School here in Vancouver runs until the end of June, but I know many of you are on the cusp of Summer Reading time. In celebration of another school year past and to give you time to get your orders in for the next school year, I’m sharing 2019 picture books about school today.
When Sophie was about to start kindergarten I checked out every single book about starting school my library holds. I particularly sought out books featuring anxiety about starting school. I am so glad to see more and more books about the school experience hitting the shelves. Here’s what’s coming this year.
See the other posts in my 2019 Picture Books series:
We are in full Harry Potter mode in my household these days. Sophie is reading the first book and officially *obsessed.* Which of course makes my little children’s librarian heart happy.
For her 8th birthday party we did a Harry Potter theme, and we decided to make wands as gifts for each attendee. I don’t think this craft project translates well to a library program because of the use of hot glue and spray paint, but if you wanted to make them ahead of time or simply for fun then this tutorial is for you!
Sharpies (I used gold, metallic, black, and silver)
I live in Vancouver and order take-out sushi a lot, so I had a collection of wooden chopsticks that were perfect for this craft. I picked up the spray paint at my local Michael’s. I chose it because it does all three jobs in one and dries very quickly. I got the colour Root Beer.
Begin by sanding down the chopsticks so kids don’t get splinters. Make sure to get the top edge – I rounded it off a bit to be safe. If you buy a pack of chopsticks online that are already smooth you can skip this step.
Once your chopsticks are splinter free, heat up your hot glue gun and get ready to create some wand patterns. There is no right way to do this – I did zigzags, knobs, stripes, swirls, etc. I tried to make each wand unique. Do not worry about imperfections – it will all be covered by spray paint! Sophie tried her hand at wand-making too, but it requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. Be forewarned , this does use a lot of glue. I think I used about one glue stick per wand.
The next step is to spray paint them. The kind I used is a paint, primer, and sealer all in one so I didn’t have to do multiple different coats. I put down a piece of cardboard to catch the mist. The more you spray the darker the coat, so you can do different variations of brown. I let these dry for about an hour just to be safe.
Once the wands are dry you can decorate! I bought a pack of gold, metallic, silver, and black sharpies at Michael’s and used them to add accent colours. Sophie and Jon enjoyed helping me make each wand special.
And that’s it! Once the sharpies dry they are good to go. At the birthday party I played Mr. Ollivander and had each kid come to my wand shop where their wand chose them. At the end of the party we used the wands to practice the spells from this spell book I printed for each child. Honestly I’m not sure who had more fun – me or the kids!
If you are looking for even more book character party ideas, don’t miss the round-up I continually update. So many great ideas to celebrate the stories in our lives.
Intergenerational bonds are something special. Sometimes I have moments where I forget that all of my grandparents have died, and I’m struck with an intense sadness when that moment passes. Here are some books coming out in 2019 to help us treasure the time we have with our grandmas and grandpas.
See the other posts in my 2019 Picture Book series:
In November 2017 my colleague Christie Menzo and I launched a new project designed to get library staff serving children to read and discuss emerging research related to our field of practice. It’s called the Library Services for Children Journal Club. I’ve written recaps of each of our meetings here on Jbrary as a way to spread awareness of the club and to encourage others to join the discussion.
At the 2019 British Columbia Library Association conference held this past weekend Christie and I were given the Young Adult and Children Services Award for the creation of the LSC Journal Club which shows exceptional service in the area of children’s or teen librarianship in British Columbia. What an honour!
We were able to give a short acceptance speech and I thought I’d share it here too. I was so nervous accepting the award that I didn’t say everything I intended, but I hope the message rang true. I wrote the first paragraph and Christie wrote the second.
Thank you to the British Columbia Library Association and the Young Adult and Children’s Services division for this award. When you envision a children’s librarian you probably think of things like singing The Wheels on the Bus with a group of rambunctious toddlers or making rocket ships out of cardboard and glitter or getting a group of 100 people to shake their sillies out. Which is true! Doing those things is why I love my job so much. But we started the Library Services for Children Journal Club because we also see ourselves as researchers and analyzers of current research in any field related to child development and youth services. The “what” we do is important – those early memories of the library as a fun and welcoming space create future users many of you see later in life – but the “why” behind what we do is perhaps even more important. We want to push our field to think about those reasons critically.
We created Library Services for Children Journal Club so that we could have more space to discuss the “whys” behind the important work Children’s staff do. Lindsey and I believe that opportunities for professional development conversations and critical thinking in the field needed to be ongoing, regularized, and open to all levels of staff. Conferences like this are great AND we need to build on these conversations throughout the year so that we remain vibrant, research-informed organizations. We encourage all of you to consider beginning your own journal clubs in your own communities. Lindsey and I are happy to help you get started and you can check out our website: lscjournalclub.org for more information on how to get started or join our Vancouver group. Thank you again for this fabulous award. Happy learning.
If you’ve never heard of the LSC Journal Club before and are interested in getting involved please let me know! We encourage local groups to form and you can see if there is one in your area already.
As children’s librarians we don’t always get the recognition we deserve, but dang it feels good when we do.
I mean, OF COURSE I was going to make a thematic list about literacy! I think these books would make great CLEL Bell award nominations too. Check out these 2019 picture books about reading and writing.
See the other books in my 2019 Picture Book series:
Welcome to Part 3 of my Professional Development Books series. Part 1 showcases books about language and literacy, while Part 2 features my go-to program planning resources.
This post is all about child development, child psychology, and brain development. In truth, I have not read all of these in full – this list is partly for my own reading inspiration. My goal is to read one a month. Anyone with me?
The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids (2014) by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl I am a little biased about this one because firstly, if my last name didn’t give it away, my family is Danish, and secondly, this is how I raise the little one in my life. The authors spend a chapter each on the 6 elements of PARENT: Play, Authenticity, Reframing, Empathy, No Ultimatums, and Togetherness. Written in accessible language, this is a great book to read for yourself or to recommend to other caregivers.
The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids by Alexandra Lange A design critic steps into the world of children by investigating how toys, homes, schools, playgrounds, and cities affect children’s health, values, and behaviours. Though not directly related to library service, this is a fascinating look at the other things in the world that heavily influence child development.
Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn – and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less (2003) by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff These two authors are also on my Literacy and Language list. In this book they push against the accelerated learning trend and make the case for play (which we know is so important!). I haven’t read it yet, but they’ve got a 2017 book out called Becoming Brilliant that I also want to check out.
The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children (2016) by Alison Gopnik I recommend all of Gopnik’s books. This is her most recent one which centers on the myth of “good parenting.” She argues that prescriptive parenting has made life worse for adults and kids, and offers advice on how to create a safe and stable environment for children which fosters exploration and experimentation. I also put it on my Language and Literacy list.
The Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs (2010) by Ellen Galinsky Committed to providing a research-based parenting advice book, Galinsky lays out 7 critical areas where science can inform our interactions with small children. Filled with lots of suggestions that caregivers can use (or not). Highly recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about executive function.
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children (2009) by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman I’ve written about my love of this book before, and it’s no wonder it’s a bestseller. Each chapter covers a different topic – praising children, sleep, race, lying, self-control, teen rebellion, and more. A quick, fun read that will get you thinking in new ways.
Nurturing Personal, Social and Emotional Development in Early Childhood: A Practical Guide to Understanding Brain Development and Young Children’s Behaviour (2018) by Debbie Garvey Case studies and examples fill this guide which aims to inform early childhood educators about brain development and encourages them to reflect on their own practice. Some topics such as reward systems and food eating aren’t as applicable to a library setting as a home or childcare, but there’s lots of recent research to explore here.
The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive (2019) by W. Thomas Boyce I first learned about this book through an interview with the author on NPR. Using the metaphor of the two flowers, Boyce examines what makes some children able to cope with stress, while others are more sensitive and reactive. An interesting look at how we can support kids who need it most.
The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life(2010) by Alison Gopnik As I said, I recommend everything written by Gopnik. This one is especially relevant for those of us serving babies. Learn about memory, attachment, language acquisition, and how babies view the world.
Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps – And What We Can Do About It(2009) by Lise Eliot A neuroscientist takes on assumptions and stereotypes about gender that start from birth. I like how she explains how small differences become amplified over time with parental reinforcement, but also how she looks at the role of genes and hormones to see what differences actually exist. Differences among us are presented as emerging, malleable characteristics rather than fixed biological traits.
The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children (2007) by David Elkind Another push towards play as a method of learning versus the regimented educational curriculum popular in the 1990s. Elkind explores how play can help with reading, science, and math. An easy read with lots of great examples.
The Psychology of Babies: How Relationships Support Development From Birth to Two (2014) by Lynne Murray Written by a professor of developmental psychology, I highly recommend this book to anyone doing babytime. Learn how a baby’s brain grows and changes in the first two years and how relationships can aid that development. I love the photograph sequences that illustrate main concepts so you see it in action.
The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind (2000) by Alison Gopnik, Andrew N. Meltzoff, and Patricia K. Kuhl Revolutionary when it was published this book argues that “evolution designed us to both teach and learn.” Although the research they cite can’t be counted as groundbreaking anymore, they do a great job of using cognitive science to explain children’s brains and language development.
Screen Time: How Electronic Media – From Baby Videos to Educational Software – Affects Your Young Child (2007) by Lisa Guernsey Despite being published in 2007, this book offers a great framework for choosing digital media that I still use today – Content, Context, and Your Child. Guernsey provides a critical look at technology for little ones but doesn’t give into the fear mongering common in the media.
The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults (2015) by Frances E. Jensen Changes the question about teens from “What were they thinking?” to “How were they thinking?” The first four chapters provide the inside (brain) scoop on what’s happening as teens develop and were the most interesting to me. The next 12 chapters dive into specific topics such as drug and alcohol use, sleep, taking risks, mental illness, and stress. Highly recommend for those us serving teens and trying to understand them better.
The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today that Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow (2017) by Laura A. Jana The premise of this book is based on the premise that the Information Age requires much different thinking abilities than the Industrial Age (which we still see in the structure of our schools). The author argues that the first five years are a prime time to develop what she calls QI Skills and she spends a chapter each describing how we can foster emotional intelligence and qualities such as curiosity, creativity, and empathy.
Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College (2011) by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang This one contains the most science-y language and the most breadth covering from birth to teenage years. The neuroscientist authors lay out neural development, the importance of play, and how children’s brains adapt to school and other challenging environments.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind (2011) by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson Written by a psychotherapist and a clinical professor of psychiatry, this popular book explains how a child’s developing brain affects emotions and behaviour. Written for caregivers, this book gives concrete strategies for dealing with common parental frustrations that are tied to brain development. Includes a chart showing the 12 strategies applied to different ages and stages.
Do you have a book about child development that has impacted the way you think or serve children in libraries? I would love to know about it!