Blogger Tess Prendergast

Indigenous Board Books for Every Baby 

We know that the general benefits of reading board books are numerous. Here are just a few reasons why we spend time and money curating and maintaining board book collections for families in our communities to use.  I have noticed a great surge of fantastic board book fare that features Indigenous cultures and languages and believe that all board book collections should be audited for excellent Indigenous content. Here are a few recommendations: Indigenizing board book collections First and foremost, when looking at indigenizing our board book collections, we need to  explore whether there are any resources from the nation whose land we are on right now. It may turn out that there are few or no board book formats of a local nations’ children’s stories and other cultural materials available yet. We can still work in culturally appropriate and respectful ways to learn about (and possibly curate and provide) whatever children’s…

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Reading Picture Books through a Social and Emotional Learning Lens

Most children’s library workers have already heard of the concept called social and emotional learning (SEL). In many ways, its exact definition is self-evident: SEL is learning that seeks to address the social and emotional developmental needs of children.[1] Among many other benefits to children’s overall literacy growth, I believe that children’s picture books present rich opportunities for practitioners to extend understanding of specific SEL concepts. Although no single picture book can fully demonstrate all the complexities of SEL, here I have selected some of my favourite, recently published picture books and linked them to the 5 dimensions of SEL which are: Self-awareness; Self-management; Responsible decision-making; Relationship skills; and Social Awareness.  The bolded definitions of each SEL domain below were taken from What is the CASEL Framework? Self-awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. Beneath written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld A child…

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Picture Book Playtime: An Inclusive, ECRR-Inspired Early Literacy Program Model 

I have not run storytime in a long time as I left the library to start teaching in a MLIS program almost 5 years ago. Not going to lie, I really miss working with little kids and their grown-ups! One of the last programs I ran was called Picture Book Playtime. It is a simple station-based program that I adapted from others I had read about. My goal was to make something totally inclusive that offered various ways for the ECRR practice of writing to be highlighted. In these sessions, I had a very diverse group of kids attend, including kids who had developmental disabilities, and recent newcomer families who were new to English. Everyone thrived. Moreover, the adults (parents, nannies, grand-parents, etc.) all helped each other out. It was important to me that I kept the group small, structured with some room for flexibility on the fly, simple, low-cost,…

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Bring on the Night: Perfect Picture Books for Bedtime and Anytime

The arrival of shorter days and longer nights up here in the Northern hemisphere is a bit of conundrum for me. I love the autumn weather and watching the trees change color but seriously do not love getting up for work while it’s still dark outside. However, all year round I love picture books featuring night-time themes. It might have something to do with how easy it is to recommend them as bedtime stories. It makes sense that reading books that take place at night will suit the situation of getting kids ready for bed as the sun goes down. Or, perhaps I am just into the visual aesthetic of night-time scenes and enjoy the many creative ways that illustrators portray them with shadows and glowing images. Whatever the reasons, I thought this was the perfect time of year to share some of my favorite night-themed picture-books with you all.  Noisy Night by…