It’s February, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, some of us are preparing for storytimes and programs that either celebrate the day itself, or look at concepts of love, family and friendship. ALSC’s Intellectual Freedom Committee recently released the Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit, created to help you incorporate concepts of intellectual freedom and information literacy into staple programs like these. Here’s 3 ideas inspired by the toolkit that you can use to incorporate these principles into your existing Valentine’s Day storytimes.
Share the Sesame Street Family Play: Caring For Each Other app with parents.
If you incorporate digital elements into your preschool storytimes, this free app is full of activities that families with little ones can do offline in their home, outside, or via video chat. While the app encourages lots of family bonding, this 2021 Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award honoree also provides you with an opportunity to talk about trusted resources for digital resources like the award and ALSC’s Notable Children’s Digital Media resources.
Pull Out the Fairy Tales!
Working with older kids? Explore the complexity of fairy tale romance by comparing traditional stories to corresponding fractured fairy tales, modern retellings, or similar traditional tales from cultures around the world. The toolkit suggests Waking Beauty by Leah Wilcox, but you could also share your library’s collection of Cinderella stories. Alternatively, tell an oral version of a fairy tale and compare it to a written one. Have a discussion about how the stories differ and how they compare to versions of the story they know, or other stories with similar themes.
Reflect Lots of Choices & Make the Time to Talk About It
When pulling books for Valentine’s Day, share, book talk, and put on display lots options for families to explore. One of the tips in the toolkit is “Informally chat with parents and caregivers at the end of storytime about choosing books for and with their children. Not every book is for every reader or family, and that’s OK!” A personal favorite of mine is Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, a title that’s been challenged for LGBTQIA content, but you could also use stories with adoptive or blended families, relationships with grandparents, or families connecting across distance. Be intentional about including books that show different representations of families and be inclusive with regards to authors and illustrators. The important part here is to follow that up by protecting the space and the time to make connections and book recommendations with families at the end of your program. Help them find stories they’ll love.
Need more inspiration? Check out the toolkit!
Our blogger today is Brooke Sheets, member of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee. She is the Manager of Programming & Outreach For the Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library. Please note that the views expressed here do not represent the official position of the Los Angeles Public Library.