ALA Midwinter 2018

Storytime Goddesses at #alamw18

  After my first ALA Annual, my friend, (shoutout Debby) said we had to join Twitter to connect with all the librarians and book people there! I signed up- and started all these wonderful library connections! Including hearing about really cool unofficial events– like a “Storytime Deep Dive” in the Networking Uncommons hosted by the amazing Mel (of Mel’s Desk!!!) She magnanimously hosted an informal storytime chat where children’s librarians and youth services team members got together to talk about storytime gripes and philosophies. It was really great to talk to children’s library staff from around the US- in the hour or two I sat there, we had a children’s librarian from Hawaii and one from Alaska! While I love fangirling to children’s authors and illustrators, it means so much more to sit down with people who write the blogs that I consult for storytime, programming, and general library ideas!…

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…

Guest Blogger

Building Spatial Awareness in Story Times Through the Use of Tangrams

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get my hands on a galley of Molly Bang’s upcoming book When Sophie Thinks She Can’t (anticipated January 2018). I immediately rejoiced at Bang’s creative highlight of Tangrams. As anyone who has heard me speak about tangrams in the past, there are not enough picture books to tie in with this fantastic Chinese puzzle. In almost all our libraries you can find a tangram set. No matter what, you can locate printable tangram templates on the internet. (A tangram set consists of seven shapes: 2 large right triangles, 1 medium sized right triangle, 2 small right triangles, 1 small square, and 1 parallelogram). To many, the use of tangrams is something to keep the kids busy rather than an intentional and useful activity that helps students develop their spatial awareness and creativity skills. According to Yi Ling Cheng and Kelly Mix,…

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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