideas?  Click here for clever and easy homemade costumes via Family Fun!  The goal is not expense, but I-M-A-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N!

So! Checklist for October 12th:
Send your child to school with the 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.
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.

Thank you for your support!