November is Picture Book Month! This international literacy initiative, founded by author and storyteller Dianne de Las Casas, celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. Check out the Picture Book Month website, which features daily posts from “picture book champions” and has lots of great classroom and storytime resources!
To celebrate, here are some of our favorite picture book posts from here, there, and everywhere:
- Kathy and her 9-year-old son will be tweeting their daily picture book reading all month long. Learn how they make picture books a part of their morning routine and follow their Picture Book Month journey at her website.
- Storytime Stuff readers respond: What makes a good storytime book?
- Why Picture Books Matter by Sandra Tyler
- Jim Trelease on Reading Wordless Picture Books
- Why Older Readers Should Read Picture Books by Trevor Cairney
And some of our favorite picture book recommendations:
Including Families of Children with Special Needs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. Revised by Carrie Scott Banks from the original by Sandra Feinberg, Barbara Jordan, Kathleen Deerr, and Michelle Langa. Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman, 2014.
The original 1999 edition of this book was a powerful resource for creating inclusive public library services; with the explosion of technologies and the intense changes in our society’s discussion of disability since that time, purchasing the updated edition is a no-brainer for any public librarian. For those new to the idea of creating truly inclusive spaces, or those already doing it who want more resources, this is a comprehensive handbook that addresses the basics and beyond.
The authors begin by explaining what inclusion is; as they say, “children with disabilities are often segregated from their typically developing peers because of their ‘special needs’.” They make a powerful case that this segregation has a negative effect on not only on these children, but also on society as a whole. Aside from the fact that serving all users is essential to the library’s mission, providing inclusive services expands the library’s user base and creates opportunities for staff development. The book outlines the various laws requiring inclusion and how they impact libraries, and explains how libraries can support people with disabilities and their families as an informal community support, through resources, referrals, collections, and programs. But where it really shines is in its discussion of Universal Design for Learning – the idea that providing multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression allows more users to engage with material in a comfortable way, and that this should be the norm, not the exception.
The first five chapters focus on background information, but the remainder of the book focus on the nitty-gritty: evaluating current services, analyzing staff training needs, developing key areas of the collection, involving the community, using adaptive technology, and taking advantage of electronic resources. Suggestions are offered for adapting programs and services for children with specific needs, and each chapter features copious recommended resource lists for further exploration. Those wanting to develop more specialized services will find guidance here for developing a toy lending program or creating a Family Resource Center within the library. Appendices include a glossary, comprehensive index, and an extensive bibliography of additional resources. A highly recommended resource for any public librarian who wants to make every patron welcome.
Last week, Kathy’s “Stories By Hand” blog featured an interview with Dawn Babb Prochovnic, author of the “Story Time with Signs and Rhymes” series. Click here for the interview.
We were so excited to learn that Dawn has a great series of “Start to Finish Story Time” posts on her blog. Each of these lesson plans centers around one of her books, and includes suggested songs, rhymes, signing games, and reading activities to use with kids, all in a modular format that allows educators and librarians to select the materials that work best for their groups.
As Dawn says, “Each lesson plan incorporates ideas that are suitable for infant/toddler, preschool and/or school age audiences, and each program incorporates activities that promote literacy/early literacy and one or more of the six keys skills recommended by the National Research Council for preparing children to become readers when they enter school. Programs can last from 20 – 45 minutes, depending on what you include and who your audience is.”
There are 4 available so far, with the promise of more to come:
A to Z, Sign with Me
You may also want to bookmark this Summary Post, where Dawn will link to future installments.
If we may quote a little Labyrinth-era David Bowie:
“Down in the underground (oh oh oh oh oh)
You’ll find someone true (down underground)
Down in the underground (oh oh oh oh oh)
A land serene (oh oh oh oh)
A crystal moon, ah, ah…”
OK, so maybe it wasn’t quite that transcendent an experience when we discovered the Storytime Underground website, but it sure made us run to the keyboard and type up this post to tell our readers about it! The group’s passion comes across in its “Meet the Corps” page, which is less “about us” and more manifesto:
“This work is often underappreciated or disparaged by our fellow library professionals, but we at Storytime Underground know the truth: if you are out in the storytime trenches you are changing–and sometimes saving–lives with every fingerplay and feltboard. This is not an exaggeration. Literacy is not a luxury. To survive and thrive, a democracy needs a literate populace and we, the army of Children’s Librarians, are the front lines in the battle to deliver literacy to everyone…At the Storytime Underground our mission is threefold: We support each other, We promote each other, and We train each other.” Click here to read more.
A short list of things you’ll want to check out on the site:
- Storytime University, where you can enroll for participatory, collaborative professional development. (If you’d rather be referred to as a “badass ninja” than a “workshop participant”, this is professional development made for you.)
- A great list of links, blogs, and other online resources, about programming for various age groups.
- “Ask a Storytime Ninja”, a regular advice column where you can get real answers to your questions about literacy, storytime best practices, group management, and more.
- Guerilla Storytime, the radical, participant-focused in-person trainings conducted by the ninjas (with ideas shared on their blog).
- Advocacy Resources including links to research, sound bites, and stories from real library users.
But don’t take our word for it! Go check out the site and soak up all the great ideas!
Bring the whole family this weekend for the Baltimore Book Festival, an exciting 3-day celebrating books and readers! The festival will take place at the Inner Harbor this year. There will be lots of great activities for readers of all ages, and you’ll get to meet lots of authors in person – including Kathy MacMillan, co-author of the Storytime Magic series and author of Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together.
Here’s where the signing fun will be going down:
Friday, September 26 at 11 AM: Little Hands and Big Hands storytime for children ages birth-6 and their grownups at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Children’s Stage (located near the Maryland Science Center). ASL Interpretation will be provided.
Friday, September 26, 4:30 PM: Little Hands and Big Hands author talk at the Bicentennial Plaza Authors’ Stage. Learn about the myths and realities of signing with young children in this interactive presentation! ASL Interpretation will be provided.
Friday, September 26, 12 PM-8PM: Visit me in the Bicentennial Plaza Authors’ Tent between to purchase a signed copy of Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and enjoy some hands-on sign language crafts!
We love this round-up of great resources for Baby Storytimes over at jbrary.com – and not just because our latest book, Baby Storytime Magic, is first on their recommended booklist. (Though that does prove their impeccable taste!) Whether you are new to storytimes for babies or looking for ideas to expand you repertoire, you’ll want to bookmark this great post:
I had a great time last Thursday presenting my brand-new workshop, “Last Minute Lessons” at the 52nd Annual Early Childhood Education Conference. Participants were challenged to come up with creative lesson plans in response to emergency situations – all with limited materials. Check out some of the wildly creative things they did with waterlogged books, paper goods, and the contents of their pockets and purses. One thing’s for certain: if I am ever stranded on a deserted island, I hope it’s with a group of these resourceful early childhood educators!
Did you know that August 4 is International Owl Awareness Day? Celebrate with this fingerplay perfect for owl or nocturnal animal programs!
The owl is a creature of the night,
His great big eyes give him keen sight.
He looks to the left and to the right.
And hoots so softly through the night.
Watch this video to learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language:
Octopus, octopus, bobbing up and down,
reaching your long arms all around. (wave arms)
Baby tries to crawl far away
but octopus arms don’t let you stray (hug baby)
Here comes the octopus tentacle by tentacle (walk fingers up baby’s arms)
He’ll wrap you in a hug and give you a tickle! (hug and tickle baby)
Celebrate this summery sweet treat in storytime with this action rhyme and a watermelon science project!
Watermelon, watermelon, turn around.
Watermelon, watermelon, touch the ground.
Watermelon, watermelon, stamp your feet.
Watermelon, watermelon, good to eat! (rub tummy)
Try this vinegar-free watermelon eruption project from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine to demonstrate chemical reactions and promote fine motor skills.