Thursday, February 16, 2017


We know Kwame will return to CES some day so that's why we never threw this sign away!



However you say it, Kwame Alexander has done it again. He has written a book that kids got so excited about celebrating that when I threw a party for it this afternoon, not only did they come (~50) and purchase books, they knew their Kwame facts and were happy to sing "Happy Book Birthday" (even the middle schoolers!). AND the only critique I heard was that the books weren't distributed early enough.  Wait, what?! Were you planning to read DURING the party?!  I guess....

The Playbook is motivating.  It might become your go-to book now to give when someone is "moving on" or "moving up." It's filled with quotes and stories from famous people and personal anecdotes and poems by Kwame. You can read it all in one sitting or pick it up every once in awhile and read one quarter at a time.  Wonder has its precepts and now The Crossover and Booked have rules.

For more about my thoughts on The Playbook, check out my blog post here.

Today was not just about The Playbook.

It was about Kwame and the kids of Castleton.  In our halls you chant "Kwame" to just about any student and they repeat back "Alexander."  Kwame. Alexander. Kwame. Alexander.

It's about memories. In 2015 the fourth graders were in second grade when he visited.  Eager and excited to attend today's party because they still remember that chilly spring day, shivering outside fanning the red carpet when Kwame finally pulled up and poked his head out of the window of the SUV.

And it's just about Kwame + CES = 💗.  As the kids move on to Middle School (some already) and High School, they will always know that when they read the acknowledgements inside The Playbook and see, "Castleton Elementary School", they know that means them.

6th graders from the MS

In 2015, 5th grader Liam, produced "The Kwame Project", a documentary on our journey with Kwame to the Newbery

One 5th grader sandwiched in between two 6th graders.

So we had a party.
Cupcakes.  Cheese doodle "basketballs".
Courtside Nachos and cheese.  Basketball cookies.
Punch and the required "Rattner Popcorn."

A double dribble birthday for Sean--The Playbook AND his 11th birthday!

Just when everyone was seated with their food, the phone rang. The Common Area of chatty tweens and teens all of a sudden got quiet and the guy on the other end had our complete attention.  After singing "Happy Book Birthday" the kids got quizzed on Kwame trivia with the guest of honor himself answering with perfect dramatic pauses after each. Finally, we learned that we should "be a star" from The Playbook trailer, bid our goodbyes to Kwame, took a few photos and the late bus was called. A very short but extremely sweet (all puns intended) party!

Just a small group of the kids I could grab before the late bus was called!

Many thanks to everyone who made this possible, including Mrs. Warland, Mrs. Squier, Mrs. Fowler, Nana Sober, Mrs. Kelliher, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Reischer (who is singled out alongside CES in the acknowledgements with the correct spelling of his name!). Thanks to Mr. Chevrier for all that help in cleaning up!

Mrs. Squier, Mrs. Warland and Nana Sober--Thank you!

"You may not be 
A Starter
But always
Be a star
In your mind
Ready to shine
At any time."
-Kwame Alexander

Trust me, you will be whistling this song all day.  

There's always gotta be a leap!

And in case you just want more circa May 2015:

Liam's "Kwame Project"

Mrs. Kelliher's 5th graders in "It's a Basketball Life"

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