Happy April everyone!
What better way to celebrate the month when the last of winter is behind us and everything begins to grow again, than by focusing on the growing minds of our young children!
The state of Pennsylvania does just that through its One Book, Every Young Child initiative. Now in its 13th year, this program highlights the importance of early literacy development in children ages 3-5 through author visits, library and museum programming, early education activities and specially developed trunks of materials that relate to the year’s chosen title.
This year’s One Book title is My Cousin Momo by Zachariah OHora. My Cousin Momo introduces us to a family of gray squirrels who are awaiting the arrival of their flying squirrel cousin, Momo. When Momo arrives however, things don’t go quite like his cousins have planned. Momo does everything differently. He doesn’t know how to play acorn pong and can’t even dress up like a “proper” superhero. Momo’s cousins aren’t very kind and as Momo packs his bag to leave, they realize how hurtful their words are, so they try to see things from Momo’s point of view. Eventually the gray squirrels realize that Momo’s way of playing can be just as fun as theirs, if they keep an open mind and embrace his differences.
We know now, more than we ever have, that social-emotional development in young children is equally as important as physical and mental development. But it’s easy to review the alphabet with a child to promote brain growth, and even easier to let a child play on the jungle gym to promote physical growth. Social-emotional growth, on the other hand, isn’t always as easy to approach. Books are a great way to start discussions and introduce ideas to young children, and My Cousin Momo is no exception. It gives grownups the chance to talk with young children about tougher concepts like inclusion, acceptance and the value of being true to who you are.
No one person is exactly alike. In 2018 One Book, Every Young Child helps librarians, educators and caregivers to teach children how to celebrate those differences in themselves and others.
Korie is part of the Library’s Early Learning BLAST Outreach team. Her favorite children’s authors are Kevin Henkes and Audrey and Don Wood. She enjoys making sensory bottles, taking long walks through small neighborhoods and ‘80’s era fantasy films.