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Check It Out! Week of September 21st


This week, we are looking at the 2016 Monarch and Bluestem Awards lists.


Grades K-2 will enjoy the bundle of positivity that is the main character in Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash by Monica Brown.

Marisol is turning eight, and it’s time to plan a birthday party that will be fabulous, marvelous, and divine. She also hopes that Abuelita, who lives far away in Peru, will be able to come to the celebration. At the party store, Marisol can t decide what kind of party to have. Nothing seems right for soccer, pirate, princess, unicorn-loving Marisol. Finally she comes up with just the right idea, and when her friends arrive for her Clash Bash birthday, a big surprise awaits.


In grades 3-5, we will read Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean.

Meet Luciano Anastasini, a man who calls the circus home.  Meet ten dogs that have no home.  When fate brings man and dogs together, a remarkable story of belief and second chances unfolds.

The cuteness of those dogs will be too much to stand!

Happenings in the Secondary Library…


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In grades 6-12, students are being invited to match “the shelfie to the selfie.” Do you know which book shelves belong to each teacher?

Be sure to stop by the library bulletin board across from the nurse’s office to see the photos up close.


Students are also sharing books that they have read lately and why they liked them.  This is a great way for them to share some great books with others!

Check It Out! Week of September 14th


This week, we are looking at the 2016 Monarch and Bluestem Awards lists.

I am so glad to hear how many students were reading over the summer break! In keeping with the students’ excitement for reading, I am writing to let you know about the Illinois Reader’s Choice Awards that grades K-5 will be participating in again this year.  Last year, the students seemed to really enjoy reading books from the lists and then getting to vote for their favorites.  For me, it was wonderful to hear them sharing what they thought about the books with each other.


Grades K-2 will be reading to help choose the 2016 winner of the Monarch Award.  The name Monarch was chosen because of its familiarity to K-2 children and to symbolize the growth, change and freedom that becoming a reader brings. The Monarch is designed to encourage children to read critically and become familiar with children’s books, authors, and illustrators.


Grades 3-5 will be reading to help choose the 2016 winner of the Bluestem Award.  The award is designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles (for grades 4-8). Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award may include both timeless classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists. 

Students may read these books on their own, but we will also be reading some of these titles in library class as time allows.  We have at least one copy of each title in the ES library, and students are welcome to visit their local library and check them out there, as well.  Students need to read 4 (Bluestem) or 5 (Monarch) books to be eligible to vote, but of course can read up to all 20 books on their particular list.  They will then come to library class and tell me what books they have read as they finish them.  We will be keeping track of their progress together.  Then, sometime in February or March, the students will vote for their favorite books.

I am very excited about participating in an event with so many other schools and public libraries across Illinois. Students are taking notes home on their library class days.  

Click here for PDFs of the Monarch and Bluestem book lists.   

Bengals’ Bookworms Selection for October – Counting By 7s



The NEW “Bengals’ Bookworms” Club will meet on Tuesday, October 20th during recess in the secondary library.  We will be reading Counting by 7s  by Holly Goldberg Sloan.  This book is a 2016 Caudill Award (Illinois Reader’s Choice Award) nominee.  Students should have the book read before our meeting date so that we can discuss the entire book. 

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.  Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

Click here for the RSVP form.

Check It Out! Week of September 7th


In kindergarten, we are talking about book care and checking out books.

Grades 1-5 will be answering the question, “Why Do You Read?” Our Book Graffiti wall is back and students will be able to write their responses about why they read on this wall for the next few weeks.


Here are some of this week’s responses:
“I read because it is fun and good for your brain,” “When I am mad, reading is soothing to me,” “I read because it entertains me,” and “Because it helps me learn and learn new words.”