Incorporating racial issues into storytimes
For Immediate Release
ALA Publishing & Media
American Library Association
CHICAGO — As the weekly lists of best-sellers demonstrate, many people want to engage with racial issues. But when it comes to talking about race, they often don’t know how or are hesitant to take the first steps. This includes children's librarians, who are taking seriously our profession’s calls for diversity, equity, and inclusion. They already know that popular storytimes can be an effective way to increase community representation and belonging at the library. Incorporating race into storytimes is an ideal way to foster inclusion by normalizing conversations about these issues. “Let’s Talk About Race in Storytimes,” published by ALA Editions, will help public and school librarians face their own biases, showing them how to have honest discussions with children, their caregivers, and storytime attendees, as well as their colleagues. In this book written by Jessica Anne Bratt and featuring a Foreword by Kirby McCurtis, 2020 - 2021 ALSC President, readers will discover:
- several ready-to-use library storytimes that incorporate racial themes, complete with sample activities and booklists;
- an anti-oppression framework, based on the author’s own real-world practice, that is customizable for different settings and situations;
- concrete suggestions for overcoming fears and awkwardness when it comes to talking about race, with advice on practicing new language, making space to connect around appropriate cultural books for read alouds, and evaluating books for storytime;
- interactive self-reflecting worksheets which explore planning picture book introductions and songs for inclusive storytimes, providing age-appropriate glimpses into history, and suggested affirmations in describing skin tone, hair, and language;
- advocacy talking points centered on social justice that will encourage discussion with co-workers and other library staff; and
- guidance on community engagement, relationship building, and intentionally trying to diversify your world in order to truly become an anti-bias practitioner.
Bratt is the Director of Community Engagement and Outreach at the Grand Rapids Public Library. She was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2016. She leads facilitations around how to have productive conversations about race in storytime. While she could tell you all the ways she is involved in Libraryland—she will tell you that the coolest millennial thing for her was when MTV reached out for an interview. She was recently featured on the national radio program The Takeaway with Tanzina Vega.
Many book retailers and distributors are experiencing service disruptions or delays, including Amazon. For speediest service, order direct from the ALA Store. ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used by library and information professionals, scholars, students, and educators to improve programs and services, build on best practices, enhance pedagogy, share research, develop leadership, and promote advocacy. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a variety of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman at firstname.lastname@example.org.