Friday, December 14, 2012

Grade 4-6 Book Swap on December 21st!

A bit of short notice, I'm afraid, but better late than never!  Please note that the following information was sent home to grades 4-6, to ensure a very merry way of having great books to read over winter break!  If this is successful, we will explore including other grade levels in upcoming years.  This activity is optional.  Any books that are not chosen in the swap will be offered to teachers for their classroom libraries, and the rest will go to charity. 
Bring in up to five books that you don’t want anymore, that you imagine another kid would enjoy!  A chapter book, picture book or some nonfiction you’ve finished or outgrown…

Get your parent or guardian’s permission to contribute the book to the swap.  Please make sure it’s one you want to donate, and won’t need back.  In the immortal words of a wise child, “no trade-backs, no nothing-backs.”

For each book you donate up to five books, you will receive a special library “dollar” to spend at the book swap on the last day of school before break! So sorry, this event is one day only.  If you are absent, dollars will be forfeited.

Bring in your book swap donations at the start or end of the school day any day before December 21st!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Primary picture books are a delight in December!

One of the nicest parts of the school library, I think, is really getting to explore each of the seasons with stories and crafts.  Our youngest booklovers have been exploring fiction and nonfiction about bears, and the kindergarten mixed them up a bit by imagining and illustrating what the character Old Bear from Kevin Henkes' book might be dreaming while he hibernates.  A favorite of the first grade has been Ginger Bear by Mini Grey, and they are enjoying working collaboratively on a huge mural depicting the merry mischief of all of Ginger Bear's cookie friends, as inspired by the book.  Dreidels were spinning and so were stories as the second grade got lots of laughs from the clever and exciting tale of Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by the inimitable Trina Schart Hyman.  Please check out lots and lots and lots of December snowy-time, story time recommendations featuring traditional December holidays here!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa (or generous politically-correct non-sectarian stand-in),

Oh, we have been so very good this year!  We remember to return our books (almost always), we never run in  the library (hardly ever), and we cite all our sources (sooner or later).  Most of all, we are the most wonderful children and most voracious readers, certainly in Chicago and possibly in all the world (absolutely true, Madame Esme says so).  So since we are almost assuredly at the top of your "nice" list, please consider the following requests:

1.  The Guinness Book of World Records, 2013.  How many copies?  It doesn't matter.  If we had a hundred copies, probably every one of them would be checked out. 

2.  Kindergarten parents to volunteer as readers for kindergarten classes.  Ms. Esme says it is her New Year's resolution to organize this. 

3.  An additional parent volunteer or two to consistently come in and help process the books, which takes a little training.  This would make such a difference in assuring that donated books get on to the shelves faster.  (Ms. Esme would also like to gratefully acknowledge her current marvelous volunteers, who take care of priorities like shelving the books and preparing crafts and doing as much work as Santa's elves).

4.  Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Grandpas to please, pretty please take their children to story times and programs at the public libraries, such as our own Northtown Branch.  This experience, along with the presence and involvement of parents in the library modeling listening and encouraging check-out of piles of books,  makes such a world of difference in the choices children make in the school library and in reading and listening ability overall, which transfers to all areas of learning.  A library card is a gift that keeps giving all year long (but you knew that, Santa!)

In case you need other ideas, Santa, please click here.  Thank you for all you do.  It just wouldn't be magical without you. 

Love, your Stone Bookworms (as translated by your librarian)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Choose Your Own Adventure: Cinema Club!

One of the special and surprise joys of this year has been getting to teach an evolving humanities "Choose Your Own Adventure" program for  for 6th and 7th graders, in which the "specials" teachers (i.e. art, music, library, tech) were encouraged to dive into our more passionate professional interests with the children in a long-term subject-area exploration, with a focus on material the children would enjoy pursuing (how refreshing, in an age of testing and standards, to remember why we love to learn!). For me, one of my great passions is media literacy, so I was so delighted to have the opportunity to introduce this unique and intelligent group of students to some of the best movies in film history!

Movies are selected by me on the basis of established excellence in media, largely pulling from established lists generated by Facets Multimedia, AMC, The British Film Institute and the New York Times (click here for some of them!), and the Frazier Thomas Family Classics and Morning Movies we of a certain generation might remember so well. Special preference is given to movies that are connected in some way to literature, biography or history, though some movies are shown because they demarcate something special about the history of film itself, and we are learning to appreciate different aspects of the craft: cinematography, special effects, makeup and sound, for instance, and different genres: musicals (the favorite of our kids), silent films, squashbuckling films, melodramas, comedies. The films are mostly American-made, for now, and classic with a capital C; no films from the 21st century! My hope is to introduce students to films they might not otherwise experience, and even on the occasion that they are familiar with them, they engage in discussions that hopefully give background knowledge and put the film into a social context, and will add to the richness of the experience and our conversations.

Here are a just a few samples of what's been playing and on the docket in a library near you:  

The Gold Rush, with Charlie Chaplin
Trip to the Moon (by director Georges Méliès, one of the first motion pictures ever made!)
The Red Balloon (wordless French classic, tapping into the universality of film)
Singing in the Rain (the introduction of "talkies" and sound to the movies!)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (with Charles Laughton! French revolution and the art of makeup!)  
Boy's Town (with Spencer Tracy, about Father Flannigan and the real Boy's Town of Nebraska)
 Oliver! (a great opportunity to talk about the Industrial Revolution, and Charles Dickens)  
It's a Wonderful Life (in December, with an exploration into the Great Depression and World War II and the great Frank Capra)  
The Little Princess (in December, with Shirley Temple or Eleanor Bron, I haven't decided, maybe both, we can compare and contrast! Set in Victorian England, based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the same author who wrote the beloved novel The Secret Garden!)

Plus, we have been enjoying great clips of movies as well, with a special session devoted to "hoofers." Hard to imagine going through life without seeing Fred Astaire's slow motion grace in "Stepping Out with my Baby," Eleanor Powell charming audiences from behind her mask in "Rosalie," or the Nicholas Brothers making lightning in "Stormy Weather!" I consider these movies and clips to be treasures, and part of our students' cultural heritage as Americans. I also think the beautiful language and dialogue, nuanced narratives and opportunities for the development of a moral imagination that these films impart have the potential to be every bit as valuable and transformative as the experience of reading. As one girl expressed to me: "These movies are so wonderful. I feel like I'm seeing everything with new eyes. And sometimes in black and white." Please enjoy a few favorite moments on the clips posted here, and also consider taking your child to see It's a Wonderful Life at the glorious Music Box Theater on Southport this coming month!  And don't forget, you can look up most any movie on the IMbd database and find a parental guide and advisory notes.   Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thank you! Muchas gracias! Merci beaucoup! Shukriya! Xie xie! Arigato! Hvala! No matter how you say it...

Thank you so much to all the parents who volunteered at the Scholastic Book Fair, and all the parents who made donations to the school library!  Your contributions really did wonders for our Battle of the Books team collection, and gives some of our students who may not be able to afford books right now (and ALL of our voracious Stone Bookworms!) the chance to check out the more popular titles in the school library.  The waiting list for Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Third Wheel and Rick Riordan's Mark of Athena is already growing as long as my arm! Thanks also to the many families who have been so generously donating their used books to the library, we have really been able to build our series collections this way (and if it's something we can't use in the school library, we pass it along).   Your efforts and donations are so truly and deeply appreciated by myself and also the whole school community.  I'll say it again:  thank you!!!

Some of you have been asking about the library wish list; for now, you can view it here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fun for Stone Booklovers around the city!

Lots of exciting events coming up!  Check these out:

The Chicago Public Library Bookamania event at the beautiful Crystal Garden in the  Harold Washington Library, featuring costumed storybook characters (Olivia and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, woo-hoo!), authors/illustrators Tad Hills, Don Tate, David Diaz and Fran Manushkin, performances of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, juggling, magic, puppets...and all free, free, FREE!

Bi-partisan theatrical fun at the Lifeline Theater, with their latest production, Duck for President based on the book by Doreen Cronin, running until the 25th;

Grown-up Stone Booklovers can have a lovely evening for the best possible cause by attending the spirited Write Club Stone Fundraising event on Friday night;

and in-house during report card pick-up, please visit our Stone Scholastic Book Fair, hosted by our hard-working PTA (or should I say, P-T-YAY!). New books are a great way to reward academic excellence (and to encourage it!). Please stop by and say hi in the library during report card pick-up, too, and check out the lovely new purple shelves that put books where our youngest children can actually reach them (thanks, Ms. Onofrio), the eye-candy that is the new mural inspired by Peter Reynold's picture book The Dot accomplished with the creative abandon of 2nd and 3rd graders, play choo-choo at the new kindergarten train table, share a quarterly overview/UBD for your child's grade level (print-out available on request) and converse with me about your child and anything I can do or we can do together to support your child's literacy.  

Hope to see you soon, at one happy event or another!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stone Bookworms more ways than one!

Stone students are Safe, Organized, Accountable and Respectful, but did you know our Stone Eagles also soar with SOAR, the new online school library catalog and database?  Our children can look up which books area available in the Stone Library catalog at home or in the classroom, read e-books through CPS Virtual Library, check their library book check-out status, review titles or say "open sesame!" to the treasure trove of resources in the databases and reference section, including an online encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, almanac and so much more!  Click here to begin the adventure!

The mantra in the library is that the 21st century belongs to those who can both access and communicate information. One of our essential questions is "how do we find the information we need?" To that end, the first semester for grades 5 through 8 was dedicated to exploring SOAR and learning to use reference materials and databases.  We talked about a database being like a treasure chest. You need to do a little digging to find the treasure, and you don't just arrive at the box and think you're done, you open up that box and see what's of value inside.  Students created "beelines," a kind of treasure map that allows someone else to recreate steps taken to arrive at the same online spot (a skill that will also be useful down the line as children learn to cite their sources).  Students shared their most valuable "treasure" with classmates in an oral report, and I sure am proud of the bounty our students unearthed as they went on a scavenger hunt for three kinds of gold pieces:  online resources useful for homework, for fun and for learning something new. Children determined that the most useful and likely-to-revisit pages were the homework and subject area practice offered both at Infoplease's Homework Center and FactMonster, and the current events and news access at, but the kids also found some pretty amazing, quirky and obscure goodies in the databases based on their own interests, such as:

Amazing Paper Airplanes, complete with video instructions;

Great information about all our favorite animals, such as the BBC's video library, or the Zoobooks Encyclopedia of Animals (hmmm, I feel a primary research project coming on!);

Games like thematic online Hangman, in which we can guess words from our favorite books, or the Science Museum of Minnesota's "Guess that Candy Bar" game;

Timelines that practically do our homework for us, for better or for worse;, a source for mythology that crosses time and geography; 

Biographies of animated characters and their creators;

and how to talk like a detective, in case of a Damon-Runyon-related emergency. 

I think the most valuable thing we got out of this semester is an appreciation that while there is a ton of information online, it's not all created equal.  Issues of currency, usability and relevancy came up organically.  Knowing they would have to share with the whole class and that they would receive feedback from peers, the students started asking questions.  "Who created this site?" "Is it current?"  "Would anyone really use this?"  "Do we need a database to get here, or would this have come up more easily on a Google search?"  This sets the stage for other relevant questions:  by which criteria do we judge information we find online, and when we use the information, how do we give credit where credit is due?  Plagiarism, citations and website evaluation are next on the docket...keeping it fun and keeping it real world! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Parade of Books 2012 a success, thanks to YOU!

Another great Parade of Books!  Not everyone celebrates Halloween, but everyone at Stoncelebrates reading! A special shout out and hugs to all the teachers who got gussied up...a lot of nature themes, with two trees (the palm from Chicka-Chicka-Boom Boom by Bill Martin Junior played by Ms. Bucasas and Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree fetchingly played by Ms. Wynne, Ms. Lugo an adorable Mama Berenstain Bear and new art teacher Ms. Tiesenga stepping up and dressing as water inspired by George Ella Lyon's All the Water in the World (yay, nonfiction!). Thanks so much to the kind eighth graders who kept our little march on track, and certainly to all the parents who went out of their way to help make such amazing costumes and found matching books...hope it was an occasion for some happy reading time.  More photos to come, but click here for a few that will get your cute-o-meter spinning!

Also a perennial hit was our Haunted House/Autumn House Museum, for which we had over 100 participants!  More photos to come! The originality of the work, was, as always, eye-popping.  A special treat this year was that one of the families used their haunted house creation as an inspiration to create their own keepsake digital book.  Read the preview here or download the whole book and be amazed!  Kids can check out the print-out copy in the library!

Thanks again for another booootiful month!  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stone Booklovers go marching on!

This year's Parade of Books, 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 Halloween from grades K through 3. (Read the 4-1-1 for last year's super awesome parade and hints for homemade costumes here).   You are welcome to watch the parade outside at 1:30; 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. Last year we had a little bit of distance between the timing of our Parade of Books and Halloween, but alas, because of the strike this year, we did not have that luxury. We opted to create a conglomeration of both book-loving and seasonal fun on the 31st in the interest of preserving parent and teacher costume-related sanity. We still are asking if at all possible costumes should be book related, and that each student carry a book related to the costume they are wearing. For inspiration, check out some of last year's costumes here, or hints for making easy home-made costume here and here!

So! Checklist for K-3 parents on October 31st:
* 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 1:30, if you are available. If you are not available, we love you just the same, and we'll take pictures.

Classroom Halloween parties to follow the parade. Please contact your room parent or check your child's classroom newsletter/website for details.

Our Family Reading Night, usually planned for the fall, is being moved to December so we can spread the fun out through the year and plan a great event.  Details coming soon.  Thank you for your support!

Illustration from Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes.
Ms. Demonte sporting stripes a la A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And the answer to the most popular October question in the library is...

Yes, yes, yes, we WILL be having a Haunted House Museum in the library again this year!

Here is the how-to and information being sent home with students:

How-to:  Take a cardboard box and cut holes in it for windows. Paint or otherwise cover the box with a seasonal color like orange, black, green or purple. Decorate the outside of your house with ghosts, trick-or-treaters, rotting trees…use your imagination! 
  • No blood or gore or headless dolls, sorry! We are celebrating imagination and folklore, not horror.
  • If you don’t celebrate Halloween, that’s fine! We welcome fall houses and autumn scenes as well.
  • Please do not attach any real food to your creation. Cockroaches are even scarier than ghosts.
  • Please do not include or attach anything valuable to your creation. 
  • Yes, you can work with a friend or friends or family! 
  • You can light it inside with a flashlight or battery-operated lights! 
  • You don’t have to make it a house. It can be a haunted apartment building, or a haunted theater, or a haunted sports event, or a haunted store, or…whatever idea you have! 
  • Please ask for a grown-up’s help for cutting out windows or when using new or messy craft materials. 
  • This is not an assignment for a grade. This is extra credit and for FUN! 
  •  Haunted houses and fall houses are to be made at home. They can be dropped off in the library any morning before October 29. Haunted houses go home on Halloween.
  • Remember to put your name and room number on your monsterpiece masterpiece! 
And!  NEW this year! I wanted something a little more sophisticated just for the older children, so they could have a special part in our seasonal celebration and children who have made haunted houses for the past couple of years could have a new activity to look forward to.  To that end,  7th and 8th graders may participate in our new Gallery of Pumpkins, featuring decorated pumpkins and gourds, to be brought in on either October 29th or 30th. Click here for funny pumpkin ideas, or here for free stencils!

The pumpkin-decorating rules for the big kids:
• No blood, real or fake. Remember, little kids will be seeing your creation, too. Please, keep it school-appropriate.
•  Please get your parent or guardian’s permission and help before using any sharp objects to carve your pumpkin.
 • YES, You may work with a friend, friends or family.
 • YES, you can still make a haunted house instead of or in addition to a pumpkin for the gallery.  These activities are optional!
• Any lighting in the pumpkin must be done with flashlights or LED lights. No real candles or flames, please.
• All pumpkins may be brought to the library on October 29 and 30th. Participation is optional. Please include your name and room number on the bottom of the pumpkin (writing on masking tape works well; we’ll have some available in the library). You may take your pumpkin home on Halloween. 

A recap:  Houses will be accepted in the library starting on Monday, October 22, though Monday, October 29.  Pumpkins accepted on October 29th and 30th.  We have many new students at Stone this year; if children are working in a group, please think to invite and include a new classmate if possible.  Can't wait to see the children's monsterpieces masterpieces!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Very busy bookworms!

First graders have been having a wonderful time learning the difference between fiction and non-fiction books by reading Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar and comparing it to works like Are You a Butterfly? by Judy Allen.  The children were especially entranced by the video of a real chrysalis being formed, and a butterfly emerging.  Reposting here, in case of requests for re-reuns!

See the big finish here!  Wow!  It never gets old. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Johnny Appleseed's birthday!

I am just crazy about Johnny Appleseed! So crazy, in fact, that I wrote a book about him (you can read about it here and of course there are copies in the school library), and was very honored to be invited to speak at the National Book Festival about it, where I had the additional honor of meeting some favorite authors of Stone students:  Jeff Kinney (author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, pictured with me below), R.L. Stine (author of the Goosebumps series) and Tad Hill (author and illustrator of the wonderful picture book, How Rocket Learned to Read), and the Librarian of Congress, James Billington, which was a special thrill for me because he is kind of like the President of Librarians (and a very nice man, besides).  Of course, I recommended that they all visit us if they are in our neck of the woods!

Every year, Johnny Appleseed's birthday is a very special holiday for me.  I bake apple pies (copies of the recipe in the library), share apple-themed books all week and make a "Johnny Appleseed Pledge," kind of a New Year's resolution, where I vow to do one thing every day to make my country a better place...because by planting a small seed every day, Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman changed the landscape of our nation.  I think reading out loud to our children is a small seed that we grown-ups can plant every day that will also change the landscape of our nation.  If you don't believe me (or even if you do), please check out The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, which suggests over 10,000 studies compiled by the Department of Education all point to the same thing:  reading aloud to children ensures future academic success, and should be done across all the grade levels!

As educator Stephen Covey suggests, "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple.  Who can count the apples in a seed?"  It was amazing all the good things that happened, just by reading and pursuing my interest in my American hero, and there are so many more heroes and mentors through history that we can find in books and that will inspire your own path (biography, section 921 in our library!).  Thank you to all the Stone families who plant the seed to read!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Welcome back to school!

Basic library rules, objectives, grade-weights, etc. may be found under the "School Stuff" link at the top of this page. Book check-out begins in second grade later this fall, after some basic training in book care and assessments of responsibility and knowledge of the school library protocol.  Don't forget, every Stone Bookworm is expected to be a card-carrying patron of the Chicago Public Library!  Please visit your nearest branch to get your free ticket to a book-lover's paradise!

Friday, August 31, 2012


Please come and check out the new mural hanging in the Stone School Library, based on an illustration from Elisa Kleven's book, The Paper Princess Finds Her Way.  The story, and the whole Paper Princess series of books, really captures the free spirit of imagination and possibility, two qualities that makes me think of our students.  Elisa Kleven is one of my very favorite illustrators, and trying to recreate her artwork in acrylic for a couple of weeks this summer was an education!  One of the best things about it was that I learned how to create a mural, and hopefully can make another one with children sometimes.  Special thanks to Elyse Martin, art teacher at Jordan School, for her assistance and direction (teachers teach teachers!).  Here is the work as it was in progress:

Cheers to another great school year at Stone Scholastic Academy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The 7th graders have been enjoying read-aloud and discussion of the multiple award-winning The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis as both a foray into historical fiction and a springboard into research of historical events, but some students, being the great and voracious Stone readers that they are, were already acquainted with the book.  So an independent study group was formed to read the brand new and related nonfiction, We've Got a Job:  The 1963 Children's March by Cynthia Levinson.  Through the miracle of social networking, I got in touch with the author and she agreed to a Skype visit with our students, allowing all the kids who read the book to ask a few original questions, and what questions they were!!!  A sampling:

"What caused you to write this book?"
 "Did you find the pictures, or did you take them yourself?"
"How hard was it to write this book; did it bring up a lot of your emotions?"
"The specific people you wrote about--Audrey, Wash, James--did they ever read your book?  Do they still feel the same way about this situation?"
"Who were your influences while you wrote the book?"
"You based your story from different angles, how do you think that affects the pacing of the plot?"
"Are you currently involved in any Civil Rights programs, or a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People?  What do you do to help them?"
" How did African Americans not respond violently to abuse, even with their training?"
"Today, things are way different for African Americans thanks to the effort of many.  Do you think if Martin Luther King had never been assassinated and was able to help the movement much longer, things would be different?"

Good gravy.  May I mention, please, what a blessing and honor it is to teach Stone students?!  What amazing brains.  Ms. Levinson was very impressed with the mature reflection of the text that each reader demonstrated, and answered each question thoughtfully.  We so appreciated the author's time and the gravity with which she considered each of the inquiries...such great conversations!  Visiting with an author through a screen was definitely something out of "The Jetsons," and we all agreed it took a little getting used to, but in the end we all loved it and hope we can try it again soon, maybe with some authors from our Battle of the Books list, fingers crossed! I am so pleased that such an encounter also helps children to learn one of my goals for the library program:  that readers understand there are real people behind the books we read, making decisions with every word and picture, and trying to share something important to them with us.  Thank you, Cynthia Levinson, for sharing your time and generosity, and for writing such a terrific book and capturing an important chapter in both children's and American history!  We hope everyone checks it out! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012


The 6th grade spent a lot of time this year on Author Studies, research projects based on the analysis of the work of an author of their choice, culminating in grand displays and oral reports to the class.  When D. gave her author study about Amy Krouse Rosenthal (author of books such as Little Pea, Little Hoot, Little Oink, Cookies:  Bite Size Life Lessons and the bestselling Duck!  Rabbit!) D. complained that there were a lot of facts she could not find on the internet.  So what better way to get information from a primary source than to ask the person?  A very, very, very surprise visit to Ms. Downing's class from the great and generous Ms. Rosenthal shocked her biographer, and revealed (almost) all to D. and her classmates:  yes, she is married, and she is 29 years old.  Thereabouts.

Whole group author study?  Five weeks.
Small group author study?  Six weeks.
Independent author study?  Eight weeks.
Seeing the 6th grade faint when a real author enters the room to answer questions?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day from the Stone School Library!  Primary grades have been having such a nice time enjoying stories about baking in the past week, and we love the women who take care of us so much, we combined them in a craft for you.  Enjoy a card from your own little cupcake.

Speaking of, thanks also to the upper grade young women who help me put up chairs and wipe tables at the end of each day, informally called "the cupcake club" because of their baking hobby!  We recently learned how to make roses out of frosting together.  Want to learn something new?  The library is the place to go!


Saturday, April 28, 2012


While primary grades have been becoming acquainted with nursery tales (The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk), I save the hard-core study of fairy tales for the 4th grade, so we can integrate its themes into the context of Medieval history, analyze illustrator choices, and get into some of the somewhat more...uh...exciting stories from the likes of Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.  Good vs. Evil!  The recurrence of threes!  Royalty!  Magic!  Forest settings!  Transformation!  Anthropomorphism!  (Say what?!?) Good times...story times, that is.

So it was no big surprise that there was an extra thick pile of entries to the library's fairy tale art contest, judged with the help of our principal and art teacher.  Though all the art was truly wonderful, we were so pleased that the winner, B.H., really made choices that showed an "active use of space" and "perspective," things that both Mr. Nelson teaches and that are underscored in the library study of illustration.  Besides, it was awfully, awfully pretty.  The winner earned a copy of the three-dimensional fairy tale theater book, Snow White by Jane Ray, which earned ooh's and ahh's all around...real eye candy, as tempting as a witch's apple. 

Three honorable mentions received copies of Fractured Fairy Tale DVD's (not books, I know, but classics all the same).  We hope all participants are encouraged to keep up their illustrating, inspired by all the interpretations they see!

If you'd like to keep your kids reading fairy tales in your home library, you'll do the trick with the sublime Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm edited by Noel Daniel, which has a lot of different illustration styles in one book. The oil paint illustration of Kinuko Craft is museum-worthy; you children really enjoyed The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and she has done several more.   Fairy Tales retold by Berlie Doherty is another scrumptious volume,  the golden gilding throughout the pictures is so elegant, and I really appreciate the more multicultural representation.
Speaking of, author/illustrator Rachel Isadora has done a great series of traditional fairy tales set against an African backdrop, there are some really eye-popping spreads and the stories are still strong in the new context.  Check them out! 

I personally grew up on The Juniper Tree and other Tales from Grimm, in beautiful translation by Lore Segal and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, which goes in and out of print.  But that's pretty scary stuff...I still shiver when I think about "Hans My Hedgehog."   Don't worry, I didn't read it to your can decide to do that damage.  ;-)  Grown-ups can read about the meaning and value of children's experience of fairy tales in The Uses of Enchantment:  The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim, which, naturally, you may agree with or not...but it's an interesting perspective.

I give links for information.  Please look for these books at your local independent bookseller (The Book Cellar supports us, let's support them!)  or in our beloved Chicago Public Library!