Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, February 25, 2011


Super S.T.A.R.s:  "Storytime Touching Autistic Readers"
Left to right: Library Director Jeanette Contreras, Library Board of Trustee President Al Shkoler,
Library Volunteer, ABC Correspondent, Children's Supervisor Lori Worden,
Author Joanna Keating-Velasco

Today I'd like to highlight a program that the Placentia Library District, here in Orange County, CA, has instituted for children with autism.  Super S.T.A.R.s is designed for children ages 3-8, who attend with a parent or guardian, and can even bring their siblings along.

This wonderful program is the result of a meeting in the summer of 2009 between library staff members and a local autism expert and author, Joanna Keating-Velasco.  Joanna saw the need for children with autism to be able to attend a "typical library storytime experience" without being judged for their behaviors.  With grants and help from the library Director, Jeanette Contreras and Children's Librarian, Lori Worden, Joanna's dream is now in full swing for families of the Placentia community - through a generous grant from the Target Corporation, their program will be acquiring new books on autism this year and some guest entertainment.

Storytime "Super Librarian" Lori Worden encourages kids to be library "Super Stars" and listen to the stories and sing along to the songs.  Each themed session begins with music and includes read aloud time, fingerplays, songs with movement and stretching, nursery rhymes to recite, and a craft at the end.  The children get used to their storytime routine and have fun learning the songs and fingerplays. And equally important, it's okay if they vocalize during the program or need to leave for a few minutes if they become overstimulated.

Would you like information about starting a program like this at your local library?  Click here.
PARENTS:  Want information about children's literature for children with autism?  Stay tuned!  I'm working on a follow-up post now with some good information and suggestions for you from some experts.
Note:  The Placentia Library has lots of great storytimes, inlcuding a "Lap Sit Time" for 0-2 year olds!)

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