Kids’ corner

November 2004


Our Kids’ corner submissions this month come from fourth graders at Lincoln School in River Forest as part of Heartworks—a volunteer service project founded four years ago by Betsy Hickey and her mom, Barb.

Last year for Veterans Day, the Heartworks students organized a school-wide effort to draw pictures and write thank you letters to veterans.

The Heartworks kids then collected the work and on their day off from school, delivered and read the letters to the men and women in the vision-impaired program at Hines Veterans Administration Hospital, Maywood

“It was an emotional visit for everyone,” says Jean Bacom Detmer, who organized the event with Sally Connolly, Lynn Zurowski and Andrea Lamacki. The children and the veterans sang the national anthem. The veterans even told stories of their war experiences.

To prepare, one week before they went, the whole school heard from a World War II veteran, Detmer says.

“He told the kids very directly that the reason he and others went to war and wanted to fight was to make our country a place where our children and our grandchildren could grow up free.

“And he said, ‘Don’t take it for granted. The things you have today are in large part because of the sacrifice others made.’ ”

Detmer encourages others to duplicate this event at their school. “The effort of the kids was minimal,” she says.

“But it was heartfelt and it meant so much to the men and women and to the kids. It was wonderful and such a lovely thing.”

The author/illustrators shown here are from Pat Ruzic’s second grade class. 


When I search for a book that I can’t stop reading, I look for a mystery. Chasing Vermeer is a perfect mystery for everyone and will keep your attention glued to the page.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett revolves around a puzzling and terrifying letter. The letter reads:

Dear Friend,

I would like your help in identifying a crime that has wronged one of the world’s greatest painters. As those in positions of authority are not brave enough to correct this error, I have taken it upon myself to reveal the truth. I have chosen you because of your discriminating eye, your intelligence, and your ability to think outside of convention….

Although you may never meet, the three of you will work together in ways none of us can predict.

If you show this to the authorities, you will most certainly be placing your life in danger…

Most terrifying of all, the letter is not signed and there is no return address. The main characters, Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay, two sixth-graders at the Chicago University Laboratory Schools, will try to solve this mysterious letter with terrific clues presented by Balliett.

During their adventure they discover friendship, courage and many other things that provide a story you can’t put down. I read this great mystery in three days!

Jarret Fisher, 10, Skokie


Kids Eat Chicago

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