New words, new stories: Videos & books for early learners

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian

This holiday season is not at all what any of us had planned on. For most of us, celebrations will look different and traditions might have to skip a year. These are sad and frustrating things!

Young kids may not have the words to express what they’re feeling or how they see you feeling. This is the time to introduce words like “disappointed” and “frustrated” and … “nostalgia”? Depends on your child! But when you share your emotions, you give your child the freedom to name and feel these things, too. And you’ll get through it together.

Below find videos and stories to help you share, name, and discuss feelings together.

Watch these videos

In this video, Jenny (pictured above) and I share activities and books around gratitude, kindness, and compassion. Maybe kindness and compassion looks different this year: Maybe it looks like staying home and waiting until next year to see family that you miss, to keep everyone safer.

Ruthie usually loves reading with Jenny, but sometimes, routines don’t feel right. Maybe when everything feels so different, it’s time to try something new instead of trying to keep old routines going. If your child could add a new food or activity to this holiday season, what would it be? What would you add? New things can make this year feel special in a good way.

Read & listen to these books

  • Thank You, Omu is one of Jenny’s absolute favorite books, and you can follow a read-along and watch it on Hoopla.
  • We Are Grateful is written by Traci Sorrell, who is tribally enrolled in the Cherokee Nation, about how the Cherokee community feels gratitude for the blessings and challenges that each season brings. You can read it or follow a read along on Hoopla.
  • Have you explored our Dial-a-Story yet? Use your phone to call 708.816.2800 for audio stories on demand! Stories change every month. In November, we have many stories about being thankful. I read selections from ThankU: Poems of Gratitude, which includes poems from American Indian authors, is illustrated by Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota, Mohegan, Muscokee Creek tribes), and is highly recommended by American Indian scholar Debbie Reese, who is tribally enrolled in Nambe Pueblo. You can read it on Hoopla. 
  • Another timely story on Dial-a-Story is While We Can’t Hug, about how friends and family can show their love for each other in ways that don’t involve touching or being in the same house together. It’s also available on Media On Demand/Libby.
  • When things feel hard, your family can sit and breathe together! I Am Peace and Breathe With Me are two mindfulness books available on Dial-a-Story and Hoopla right now.
Shelley Harris

About Shelley

Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.