Seven very creative Valley Stream elementary school students were honored for their bookmark designs on June 18 at the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library. To kick-off the summer reading program, the library received 556 entries for its bookmark contest. The library sent the word out to all Valley Stream elementary schools, where students had from the beginning of May to June 4 to create and submit their design.
“I was super impressed with all the designs,” said children’s librarian Jaclyn Kunz.
Kunz says each year a different theme is picked by the nationwide summer reading program. This year the theme “Dream Big, READ!” was chosen to inspire students. Kunz, along with three other library staff members took two weeks to sift through the bookmark entries and pick the seven winners, one for each grade.
This is also the fifth year the library has incorporated the bookmark design contest with the Waldinger Cup. The Waldinger Cup is a trophy awarded to the school that racks up the most points from various book reading activities. All students who submitted a bookmark received points for their school, and if they participate in the summer reading program by reading the books for their grade level, they also receive points. Last year, Clear Stream Avenue School won the cup breaking the four-year winning streak of Wheeler Avenue School.
Amelia Hirschfield, the fourth-grade winner from the James A. Dever School, said the theme inspired her bookmark design. “I think of little kids letting their imagination run free,” she said.
Abdullah Ali, the sixth-grade winner from Forest Road School, designed his bookmark because he enjoys reading biographies. “I like biographies because you get to know people that aren’t here anymore,” he said.
Mayor Ed Fare was present to congratulate the winners. “Any good-natured contest gets kids excited,” Fare said, adding that he remembers participating in the summer reading program when he was a Clear Stream student. “It was around the time ‘James and the Giant Peach’ came out,” he said.
Schools are not required to participate in the summer reading program but Kunz says that many teachers are great at incorporating the program into their classrooms.