Posted in Preschool, Storytime, Toddler

Storytimes for Social Justice in 2017

Happy New Year to all! I hope your holidays were amazing and that you said goodbye to 2016 in the best way possible. I had a stomach bug go through the entire household in a matter of days, so I rang in the new year taking baby sips of Gatorade, but it gave me some time to think, reflect, and plan for the new year.

This new year is heading into scary territory for many folks. As children’s librarians, we have a chance to help make those times a little less scary for parents and kids alike. We can point parents to resources they need to make sure they stay informed, aware, and can find help and information where they need it. We can help kids by introducing them to books, songs, and fingerplays that cheer them up, sure but also teach them about other kids that may experience similar circumstances, so they don’t feel alone, and we can engender empathy by exploring other families’ dilemmas through story. Storytime Underground has issued a challenge this year, and it’s one I’m excited to accept.

sjstorytime

I attended a great Storytime Manifesto program while I was at PLA last year. We talked about how storytime does make a difference in helping children become ready for kindergarten, we talked statistics about family literacy, phonological awareness, print motivation, oral communication and socialization between children, and development of fine motor skills by introducing and crafts during your storytime. I’ve kept a lot of that in mind as I’ve developed my storytimes, and now I’m taking things one step further by accepting this blog challenge. I’ll be continuing to read diverse titles by diverse authors, and I’ll be looking to my other librarians and bloggers for ideas to expand my mind and skills, so I can help families expand theirs. I’d love for you to join me as I start this journey. If you’re interested in your own Social Justice Storytime – anyone, teacher, educator, parent, aunt, uncle, next door neighbor who babysits their friends’ kids every now and then – Storytime Underground has a great starter kit with ideas that you can download for free. There are also fantastic lists you can discover through Pinterest to build on, including Picture Books About Immigration, Picture Books about Social Justice, Children’s Books about Refugees, and Books About Being Kind.

I’m off to start planning and working on my new flannels. Reviews to come, too! Let’s be kind to one another this year, we’re all a bit bruised from 2016.

Posted in Preschool, Storytime, Toddler

Storytime: The Ocean!

It’s been a while since I posted a storytime, but since I just posted a review for NatGeo’s Ocean Animals: Who’s Who in the Ocean Blue, I thought I’d post the storytime that accompanied it.

The Ocean!

Opening Song: Hello, My Friends!

Hello, my friends, hello!
Hello, my friends, hello!
Hello, my friends, hello, my friends,
Hello, my friends, hello!

Story: Crabby Crab, by Chris Raschka

Rhyme: Five Cranky Crabs
Five cranky crabs were digging on the shore.
One swam into a net and then there were four.
Four cranky crabs were floating in the sea.
One got tangled up in seaweed then there were three.
Three Cranky crabs were wondering what to do.
One dug a deep, deep hole. Then there were two.
Two cranky crabs were warming in the sun.
One got scooped up in a cup. Then there was one.
One cranky crab was smarter than his friends.
He hid between the jagged rocks.
That’s how the story ends.
(from Preschool Education)

Story: Whaley Whale, by Chris Raschka

Song: The Whales (sing to “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a humpback whale
I’m very strong.
I leap about
And sing a song.
I like to eat my fill
In the Northern Sea.
But in the winter,
South I flee.

I am a beluga,
I’m all white.
From head to tail
I’m quite a sight.
You can hear me singing
Way up north,
Playing and swimming
Back and forth.

I’m a mighty orca
Black and white.
In the sea
I’m a beautiful sight.
I’m not very big,
But I am sleek.
I hunt for my food
Cause I have teeth.
(from Preschool Education)

Story: I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean, by Kevin Sherry

Song: Una sardina/Slippery Fish
Una sardina, una sardina,
Nadando en el agua,
Una sardina, una sardina,
Glú, glú, glú

OH, NO! Fue comida por …

Un pulpito, un pulpito,
Nadando en el agua,
Un pulpito, un pulpito,
Glú, glú, glú

OH, NO! Fue comido por …

Un atún, un atún,
Nadando en el agua,
Un atún, un atún,
Glú, glú, glú

OH, NO! Fue comido por …

Un tiburón, un tiburón,
Nadando en el agua,
Un tiburón, un tiburón,
Glú, glú, glú

OH, NO! Fue comido por …

Una ballena, una ballena,
Nadando en el agua,
Una ballena, una ballena,
Glú, glú, glú

¡PERDÓNA ME!

Closing Song: Goodbye, My Friends!

Goodbye, my friends, goodbye!
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye!
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye, my friends,
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye!

I used five cartoon cranky crab picture from Google Images for the Cranky Crab rhyme, and we counted down each time a crab disappeared in the song. I also used Google Images to get cartoon pictures of all the sea life in the Slippery Fish song, which my crowd loves, since I’m actually able to perform it halfway decently in Spanish. You can find lyrics in English and Spanish here.

 

Posted in Preschool, Storytime, Toddler

Yoga Storytime!

My library has been on a health kick. We ended January with a health festival that included zumba classes, salsa instruction, and more fresh food and fruit than you could possibly imagine. We were packed, had hundreds of people in and out all day, and really got the word out that staying healthy is a process – but a fun one. I decided to do my part, and had a yoga storytime this past Saturday, and I was delighted to have a good turnout and that the parents were really into it!

I have to give huge thanks to both Storytime Katie and the Yogibrarian, both of whom had yoga storytimes that I used to guide me as I put together my yoga storytime. Here’s how it went:

Hello song!
Hello, my friends, Hello!
Hello, my friends, Hello!
Hello, my friends, Hello, my friends,
Hello, my friends, Hello!

Song: This is Yoga (to the tune of Frere Jacques)
This is yoga, this is yoga,
Om, sweet Om, Om, sweet Om, (hands in Namaste – prayer – position)
Sitting and stretching, (sit criss cross applesauce)
Twist and turn (twist to one side),
Om, sweet, om, Om, sweet, om, (hands in Namaste – prayer – position)
Repeat, and stretch to the other side!

head to toe

 

Story: From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle
This was a great warm-up story for the kids. We stretched our necks like giraffes, beat our chests like gorillas, and waved our arms like monkeys. The kids had a great time, the parents had a great time, and we laughed and called out animals names the whole time, to keep the interactivity high.

 

 

 

 

you are a lionStory: You Are a Lion!, by Taeeun Yoo
This is such a fun book! The book uses actual animal-inspired yoga poses and invites readers to channel the animal to complete the pose. We stuck our tongues out like lions, flapped our thighs like butterflies, and slithered like snakes. I would definitely use this book again. The end of the book features all the poses, for anyone interested in doing an asana series. Encouraging the kids to make animal sounds while breathing into the poses was a hit, too.

 

 

 

 

We sang a few songs to keep in the spirit of the books and postures we just learned. I encouraged the kids to prowl like lions, to stretch their upper backs, and we had a nice, loud ROAR! at the end. The kids loved the suspense of not roaring the first two times we repeated the rhyme, too!

Song: “Lion Prowl” (by Debbie Clement: http://www.songsforteaching.com/debbieclement/lionprowl.htm)
Lion, lion prowls through the jungle.
Lion, lion stalks the jungle floor.
Lion, lion prowls throughout the jungle.
Lion, lion listen for that roar: (silence)
Lion, lion prowls through the jungle.
Lion, lion stalks the jungle floor.
Lion, lion prowls throughout the jungle.
Lion, lion listen for that roar: (silence)
Lion, lion prowls through the jungle.
Lion, lion stalks the jungle floor.
Lion, lion prowls throughout the jungle.
Lion, lion listen for that roar: Rrrrrrrrrroarrrrrr!

For “Flutter Flutter Butterfly”, we got back into our butterfly yoga poses and gently moved our thighs up and down to mimic the butterfly’s wings. Some kids wanted to flap their arms, too. We had the space, they enjoyed themselves, it was great. 

Song: “Flutter Flutter Butterfly” (Tune: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
Flutter, flutter, butterfly,
Floating in the deep blue sky,
Floating by for all to see,
Floating by so merrily,
Flutter, flutter, butterfly,
Floating in the deep blue sky.

We sang our goodbye song (just like the hello song, but replace Hello with Goodbye!), and finished up to go color. The storytime was a success and I’m already looking at more yoga picture books for more yoga storytimes!

 

Posted in Preschool

Faraway Friends: A far-out adventure that takes place on Earth!

faraway friendsFaraway Friends, by Russ Cox (2015, Sky Pony Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781632204080

Recommended for ages 3-7

Sheldon’s friend is moving – possibly, to Jupiter! What’s a kid to do? Why, build a rocketship and blast off to visit!

Faraway Friends is a great blending of realistic and fantasy for young kids. You’ve got the story of loss, when Sheldon’s friend moves away, as the frame. Within that frame, you have Sheldon and his first-mate, Jet the Dog, building a rocketship to head out to the stars, explore, and go for a visit. Finally, you have the beginning of a new friendship – with an alien?!

This book is adorable. Russ Cox’s artwork is exciting and fun, with action and movement. Jet the Dog’s facial expressions and thought bubbles make him the best part of this story for me. Sheldon’s decision to take action as part of his dealing with his friend moving away is a great way to illustrate the concept of moving on and forming new friendships. The basic text is unintrusive and perfect for a read-aloud, and the countdowns to blastoff provide fun opportunities to get little listeners involved in the book.

I read this story to my three preschool classes, who loved the book and wanted me to read it again and again. What a home run! This one’s going on the shelves for Summer Reading, no question about it.

Enjoy the book trailer for Faraway Friends, and then go get your own copy – it’s on shelves now!

Posted in Preschool

This is Sadie gives us a little girl with a big imagination

this is sadieThis is Sadie, by Sara O’Leary/illus. by Julie Morstad (May 2015, Tundra Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781770495326

Recommended for ages 4-8

Sadie is a little girl whose friends sometimes live in the pages of books. She makes worlds and kingdoms out of cushions and boxes and anything around her. She has wings that bring her wherever she wants to go, and get her home safely. She can do anything, be anything, with her imagination. She’s Alice in Wonderland, she’s Mowgli, she’s anyone she wants to be.

The whole book is an invitation to all readers to get lost in their imaginations. Sadie is the focal point for the story, but boys and girls alike will recognize their own adventures, whether it’s sailing in a cardboard box boat or talking to birds and trees. Sadie’s creativity will spark children to create their own adventures – storytime and a pillow fort building activity would go great together for this book!

The art itself is dreamlike, with soft, bright yet relaxed colors on the pages. The simple black font is unintrusive and is perfect for storytime reading.

Kids will love this book, and grown-ups will love reading it. Read together, and go on an adventure.

Posted in Preschool

Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay is a gorgeous book about new beginnings and friendship!

buterfly parkButterfly Park, by Elly MacKay (2015, Running Press), $16.95, ISBN: 978-0762453399

Recommended for ages 3-8

A young girl moves from her home, surrounded by green and butterflies, to a new house, where she hears horns and sirens, and everything looks the same. Until she finds the gates to a park next door, that read “Butterfly Park”. Thrilled, she drops in – but there are no butterflies to be found in the park! She sets to work with her neighbors to create a place that the butterflies will return to again and again.

This book delivers such positive messages in a beautiful setting. Created with collage and diorama, the art seemingly takes on an extra dimension, inviting the reader to join in the quest to bring the butterflies to Butterfly Park. The characters, known only as The Girl and The Boy, facilitate this by easily allowing any child reading the book to become The Girl or The Boy, chasing butterflies and planting flowers with nectar that the butterflies will love.  The entire neighborhood comes together to help The Girl create the garden, illustrating the value and the fun in teamwork. The girl’s determination to make the best of her move and her new surroundings will resonate with anyone who’s had to move and start over.

The book’s cover folds out into a poster featuring plants that attract butterflies, and the final pages fold out into a beautiful panorama of a community butterfly garden. Kids will likely want to get some seeds and tools and plant their own gardens after reading this book – and they should! It’s springtime! Show kids they can create a garden anywhere – container gardens and houseplants are just as much fun to work with as outdoor gardens.

Join #TheButterflyTrail at Running Press’ Butterfly Park site and learn more about the book and the author.