The Buzz: St. Benedict Preparatory School Online Weekly Newsletter

Elementary School Library News



SBPS Library Links

Check out our blog, The Bengal Book Blog, where you will find information about what is going on in the elementary and secondary library pages.  We will also post pictures, videos, and more about books that we are reading and want to share.  

Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.  You can also check out the SBPS ES Library page at for our online catalog, book club info, and more.

What's been happening in the Library?

Grab Your Passports for Dewey's Amazing Race!!

The library classes have started a series of challenges based on the Dewey Decimal System! Each class was broken into teams that have been working together to complete their challenges before the end of the year! 

The first challenge was based on the first Dewey category (000-099) General Works which includes World Record books. The team members had to take turns building the tallest domino tower they could in 30 seconds. We definitely had some kids with super steady hands!

The next Dewey category is (100-199) which covers Philosophy and Psychology, but also Supernatural things. Our challenge was Ghost Bowling!! The students each had to knock down 6 stacked ghosts with their ball to complete their challenge. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the race!!

Pinkalicious Day


Pinkalicious author, Victoria Kann visited with our first grade classes to read from her new book Peterriffic! She even let our kids help her write a new story called Schoolalicious! Thanks to the Book Stall for helping us arrange the visit!

Harry Potter Awesomeness!!

Some of the third graders surprised me with a set of Harry Potter characters based on the puppets from the Origami Yoda series of books! I absolutely love them and plan to find the perfect place to display them! 

They even made one of me! Who knew I was so cute!! :)



4th and 5th Booked for Recess Club

Our 4th and 5th Book Club met to discuss te 3rd and last book in the Apprentices series, The After Room. We all felt it ended in a perfect way for the characters, but thought the author left the door open for another book if she chose! We would all enjoy another book and have definite ideas about what we think should happen next!

4th and 5th Booked for Recess Club

The Apprentices by Malie Meloy

The Apprentices by Malie Meloy

Our 4th and 5th grade book club met to discuss The Apprentices by Malie Meloy. This was the second book in the Apothecary series and we have loved both so far. We have been enjoying the books so much that we decided to send a tweet to the author telling her thank you for writing such a geat serie, and she tweeted us back!! We are now on to the third and final book in the series. It's pretty special to have read an entire series together, and this group of kids knows it!

So Cool!!!

So Cool!!!

2nd and 3rd grade Booked For Recess Club

Our 2nd and 3rd grade Booked for Recess Club met to discuss the book Floors by Patrick Carman. We all decided that the Whippet Hotel would be a pretty awesome place to live, like the main character, Leo, and we are curious to read the next book in the series to see what happens next!

The St. Benedict 2017 Tournament of Books Champion!!


Our library pigeon was super-happy to hear the news!!

The Final Two

Pigeon vs. Harry Potter

Now things are getting serious!!

The Final Four

Magic Tree House vs. The Pigeon

Harry Potter vs. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Who will win???

The Elite Eight!

Introducing the elite eight

Introducing the elite eight

Introducing our Elite Eight Book Titles! The match-ups are getting super competitive! 

The Magic Tree House vs. The Baby-Sitters Club

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus vs. I Survived

Amulet vs. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Harry Potter vs. A Series of Unfortunate Events

Keep following for our announcement of the Final Four when we return from spring break!

Hope everyone has a safe, relaxing break!!


St. Benedict March Madness: Tournament of Books!

March Madness in the Elementary Library!

March Madness in the Elementary Library!

We have been been feeling the March Madness in the library this month! The classes have been voting for their favorites among the Sweet 16 match-ups! There has been a lot of spirited discussion about their choices and many stops in the doorway to see if their picks made it through to the next round! These students really know their books and have plenty of opinions to share! Tune in to see who makes it into the Elite Eight this year!

We have been so busy in the library this month! 


Our Booked for Recess Club met to discuss Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. The overall opinions of the book were mixed. Some students enjoyed it, others thought it was an ok read, but nothing outstanding. The discussions are always amazing though! Our next book will be the sequel to The Apothocary, called The Apprentices by Maile Meloy. Notes will be sent home soon. 

The fifth grade freedom quilt

The fifth grade freedom quilt

The Fifth graders read the book The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud. It tells the story of a young slave girl who uses secret codes woven into quilts to help her and her father escape to Canada on the Underground Railroad. After reading such an inspiring story, we were inspired to make our own library Freedom Quilt.

a bunch of librarians for Teacher for a day during Catholic schools week

a bunch of librarians for Teacher for a day during Catholic schools week

During Catholic Schools Week I was seeing double when I had a group of mini-mes visit the library. They were perfect, right down to the glasses and armful of books. :)




A December whirlwind in the library!

20161201_131842 (1).jpg

Our December pick for the 4th and 5th grade book club was The Apothecary by Maile Meloy! Everyone, myself included, LOVED this book, which takes place in London during the 1950's. We plan to make the sequel a future book club selection because we can't wait to find out what happens to these amazing characters!


Last week, our school was honored to have Tom Watson, the author of the Stick Dog series, visit our school! Mr. Watson entertained us with some very funny stories about how he comes up with the ideas for his books, and even let us brainstorm suggestions for his next book. As a bonus, Mr. Watson taught us all how to draw his most famous characters! Thank you to the Book Stall in Winnetka for sponsoring this visit!

This trimester we have added a "Question of the Week" corner to the library. Each week a question is posted, along with a bin of books that may contain the answer. The students research the answer, write it on a slip of paper, along with the book title and page number where they found it, and place it in the box. At the end of the week, a slip is drawn and if that person has the correct answer, they win a prize. The first winner was Oliver in 2nd grade, who chose a poster from the book fair as his prize. He correctly answered the question "How many bees live in a hive?" with 60,000! Great job everyone!

Ready to Give Thanks!

We have been very busy in the library lately. We have been learning about how to use parts of non-fiction books to help us locate information quickly. The fifth graders had a little competition to see how many trivia questions about our past presidents they could answer as a group using only the books in front of them. The winners were Ms. Harris' class! Congrats!

We also learned about the history of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and read about the man who created the awesome balloons we look forward to seeing each year. The book is called Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet and tells the story of Tony Sarg, a puppeteer who started the tradition of having balloons in the parade back in 1927. We learned that during the first few years, once the parade was over, they would just let the balloons go and float around for days. Once they landed, if you found one, you could claim a prize! The students thought they should do the same thing today!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! 


'Twas the Week Before Halloween...


When we came into the library this week, we found out that a bunch of bats had invaded our library tree! That must mean Halloween is almost here!

The lucky Thursday library classes participated in Jumpstart's Read for the Record Day on Thursday, October 27th. We joined libraries and classrooms around the world in reading the book The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach. We are hoping the break the world record for the most people reading the same book in 24 hours. Fingers crossed!

Ms. Peters' class reading with our friend bear!

Ms. Peters' class reading with our friend bear!

We also met for the first 4th and 5th grade Booked for Recess book club! This month's selection was The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. We had an interesting discussion about which character we felt we were the most like and speculated for a long time about what we hope might happen in future books. Next month's selection is The Apothecary by Maile Meloy. I will be sending home the registration forms next week, and they will be posted on the library site as well. 

October Booked for Recess club!

October Booked for Recess club!


What a busy week we have had in the Library!

This week all of our library classes started recording the Bluestem or Monarch Award books that they have read so far. The students are so excited to read all the books on their list and prepare to vote for their favorite in March. The books are chosen by librarians all around the state of Illinois and lists are distributed to schools to be read and voted on. Links to the 2017 titles can be found here:

Grades K-2 will be reading to help choose the winner of the 2017 Monarch Award. The name Monarch was chosen because of the butterfly and its familiarity to K-2 children. It symbolized the growth, change and freedom that becoming a reader brings. The Monarch Award 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 winner of the 2017 Bluestem Award. The award is designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than are found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles (grades 6-8). Named in honor of the Big Bluestem, the state prairie grass, the award includes both timeless classics and current titles.

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 also welcome to visit their local library and check them out there. 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 late February or early March, the students will vote for their favorite books and we will send in our final choices.

We are very excited about participating in an event with so many other schools and public libraries across Illinois. 

The third, fourth and fifth grade classes also learned about how to use a Thesaurus and found out who Peter Roget was and how he came up with the idea for a book to help you choose just the right word by reading The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. 


Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed!

This week, our library classes celebrated the birthday of Johnny Appleseed on September 26th. We read the book Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John "Appleseed" Chapman by Esme Raji Codell. We learned that John Chapman was a real person who lived more than 200 years ago. He had 11 brothers and sisters and we learned why he is depicted as wearing a pot on his head. (Easy to carry and kept the rain off!)

We then took a poll of our favorite apple treats. The winner by a landslide was the caramel apple, with apple pie a close second!

This week also happened to be National Cat Week, so we pulled a bunch of books about cats for the students to browse. 

The St. Benedict "Booked for Recess" club will be starting in October!

Attention all 4th and 5th Grade Students

The St. Benedict "Booked for Recess" Club will meet on Thursday, October 27th during recess. This month we will be reading the National Book Award winner The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. Flyers were sent home on Friday. If you have any questions or need more information, please email me at 

International Dot Day and Roald Dahl's 100th Birthday

This week in the library we celebrated both International Dot Day and the 100th birthday of author Roald Dahl! We read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and then each student added a dot to our big dot to create a giant dot made out ot dots! Whew! That's a lot of dots! :)

We also read a story written by Roald Dahl's daughter Ophelia that told a bit about what it was like to grow up with a famous author as a father. The favorite part for all the students was the tale of how her father taught her to drive a car when she was 10 years old and used to let her drive alone around the village where they lived! We were all pretty amazed that no one seemed to think twice about it!



Making Class Books

This week, our third grade classes made class books about manners with your library book. They worked very hard to illustrate the right and wrong ways to treat the books you check out from the library. Next week we will share these books with the Kindergarten classes during their library time. Thank you third graders! Great job!!

Happy 100th Birthday Roald Dahl!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 marks the 100th birthday of the wonderfully funny and creative British author Roald Dahl. Famous for many clever and magical works, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG and Matilda, Mr. Dahl is considered one of the most popular children's authors in the world. Let's all celebrate with some chocolate and silliness while reading some of his most-loved quotes!


New Beginnings

Hello everyone! My name is Lisa Wiederkehr and I am the new librarian at St. Benedict Preparatory School. I would like to say thank you to all of you for such a warm welcome! Everyone who stopped me to say hello, introduce themselves, or ask how things were going helped to make me feel very much at home. I am having a blast getting to know all of these wonderful kids and enjoying learning who they are and, of course, what kinds of things they love to read! My interests, as your children know already, includes cheering on the Chicago Blackhawks, enjoying anything Harry Potter related, going to concerts and reading as much as I can! 

St. Benedict is an amazing place and I feel very blessed to have become a part of such a wonderful community. I can’t wait to share all of the exciting things we will be doing in the library this year!

Highlights from Mrs. Susina In the Library... it's time to say good-bye!

This week, we have been saying good-bye, signing yearbooks, and giving out LOTS of hugs. *

You have all been so kind when speaking to me in the hallways about my leaving St. Ben's.  I appreciate your support and I will somehow let you know where I end up (the kids really want to know!).

I hope to see you again, as I am sure that I will attend St.Ben's events and visit to see how everyone is doing.  I'm sure I won't be able to stay away!  Thanks again so very much :)

* I have also been taking pictures with each class (except for kindergarten due to scheduling), so if you are interested in my sending you a copy, please email at  I can also send a copy of the book club picture below.

Book Clubs...Unite!

My heart was very full on Tuesday when close to 100 students who have attended book club at some point over the last 5 years stopped into the library for a photo. I asked Mrs. Feely to announce that any student who had been in book club should stop by. In my mind, I thought only students from this year would come, but then they came streaming into the library in larger groups than I expected. We were missing a few friends, but it was a wonderful visual of our time together in book club <3 I will definitely need to print and frame this one!

Illinois Reader's Choice Awards' Lists

Last week week, students in grades K-4 will get a sneak peek at the 2017 Monarch and Bluestem lists. Every year, we have had more students eligible to vote as they have read at least 4 or 5 books off their respective lists.  Students in grade 5 previewed the books off of the 2017 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award list.  Grades 6-8 read books off this list and copies of these books will be available in the secondary library next year. We wanted to make sure that the 5th graders knew that SBPS encourages them to continue their participation in the book awards when they visit that library in August. Grades 9-12 read books off of the Abraham Lincoln Award list.

2017 Monarch List (K-2)

2017 Bluestem List (3-5)

2017 Caudill List (6-8)

Look at All of the Books Our Book Clubs Read This Year!

Our book club friends read some fantastic books this school year! Be sure to add some of these to your summer reading lists:

Booked for Recess Club (Grades 1 and 2)

Booked on Books Club (Grades 3-5)

The Bengals Bookworms Club (Grade 6)

Follow Us On Twitter!