Back in January, the joint chiefs hosted a virtual Guerrilla Storytime via Facebook and Twitter. During the event, we introduced our new social justice-focused questions, which you can find here.
Below are a few teaser questions, but please do read through all of the thoughtful responses by clicking here.
- What is your favorite storytime book featuring a main character of color?
- How would you accommodate a family in the disability community in your regular storytime?
- Wearing a mic for families with a hearing impairment
- Having rhymes and modifications for children in wheelchairs (upper body movements).
- Let everyone know they can step out for a break.
- Offer noise-cancelling headphones and warn of extra loud noises.
- Including a variety of activities–things to touch, different volumes, options for seating.
- Ask families about accommodations or welcome feedback to make them more comfortable.
- How do you address diversity in your welcome message?
- “Today we’re celebrating all the different ways young children learn. We’re going to be singing and playing, laughing and talking, and, of course, reading together. Since our storytime reflects our community, that means we also have some songs to learn in different languages. Sometimes our little listeners like one activity more than another or maybe they find an activity overstimulating and upsetting. Please stay close to your child during storytime so you can respond if they become upset. I do have some fidget toys that you can take for your child to hold and there’s lots of diversions in the children’s area if you need to take a break.”
- I make a note for accommodations. “Miss Julie will be jumping and clapping today, but please modifying if you need to.” Then I give examples based on what I may be doing. “You can lift arms instead of jumping, say ‘clap’ instead of clapping!”
- I welcome everyone at the door as they come in and then as a big group by saying “Welcome, friends!” And then we go into calendar time and talk about all the different holidays we have that month. And I say “Do we have any friends that celebrate any of these holidays?” And then I’ll say, “But it’s okay if we don’t celebrate any of these holidays too. We might have friends that don’t.”
- We add hello and goodbye in each language represented in the room. It’s very quick and very sweet, especially when the children start to do it rather than the grown-up.