Misnamed and Mispronounced: Picture Books

Along with a change of seasons, September also brings many other changes: a new school or new school year, new routines, new teachers, and new classmates, just to name a few.  Although often exciting and enjoyable, for some children the new school year can also be stressful and anxiety provoking if their names are challenging for their teachers and classmates to pronounce. Some questions that children in these situations might be grappling with are: Will my new teacher be able to say and spell my name? Will the other kids be able to remember my name? Can or should I change my name to make it easier for everyone else?  An article in the following NEA Today Newsletter, Why Pronouncing Students’ Names Correctly is So Important, discusses the emotional toll experienced by children when year after year they must contend with teachers and classmates who repeatedly misname them. For further…

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Stuck on Storytime: Tips to Plan for Fall

Summer Reading is officially over at my library and fall programming planning is well underway. Even after a month-long programming break, part of me dreaded returning to weekly storytimes. After 10+ years of children’s librarianship, keeping storytime fresh with new themes, stories, songs, etc. is tiring. I felt stuck. Fortunately, there is plenty of help in past ALSC blog posts. Read on for some articles I found helpful in becoming unstuck on storytime, plus a peek at my first storytime plan for September 2023.

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Save Time and Alleviate Evaluation Stress with these 8 Questions

Emotions are high, and energy is low. Chocolate overflows on every youth services workroom counter. As soon as we hand out the last incentive, relief roars across the children’s floor. Summer was great. Summer is done. Now it is time to buckle down, plan for the slower pace of fall, and think about plans for next year. Yes. That’s right. We get to do this all again. How will you evaluate this summer’s learning program and plan for next year’s while you are still recuperating from the summer sprint?

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

All Early Learning All the Time at ALA Annual 2023

As my colleague prepared to attend her first ALA Annual Conference in Chicago later this week, I found myself daydreaming of the sessions I’d attend. My colleague is an adult services librarian, so her professional interests vary wildly from my own in youth services and early learning. I decided to scour the official scheduler to find all the early learning options and share my findings below. Definitely check out the 2023 ALA Annual Conference Scheduler to view session descriptions in full; I’ve only included a very succinct summary (any quotes are taken from the session description). All events take place in McCormick Place unless otherwise noted. Thursday and Friday These days include preconference workshops and professional meetings, many of which need a pre-purchased ticket. The opening general session features Judy Blume (!!) and the exhibit floor opens with lots of giveaways. Saturday Bright and early from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m….

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

The Changing Face of Summer Reading

Spring is in the air here in Washington, D.C. and I find myself thinking ahead to the upcoming summer months. We will be starting our annual Summer Reading Challenge soon. At my library, this is geared towards people of all ages though it is more popular with the children. In past years, we have had game boards with different activities for each age range including our youngest patrons ages birth to five. Some of these activities are as simple as reciting your ABC’s. Older preschoolers have had the opportunity to practice writing. These activities seem geared towards early literacy which we know is very important for emerging readers. In addition, we often have special guest performers who get the children further excited. Past visitors have included science programs as well as storytellers. We also have had the Washington Nationals, our local baseball team, as one of our sponsors. This has…

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Picturing Palestine

President Biden officially declared April National Arab American Heritage Month and in that spirit, this post will take the opportunity to highlight some picture books about Palestinian Arabs, a group that does not often make it onto our library shelves. For an excellent discussion about the absence and erasure of Palestinian stories from the publishing landscape please see this discussion from November 2022 between Betsy Bird and Nora Lester Murad in SLJ’s fuse 8 blog. The selected picture books listed below celebrate and highlight Palestinian culture, self-determination, and identity, while also acknowledging the loss and trauma faced by Palestinians due to their expulsion from their homeland and subsequent life spent under military occupation, in refugee camps, or in exile. For other related picture books about the refugee experience please see the ALSC blog post Exploring the refuge child experiences through picture books. For books for older readers about Palestinians and…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

(Low Budget) Program in a Post: The Floor is Lava

Planning for summer reading while programming for spring is tiring. This easy, low-prep, low-budget program is perfect for spring break and no-school days. Check it out! Overview “The Floor is Lava” invites families of all ages to take the classic living room and playground imagination game to the next level. They must use the available materials to make their way across the “lava” floor, but be careful not to touch the ground or be tagged by the lava monster.  The combination of open play and nostalgia was a hit with both grownups and kiddos, with 60+ participants stopping to play between 10am-6pm.  Supplies Use what you have on hand. Here are some suggestions: Families will be creative with whatever you provide. Many things can be donated by local businesses (cardboard boxes!) or borrowed from staff. Set Up Spread the supplies out across the room. Families are encouraged to move things…