There are lots of reasons we as children’s librarians do storytimes. Part of it is exposing parents to early literacy techniques and strategies, part of it is giving kids and parents a place to socialize, and part of it is about getting parents and kids into the library. One of my favorite roles, though, is introducing parents to new picture books they might not have otherwise discovered. A lot of parents don’t know what the Caldecott is, and never venture over into the Awards section to explore them. I thought taking a day to explore the Caldecott award and honor books would be fun! We started out this group of books with me talking to the parents a little about what the Caldecott is, and letting them know that the librarians are always happy to help them find books that are award winners that are ALSO fun to read for their kids.
Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello
Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep
Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages
Toddler Time Book: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Kormmes
I love so much about the illustrations in this book! The scratchboard is just SO delightful and evocative. My toddlers, however, were not quite as impressed with it as I was. I think that the poem-like aspect of the text wasn’t as engaging as I had planned. I ended up reading this book to about five different groups, since I took it on my outreach circuit with me. They all got fairly antsy during this one. While I love it with all my heart, I think it would be a better fit in a situation with older kids who can appreciate the poem-like nature of the text. It would also serve as a really fun introduction to scratchboard techniques for school-age kids.
Storytime Book: A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C Stead and Erin E Stead
This book’s gentle illustrations and sweet story was a total hit. I was a little worried that Stead’s antique-looking, slightly washed out pallet wouldn’t read well with a group, but all the preschoolers could tell what was going on just fine. They also giggled like fiends when I asked them if animals could really ride the bus or make tea.
Song: Storytime Cube
Toddler Time and Story Time Book: All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Fazee
I love this book so, so much! It’s full of big, beautiful drawings and a beautiful poem for text. It’s a surprisingly fast read, and kept toddler attention like a champ. With older kids at my outreaches, if I noticed their attention flagging, I would ask them where they thought the characters in the book were before I would turn the page. It worked well to build in some interactivity in a storytime set that wasn’t the most dialogic I’ve even chosen.
Activity: Parachute Play
Toddler Time Book: Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
I read this book to toddlers and babies, and it was a HUGE hit will all of them. One observant little guy even pointed out the cut-outs of the pages, and how that means the same image is on two different pages with different colors. Anyway, this Caldecott-honor book is so full of different words and vocabulary, and it’s so short that it can fill in as much or as little time as you have in your storytime. I LOVE that Laura Vaccaro Seeger made such a beautiful book from such a simple concept: shades of green, depicted gorgeously.
Story Time Book: A Ball For Daisy by Chris Raschka
This was my first attempt at using a wordless picture book in storytime. Let me tell you…it went super well! I had the kids at my story time and outreaches help me “tell the story”, and we talked about how the illustrations told the story without words. It was GREAT! And a fun opportunity to talk about style, facial expression, and color. I even snuck this into an outreach baby time – I told the story pretty quickly. It was a hit all over!
Shaker Song: Shake It to the East
Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!
Song: Rum Pum Pum
Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon
This was an excellent toddler time and story time! I’d really encourage you to use more award books in your story times. I don’t often think about them, because the winners are hidden away in a separate section in my library (sigh.), but there are some real gems in there! I also had several parents ask me during play time afterwards for more information about the Caldecott, what other awards there are, and stuff like that. I felt like a total storytime rock star.