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Inspiration And Play Are Still Essential For Children

It’s the summer of 2020. You are navigating a pandemic. You may also be part of action or dialogue around systemic racism and police brutality in America. And, each day, your children are (still) approaching milestones in their development.

Whether you’re thinking about resilience, change-making or conquering more concrete goals, like a child’s fear of lightning – inspiration and play are essential ingredients.

As young children play, they have the chance to fail, problem-solve and *safely* learn from others. Playing make-believe might seem benign and even trivial on the surface – but it is a critical activity that helps develop the imagination required to face exciting and scary possibilities alike.  

Jeanne, a Children’s Librarian at CLP – Beechview, reflected, “Play is important to literacy because it allows children to try new words, tell stories in sequence and build background knowledge. When little ones play peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek, they are learning that their caregiver is there, even though they can’t be seen. This could be important for parents returning to work after being the constant caregiver during the pandemic.”

Jeanne reminded me of the importance of play for the youngest children, babies and toddlers. Most often, I’m thinking about preschoolers, kids aged 3-6.

So, as you play and work through each day, don’t forget to reach out to those around you for new perspectives. That is a way for you to remain playful and creative as a grown-up, too!

As you encourage play and venture into parts of the world during the pandemic, you can check out this resource from the Center for Disease Control on Errands and Going Out and this guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on Getting Children and Teens Outside While Social Distancing. If it’s time for a break from the outdoors, find inspiration in one of the Library’s Virtual StorytimesOr, have your own storytime at home with some of the suggested titles below! 

“The Banana Leaf Ball” by Katie Smith Milway

Playing soccer changes the friendships and confidence of lonely Deo in a Tanzanian refugee camp. You can check out this title as Print Book or as eBook on Hoopla.


“The Book of Mistakes” by Corinna Luyken

An artist transforms her work by incorporating — instead of erasing — mistakes along the way. You can check out this title as Print Book or as eBook on Overdrive/Libby. 


“A Girl Like Me” by Angela Johnson

This mixed-media title inspires readers to dream big and reject discouraging voices they may encounter along the way. You can check out this title as Print Book or as eBook on Hoopla.


“Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration” by Samara Cole Doyon

A mixed-race narrator explores the natural world while connecting with family members in this joyful and poetic picture book. You can check out this title as Print Book or as eBook on Hoopla.


“Toesy Toes” by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang

Grab on to the toes of your youngest one in this sweet board book that inspires movement and phonological awareness. You can check out this title as Print Book, as eBook on Overdrive/Libby or as eBook on Hoopla.

Angela is a Children’s & Teen Librarian at CLP – Squirrel Hill. She is an extremely slow reader and bicyclist, but really loves both. Angela collaborated with Children’s Specialists Cheryl, Erin, Jeanne and Laura H. to create this content.

You can sign up for a free library card here. If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started.  

If you’re looking for more book suggestions, we’re happy to recommend them to you! Use this Book Recommendation form to send us some information about what you like to read and we’ll curate a list just for you.  

If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also call us at 412-622-3114 or email us at 

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