PlanetEsme: A Wonderful World of Children's Literature
2646 West Pratt Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60645
(773) 764-2194 *

Regular hours will begin in January, but please check the schedule below for special events!
Discounted inservices, storytime field trips, private consultations and use of the space
for literary events or study may be arranged by appointment for members and enthusiasts.

This private, non-circulating library and literary salon geared toward parents and elementary school teachers is dedicated to the principles found in How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esmé Raji Codell. Among them:
  • Reading is more than a skill; it's a lifestyle.
  • You can be your child's best teacher using children's literature.
  • No child is a lost cause when it comes to books any more than someone is a lost cause when it comes to falling in love; it's all about making the right connections.

    The bookroom is run by author and children's readiologist Esmé Raji Codell. Esmé is the author of award-winning books for adults and children and a national speaker on the subject of literacy and teacher empowerment. She has eighteen years of experience in the field of children's literature, and she is the site director for, an ad-free site which has been in existence since 1999 and received over five million hits this year. The bookroom is the physical manifestation of this marvelous place in cyberspace. It is a work in progress, and regular hours will be set in January, but you can have a sneak peek at this "literary living room" by attending some of the special events below, or reserving the space for your book-loving group.


    To celebrate our grand opening months, membership is not required to attend these marvelous events, but please RSVP using the events hotline, 773-764-2194 (after 10/18) or via e-mail. Can't wait to see you there!

    BOOKTALK: Best Children's Books for Holiday Gift-Giving!
    Friday, November 19, 6:00 - 6:45
    Help Santa Claus, Hanukkah Harry and Kwanzaa Kate provide literacy to all the good little boys and girls this season! Let Esme help you sift through the thousands of books on the shelves to discover the ones that will be enjoyed and treasured through the years, as well as lots of ideas for integrating literacy into the spirit of Christmas Present. This book talk is for adults; spaces are limited so please reserve in advance. Please bring a notebook, because you'll be making a list and checking it twice!

    FAMILY EVENT: Snowflake Festival,
    featuring author Julie Halpern and illustrator Matthew Cordell!
    Sunday, December 12, 2: 00 p.m.

    The magic and beauty of winter is celebrated with two talents that have come on to the Chicago children's literature scene with the force of a winter wind! Please join us for crafts, treats and read-aloud. Admission: a copy of the wonderful new book Toby and the Snowflakes, available at bookstores or at the door.

    11/15 Mary Hicks, Loyola pre-service teacher class
    Wednesday afternoons through the winter: Rogers Park Homeschoolers

    The FATHER/SON MOTHER/SON BOOK CLUB will be starting up in January for grades 3-6, respectively. January's book, the classic King Matt the First by Janusz Korczak, is a cliffhanging read-aloud! You're going to LOVE it!

    Looking into 2005, we will need a spanish bilingual storytime leader (a mom in the community would be great), first-year teacher support group facilitator(s), and people to read aloud to intermediate-aged children who can't yet read fluently (retirees welcome!).

    Limited membership spots are available bi-annually. Membership includes an orientation to get us all on the same page, opportunities to explore one of the most exceptional collections of children's literature in the nation, access to a private on-line discussion board for children's book enthusiasts, and special invitations to family story times, author/illustrator events, book talks, reading groups and programs to promote parents and teacher expertise.

    Special membership rate available for the remainder of the 2004 year, and booklovers who join now will be eligible for a discounted "renewal rate" once membership is determined in 2005. Please come to an event for more details.

    According to Neila Connors, "if you don't feed the teachers, they eat the students," so principals, contact us regarding membership for all of your staff. Discounted inservices, storytime field trips, private consultations and use of the space for literary events or study may be arranged by appointment for members.

    Visit the Don't Miss page of to see some of the books you will find in the bookroom.

    For details or schedule of events, please visit, or knock on the door of the friendly neighborhood bookroom at 2646 West Pratt in Chicago. Happy reading!