Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday!

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday! February 2nd is Pura Belpré’s birthday – for those of you playing along at home, she’d have 119 candles on the cake!  Continuing my unofficial, non-sequential series of how to incorporate multicultural offerings in every program, we’re going to see how we can make Pura’s award winners come to life!  But first… Who was Pura Belpré? For those of you just joining us, Pura Belpré was born in Cidra, Puerto Rico.  By serendipitous circumstances, she ended up in New York City for her sister’s wedding and was hired by a public library.  Huge emphasis on this, folks: it was 1920 and they were looking to hire young women from ethnically diverse backgrounds!  Imagine that!  Almost 100 years ago! Her career took her from the Bronx to the Lower East Side, where she spread the love of stories in English and Spanish – which had never been done before.  As…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Teaching Children Banned Words

Enlightening & Teaching 2017 was a whirlwind year, with many, many unprecedented changes, challenges and fear.  To help our youngest patrons, it is critically important that we aid in their enlightenment, making them more socially aware, teaching them new concepts, and making them more culturally competent. For 2018, I encourage you to explore these terms through your youth programming.  This will aid not only the children, but their parents as well.  So, let’s go!  Following each term will be suggestions for aiding you deliver these important concepts: Diversity My wife – Marianne Dolce, a highly successful school media specialist  – showed me how to take a picture book or a story and build a theme from it – to reverse the storytime building process, and thereby integrate diverse materials into storytime – Every. Single Week. Read up on ALA’s “Importance of Diversity” Entitlement These quick “fables” help teach children all…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

2018 And Life to Go: Resolutions Anyone?!

Not Another New Year’s Resolution Article I promise.  No eye candy.  No videos strung by html with care.  But it is Elf themed, which you need to watch if you haven’t already. You’ve got just six weeks and four days before the new year makes you keep writing 2017 for a few weeks.  Resolution lists anyone?  Please tell me you aren’t recycling last years, or even lamely “upcycling” them, just to sound trendy or get your friends off your back.  Let’s get real, and let’s apply it to our professional world.  Here we go… Mentoring For the love of candy canes, you have a story to tell, and believe it or not, you could totally help out an up and coming mentee.  No, really.  And it’s easy to get matched. For example, Florida Library Association has a mentoring program every year, that officially only runs one year at a time,…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

¡Día De Los Muertos! ¡Celebramos!

¡Día De Los Muertos! Hoy celebramos Día De Los Muertos. Día De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead is not just on November 1st.  It is a three-day festival – October 31 – November 2 – that is celebrated throughout Latin America.  Here in the U.S., places that have large Latino populations, such as Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix, Arizona celebrate with incredible picturesque decorations like papel picado (estampo), costumbres, dulces y mucho mas. Día De Los Muertos is a huge fiesta – a national holiday – national, as in no school today, chicos! Remember, though, Día De Los Muertos is not Halloween.  Even though trick-or-treating has become more common on Día De Los Muertos, Halloween  is a Northern European tradition.  Instead, Day of the Dead is a blend of Aztec and Catholic beliefs. And yet, even ancient Egyptians once believed that “the spirits of the dead returned every autumn to…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Hispanic Heritage Month Year-Round

Integrating Hispanic Heritage I’d been conducting storytime and other children’s programming for 18 years.  I felt like a veteran, or some kind of master.  In just one hour, my wife Marianne – who was born and raised in Puerto Rico – made me feel like I was only just beginning. For years I would start with a theme, pick out the books, make the puppet shows. And yet, how often did I reach for my Hispanic picture books?  Twice a year?  El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day, commonly known as Día) and Hispanic Heritage Month?  My wife showed me how to take a picture book or a story and build a theme from it – to reverse the storytime building process, and thereby integrate diverse materials into storytime – Every. Single Week. Hispanic/Latino Contributions So, I made a video.  It was all about the contributions…

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Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM Hurricane Irma Activities – Kids Tweens Teens

Weather map of hurricane

STEM Hurricane Activities So, yes, quite frankly we have been living under a rock for the past few weeks.  Why you may ask?  Hurricanes, of course!  It’s been a matter of survival!   Now that things are slowly returning to normal and libraries are re-opening, help kids understand one of the strongest forces of nature through STEM hurricane activities!     STEM Hurricane Activities just for Kids How does wind move across the United States – check out this amazing, interactive map!           Build your own hurricane without the messy cleanup!   In this interactive game, kids can build their own hurricane.  They’ll learn what kinds of wind conditions, latitude, and sea temperature make hurricanes.  It’s okay if they don’t know a lot about hurricanes—there are hints built in to help them out.       But wait, there’s more! Aim a Hurricane – Students can learn…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM: Teaching Kids About Nuclear Concepts

Four days ago was the 72nd anniversary of a U.S. atomic bomb destroying five square miles of the city of Hiroshima.  Yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of the U.S’ atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  In five days time from the writing of this post, WWII ended. NEA The NEA has an excellent set of lesson plans, text resources, images and video to help children understand the events that concluded WWII. Turning the tragic loss of 210000 men, women and children into a positive experience for our youngest patrons is not beyond any of us.  And in many ways, I personally feel that the majority of those who perished that fateful week would want our next generation to understand the positive and constructive uses for nuclear energy. Voyager We are on the cusp of a major eclipse, and there’s no better time while children are excited about astronomy to tell them all about the…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Summer Reading Wind Down – time to amp it up!

Inaction is not an option! 2017 Summer Reading might be winding down, but it’s time to amp it up for next year!  Next year’s theme is ‘Libraries Rock!’.  STEM and STEAM programming have tons of crossover applications to music. Here’s a few ideas to get you stoked for next year! Ukulele Got ukes?  How about a ukulele club?  Learning to play a few chords on ukulele is super easy – anyone can learn.  Nail C-F-G chords and you’d be floored how many songs you can play with ease.  We’ve been teaching all summer long and the kids are lovin’ it.  Next summer would be a great opportunity for you to start up your own club.  We searched around and found starter kits, complete with ukulele, bag, picks, tuner and extra strings for only $34 on sale on Amazon.                 Teens! Teens will truly…