As storytellers and educators we must learn more about & celebrate racial differences. This webinar will provide expert information & more.

Children are not colorblind. Research has shown that children recognize race at a very young age and even develop racial biases by age 5.

As storytellers and educators we have a moral obligation to teach not only the basics of early literacy, but also learn more about and celebrate racial differences. By pointing out the color of one’s skin and naming it in a positive manner we give children a vast and more authentic view of the world. In this webinar we will discuss our professional experience exploring race through age appropriate children and family programming. We will provide an extensive list of resources, such as favorite picture books, databases, and ways to bring inclusivity to any program.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Choose appropriate materials for subject matter, cross-group books, own voices (BIPOC), and how to begin the process of identifying our own personal biases.
  • Create opportunities for safe conversations about race and racial injustices in age-appropriate ways and present talking points to children and their caregivers
  • Example of past programs and community partnerships
  • Examine our own biases with honesty, compassion and mindfulness
  • Briefly touch upon the concepts of white privilege and anti-racism
  • Use ALA guidelines to support a bigger understanding of race
  • Explore resources such as the database Diverse Book Finder, Colorfulpages.org, and online communities

Melanie Borski-Howard ~ Biography

Melanie has studied music, theater and received her Masters in English from Utah State University. She is currently a Youth Services Librarian at Boulder Public Library in Boulder Colorado, where she has been doing storytimes since she started in 2002. She does 4-5 storytimes a week and incorporates music into everyone. She is currently in her Second Season of the local televised program, Read With Us. (https://boulderlibrary.org/youth/read-with-us/)

Carolyn Valencia ~ Biography

Carolyn Valencia is an Outreach Librarian for the High Plains Library District (HPLD) specializing in early literacy. She earned her MLIS in 2019 from Emporia State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Santa Clara University in 1998. Carolyn shares her passion for the arts and multiliteracies (primarily physical and self-literacy) with her diverse community members in Greeley, Colorado. With this life-long passion for physical literacy, Carolyn pursued careers in dance and Bikram Yoga before libraryland. In 2014, she helped create HPLD’s first Yoga Storytime and has implemented these at the Colorado Early Education Network (CEEN) Head Starts in Weld County, as well as the Little Learner’s Preschool at the Immigrant and Refugee Center of Northern Colorado (IRCNOCO) over the last five years.

In 2019, she became a certified Stories, Songs, and Stretches!® Facilitator. Currently, she is working on outcome-based measurements for early literacy outreach services and strives to provide diverse and inclusive programming to her community as a co-facilitator of Rainbow Storytimes and Let’s Talk About Race Storytimes. Carolyn enjoys practicing yoga, gardening, and spending time with her loved ones.

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