2 BRINGING HEART AND MIND INTO STORYTIME books about bullies, determination, empathy, or inclusion were few and far between, and we had to be creative with recommendations. I remember establishing a series of bibliographies called You Asked For It, each pam- phlet covering subjects such as Making Friends, Manners, and New Baby (aka jealousy). Fast-forward forty years, and the world of children’s literature has changed, and improved, dramatically. Illustrations feature a multicultural kaleidoscope of children early literacy skills are emphasized through rhythm, rhyme, and repetition and topics that were once never found in picture books—gender identification, global perspective, anger manage- ment, the importance of making mistakes, to name just a few—are not only available but written and illustrated with quality, not preachy moral instruction. Through the efforts of movements such as We Need Diverse Books, publishers have become more aware of the importance of making sure that children’s books are windows, and mirrors, for the children who consume them. The upsurge in schools recognizing emotional intelligence as being perhaps even more important than IQ has resulted in teachers searching for books about focus, self-control, taking on challenges, and empathy. Now a classroom that receives an immigrant child who doesn’t speak the language or understand the customs can be introduced to the value of reaching out to and including that child in a book such as Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay. A child who is struggling with ambiguous feelings about his father’s love now that they are separated can be reassured with I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown. Jessica Love’s Julián Is a Mer- maid confirms that a young boy wanting to dress up as a female character is just fine, and Todd Parr’s The Don’t Worry Book brings a touch of humor to the many worries a preschooler might have. All of this abundance means storytime readers can more easily weave topics of social and emotional learning (SEL) into their storytimes with outstanding books and fun-filled activities. Before I begin describing those books and activities, it’s important to understand the How, the Why, and the What. What exactly is meant by SEL? Why is it important to include SEL at storytime? How the parts of the brain that affect SEL in young children develop so that topics are presented appropriately will be presented in Chapter 2, but this chapter begins with the what, which automatically leads to the why. WHAT. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emo- tional Learning (CASEL) website, “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible deci- sions” (https://casel.org/what-is-sel/). The website (casel.org) is a wealth of
Previous Page Next Page