A place to share books, music, techniques, and all things related to bilingual storytime!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12 Ways Libraries Are Good for the Country | American Libraries Magazine

A colleague recently shared this article, and I love it. We are truly fortunate to have the public libraries we have in this country. At a time when so many are in crisis due to dwindling budgets and a stalled economy, it is important to remember the value and return on investment libraries provide to their communities.

12 Ways Libraries Are Good for the Country American Libraries Magazine

Monday, December 27, 2010

¡Feliz Navidad!

It's a rare thing when you actually love where you work and what you do.  This should give you a glimpse of why I honestly love working at Village.  Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Manos pequeñas, ideas grandes: A bilingual discovery center program

My amazing colleagues at the Tates Creek Branch library have been doing a series of programs called "Little Hands, Big Ideas" for a while now.  Last year I observed one, and got inspired to try a bilingual version here at the Village Branch.  Today was our first program, and it was really fun!

The program works like this: various activity stations are set up using a certain theme, and the parent/caregiver and child move from activity to activity.  Through this interactive play, the child is building early literacy, science and math concepts.  There is a lot of prep to setup the program, but it is worth it to see child and parent interacting together and having fun while they build important Kindergarten Readiness skills.

Our theme for today's program was Grocery Store / El supermercado.  We started off with a book and a story: Susan Middleton Elya's Bebé Goes Shopping, which introduces Spanish vocabulary through rhyming English text, and "Chocolate," one of our favorite phonological awareness building rhymes.  Then it was off to explore at the five stations.

Station 1:  Shopping Baskets / Cestas de compras
Children counted the items in two shopping baskets and compared which one had more items.  They then created patterns with the groceries and lined the various items up by size.  This helped them practice counting up to 20, comparing objects of different sizes and constructing simple patterns. 

Station 2:  Shopping Cart / Carrito de compras
Kids estimated how many objects they could fit into the shopping cart and then experimented by placing object in the cart.  They did the same activity again, estimating how many small items would fit into the cart and then how many large items would fit.  This also practiced counting and size comparisons, as well as making and testing hypotheses.

Station 3:  Food Sort / Tipos de alimentos
Kids sorted various types of foods into the appropriate categories based on the USDA food pyramid.  This helped children practice sorting skills.
Station 4:  Let's Go Shopping / Vamos de compras
This was a very fun activity.  Kids could use shopping baskets and mini shopping carts to search for the groceries on their list, while they talked with their parent or cargiver about what they were purchasing and what they would use it for.  This activity helped build early literacy skills such as vocabulary and narrative skills by sparking parent and child conversation.  Plus, pushing around the mini cart was a lot of fun!

Station 5:  Price Matching / Emparejamiento de precios
Lots of products and prices were spread out for kids to match the prices to the correct items.  The best part?  They could then enter the prices into a REAL cash register.  It even beeped and opened to reveal play money!  This was an opportunity to identify various numbers and to compare numbers of different sizes. 

This style of program is a great way to share with parents the types of early skills their children need to know to be ready for school success, and to share fun ways of practicing those skills which they can expand out at home or in other locations.  All of the files used in this program are available online here at Google Docs.  Do you do any kind of discovery center programming?  How do you make it accessible for everyone in your community?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Celebrating Halloween and El Día de los Muertos through Stories

Two holidays in one week? Yippee! This alone is enough to put a smile on my face, but when you add in that the two holidays are Halloween and the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), it gets even better - costumes, calaveras and candy!

Like last year, we celebrated Halloween in bilingual family storytime with Slightly Spooky Stories / Cuentos algo escalofriantes. We started off with a vocabulary activity, reviewing the names and colors of an orange pumpkin / calavaza anaranjada, a purple bat / murciélago morado, a white ghost / fantasma blanco and a balck cat / gato negro. The cutouts of each are available here through Google Docs. They would also work for flannel patterns. To keep this piece interactive, we pretended to scoop out our pumkins, fly like bats, boo like ghosts and hiss like cats.

Our first story was the Pura Belpre award winning Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marissa Montes and illustrated by the always amazing Yuyi Morales. The story is told in rhyming English text, useful for practicing phonological awareness, with Spanish vocabulary sprinkled throughout. We then did some Five Little Pumpkins / Cinco calabazas fingerplays. Several versions are available and I included them on my Spooky Stories handout.

Next, we tried a new spin on an old classic - La viejecita que no le tenía miedo a nada by Sue Williams, also known as The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. At a presentation I attended last week at Kentucky's Widening Circles conference, a music therapist shared how she tells this story incorporating musical instruments, which I thought sounded like a great idea to try. It was great! Each piece of clothing got a different instrument, such as drums, rattles, shakers and bells. Luckily I had enough egg shakers so that every kid could participate. This story tends to run a little long, but the use of the instruments kept the kids engaged throughout.

We finished with an English song, something I don't do very often, but it was a cute thing I had seen another librarian do and wanted to try out. We first found our derecha and izquierda (right and left), and then instead of the Hokey Pokey, we sang the Hooky Spooky. Everyone had a ball! The kids trick-or-treated throughout the library on their way out with huge smiles on their faces.

This Monday, we will celebrate El Día de los Muertos with stories, calavera puppets and pan dulce. We will be sharing Bob Barner's new book, The Day of the Dead / El Día de los Muertos.  We have a community altar for folks to drop by and leave rememberances of their loved ones, such as pictures and favorite foods.  A personal note to share, is this year I lost my cat Zoey who was my faithful companion for 20 years.  I will be celebrating her long and beautiful life by bringing a picture and some of her treats for our altar.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Butterflies and Science Make Storytime Fun!

Bilingual Family Storytime is back in full swing at the Village Branch Library with a new time.  We are now offering the program on Wednesday evenings at 6 PM.  Last week, mariposas filled the air.  This was a great theme for incorporating important science and early literacy concepts.

We started off as always with our opening song, "Hola amigo" from Ole! Ole! Ole!  Dr. Jean en Español by Dr. Jean Feldman.  This song introduces English speakers to fun Spanish greetings, practices rhythm and rhyme, and signals to the children each week that storytime is beginning.  Our first book was Mariposa, mariposa by Petr Horacek.  I love this book!  Lucía encounters all kinds of colorful bugs in her yard as she searches for an elusive butterfly.  The cutouts in the pages and a special surprise at the end make this book extra fun to explore.  It's a perfect choice for reinforcing print motivation.

Moving on, we practiced both colors and sorting while we listened to "Mariposa" from ¡Piñata! Bilingual Songs for Children by Sarah Barchas.  We placed four sheets of paper on our carpet - azul, morado, amarillo  y anaranjado.  Then I had a big bag of assorted objects in those colors.  One at a time we sorted the objects by color into 4 different groups.  This activity took about three minutes to complete; we ended just as the song was finishing.

Next we met Rita, a mischevious little butterfly in the book by Rachel Chaundler.  The story is amusing and can even be adapted into a creative dramatic using puppets.  Afterward I put on my storytelling apron and used pieces available from Lakeshore to retell Eric Carle's classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  This story is excellent for telling bilingually.  The repetition of "he was still hungry / todavia tenía hambre" makes the story interactive to tell.  The names of the different fruits help build vocabulary, and counting them practices early numeracy concepts.  An alternative to purchasing the storytelling pieces is to make your own puppets or felt pieces.  Patterns are available from DLTK.

Next we reviewed the life cycle of una mariposa.  I printed out four pictures - an egg (un huevo), a caterpillar (una oruga), a cocoon (un capullo) and a butterfly (una mariposa).  We put the pictures in order to practice sequencing, and then acted out the various stages as a movement activity.  As always, we closed with another Dr. Jean tune, "Adiós amigos."  Handouts for parents shared information about what specific Kindergarten Readiness skills we were practicing throughout the program, and included books and ideas to use at home.  The handouts are available in English and Spanish.

Another fun song you could use in a butterfly storytime is "La mariposa" by Colibri from Putamayo Presents World Playground: a Musical Adventure for Kids.  Clapping to the rythm with their manos and pies help kids develop phonological awareness.  What do you like to share when mariposas come to visit your storytime?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Incorporating las ciencias into Bilingual Storytime

Some of you may be familiar with the Vermont Center for the Book's Mother Goose programs.  These programs are intended to help increase kids' school readiness - a personal passion of my own.  The Lexington Public Library uses the Mother Goose math and science resources to incorporate math and science skills, along with early literacy skill development techniques, into our storytime programs.  Bilingual Family Storytime is no exception.  So far this summer we have had a hands-on science activity for parents and kids to work on together after every program, and they have loved it!

The first week we had a water theme to kick off our Summer Reading Program - Make a Splash at your Library.  As promised in a previous post, I used I Know the River Loves Me / Yo sé que el rio me ama by Maya Christina Gonzalez, along with Salpicar / Splash by Flora McDonnell, Bebé Goes to the Beach by Susan Middleton Elya, and "Vamos a la mar" by Jose-Luis Orozco.  Our science activity also used water - various objects were spread out and kids had to examine them and predict which objects would sink and which would float.  They marked their predictions on a chart and then it was time to experiment.  When I saw how much the parents and the children enjoyed interacting together to make the predictions and conduct the experiment, I knew I would have to keep trying this type of activity.  I'm sharing the bilingual directions you can print out and use with this activity via Google Docs along with the bilingual chart we used to mark our predictions.  Sample sink or float activities are available on the Mother Goose site, along with other resources.

Last week our program was about colors.  The last story we told was Pinta ratones, also known as Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  This story introduces the concept of primary and secondary colors.  We followed this with our science activity.  Using color paddles available from Oriental Trading, the kids were able to mix primary colors together (mess-free!) and make secondary colors.  They had a lot of fun looking through the paddles and seeing Miss Katie turn green and purple!

Tonight we are talking about the weather.  One of my favorite things about the summer is growing my own food in my garden, so we are starting off with A sembrar sopa de verduras by Lois Ehlert (Growing Vegetable Soup) to talk about seasons.  To reinforce narrative skills, we will retell what happened first, middle and last in the story after we read it.  Lexington is a rainy town, so we'll follow up with "Que llueva" by Jose-Luis Orozco, Un día de lluvia by Valeri Gorbachev, and (of course!) "La araña pequeñita."  We'll come back to seasons with Oso bajo el sol by Stella Blackstone.  The change of seasons in our climate produces a clear pattern.  Every year we move from spring, to summer, to fall and winter.  So our science activity tonight will be identifying patterns.  I've set out one easy and one hard pattern using foam shapes.  Kids and parents will work together to find the pieces that continue and complete the pattern.  This is a school readiness skill, and it also reinforces narrative skills by helping children identify sequence.  The Mother Goose site has a number of professional articles about the effectiveness of incorporating math and science into storytime, including this one about recognizing patterns.

Do you incorporate science skills in your programs?  Do you have some other kind of hands-on activity for kids and caregivers at the end of storytime?  Let us know what you are doing!

Friday, June 18, 2010

International Latino Book Awards Winners

I am reposting the following from the SLHW Literary Notes blog available at http://slhwnotes.blogspot.com.  This was mentioned in the most recent American Libraries Direct.  Way to go winners!  There are a number of books on this list that I have not yet seen that I look forward to checking out.

International Latino Book Awards Winners

Here is a listing of the 12th Annual International Latino Book Awards Winners announced last night. I am so proud to see some local authors on the list! Congratulations to everyone!!

12th Annual International Latino Book Awards Winners Announced

In recognition of the many positive contributions being made to Latino literature by publishers and writers worldwide, Latino Literacy Now, a non-profit organization that supports and promotes literacy and literary excellence within the Latino community, created the Latino Book Awards in 1999. The awards were presented during BookExpo America on May 25, 2010, at the Javits Center. This year we are introducing a new designation for those entries that swept the judges 1st place ballots: Triple Crown Award Winners.

The Winners (Title - Author(s) or Illustrator (s) - Publisher):

Best Educational Children’s Book - Spanish
Cambio Climático: Los Gases de Efecto Invernadero - Daniel R. Faust - Rosen Publishing
2ND Place: Andy Warhol - Patricia Geis - Combel Editorial
Honorable Mention: Mitología Mesoamericana: Quetzalcóatl - Tom Danish - Rosen Publishing

Best Educational Children’s Book - Bilingual
Chiles- Inés Vaughn - Rosen Publishing
2ND Place: Fun With ABC's - Loteria Style - Luciano Martinez - Lectura Books
Honorable Mention: Chocolate - Inés Vaughn - Rosen Publishing
Honorable Mention: Corn/Maiz- Inés Vaughn - Rosen Publishing

Best Children’s Picture Book – English
What Can You Do With A Paleta? - Carmen Tafolla - Trycycle Press2ND Place: Diego: Bigger Than Life - Carmen T. Bernier-Grand - Marshall Cavendish
Honorable Mention: Lom and the Gnatters – Kurusa - Groundwood Books

Best Children’s Picture Book – Spanish
¡Al Galope! - Rufus Butler Seder - Workman Publishing
2ND Place: Cocinando cuentos de hadas: Alicia en el pais de las delicias - Maria Villegas & Jennie Kent - Villegas Editores S.A.
2ND Place: Cocinando cuentos de hadas: Hansel y Gretel y la casita endulzado - Maria Villegas & Jennie Kent - Villegas Editores S.A.
Honorable Mention: Cocinando cuentos de hadas: Caperucita roja y el lobo glotón - Maria Villegas & Jennie Kent - Villegas Editores S.A.

Best Children’s Picture Book – BilingualMy Papa Diego and Me/Mi papa Diego y yo - Guadalupe Rivera Marin - Children's Book Press
2ND Place: I Know the River Loves Me/Yo se que el rio me ama - Maya Christina Gonzalez - Children's Book Press
Honorable Mention: Rene Has Two Last Names/René tiene dos apellidos - René Colato Laiñez - Arte Público Press
Honorable Mention: What Can You Do With A Paleta?/¿Que puedes hacer con una paleta? - Carmen Tafolla - Trycycle Press

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Las seis habilidades de pre-alfabetización

Posts have been few and far between lately, but such is the nature of May.  Final purchases are being made with end-of-year budgets, and, of course, all energy is going into planning for Summer Reading.  Our program started last week, and the Village branch staff have been doing an amazing job at making sure all families are signed up and participating in this year's program.

For a quick post, I thought I'd share a video that LPL just added to our YouTube channel.  I worked on this a few months back.  It is our first all-Spanish video, and it is about the six early literacy skills and library services.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fiesta Babies Say Hello!

Two lovely new books came in to the library today that I have to share.  They each reinforce multiple early literacy skills, and could be used in bilingual storytime programs or by monolingual librarians striving to make their storytimes multiculturally inclusive.

Everyone loves a good party, including our youngest friends - and Fiesta Babies is just for them!  This title by Carmen Tafolla is the perfect length for a baby or toddler storytime.  The rhyming text encourages phonological awareness, while the Spanish words integrated into the text help develop vocabulary.  Additionally, there are many ways parents can act out the text in this story while reading it with their child, such as tipping upside down, putting on pretend coronas, and dancing.  This kind of interaction makes reading together fun and promotes print motivation.  Even little Fiesta Babies can have positive experiences enjoying books!

Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora teaches us a variety of ways to greet the folks in our neighborhood from different cultures.  I love this book!  I am a big fan of mixed-media illustrations, such as those Isadora uses to bring her neighborhood to life.  Carmelita and her mama start the day with breakfast, huevos con tocino, and then they are off to visit abuela.  They are a friendly pair, enjoying this morning stroll through the neighborhood.  They call out Buenos Días! at the bodega, Konichiwa! at the sushi restaurant, and Bonjour! at the pastisserie, as well as taking the time to stop and say hi with the neighbors they meet along the way.  In addition to being an obvious vocabulary reinforcing book, this is an excellent print awareness title too.  Words are incorporated throughout the pictures, just like we may see on buildings and signs in our own neighborhood.  I plan to share this title this week at storytime when our theme is "Our Neighborhood / Nuestro vecindario."  This would be a fun title for parents to share with their child before taking neighborhood walk together, practicing letter knowledge along the way by pointing out the letters they see and practicing their names and sounds.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We are so proud of you Betty!

Village Branch manager Betty Abdmishani was recently selected as one of the 20 Women Leading Central Kentucky by Business Lexington! This distinction could not be any more well-deserved. Betty is a tireless advocate for the Latino community in Lexington and provides the model for exceptional customer service to ALL people who walk through our library's doors. She is also one of the most caring and compassionate people I have ever met - working with her is a joy. In addition to sharing Betty's many accomplishments, this article does a fantastic job at describing the service model that makes the Village Branch a truly unique and special library. Please take a minute to read the article!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Virginia Hamilton Conference Follow Up

What an honor it was to present last week at the 26th annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth at Kent State University!  The authors were moving, the artists fascinating, and the breakout sessions highly relevant to today's librarians and teachers serving increasingly diverse communities.  My greatest take-aways are from Laurie Halse Anderson to STOP being too nice and fight back when schools and governments slash library funding, and from Ken and Sylvia Marantz that the "picturebook" is its own art form and not merely a book of pictures (picture book).

I was thrilled to present my session on Bilingual Storytime to a group of interested individuals on Friday, including a group of international scholars from Egypt and Brazil.  You all asked some great questions!  A few of your questions have stayed in my mind, and so I am going to share them here over the next several days, along with more complete answers.

During the presentation, I commented that there are many reasons for establishing a bilingual storytime program, including to reach out to the Latino population in the community.  However, bilingual storytime should not be the first step in an organization's outreach effort.  If the Latino community is not using your library, the reason is not because you don't have a Spanish or bilingual storytime.  In response to this, I was asked: What are the first steps for a library wanting to reach out to the Latino community?  

In my opinion, the first step is to get outside of the library and get to know the community.  Find one key person who can help you connect with others; this first key person may not be Latino him/herself, but will be more deeply involved in working with the community.  Places to look are local Hispanic/Latino organizations, churches, ESL teachers, other agencies working with the Latino community, the local Spanish or bilingual newspaper and local businesses catering to Latinos.  Be prepared to ask these key folks what you want to know: why doesn't the Latino community currently use the library?  Then, be prepared to respond to what they share with you by making the changes you can to make your library and its services more accessible and relevant.  To accomplish this, you need buy in and support from the upper levels of administration and leadership in your organization, which can be tricky to gain.  Even well-meaning administrators may not have a clear understanding of how to serve the Latino community.  Find an ally with authority in your organization from the beginning, and bring them along with you as much as possible.  Try to encourage the people in charge at your organization to come with you, so they are part of meeting key leaders and hearing directly how the library can improve.  This will have more impact then your words alone.  Outreach needs differ depending on many variables, such as the experience of the community you are trying to reach, the perspectives and commitment of your administration to serving the community, the work your organization has already done to reach the community, and the staff, services and programs you have to offer.

There are many resources out there that can help you in your outreach process.  I recommend the following for getting started:

Crash Course in Serving Spanish Speakers by Salvador Avila.  There are many great book resources out there on library services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking, but I have found this to be the most straightforward, simple and practical for getting started.

Webjunction's Spanish Language Outreach Course.  Available to take online at your own pace for $20.  This course will provide an overview on what is means to do outreach to your Spanish-speaking community and provide a highly functional framework for doing so.  If you are reaching out to Latinos in your community and can encourage someone in your administration to take this course as well, it may help them to understand what you are doing and why.

"Latinos and Public Library Perceptions."  This study was conducted by Webjunction and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute.  It is a major research project that surveyed over 2,000 Latinos from across the country on their library use and perceptions.  This is a very eye opening study, and it can reveal what are the most important factors your organization should focus on as you approach your outreach.

And of course, join REFORMA - the National Organization to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.  The listserv is active and the people involved do an excellent job at sharing resources and ideas.

Latinos are already the largest minority in the USA and the fastest growing.  Serving Latinos in no longer "optional" or "extra" for libraries - it is essential for remaining relevant to your community!  Those who do not start reaching out and cultivating staff who can effectively serve this community will find themselves in a situation of playing a lot of catch-up down the road.  Buena suerte as you initiate an outreach project and do the necessary work to make your organization inclusive in all ways of the Latinos and Spanish-speakers you serve.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Día 2010 is almost here - How will you spread Bookjoy?

April is here after a long winter.  Cherry blossoms and magnolias are sprouting bringing color back into the world.  The return of the birds and the budding trees fills me with joy.  It's so fitting, then, that April is the month when we celebrate Día de los niños/Día de los libros - Children's Day/Book Day.

This is my first year getting to plan a Día celebration, and I am so happy to be doing it here at the Village Branch library.  This is their fifth year celebrating the event, and in years past it has always drawn in a massive crowd of families from our local neighborhood and beyond in Lexington.  This year's event promises to be our biggest to date.  We are continuing the tradition of providing Latino crafts and a free book to each child who attends our program, as well as adding some new elements that will further encourage a love of reading and the library as a place to turn for information across the lifespan.  We will have ongoing programs and performances for children and families throughout the day, such as a special program for parents and babies, a bilingual storytime, African drumming and a very special payaso guest.  We are also hosting a Community Information Fair for the first time.  Local agencies, particularly those serving the Latino community in the Cardinal Valley neighborhood have been invited to attend.  Each agency will provide an activity or giveaway for children, while having the opportunity to reach a large group of families all in one location.  Funding for our program is generously provided by the Friends of the Lexington Public Library - we couldn't do it without them.  5/3 Bank is also a supporter of the program, dropping by to provide ice cream treats for the kids.

All families in Lexington are welcome to attend our Día 2010 program on Saturday, May 1, 12-4 PM. 

How are you spreading bookjoy at your library this month?  For great ideas and to connect with a larger community of folks planning Día events, be sure to check out the Bookjoy! blog.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca: What, Why and How

Here is the presentation along with supplementary handouts for next week's presentation at the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or thoughts to share.

Colorín Colorado - A Website You MUST Know!

I just wanted to take a minute to post a link to the Colorín Colorado website (the sister site of Reading Rockets), in case there are any blog visitors out there working with bilingual families who don't yet know about it. This is easily one of the most valuable websites I have ever come across for librarians, parents and educators who are working with or raising bilingual children.  There is a wealth of scientific information related to the early literacy and educational development of bilingual children available on this site, in both English and Spanish.  I dig around here for new information whenever I have a spare minute to browse the web, and always find articles to print off for the families who come to my bilingual storytime.  The greatest part is that all of the articles are available in English and Spanish, so I can make the same information available to all families who attend.  Most useful are the Reading Tip Sheets for Parents, which break down different tips and ideas for how to promote early literacy skills with your child at home based on their age.  These sheets are available in 11 different languages, including Spanish!  It's really a great website, easy to navigate and full of valuable information.  I highly recommend checking it out and sharing it with other families and educators whom you know.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let's Have a Fiesta!

Last night, a group of 25 at Bilingual Family Storytime had a fiesta at the Village Branch library.  This is a guaranteed fun theme that works for babies through school age groups, as well as for a mixed age audience if you also use a family storytime format.  Here's what we did and how you can do it too!

We started with Ginger Foglesong Guy's simple bilingual title ¡Fiesta!  You have to go shopping for supplies before you can have a party, and in reading this title, we take a stroll through the market to buy all the supplies we need.  This book practices counting in both languages 1-10, so as we turn the pages I call out for the children to show me the appropriate number of deditos for the page we are on.  Older siblings do a great job at helping younger brothers and sisters find the right number of fingers!

What else do you need for a great party that we didn't get at the mercado?  A cake!  Kids all know that parties need cake!  So we read about baking a cake in Eight Animals Bake a Cake by Susan Middleton Elya.  This title is in English and introduces Spanish words through rhyming text, which reinforces both vocabulary and phonological awareness.  Don't forget to point this out to parents!  It is important that parents know that while storytime is fun, the important thing is that we are developing early literacy skills and that they can continue this learning at home.

I made a flannel cake that we put on the flannelboard after reading this book.  We once again practiced counting in both languages as we added the candles to the cake.  You could also talk about the colors they see on the cake or imagine what the cake might taste like.

There has to be music at a party, and little ones need to move after sitting still for so long, so we got back on our feet and danced along to "Los ninos cuando bailan" from Jorge Anaya's A bailar / Let's Dance CD.  This song helps us learn body vocabulary as we dance with our deditos, pies, rodillas, cadera, mano and cabeza.

But of course, there is one key thing that any good party in our neighborhood has to have - A PIÑATA!  We learned about the piñata and all the wonderful tesoros contained within by reading Rebecca Emberley's bilingual Piñata.  Then we filled our own piñata - I made one out of flannel and made things to put inside it based on the book, which each of the children were able to add.  When it was filled, I had all the kids close their eyes and count uno, dos, tres...when they opened them, there was a real piñata!  Because it was my only one, we didn't really break it.  Instead we used our imaginations and on the count of three made a loud CLAP and I through out confeti, symbolizing the breaking of the piñata.  Each child was able to pick a tesoro from the basket of goodies.  They loved it!

Here are the handouts that I used to talk with parents at our fiesta about print motivation and other early literacy skills.  There is one in English and also one in Spanish.  Feel free to use (giving credit as appropriate) for ideas on how to communicate early literacy messages in your school or library.

Have you had a fiesta at storytime?  What have you done?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Professional Development Opportunities Children's Librarians Serving Latino Youth

April has two exciting professional development opportunities for those serving multicultural communities, both of which are particularly relevant if you work with Latino children and families.  The first is in northern Ohio at Kent State University on April 8th and 9th.  This is the 26th annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth, which is described as "a forum of multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults."  Laurie Halse Anderson, Pam Muñoz Ryan and R. Gregory Christie will all be featured presenters discussing their work.  Breakout sessions include topics such as literature for young adults, literature from West Asia, exploring Latino culture in picture books and more.  I will be presenting a session on bilingual storytime at this conference too.  All of my handouts and my powerpoint from the presentation will be made available on this blog after the conference.  Registration is now open.

Another conference even more relevant to those serving Latino youth is the third annual Latino Children's Literature Conference: Connecting Cultures and Celebrating Cuentos in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama.  The dates are April 23rd and 24th.  Registration is also open for this event.  Featured keynote speakers are Dr. Monica Brown, Oralia Garza de Cortés, Rafael López, and Dr. Carmen Tafolla.  I am incredibly excited to be attending this conference for the first time this year!  There will be breakout sessions and poster presentations on Friday and Saturday, as well as a Noche de Cuentos community event Friday night at the Tuscaloosa Public Library.  I am really looking forward to meeting with and learning from authors, illustrators, researchers and other practitioners serving Latino families at this conference.

Planning to be at either event?  I hope to see you there!  Leave a comment to share any other upcoming professional development opportunities you know of that may be relevant to librarians serving multicultural communities.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lexington Public Library Executive Director Candidates Present to Staff and Public

The final three candidates for the position of Executive Director at my library, Lexington Public Library, made staff and public presentations on their leadership style and library trends yesterday.  The candidates are Cindy Lombardo, Don Barlow, and Brian Lewis.  LPL's hard-working marketing team and webmaster have digitized the presentations and posted them all as a playlist on YouTube, so the public can view what the candidates had to say, as well as the staff and community questions and candidate responses.  I really appreciate that this has been made available to those who may not have had the opportunity to attend the sessions in person.  Here they are.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pura Belpre and other award winners announced this morning!

The award winners have been announced! As always, there were some surprises and also many anticipated winners. I have to redirect everyone to my previous post regarding Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora...this year's Pura Belpre winner for illustration! Visit the ALA press release for news on all the winners.

From my blog, April 9, 2009:
"As if we really need any more reasons to absolutely LOVE Pat Mora!  Well, just in case, here it is -
Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros.  I have been keeping this book on my desk lately for those moments when I just need a smile.  It is impossible to read this book without feeling all warm and fuzzy!

This totally bilingual book is all about celebrating the joy of reading, in whatever language, with all children.  We read alone, with our friends, with our pets, with our families, wherever we are...even the library!  We also exercise our imaginations, reading in submarines and on hot air balloons.

For any "Ready to Read" early-literacy advocates out there, turn to the page toward the end with the big moon and prepare to squeal in delight.  This is probably the best example of the use of print awareness in a picture book that I know of.  Not only do we have to turn the page vertically to read the text, starbeams across the page spell out "Read Books."  Keep looking even closer and you'll see the word bubble is filled with nighttime words, in English AND Spanish.  Beautiful!

Rafael López has done a spectacular job with the illustrations in this book.  I imagine he will be the illustrator to beat for the 2009 Pura Belpre award.  Every child will be able to see him or herself in this book, which makes it truly special.  This is on the top of my list along with Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach for my favorite illustrations.

So if you are looking for a great book to share at a Día de los niños/Día de los libros program, this is it!  But even more, this is a special book to share with any child, anytime to share the feeling of "bookjoy".  Thanks Pat Mora for giving us this treasure!"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pura Belpre Winners Coming Soon!!!!

As most lovers of children's literature will know, this Monday will be the announcements of the year's award winning books, including the Caldecott, Newberry, Printz, Coretta Scott King, and (of course) Pura Belpré awards. 

The Pura Belpré award was established in 1996 by ALSC and REFORMA to honor Latino/a authors and illustrators for their outstanding works portraying Latinos in children's literature.  The award was initially given bi-yearly, but is now awareded yearly.  One award and three honors are given for work in both narration and illustration.  Past award winners and honor recipients include Pat Mora, Rudy Gutierrez, Yuyi Morales, Margarita Engle, Maya Cristina Gonzalez, and many others.

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a mock selection of these year's winners via a webinar lead by past committee member Jean Hatfield and sponsored by the Hearland Chapter of REFORMA.  This was great fun!  It was quite exciting to hear people from other places and experiences talk about some of the incredible works that have come out this year, as well as to learn more about how the committee itself works from someone who has actually had this experience.

One thing I know for certain, the real Pura Belpre committee has their work cut out for them this year!  It is wonderful to see how the demand for quality books that positively portray Latinos and Latino culture has grown, and how the publishing industry has responded.  The quality of books this year is impressive.  I'm sure there will be a lot of debate when it gets down to the wire!

Our predicted winners were Diego: Bigger than Life by Carmen T. Bernier for narrative, and My Abuelita by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Yuyi Morales for illustration.  Visit the Heartland REFORMA's webpage to view a list of all the books we considered and listen to an archive of our discussion. 

Thanks again to Jean and to Heartland REFORMA for hosting this event and making it available online.  This was a lot of fun!