Libraries Are For Everyone: Check Out These Posters!

Have you seen the very cool :”Libraries are for Everyone” posters Rebecca at Hafuboti is making in many, many languages? They are so very inclusive and welcoming. We are going to follow the lead of many other libraries and hang up a variety of the posters in multiple languages (with labels for each language) as a learning opportunity.

Rebecca’s project gave all of us a well-needed resource to use in our libraries, but it also offered me an opportunity to connect with two new people. I first contacted Rebecca to send her kudos and then asked her if she’d be willing to make a version of the posters in Sugs’tun, the Native Alaskan language traditionally spoken in this region of Alaska and still spoken by some members of my library’s community. When she said “yes!” I contacted a local Sugs’tun speaker, Sally Ash, for help translating the “Libraries are for Everyone!” phrase. Sally is one of several Sugpiaq elders involved in language preservation and Sugs’tun is one of twenty-one official Alaskan languages.

Here is one of the posters created by Rebecca and Sally! All of Rebecca’s posters can be found here.

Libraries Are for Everyone (Sugs’tun)

This poster will hang at the library’s entrance next to posters in Russian and English, the other two predominant languages in my community.

Thanks, Rebecca and Sally!

Toddler Storytime: The Snowy Day

I share a lot of new books in storytime to highlight what has been recently added to the library’s collection, but this past week I wanted to share a classic with families, many of whom are new parents. With snow on the ground, a good mix of play and stories planned and a small dose of storytime magic, it was time to include Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day (along with Nicola Smee’s Jingle Jingle) in the toddler/baby storytime line up. The clear, colorful images, the kid perspective, the gentle flow of the story, and the wintertime theme made the book a good fit for the slightly older, mostly 20-30 month old, crowd that showed up. The book also includes a few features that demonstrate how books can be both mirrors and windows (or doors) for children. Including books with a variety of characters that reflect diverse families and their experiences helps create an inclusive storytime environment.

  • Snow, which is on the ground here in Homer, is a very relevant concept for Homer kiddos and helps them connect the story with the world around them.
  • The family is African-American, an underrepresented group in children’s books.
  • The young boy lives in an apartment, instead of the stand alone house often found in stories, and represents one of the many types of loving homes.

I talked about the idea of windows and mirrors in storytime and in the December installment of monthly early literacy article I write for a local newspaper. The article is part of a broad outreach effort to connect families with literacy information wherever they are.

Have you seen the animated, digital version of the book on the Ezra Jack Keats site, the animated short video (Amazon Prime) based on the book, or Andrea Davis Pinckney’s new book about Ezra jack Keats and  the creation of The Snowy Day neighborhood, A Poem for Peter?

The storytime line up (approximately 25 minutes)

Early Literacy Tip:

Books can act as windows and mirrors. The variety of stories, characters, and settings found in books can show that your child’s story matters and help your child learn about and appreciate the experiences of others.

Welcome Song: The More We Get (Read) Together

Book: Jingle Jingle by Nicola Smee

Jingle Jingle by Nicola Smee

Source: Amazon.com

Action Song: Bumping Up and Down In My Little Blue Sled

Bumping up and down in my little blue sled
Bumping up and down in my little blue sled
Bumping up and down in my little blue sled
Won’t you be my darling.

Snow’s coming down on my little blue sled
Snow’s coming down on my little blue sled
Snow’s coming down on my little blue sled
Won’t you be my darling.

Waving to my friends on my little blue sled
Waving to my friends on my little blue sled
Waving to my friends on my little blue sled
Won’t you be my darling.
Source: Jbrary

Book: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Source: mhpbooks.com

Source: mhpbooks.com

Bubble Break!

Fingerplay: Three Little Snowmen

Three little snowmen, all in a row.
Each with a hat and a big red bow.
Out came the sun and it shone all day,
One little snowman melted all away.
(two and one little…)

Closing Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

…twirl around
…jump up high

Activity: Indoor Snow Exploration Bins

Summer Reading Outreach Begins!

Tonight was the first of many outreach events I will be doing this Spring to spread the word about our 2014 summer reading program. I talked to lots of familiar young faces and got to meet some new families at the annual activities fair hosted by a local elementary school parent’s association. While the lead up to the annual activities fair is hectic, to say the least, the event itself is loads of fun!

If you’ve ever wanted to practice an elevator pitch, an event like this is just the place to test it out! Families are walking from table to table finding out about every kind of summer program our small community has to offer and many, if not all, have kids under the age of ten in tow. That means I have thirty seconds to a one minute to catch their attention. I always talk to a few families who have never heard about the summer reading program or never participated, so I make sure I am ready to get them hooked on the spot!Activities Fair Set Up

Fortunately for families, the parent’s organization and the school host a math and science night at the same time. Last year my table was in the same space as the math and science activities which was a great, great, great decision. I got to talk to parents while kids investigated and experimented. It was a win for the library too because families left the event associating fun, exploring, and the library.

This year I asked to be in the same space and promised to bring some activities for kids to do, as always. My table and the other activities flowed so nicely together that some kids even thought I was running the marble maze activity! I was honored. I brought some easy activities with me that worked well for young children, often the siblings of those most interested in the marble maze and other hosted stations. I brought my beloved Alphabet Tree, inspired by the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I built it, with the help of family and friends, for an outreach event I was part of last Fall and now I bring it whenever I head out for family events. I’m even planning to bring it to the library for storytime soon. (It lives in my garage because of lack of space at the library.)Alphabet Tree

The tree and the magnetic letters together make a fun tool for strengthening letter knowledge and an opportunity to talk to kids about how magnets work. The black paint on the trunk of the palm-like tree is magnetic and the green is not, so we get to test where the magnetic letters stick and where they don’t. Parents are fascinated by the tree and I always explain how I made it, hopefully inspiring them to think of ways to do something similar at home. Before the activities fair even started, kids were ready to play!

To keep little fingers and minds busy, I also grabbed a roll of butcher paper as I walked out the door at the library. I covered the bench seats in front of my table (a cafeteria table provided by the school) with the paper and pulled out a box of crayons so kids could draw and write while I talked to their parents or caregivers about the summer program. There were some cool creations!Bench Drawing

I always pack a lot into my table spaces and usually bring more than I have room for. This is done on purpose so that I can be a little flexible during set up. And because I staff these events alone, my table can be set up in less than thirty minutes and I can carry everything I bring in a few bags or boxes.
Here’s what I had on hand with me:

  • eye-catching, but inexpensive table cloth
  • new books
  • scissors
  • duct tape
  • prize samples
  • registration forms (we also offer online registration)
  • 100 brochures (I handed out about 75)
  • puppets
  • sign-up prizes (this year I gave out Fizz Boom READ pencils)
  • summer program banner
  • Alpahbet Tree with magnetic wood letters and numbers
  • basket of large LEGO blocks
  • storytime brochures
  • tips for using new media with kids
  • my staff name tag

I’ll post more about my plans for this summer’s program in the coming weeks!

 

 

 

Storytime on the Go: Village Visit

Out at one edge of our service area lies a small village which I visited a couple of times this year. It has a beautiful view of the bay and snow-covered, majestic mountains across the water. There are no stores, traffic lights, or even paved roads. There are schools though- an elementary, middle, and high school. Here, the kids head home from school for lunch in twos or threes on four wheelers or on foot.

My trips to the village are part of Storytime on the Go, a seasonal program designed to provide early literacy experiences, similar to what I offer at the library, to community members living at the outer edges of our large service area and to promote library services and programs. Many of the people with whom I share Storytime on the Go don’t make it to the library, at least during the Winter. Some families don’t come because of the weather, others can’t make the long drive, and some for cultural reasons. I’m sure there are other reasons that I don’t know.

During my visits to the village, I spend about 45 minutes with a small group of about fourteen kids in a K-1 class. They are enthusiastic learners with quick smiles and lots of interesting questions and insights. My storytimes elsewhere are targeted at preschool age kids or toddlers and their families, but here I bring stories for the older kids for a few reasons. Many kids in the village don’t come to the library often, if ever, so I am a new face and bring some different books than they might have at school or at home. There also isn’t a community space to meet with the few preschool age kids in the village. Lastly, I am only fluent in English and since the community speaks English as a second language and many kids don’t start speaking English until they start school, visiting with the Kindergarten and 1st graders is a nice fit.

Timing is Everything
Beyond what books I bring or activities we do, my first consideration is when to visit the school. The village’s school calendar reflects their community holidays which vary from the other school calendars in the district. This year, like last, I showed up after lunch and before recess, a perfect window for sharing storytime. It also allows me to host a family storytime in another part of our service area before I head to the village.

Early Literacy
As with storytimes at the library, the kids and I read, talk, laugh and play easily together. Because of community traditions though, we don’t sing or clap or dance. While some tried and true early literacy practices are hard to part with, cultural considerations are an important part of outreach. Sometimes I change a song into a rhyme, saying the words slowly and dramatically instead of singing them to reap the early literacy benefits.

Choosing books
I look for books that reflect the kids’ experiences and interests and spend time talking about aspects of the stories that might relate to their daily lives, not unlike any storytime experience really. We do have a Russian language collection of books and movies for all ages at our library, but I read English language stories because of my limited knowledge of Russian. For example, I might ask, “How do you say (___) in Russian?” or “Do you have a garden in the summer?” The kids loving teaching me new words!

Before each visit, I check in with the teacher to find out what kids might be interested in, what they’re learning about in school, and what holidays are coming up. For my last trip to the village, I brought folk tales with me. These kids are huge fans and loved sharing in the telling of the stories they already knew and anticipating “what happens next?” for others. Since this is the second year I have visited the school, the kids and I know each other pretty well so the conversation flows easily. We read:

Snap! by Marcia Vaughn Photo credit: Amazon.com

Snap! by Marcia Vaughn
Photo credit: Amazon.com

Snap! by Marcia Vaughan and Sascha Hutchinson (Scholastic, 1996)

I also read Snap! at the library as part of an Alligator & Crocodile storytime with preschoolers. It is truly a magical story with just the right amount of repeated text, a trickster element, new kinds of animals to learn about (from Australia), onomatopoeia, interesting illustrations of torn paper collages, and more. Be prepared to have so much fun with this tale that you’ll lose track of time!

by Janet Stevens Photo credit: shop.carlemuseum.org

Three Billy Goats Gruff by Janet Stevens
Photo credit: shop.carlemuseum.org

Three Billy Goats Gruff (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987)

This is a classic Norwegian tale by Janet Stevens about three goats trying to cross a bridge to greener pastures and an ugly troll who wants to eat them instead of let them pass. There is lots to enjoy about a tale like this one: the concept of size, interpreting the illustrations and finding the hidden features (rock faces), and repetition. Since this is a familiar story, it was easy for the kids to help me tell it as turned the pages.

Take Care, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas Photo credit: indiebound.org

Take Care, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas
Photo credit: indiebound.org

Take Care, Good Knight (Dutton Children’s Books, 2006)

This a silly little story by Shelley Moore Thomas and Paul Meisel, follows the antics of three little dragons who are good-hearted and responsible, but can’t read. So, when they try to care for the old wizard’s cats, they make lots of mistakes. Their friend, the knight, comes to their rescue and helps them decipher the care instructions and learn to read. We had a good laugh about the play on words!

Success

I know the trip to the village is worth it because the kids and I have such a great time together, but there are other signs of success. I was invited back for a second year. I see families I met through the storytimes at the library on occasion and I can great many of the kids by name. The school will again be taking a field trip to town with a stop at the library later this Spring!

Toddlers: Colors

Welcome Song: Hello Everybody

Action Song: Open Shut Them
Open shut them, open shut them
Give a little clap, clap, clap
Open Shut them, open shut them
Lay them in your lap, lap, lap

Creep them, crawl them
Creep them, crawl them
Right up to your chin, chin, chin (where is your chin?)
Open wide your little mouth
But do not let them in

Shake them, shake them
Shake them, shake them
Shake them just like this this this

Roll them, roll them
Roll them, roll them
And blow a little kiss!
Muach! (blow kiss with hand)

Action Song: Red, Red is the Color I See (with felt pieces)
Red, Red is the color I see,
If you’re wearing red, show it to me!
Stand up, turn around,
And sit back down on the ground!
(repeat with different colors)

There are other verses to this color song, but I have found that for toddlers who are concentrating hard on figuring out colors, the repetition is easier to follow.

Action Song: Green Says Go!
Green Says, “Go!” (march fast in place)
Go! Go! Go!
Yellow says, “Slow.” (march slow)
Slow… slow… slow…
And Red says, “Stop!” (freeze stop)
GO! GO! GO! (march fast)
Slow… slow… slow (march slow)
STOP!!! (stop)

Credit: Sturdy for Common Things

If You’re Ready for a Story
wave your hands in the air!
… sit down please

Book: Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma DoddDogsColorfulDay

One of the many things I like about this book is that the main character is a dog called “Dog.” Kids can relate. Ask any toddler or preschooler the name of their stuffed friend and inevitably it is named dog or frog or cat, not Billy, Daisy, or Periwinkle.

This book mesmerizes toddlers and preschoolers! They are quickly drawn into the connection between what happens to Dog on his adventure and the additions of colored spots to his white fur. It is a nice complement to storytime because there are a variety of ideas, concepts (math!), objects, and places to talk about as you read the book.

Movement: Bubbles!

Our Friends group just gifted us a parachute for storytime so today I put it to use during a preschool outreach program first thing in the morning and then during the toddler storytime shortly after. The dozen preschoolers went crazy with the parachute and there were tears, I hate to say, when I started winding storytime down. So, I was a little nervous about using it at a toddler storytime with 40 people (about 24 kids). No need! It went perfectly well! Having alot of extra adults is very helpful.

I told caregiverss about the parachute experiment and asked them to help their little ones hold the chute. I mentioned that it was ok if some kids weren’t interested or if they were worried about the noise that might ensue when many toddlers play with a parachute.

This first song set the tone because it was a familiar song we sing often. It gave us the chance to try holding on to the parachute as we walked around during the first verse and then lay it on the floor during the second verse.

Parachute Song: Ring Around the Rosie
Ring (or skip or hop, etc.) around the rosie
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

The cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups
Thunder, lightning,
We all jump up!

The second song let everyone get a chance to see what the chute could do.

Parachute Song: If You’re Happy and You Know it
If you’re happy and you know it, lift it high!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it fast!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it slow!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it low!

Credit: Kendra at Read, Sing, Play

The final song got everyone laughing and giggling! We repeated this one several times before moving on to our regular closing song.

Parachute Song: Pop Goes the Lizard (with monkey and lizard puppets)Pop Goes the Lizard
All Around the Cobbler’s Bench
The monkey chased the lizard
Monkey thought ’twas all in fun
POP goes the lizard

Credit: adapted from Kendra’s version at Read, Sing, Play

Closing Song: Wave Hi, Wave low

Photo Credit:
Dog’s Colorful Day: Kentucky Department of Libraries

 

Looking for more toddler storytime ideas? Visit my Toddler Themes page.