I hope you enjoyed my selections in Part 1 of the Picture Books from Canada series. I have 5 more Canadian picture books to tell you about. I think these books all have huge universal appeal. Informative, compelling, or just pure fun, these stories are all fabulous and too-good-to-be missed, with love from north of the border.
Ahead of Valentine’s Day, it’s a good time to think about the love languages of your colleagues/staff. This is always important to think about, but it feels more important with the low morale, stress of Covid & handing out test kits, and winter blahs; I want to ensure that my staff feel appreciated and supported as much as possible. Below is my riff on the five long languages as they apply to working in the library.
Close your eyes and throw a dart in the children’s section, and you’ll probably hit a book that has fat-phobia. It may have a snide comment about a fat character – or a book with no fat characters at all. I’m not sure which one is worse. It’s practically a tradition in children’s literature to depict fatness as synonymous with gluttony, with ugliness, with stupidity, or with evil. In Harry Potter, you have major and minor fat villains: Dudley, Umbridge, Crabbe and Goyle. Stuart Gibb’s best-selling Funjungle series features a b-side villain referred to as “Large Marge” throughout the series, who is regularly derided as idiotic and incompetent. And if we started talking about fatness and Roald Dahl, we’d be here all day. Where does this fatphobia come from, and why do we put up with it?
It’s always challenging to network at conferences. It takes energy and a fair bit of gumption to introduce yourself to folks, especially if you’re new to the library world. When a conference is virtual, that adds another barrier. So much of networking is based on happy accidents: finding yourself in the same session/bus/elevator as someone else and taking the opportunity to strike up a conversation. For LibLearnX, the ALSC Membership Committee’s goal is to create an intentional space for happy accidents via Zoom. While it’s not the same as the in person conference events we dream about going back to some day (ALSC 101, small group dinners), we hope it can be a time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones too.
I offer two homeschool book clubs, both based on the Illinois Readers’ Choice Awards. The younger students read books from the Bluestem list, and the older students read from the Caudill list. Recently, I was struggling to create engaging and fun book-based activites that would work in a virtual setting. My niece, Amanda, came to the rescue! Amanda is a brand-new (and, proud aunt brag, fantastic!) elementary school teacher and had created a cool activity for her students. She graciously shared the idea with me. I’ve now adapted it into multiple versions. Each time my homeschool students have said things like, “This is the coolest thing ever!” and “Can we do this again next week?”
On December 7, the United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a warning about youth mental health, stating that there has been an “alarming” rise in certain mental health challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. He states, “Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real, and they are widespread. But most importantly, they are treatable, and often preventable.” Dr. Murthy calls on everyone from youth themselves to caregivers, schools, community organizations and governments to do their part to create a healthier society. He says “we have an unprecedented opportunity as a country to rebuild in a way that refocuses our identity and common values, puts people first, and strengthens our connections to each other.” Children and Teen librarians are among the front-line workers who have direct communication with this population. We can intentionally and consistently shape our programming, collections, outreach, collaborations and in fact every day to…
Like many other libraries, during the pandemic, our in-person programming was replaced with grab-and go style bagged activities. After several months and hundreds of bags, we decided December was a good time for a bag break! This month, we are celebrating the holiday season with simple passive programs that still feel special and fun. You can adapt many of these programs for any season. We hope some of these ideas will help ease your holiday stress!
The term executive functioning refers to an important set of skills that allow people to successfully navigate life. These skills include the ability to plan, self-evaluate, self-control, retain information, manage time, and organize thoughts and information. According to a useful infographic published by Harvard, these abilities are not innate to anyone, but may be learned by nearly everyone. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old tend to develop these skills rather rapidly, and this development is significantly bolstered by early childhood education and care (ECEC). An exploratory report was published in May of this year, examining the effect of ECEC on children’s executive functioning skills at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these important skills, the study also examined the effect of this care on language, and the difference socioeconomic status may make on the development of vocabulary and executive functioning. The study looked…