Thursday, April 30, 2020

Poems for Your Pocket

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!
(Though any day is a great day for a poem in your pocket.)
Here are a few of my favorites.
Can you read a poem to someone in your family, or tuck a poem in a pocket for a surprise?
I'd love it if you sent me a favorite poem!  I love it when you read to me!  If you read it to me on an MP3 file and email it to me, I'll share it later.  Make sure to include the author's name.
Happy reading!  Happy rhyming!  Happy share-a-poem-time-ing!

Click here to borrow and read Pocket Poems from the National Emergency Library.
Click the blue "log in and borrow" button to see the full book.
Thank you, author Bobbi Katz and illustrator Marylin Hafner!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I Can Haiku, Can You?

Remember how we learned how poetry can say a lot with just a few carefully chosen words? Many of you are learning about haiku, the poetic form from Asia that has 3 lines, with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the third.  
Here's a fun 5-minute video review about haiku!  

As the video suggests,  many haiku are written about nature.  Can you find a picture of nature on the internet, or take one when you go on a stroll, and use it to inspire your own haiku?  If you send me the photo and your haiku, it counts as a poetry challenge for your poetry party assignment!  
(Plus, it's fun and good writing and thinking practice!)

Visit the National Geographic Photo Contest Winners (or maybe some funny nature photography) to get your haiku juices flowing!  Here are some nature photos I took just walking around my neighborhood.  Look, look, look!  Inspiration for poetry is everywhere, in the seasons and in everything that grows!  

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

J.R.R. Tolkien Reads Poetry and Sings Songs

Middle school fantasy fans, rejoice!  Click here to listen to J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit read his own writing, poems and songs from these books in a rare vintage recording!  The ring is not the only treasure. precious!

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog

Let's explore this book of "how-to" poems! 

Can you write one yourself?  I bet you can!  

Friday, April 24, 2020

Special Treat: Greetings from Author/Illustrator Michael Rex

We all have a little angst from more than a month in quarantine, but I think you'll enjoy how our author illustrator friend Michael Rex creatively let his ya-yas out:

Michael Rex told me he used the Stop Motion Studio app to create this animation, which means you can make your own crazy stop-action cartoon! Whaaaat! Besides animating your rebel yell, it is also great for animating short poems for National Poetry Month (hint, hint).

Michael Rex has created many wonderful books, but one of my favorites is his recent hilarious and thought-provoking Facts Vs. Opinions Vs. Robots.  With all the exposure to news and social media during COVID-19, it's an especially valuable addition to our reading.  Thank you, Michael Rex!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Five Fun Kinds of Poems to Write

Writing a poem is one of the challenges of our Stone Library Poetry Party this month!  You may have heard of traditional and popular poetic forms like haiku, diamante, acrostic and concrete poems.  But have you tried these?

1. A How-to Poem!

Can you write a poem that gives directions?  How to meet an animal?  How to cook something delicious?  How to fight a monster?  How to make a friend?  How to travel somewhere?  How to play a sport?  What do you know how to do, and what words can you use to show someone else how to do it?

2. A Reverso Poem!

A reverso poem is a poem that can be read from the last line down or the last line up!  The direction it is read changes the poem's meaning or point of view.  Poet Marilyn Singer introduced this technique and it is very challenging...but very exciting when it works! 

3. A List Poem!  

List poems are some of the oldest kinds of poems out there...they have been around for thousands of years!  Can you make a poem about things your pet requires?  A shopping list?  Things in spring?  Things in a drawer? Things that make you scared, or happy?  Things you see from your window? Things you look forward to doing?  

4. A False Apology Poem!

There is a very famous poem called "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams:

He doesn't sound very sorry, does he?  A false apology poem is a poem that says "sorry" for something the poet is secretly not very sorry about.  
It's a snarky, ironic form of poetry.
You can also write a real apology poem.  It's always good to practice saying "sorry," everyone has to do it sometimes.  What better way than in a poem?  

5. A Book Spine Poem!

Paul Sawyier Public Library

Candlewick Press

This kind of poem is less about writing and more about noticing and arranging.  Pile the spines of your books so that the titles, when read from top to bottom, create a poem.  Examples are above and more if you search google images for book spine poetry!  If you are lucky enough to have books at home, can you arrange them to create a book spine photo?  Snap a picture and send it to me!

Whatever you try, would you please share with me in an e-mail or through the library's Google Classroom? I look forward to sharing the fruits of your labor in the coming week!  
Happy Poetry Month, wonderful children!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Special Treat: Greetings from Author/Illustrator Yuyi Morales!

One of our favorite author/illustrator friends and winner of the Pura Belpré Award has posted a lovely puppet video for us to enjoy. I think it perfectly encapsulates missing you and all of us missing each other! If you are not bilingual in Spanish, you may want to turn on the subtitles in English under "settings."

Do you remember when we read this book together, starring Señor Calaveras?

It's nice to see Señor Calaveras making his own books in the video. You can make books, too, just like he did.  If we can't go to the library, we can make a library!

You can check out more of Yuyi Morales' wonderful, wonderful books here and in the E-libraries.  Miss you, my dear Stone Bookworms!  Glad we can still connect through beautiful books, puppets and illustration.  Don't forget, you can make your own puppet to keep you company.  Directions here.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Remote Learning Poetry Party!

Happy National Poetry Month!

Good news:  you already love poetry!  How do I know?  Because I hear you humming songs all the time.  Lyrics to songs are poems set to music.  Poems are songs that are just words.  I also hear you telling jokes, whispering secrets, making wishes, saying thank you, noticing things.  These are all parts of poems.

You can tell something is a poem because of the careful way it rests on the page.  Not usually words in line after line after line in sentences, like a book.  Just a few words on every line.  Every word counts.  In a good poem, every word matters, and the poet has thought a lot about where that word should go.  By doing this, a poet can say a lot with just a little.  Some poems rhyme.  Some poems do not.

Until the end of the month, we are having an online Poetry Party!

FIRST, look at these websites/databases:
Poetry Foundation for Kids (scroll down, kids, for the yummy stuff)
Poems Kids Like

Read these poetry collections by Paul B. Janeczko
at the National Emergency Library:
A Kick in the Head
A Poke In The I
The Death of the Hat

And visit and comment on at least two of the posts at by April 30, where we will be exploring different and exciting poetic forms.

Question:  Where do I find poems?  At these websites above.

THEN, Here are your choices for activities.  You have six to choose from:

Wait, wait.  Question:  Do I have to do all of them?  NO! Do at least one!  If it's fun, then do two!  If you love it, do as many more as you like!  The more, the merrier.  Remember, participation only helps your grade and helps you learn.
Another question:  Where do I send the assignments for credit?  Send them to me in an e-mail or submit through the library Google Classroom.


1.  Read at least five books of poetry!  Log your time in Beanbright.  Even if you have earned the top badge, you can still log your reading there, it will only help.  If you don't have books of poetry in your house, you can find E-books through the links here.  You can read more if you like, but at least five.

2.  Celebrate "Poem in Your Pocket" Day!  Give a poem to everyone in your house, surprise them by tucking it into their pocket or maybe under their pillow.  It's sort of like a Valentine, you have to choose one very carefully for the person you love.  Which poem did you choose?  Did they like it?

3.  Do a poetry reading or recitation!  Pick your favorite poem (or two, or three if you can't decide), and read it out loud with lots of expression.  Be sure to include the author and title of the poem.   Can you memorize it?  Then your reading becomes a "recitation," and you'll be able to have that poem with you always! Send me an MP3 file of your audio reading or recitation!  You may be featured on an upcoming school library podcast episode!

4.  Dance a Poem!  Pick any poem you like that is at least 10 lines long and read it with movement!  The rule is:  every line should have some movement attached. You can do it by yourself or with your family.  The rule is, just to have some movement or rhythm that compliments the poem. You don't have to act it out and the rhythm of the poem and your body should be the only music.    Below is an example of some students dancing a poem, Hurry by Marie Howe, from some years back.  You can use any poem you want.  Send me the MP4 or Quicktime video.

5. Create a Poetry Anthology!  Million dollar word: "Anthology" is a fancy word for "collection!"  Did you know that you can collect poems the way some people collect seashells or bottlecaps or Pokémon cards?  Well, you can!  Some poetry collectors, or anthologists, like to just collect all their favorites, and other people collect a theme (friendship poems, sad poems, poems about nature, funny poems...whatever theme you like!).

Pick at least 8 of your favorite poems, with or without a theme, and write or print them out, and then be an illustrator and draw pictures that go with each of the poems in the book so you create your own little book of poems you enjoy.  You can use any kind of art supplies you like.
You can scan the finished book and send it to me, or you can just tell me about it:  your table of contents, what you used to make the pictures.  Now you are an anthologist!

Question:  Can I work with a friend to make an anthology?  Yes, you can work with a friend remotely or a child family member to find poems and make pictures for your collection.

Since I love you so much, I made a little collection (or anthology) of some of my favorite poems to share with you.  I didn't illustrate them (yet).  Read them on my Google Classroom.  Do you like them, too?  I don't mind if you use one or two of mine in your collection, but try to find your own treasures.  There are so many good poems out there to discover.

6.  Write Your Own Poem!  This one really is a challenge, but I know some of your are up to it!  Think of a feeling or observation (something you see), and try to put it into words using the least amount of words.  In a poem, every word matters and counts.  In a poem, it matters where you put every word.  It doesn't have to rhyme; try not to put a word in just because it rhymes, it should still make sense.  A good poem should clearly express a feeling or a moment in time.  It's not so easy!  That's why people who can do this are special people.  That's why they are poets.  I can't wait to see you try your hand at it...and to see how you celebrate at our poetry party!

illustration by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends, HarperCollins, 1974
Poem In Your Pocket illustration, illustrator unnamed, from The Mountaineer, April 10 2018.

Friday, April 17, 2020

We Are Still Going to Have Fun!

Oh, my goodness!  That was some big news today 
that comes with some big feelings!
But don't worry.  We are still going to have library magic!
This is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful time to use our imaginations, 
share stories with family,
explore online resources
and meet new friends in books.  

Just hold on to them until we return, whenever that may be.
Thank you for taking care of them as best as you can.

, ignore them.  

click here.  

CONGRATULATIONS to all the cuties who signed in and read up a storm 
Just this week, there were 6,009 minutes read and 241 badges earned!
Everyone goes at their own pace.  

More lovely surprises and more fun links are to come 
right here on the Stone Bookworms website.  
Keep coming back, read every day 
and visit the Stone School Library Google Classroom
Don't worry, just participate as you are able and do your best.
Next week: get ready for poetry!

Feel free to email me any time.  I care about your feelings and questions. 
I am happy to help you with all things, in and out of books.

Much love from Ms. Esme

Artwork, Yena Foesenek a.k.a. Anneliesdraws.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Welcome to Remote Library Learning!

from Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner, Dial Books, 2017.

Welcome to your Remote Learning Experience in Library!
Welcome, welcome, welcome!  
This should be exciting!  We'll learn together!

Thing 1:  Don't stress!
Thing 2:  Have fun!
Thing 3:  Don't stress while you're having fun!

Kids keep asking:  "does this count?"  
Here's the magical answer:  everything counts and nothing counts against you!
Learning always counts.  Being engaged always counts.  Participation always counts.
Reading always, always counts.
Grades during a pandemic?  Maybe not so much.
Everything you do will help you do better in school, stay connected, feel positive
and yes, you will get extra credit.

Here are the expectations for your library class in April:  
1.  Read.  Read every day!  Log your reading into the Beanbright site. All students are expected to read or be read to every day and log their reading. Directions are here. Please note, the Beanbright site is a tracking tool, not an online library. You can log any books you have read at home from your own collection or digital books online.
2.  Learn how to access ebooks through online libraries.  
3.  Explore links and activities on the Stone Bookworms blog and participate by leaving comments and answering Stone Bookworm Challenge Questions.   
Details for all three are in my Google Classroom in the Remote Learning Plan

More fun and amazing links, including ebooks and daily online story times, may be found at the school library COVID-19 Homeschooling Resources page. Click around for online treasure!

A general online reminder: first name and last initial is always a good choice for cyber safety, and kids, please, never give more than that on any live chats or interactions online.  

Parents, if you haven't already and if you need moral support, please see the school library's Coronavirus Update.  If at any point you or your child find yourself with a question, crying or using strong language, please email Ms. Esme immediately and do something else for a while. Remember:  don't stress, have fun, and don't stress while we're having fun.  Nothing counts against you.  Reading is the best thing you can do.  

More super exciting treats to come, but I'm not going to post further for a couple days because I know it's a lot.  Meanwhile, thank you for starting your Beanbright adventure and checking out the E-Learning opportunities on my Google Classroom.

I miss you.  Grabby Bunny says hi. 

Stone Bookworms Challenge Question:  How is remote E-learning going for you, kids?  Is it easy, hard, fun, not fun? I'd love to know how you're doing. Please check in using the comments feature.  

En Español:

¡Bienvenido a su experiencia de aprendizaje electrónico en la biblioteca!

Bienvenido, bienvenido, bienvenido!

Cosa 1: ¡No te estreses!

¡Esto debería ser emocionante! ¡Aprenderemos juntos!

Cosa 2: ¡Diviértete!

Cosa 3: ¡No te estreses mientras te diviertes!

Los niños siguen preguntando: "¿esto cuenta?"
Aquí está la respuesta mágica: ¡todo cuenta y nada cuenta en tu contra!
Leer siempre, siempre cuenta.
El aprendizaje siempre cuenta. Estar comprometido siempre cuenta. La participación siempre cuenta.
¿Grados durante una pandemia? Quizás no tanto.

Estas son las expectativas para su clase de biblioteca en Abril:
1. Leer. ¡Lee todos los días! Registre su lectura en el sitio Beanbright. Se espera que todos los estudiantes lean o sean leídos todos los días y registren su lectura. Las instrucciones están aquí.
Todo lo que hagas te ayudará a mejorar en la escuela, mantenerte conectado, sentirte positivo y sí, obtendrás crédito extra.
2. Aprenda cómo acceder a los libros electrónicos.
Se pueden encontrar más enlaces divertidos y sorprendentes, incluidos libros electrónicos y cuentos diarios en línea, en la página de recursos de educación en el hogar COVID-19 de la biblioteca escolar. ¡Haga clic para obtener un tesoro en línea!
3. Explore enlaces y actividades en el blog Stone Bookworms y participe dejando comentarios y respondiendo las preguntas del desafío Stone Bookworm.
Los detalles de los tres se encuentran en mi Google Classroom en el Plan de aprendizaje remoto.
Padres, si aún no lo han hecho y si necesitan apoyo moral, por favor vean la Actualización de Coronavirus de la biblioteca escolar. Si en algún momento usted o su hijo se encuentran con una pregunta, llorando o usando un lenguaje fuerte, envíe un correo electrónico a la Sra. Esme de inmediato y haga algo más por un tiempo. Recuerda: no te estreses, diviértete y no te estreses mientras nos divertimos. Nada cuenta en tu contra. Leer es lo mejor que puedes hacer.
Un recordatorio general en línea: el nombre y la inicial del apellido siempre son una buena opción para la seguridad cibernética, y los niños, por favor, nunca den más que eso en los chats o interacciones en vivo en línea.

Más premios súper emocionantes por venir, pero no voy a publicar más por un par de días porque sé que es mucho. Mientras tanto, gracias por comenzar su aventura Beanbright y ver las oportunidades de E-Learning en mi Google Classroom.

Te extraño. Grabby Bunny dice hola.

Pregunta del desafío Stone Bookworms: ¿Cómo les está yendo a distancia, E-learning, niños? ¿Es fácil, difícil, divertido, no divertido? Me encantaría saber cómo te va. Por favor regístrese usando la función de comentarios.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Happy Spring Break!

Happy spring break from Ms. Esme and Grabby Bunny!

I will be taking the week off to learn some technology...lots and lots and lots of technology!  You'll be able to check out the E-learning page for Library by April 15th on our Remote Learning Page.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to get a head start on next week, you can sign up for the super fun digital badge-earning Beanbright machine especially for Stone Bookworms!  You're going to love this!
Instructions below!

Stay safe and happy, dear hearts!

Robin egg illustration by Claire West

Friday, April 3, 2020

Facebook Live Stream Puppet Shows and Story Times!

It has come to my attention that automated overdue notices may be going out through Chicago Public Schools. You can ignore them. There is no need to come out and return the books.  Your children may keep any borrowed books through the crisis. There will be no penalty for returning books whenever school officially reopens.  The most important thing is to stay home and safe as possible.
If your child needs more to read (and who doesn't?) please visit the wealth of e-book resources and more here.

Now on to our regularly scheduled fun...

Have Facebook account, will travel around the country for sublime live stream story times!

I can't even tell you how excited I am to have discovered my own mentor, Andy Laties, along with the talented performer Rebecca Migdal giving regular puppet shows and story times with through the Book and Puppet independent bookstore in Pennsylvania on live stream!  Grabby and I are binging, and you will too!  Just try the hilarious "Three Little Pigs" for a sample by clicking here, and then check the the full schedule for regular performances of participatory virtual puppet shows and primary story times here, including puppet shows for grown-ups, because goodness knows they deserve some laughs, too.  There is a subscription option for this but also plenty of free events.

My other favorite free virtual story times happen at the Boston Public Library.  I personally love Ms. Laura with her colorful kaftans and fetching matching hair, and there are lots of librarians with musical talents as well.  The magic happens here.

You can watch a different CPS librarian host a story time every day by clicking here.

And if you like celebrity story times, there's always "Goodnight with Dolly" here!

Can you be a storyteller?  Can you read a book or make a puppet show for someone in your family? For a younger brother, sister or cousin? For your pet?  For an audience of toys? Of course you can.  Your turn!

Here's a link if you need to make a puppet friend to help you with your story time.  Grabby can't wait to meet your friend, and neither can I.

General Coronavirus info from your school library here!
Link to COVID-19 homeschool resources here!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Story Quilts with Faith Ringold!

Faith Ringold is a very special treasure of an author/illustrator who illustrates her books in a unique way by creating painted story quilts!  Listen to the wonderful story here and then see how she made the pictures here.

Isn't it wonderful to get to know the real people behind the books we love!

Stone Bookworms Challenge Question:
In library story times, we have looked at many different and surprising examples of book-making.  
Can you think of an unusual way to illustrate a book?

General Coronavirus info from your school library here!
Link to COVID-19 homeschool resources here!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

90-Second Newbery!

Young filmmakers had about 90 seconds to synopsize Newbery award-winning books.  Pop some corn and click here to watch these hilarious and ingenious short films based on the best of children's literature!  This is too great, especially since we were just studying award winners when school let out, and 5th grade and up were all encouraged to take Newbery winners on that last Monday check-out!  (Even if you didn't, hey, that's okay, there are many to be found in the CPS Virtual Library.).

You might even be inspired to make and share your own 90-Second Newbery!  They are accepting entries for next year's contest...even if you can't meet with friends in person, don't be discouraged, you can work on creating an amazing script.

Stone Bookworms Challenge Question: After watching several examples, which 90-Second Newbery short is your favorite and why?  Post in the comments!

General Coronavirus info from your school library here!
Link to COVID-19 homeschool resources here!

Dav Pilkey at Your Home!

Dav. Pilkey.  Will be hosting.  A free.  Online.  Video.  Series.
Details here.  (Scroll down on that page for links.). Also here.
Every Friday at 7 a.m.
Yes.  You are invited.
Yes.  They will tape it if you wake up late.
Yes.  He will teach you how to draw.  
No.  This is not an April Fool's joke.  This is real.
I know some of you are screaming.  Shhh.  The neighbors.
Others are fainting.
Wake up and enjoy.

General Coronavirus info from your school library here!
Link to COVID-19 homeschool resources here!