Monday, December 17, 2018

December Grab Bag!

Season's Readings!  Whatever our backgrounds or beliefs, December is a wonderful time to share in each other's celebrations and the changing of the season.  We enjoy the gifts of story and each other all month long!  Be sure to stop by the library before break to carry home a bevy of books for the vacation hibernation.  See you in the New Year!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

NYT Bestselling Author Brandon Mull at Stone on November 8!

#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Mull, who has penned fantasy series favorites such as DragonWatch, Spirit Animals and Fablehaven, will be visiting grades 3 through 6 in a special library-hosted assembly on Thursday, November 8th! This is one of Dusty the library dragon's favorite authors, so we are all thrilled! Though no books will be pre-sold through the school, Stone Bookworms are extended a special invitation to Mull's signing that same evening at the Barnes & Noble Old Orchard, 55 Old Orchard Center in Skokie at 7:00 p.m.  Bookstore visits and author signings are oo-la-la fun for future literati, you are encouraged to participate and support reading as a lifestyle!  Of course, students who attend will receive extra credit!

In preparation for this special and exciting visit, students have been visiting for a cyber--scavenger hunt of fun facts about the author and his books.  Did you know the author lives in Utah with four children of his own?  Or that before he became an author, he was a professional chicken-stacker?  Or that his favorite foods are freshed-baked bread and...mmmmm!...cookies! This last bit of information was especially salient as children learned the author's birthday falls on the day of his visit, and in his honor, students decided that a book-loving cookie party (or cookie-loving book party, as the case may be) will be held with all attending grade levels as guests was in order.  Store-bought and wrapped  packages of cookies will be welcome offerings on Thursday for the occasion.  Please do not send peanut-butter cookies; students with allergies will enjoy a safe treat!

Reading and eating beyond our wildest fantasies, dragons notwithstanding!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Haunted House Museum is a Ghostly GO!

Yes, yes, yes, we WILL be having a Haunted House Museum in the library again this year!  But we need your participation to make it happen!  Open to ALL GRADE LEVELS, just for fun!

How-to:  Take a cardboard box and cut holes in it for windows. Paint or otherwise completely cover the box with a seasonal color like orange, black, green or purple. Decorate your house or scene 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 or leaves to your creation. Cockroaches and mold 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 (in any class or school) 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 a haunted library, or a haunted castle, or haunted treehouse…whatever idea you have! 
  • If you'd made one before, why not try to add something new and challenging this year?  An elevator?  Staircase?  Tower?  What can you imagine?
  • 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 for FUN! Middle schoolers get extra credit as needed and earned.
  •  Haunted houses and fall houses are to be made at home. They can be dropped off in the library any morning through October 28. Haunted houses go home on Halloween.  Pick them up for a treat!
  • Please remember to put your name and room number clearly on your creation.

Houses will be accepted in the library before or right after morning announcements starting on Monday, October 22, though Monday, October 29 and students should pick up houses at the end of the day on Halloween. Sorry, the library cannot be responsible for houses left in November.    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!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Matt De La Pena and Christian Robinson coming to Stone!

An embarrassment of riches!  We have another phenomenal author visit on the horizon:  Newbery Winner Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, famous for the masterpiece Last Stop on Market Street, are coming to Stone on the morning of Monday, October 15th to speak to 2nd and 3rd grade classes about their new book, Carmela Full of Wishes!  We are having a wonderful time in preparation studying the author's work and themes, exploring, discovering and emulating the illustrator's style, and reflecting about and practicing the idea of "creative collaboration"!  On the day of their visit, we will have another special surprise!  Thanks to a partnership with The Book Stall, a valued independent bookseller in our community, we are a very lucky school...if we had a dandelion to blow on like Carmela, we could not wish for more!  Thanks also to dear Ms. Lugo, our primary Spanish teacher, for help in background knowledge for the book and sharing the beautiful and festive papel picado!  

Next stop, a love of picture books!!!

Here are some of us working on collaborative cityscapes using elements from Christian Robinson's illustration style!  
"Sometimes, when you're surrounded by dirt, you're a better witness for what's beautiful."  
- Nana, Last Stop on Market Street

Well, that visit was PHENOMENAL!  The author and illustrator were so impressed with our preparatory studies, our reflections about wishes and our investigation into the illustrator's style by creating our own 3-D landscapes with a focus on simple shapes Matt de la Peña shared stories from his real family, and a highlight was when Christian Robinson gave us a  live drawing demonstration!  And then, all of our wishes were granted...through our partnership with The Book Stall and Penguin Books, every student who attended received a FREE personalized and autographed copy of Carmela Full of Wishes!  Thank you to all the generous and creative hearts who made this such an inspiring day.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Happy Appleseed!

Happy autumn!  Johnny Appleseed's Birthday on September 26th is a high holiday in the school library!  We love reading about the gentle figure from history and his life lessons:

Use what you have.
Share what you have.
Respect nature.
Try to make peace where there is war.
You can reach your destination by taking small steps. 

Harvest great biographies from our nonfiction section and find great lives to inspire us!  
Plant the seed to read!

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 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!!!

Follow up:

Wowwww, Kevin Henkes gave us a REAL, LIVE DRAWING DEMONSTRATION, read to us and told us many funny stories about when he was a little boy!  We love the real people behind the books we enjoy, and greeted Mr. Henkes with an elephant trunk ballet.  Special thanks to parent Jennifer Yee, Mr. Faille and the Junior Librarian team for making the event such a success! And to Mr. Henkes and our friends at the Book Cellar, we are privileged and grateful for our connection, thank you again times a million. 

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.