MASSACHUSETTS CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD WINNERS 2017-2018
This year's MCBA winners here at Venerini Academy and then the Massachusetts statewide winners.
Don't forget to read the letter from this year's winning author, the fabulous Cece Bell!!!
Ms. Wodin Say "Hello!"
Dear Venerini Students and Families.
Let me begin with a huge “Thank You,” for the warm welcome you have shown me upon coming to Venerini Academy this year. I feel comfortable already among its easy-to-love children, families and first-rate staff.
As you may know, I have been a Library Media Teacher for a long time in a very large school in the very small town of Hopedale. I taught generations of children there and never dared hoped to find children I could care for as much. Now I find myself in a small school in a large city, with equally lovable children who are just as enthusiastic about learning and reading. Each day brings new excitement for long-held traditions and perhaps beginning some new ones.
I see the library as the window to the world. Since the advent of the Internet, libraries are no longer solely repositories of books, but the entryway to information about every subject and every piece of writing, art, and all cultures. We will explore our world together, become wise consumers of information and innovative creators of media as well.
Special thanks to Mrs. Avis who left an excellent and well-loved library and program. It hasn’t been necessary for me to build the program, only to build upon it, as it has clearly been top notch for a very long time.
Super special thanks to Mrs. Munoz who has helped me learn Venerini “ways” and done everything possible to help the “new kid on the block” feel right at home.
It’s been a busy beginning, trying to learn names and build a curriculum, but I look forward to starting the new school year with you all and moving forward into the world of information, media, technology and literature together.
Mrs. Avis Says Farewell
Dear Students and Families,
As I leave the library I want to extend a sincere thanks to all of you for all the love and support you have given me during my Venerini years. As I reflect on the past years, an army of enthusiastic children and encouraging parents pass before my eyes. I will miss all of you very much. Birthday books, Book Fair purchases, fabulous Book Club refreshments, library chores… no matter what was called for, you pitched right in and contributed whatever was needed. This year, thanks to your financial support, we were able to purchase computers for the library, putting our library resources at students’ and teachers’ fingertips.
In my previous life, I taught primary grades and worked as a middle grades reading teacher before discovering my real passion… library work, particularly in a school setting. So when the opportunity presented itself …unexpectedly (as some of the most wonderful possibilities do) … I accepted the position. I have never looked back, and consider my tenure as your librarian one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me.
As I leave the library thoughts keep nagging me… what have I left undone? So many great books on our shelves are yet undiscovered… what about the books I haven’t yet purchased? Would a particular book have reached that reluctant reader? Would one more year complete my job? …five more years? And finally I realized this is not a job to complete, but rather the job evolves. The library is a living breathing space and it constantly changes as we strive to fulfill the mission bequeathed to us by St. Rosa Venerini.
I pray for Venerini to flourish and for the library to grow along with the school. My hope is for someone with a fresh set of talents to step in and track a fresh path.
Parents, I share two favorite quotes I have always kept in my library planner:
It is not enough to simply teach children to read;
We have to give them something worth reading.
Something that will stretch their imaginations-
Something that will help them make sense of their own lives …
and encourage them to reach out toward people
whose lives are quite different from their own."
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
And to all my Bookworms…
A Poem Written for You
A book can be a passport
To another time or place
Where dinosaurs still roam the earth
Or astronauts cross space.
A book can be a ticket
To a magic kind of realm
With unicorns or dragons
Or a Nemo at the helm.
A book can be a transfer
To another land or spot
Where people are a lot like us,
Or sometimes they are not.
A book can be a permit
To a world you’ve never seen
Where cabbages are big as malls:
Where all the suns are green.
A book can take you anywhere,
And you don’t have to buy it.
Just borrow from the library
And snuggle down - and try it!
Keep on Booking Trips at the Venerini Library!
John McDonough of Pumpernickel Puppets visits Venerini annually for some end of the school year fun. This year he presented The Three Billy Goats Gruff as well as The Lion and the Mouse. He also demonstrated how to operate various types of puppets. Thank you, Friends of Venerini, for providing this show!
MAssachusetts Book Award 2016
The children of Massachusetts have spoken, and the winners are…
For a list of the books nominated for 2016-17
If you read five or more you can vote for the winner next year. Start reading!
Community Reading Day
Dear Community Readers,
Thank you for sharing your books, your thoughts and your talents with us!
Venerini Academy Staff and Students
Drop Everything and Read!
Celebrate “Drop Everything and Read”
with Beverly Cleary
What is D.E.A.R.?
D.E.A.R. stands for “Drop Everything and Read,” a national month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives. Because, what’s more fun(damental) than reading, really?
When is D.E.A.R. celebrated?
D.E.A.R. programs have been held nationwide on April 12th in honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday, since she first wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (pages 40-41). Inspired by letters from readers sharing their enthusiasm for the D.E.A.R. activities implemented in their schools, Mrs. Cleary decided to give the same experience to Ramona and her classmates. As D.E.A.R. has grown in popularity and scope, the program has expanded to span the entire month of April . . . offering classrooms and communities additional time to celebrate!
Can D.E.A.R. be celebrated anytime?
Yes, of course! We encourage you to “Drop Everything and Read” every day throughout the year. The goal of the program is to prompt people to make reading a regular part of their routine . . . whether they’re reading solo or together with their classmates, parents, or friends. So, go ahead and join the millions of families, schools, bookstores, and communities who have participated throughout the years and pledge to “drop” what you’re doing in order to read a good book.
Grade One Author Study
Following the Jan Brett Author Study first graders worked with art teach Mrs. LaFlash to create their own version of Mossy the Turtle, star of Jan Brett’s newest book, Mossy.
Click HERE to watch a video of Jan Brett drawing her Eastern Box Turtle. Maybe you could draw along with her!
Illustrator Visits Classes
Local illustrator Melanie Cataldo visited Venerini Academy and spoke to the students in grades 3,4,5 and 8 about the visual arts, her career as an artist as well as demonstrating various drawing techniques. Melanie teaches art at Wachusett Regional High School and has recently illustrated a picture book, The Stranded Whale, collaborating with renowned Massachusetts author Jane Yolen.The book is the story of a child’s attempt to rescue a beached whale. The book deals with loss and tragedy in an understated way, and Melanie’s soft, muted illustrations convey the deep sense of sadness the situation creates. We wish Melanie well as she embarks on her career as an illustrator of children’s books.
This program was sponsored by Friends of Venerini.
Grade 2 Author Study
Beloved author illustrator Tomie dePaola has always been a Venerini favorite.Second graders have been reading many of his family stories as well as favorite folktales and legends as part of their class Author Study. Many of his picture books celebrate his Irish/ Italian heritage and he has written some fun adventures of Jamie O’Rourke as well as many other folk tales... and we all know the Irish LOVE a good story!. We celebrated our Tomie dePaola Author Study with an Irish festival.
Author Jonathan Hall
Author Jonathan Hall visited Venerini Academy and spoke to all students in Preschool through grade 4. He told the story of Toto the Kitten who was found in a tree following the devastating tornado which struck Brimfield, MA in June 2011. Toto found a new home with Jonathan and has become a symbol of hope and tenacity as Jonathan travels with him throughout Massachusetts.
Jonathan told the students about his experience as a writer, demonstrated some of the book in sign language, tallied some weights and measurements of Toto and discussed weather and storms with the older students. Students who purchased books had them signed by Jonathan … as well as stamped with Toto’s paw stamp. Jonathan donated copies of his books to Venerini Library.
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons for the children was Jonathan himself, who when not working as a Brimfield paramedic, spends his free days traveling with Toto, telling his story and raising money for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, whose rescue services were responsible for Toto’s survival story. Venerini raised over $350 for Jonathan’s cause through book purchases.
Grade 3 : Chocolate Fever
Thank you, parents, who came to help the students
assemble baskets and to ALL third grade parents for your
generous Easter donations.
Grade One Author Study
Grade Three Book Club
Grade 5 Reads Number the Stars
During the past month fifth grade students have been reading and discussing Lois Lowry’s novel Number the Stars. The story is set is set in Copenhagen in 1943, the third year of the Nazi occupation of Denmark. Ten-year-old Annemarie must summon all her courage to help her best friend escape to freedom in nearby Sweden. This Newbery award-winning novel is a timeless story of courage, friendship and family.
Venerini grandparent, Mrs. Jill Hoffman, visited the library to speak to the fifth grade students about Jewish tradition. She also discussed the themes of acceptance, courage, family and kindness, themes so beautifully explored in the novel. She and her granddaughter Sophia (grade 6) treated the students to delicious homemade rugalach. Thank you both for your kindness.
Venerini Academy is in the second year of a school wide writing program,
Empowering Writers. For the second year Venerini Academy has received a Massachusetts Cultural Council STARS Residency Grant to bring the founder of this program, Barbara Mariconda, to present a series of workshops to students and teachers modeling Empowering Writer techniques to be used in the classroom. This year she will work with grades one, two and seven. The goal of the residency is for Ms. Mariconda to enable the students to identify specific writing skills and to practice applying these skills to their own writing. In her opening presentation Mrs. Mariconda described the work and determination that the “writing life” requires. During the following three workshops Ms. Mariconda will provide grade appropriate models of specific writing skills, emphasizing action, description, exclamation, thoughts and feelings as building blocks of powerful scenes. Students will practice these skills in a group project and follow with independent writing guided by Ms. Mariconda. She will also provide the teachers with follow-through assignments following each workshop as well as a creative project in which students will apply their writing skills to a grade level curriculum related project.
Middle School Book Bistro
Middle school students and Mrs. Avis are initiating a Book Bistro. It will be held in the library during lunch period on Wednesdays. This will be an opportunity for us to share what we are reading as well as a chance to check out books. We are presently investigating the Commonwealth e-Book collection.
All middle school students are welcome. Bring your lunch, your suggestions… and your enthusiasm for reading!
Grade 2 Author Study
Commonwealth eBook Collections
Venerini Academy Library is participating in the Commonwealth eBook Collections project. This is a statewide eBook lending program that is opening up access to eBooks for Massachusetts residents. Students are encouraged to investigate the Venerini axis 360 Magic Wall of books
Just download the axis 360 app on your device. You will be prompted to enter your library. Enter Venerini Academy. Then log in using your Library Card ID. See the librarian for instruction on creating your Library Card ID.
For more information on Axis 360, click HERE
Authors Visit PreSchool through Grade Four
Authors Sandy Lahey, grandmother of Ava (grade 3) and Hannah (grade 7) and Kathy Tarentino visited Venerini to speak to students about their book, The Hibernating House. Younger students enjoyed listening to the story and playing games about the four seasons while older students learned about the many steps involved in the creation of the book.
Authors read the story while students carefully proof the text.
Students brainstorm with authors sharing ideas for the NEXT book!
Thank you, Authors, for an informative, inspirational and fun day!
Grade 3: Molly's Pilgrim
Students in grade 3 are sharing the heartwarming story Molly’s Pilgrim, by Barbara Cohen. In the book we are reminded that that Pilgrims are not only the English who came to America in the 1600's - they are also every immigrant who came to the New World seeking religious freedom and the right to live in peace and safety. With a powerful message of acceptance and understanding, this is wonderful book for the Thanksgiving season.
Students are invited to share items depicting their family heritage.
Massachusetts Book Award
Rezarta Reso from the Worcester Public Library came to Venerini Academy to talk to students about the Massachusetts Children's Book Award (MCBA). . Children who read at least five of the nominated titles will be eligible to vote for their favorite in February, 2016. Students are invited to participate in book discussions of nominated titles at the Worcester Public Library. See Mrs. Avis for more information.
The list of nominated books for the 2015-16 school year: Click HERE
Information about each of the nominated books: Click HERE
Thanks to the efforts of our terrific parent volunteers and the generosity of our families the school year opened with a terrific Book Fair. A special thanks goes to Tom Ives, Kristen Vigliotti, Maritza Domelski and Kathy Toscano for all he time and effort that went into planning this event. The fair earned $2244.08 which will be used for books, media and programming, and $200 worth of Scholastic books. An added bonus was the excitement for books and reading that the fair generated among the students. Thank you for your support!
Community Read 2015
Venerini Academy Community Read 2015
During September we have been discussing our Community Reading selections while focusing on the theme To Educate is to Liberate.
Students in Grades One and Two illustrated pictures depicting what they would like to do to beautify the world. Under the direction of Mrs. LaFlash they created their own lovely lupines.
Holden resident Liz Johnson spoke to the students about her mission of bringing much needed school supplies to children in Liberia. Students will collect materials to donate to her cause.
In his memoir Mawi urges all to appreciate their family story. Students are working on their own family history in Art and Social Studies classes.
Grades 1 - 2
Miss Rumphius (Cooney)
As a child Alice Rumphius resolved that when she grew up she would go to faraway places, live by the sea in her old age, and do something to make the world more beautiful--and she does all those things, the last being the most difficult of all.
REFLECT: What are some things YOU can do to improve the world now? What do you dream about doing when you are older?
Grades 3 - 4
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words (Abouraya)
Malala’s story is the inspiring true story of a young Pakistani girl who stands up and speaks out for every child’s right to education. This biography is a testament to the power of education to change the world for boys and girls everywhere.
REFLECT: Sometimes American students take going to school for granted. Based on what you read about Malala, what do you think she would say to these students?
Grades 5 – 8
This acclaimed memoir tells the unforgettable story of a young boy's journey from a refugee camp in Sudan to Chicago. Mawi followed his father's advice to "treat people . . . as though they were angels sent from heaven," and realized his dream of a scholarship to Harvard University.
REFLECT: What does the book title, Of Beetles and Angels mean to you? How can you personally apply Haileab’s lesson about Beetles and Angels to your own life?
One of the last things the villagers told Mawi’s family was “Remember us.” When Mawi gave his commencement address he shared his mother’s advice, “Always remember where you came from.” What does it mean to remember where you come from? Where do YOU come from?
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