Decemberley 2016

The Children's Library's annual Decemberley celebration where we celebrate picture book illustrators. This year we celebrated Jan Brett's The Mitten. It's a great alternative to holiday decor that can alienate our public | hafuboti.com

Yes, I got behind on sharing on my blog near the end of last year. But let’s just say that I felt that writing some other things in December mattered more than this particular warm-fuzziness. And our December was chock full of the warm fuzzies. Like, it has been one of the most reacted-to-by-adults theme that we’ve ever done.

But lemme back it up a sec.

When we were trying to figure out the second Decemberley celebration, we realized that Ed Embereley’s work could only go so far. So we knew that the next time we’d still call it Decemberley, but focus on other famous children’s book illustrators. And in 2016 we decided to pay homage to Jan Brett’s The Mitten.

With that choice we inadvertently tapped into some major nostalgia for many parents. I mean, we want adults to feel just as inspired when they enter our space as the children are, but this time? I think the parents enjoyed Natasia’s work more than their kiddos did. One dad, as he was walking in, excitedly said “I remember this book! I LOVED this book!” I also suspect that Brett received a bit of a bump in sales as a result of our decor. Tee-hee!

Without further ado, here’s our The Mitten homage:

A beautiful homage to Jan Brett's The Mitten at the entrance of our Children's Library | hafuboti.com

Looking at it again almost a year later, I still get the warm fuzzies.

The animal faces are actually masks that Jan Brett provides for free on her website – Natasia just printed them larger than a typical child’s head. She drew/colored everything else: Jaw. Drop.

I failed to get a nice picture of the cool giant pair of mittens that Natasia made for above the reading bench. There was one in each window, and the paper mittens were embellished with braided yarn. And then a large braided piece of yarn attached the two together. It was striking.

Despite my lack of photos, I hope that our annual December celebration inspires you to think outside of the holiday box. It truly frees you to tap into some unexpected ways to cheer others up during one of the coldest months of the year.

Family Fandom Festival

Have you made it through all of my holiday postings?

If your answer is “yes,” then you know what you should do?

Sparkly pink words of "Treat Yo Self" | hafuboti.com

I know that I will!

While working on all of my holiday posts, I kept debating whether or not to create foundation programs for pop-culture-based celebrations. The thought of writing at least a dozen more holiday posts made me want to cry. But then I had a flash of inspiration:

LET US CELEBRATE THEM, ONE AND ALL!!!

I shall call this program The Family Fandom Festival where all ages and all fandoms can come to the library and celebrate their holiday nerdery together.

Family Fandom Festival for libraries flyer featuring many pop-culture celebrations | hafuboti.com

Click on the above flyer template to get a larger version that you can download and use for your library’s celebration.

This event could be done in so many ways – especially depending on who in your community would enjoy cosplaying during the holiday season (and not just as Antasay Lauscay). Here’s a list of holidays that I selected, but you can definitely find and incorporate more – after all, the more the merrier!

Get some meat lovers pizzas, dust off your Vader helmet, and ring your bells!
*whispers* so much pop cultuuuuure…

DISPLAY & ACTIVITIES

Here are two scavenger hunt sheets that you can also use for a display. Click on the two image collages for a letter-sized version that you can download and print:

Imagery from pop culture holiday events for a scavenger hunt or display | hafuboti.com

Set of images from various pop culture holiday celebrations for a scavenger hunt or library display | hafuboti.com

SONGS

You have so many options here! Whether you have a sing-along portion of the event, or put together a playlist for background music – you’ll be sure to have fun with lots of these:





And in honor of my all-time favorite princess Carrie Fisher:
And there you have it: the final post of Library Holidaypalooza!

Hopefully you learned something (I know that I did) and have been inspired. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll rethink holiday programming at your library as a result. If not? At least I know that I tried.

If you happen to have started at the end of this series, then you should start here, or you can follow the holidays tag.

…OR IS IT?!

(It totally is. I am utterly sick and tired of coming up with holiday programs.)

Deal with it | hafuboti.com

First Nations’ Celebrations

Merry Christmas in Ojibwe, Aleut, Cree, Seneca, and Lakota sign for a library display | hafuboti.com

With over 500 federally recognized First Nations in the United States alone, I can honestly say that trying to create a respectful Native American holiday storytime was intimidating. By far, this post required the most research of all the holidays – and even now, I feel incredible pressure to get this “right.” And as I researched, I was keenly aware of my European American ignorance on so many Indigenous Peoples’ traditions, beliefs, and feelings.

I finally hit a point where I realized that my fear of “getting it wrong” was keeping me from moving forward on a post. So I reached out to the wonderful Debbie Reese for help. She pointed me towards several resources, and the one that helped me the greatest was this book:Lessons from Turtle Island by Guy W Jones and Sally Moomaw | hafuboti.comI bought the ebook and read it in a few hours. I’ve had no formal diversity training whether it involves programming or collection development, and I consider this book to be my first class on the topic. One of the biggest lessons that I took away from it is that we must show our children that the First Nation people are incredibly diverse and a part of our current society.

Therefore, what I believe is the best way to include Native Americans in your holiday programming is to reach out to a nearby tribe to request help. Having a tribally enrolled representative come dressed as they normally would (i.e. no regalia) and share their stories? That would have a powerfully positive impact on the kids (and parents) in attendance. After all, they may have only seen stereotypes of Native Americans in books, tv, and movies. Let’s give them a real experience.

Also, be sure to add as many accurate First Nations picture books as possible to both your holiday and regular book displays. You can find great ideas for storytimes and books at both Debbie Reese’s American Indians in Children’s Literature site and books, lesson plans, and other resources on Strong Nations.

Many Native Americans celebrate Winter Solstice and/or Christmas, so be sure to include them in those displays and/or programs. That is why I created the Merry Christmas sign at the top of this post (feel free to download and use it). That’s just a tiny selection of Merry Christmas in Native Languages. I very deliberately chose one of my favorite fonts (and not one that looks “ethnic”). This also reinforces the important fact that the First Nations’ people are diverse and shouldn’t be lumped together in a vague, inaccurate manner.

If you do music in your storytime, then look for traditional carols sung in First Nation languages such as Jana Mashonee’s Winter Wonderland sung in Ojibwe. Again, this reinforces to your attendees that Native Americans exist in today’s society.

I truly hope that I have given you some ideas for incorporating the First Nations into your holiday programming. If you have any further resources, ideas that you’d like to share, or if you want to point out something(s) that I got wrong, then please feel free to comment on this post or email me at hafuboti@gmail.com.

And if you’re a storytime blogger, then please consider creating and sharing some ideas for representing individual First Nations into your storytimes throughout the year – there definitely is a void on the internet when it comes to this. Let’s fix that.

But Rebecca, I thought you were anti-holiday programming?

Let the Sunshine In

The words "Yule Blessings" above a Celtic knot all in gold foil | hafuboti.com

All-inclusive holiday programming and displays would not be complete without the roots of modern Christmas celebrations: Yule! The Pagan Yuletide consists of 12 days of celebrating with feasting, gift giving, and special rituals dedicated to each day or night. I honestly fell down a bit of a rabbit hole while researching this holiday because of how interesting it is. I mean, I knew that a lot of Christmas’ symbols and traditions were based on Yule, but I was pretty shocked at how much of it is.

To help focus this holiday into a program that you could have in your library, I decided to focus on one of the days of the Yule Season: Winter Solstice. I have seen some children’s programming pop up now and then, but they generally focus on the scientific aspects of the day/night, and leave out the pagan connection. Some day we’ll find it – the pagan connection – the lovers, the dreamers, and meeeee…

MARKETING

I have created two flyer templates for potential Winter Solstice programs. There are two because I had two ideas, and I liked them both. I stayed away from the Yule season colors of red, green, white, and gold because I was concerned that patrons might get confused and expect it to be what they thought that a Christmas program should be.

The words "Winter Solstice Celebration" above a sabbat wheel all in sunrise colors | hafuboti.com

The words "Winter Solstice Storytime" above a sabbat wheel with holly imagery | hafuboti.com

The imagery I chose were a sunrise, holly, and the Wheel of the Year – all important parts of this winter celebration. I used this font. Click on either image above for a bigger letter-sized image that you can download and use.

BOOKS

I read lots of reviews for picture books that would pop-up when doing a Winter Solstice search. From a pagan perspective, it seems like most were lacking, or were thinly-veiled Christmas books. There were two, though, that stood out and look like potentially good storytime reads:

Elsie & Pooka Stories of the Sabbats and Seasons: Yule & Imbolc (978-1941175903) by Lora Craig-Gaddis

Rupert’s Tales: The Wheel of the Year – Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, and Ostara (978-0764339875) by Kyrja
(You should also get the companion book of this series that’s about the other four celebrations in the year)

Also, here’s a wonderful Goodreads list created by the even more wonderful Catherine Bellamy full of other options!

SONGS/RHYMES

All things sunshiny would work for songs and rhymes in this storytime. Here are some special things that I’ve come across while planning this program:

Morning Verse words in red for a Solstice program at your library | hafuboti.com

Here’s a neat Snow King poem.

Here’s Silent Night (Solstice Night) by Karina Skye.

Did you know that Deck the Halls was a more Yule-centric song? Someone decided to censor the verses that mentioned drinking. Heh.

ACTIVITIES

I’d recommend trying to find a local pagan group and inviting them to the event to share stories and talk about how they choose to celebrate. They could also do a variation of a Yule Candle Ritual (you can use electric candles for safety).

And if you’re in an area that allows it, then having a special bonfire would be amazing and I want to go there.

You can have the kids jingle bells to help chase away the night (and any scary things that may lurk in it). And you can have them shout for the sun to return. A variation on this would be to have the kids create cards for the sun, asking for it to please return.

One of the most popular events we’ve done in recent memory was creating gift candles. We did the “use clip art for kids to use markers and trace the images onto tissue paper” version. I LOVE THIS VERSION MORE. I can imagine a family gathering around their sheet of tissue paper while using their fingers to paint suns and sunbeams.  This would truly be a special memento that they will cherish for years.

One of the things we learned when doing this was to have dish towels to cover your hand that’s holding the candle because it gets HOT. The other thing was that we should have at minimum four people with hair dryers helping in the program. It takes some time for the wax to melt, and during that time a line of kids can form.

If you’re not comfortable with, or don’t have the budget for that particular craft, then this paper art would be lovely. As well as these sun faces. I can imagine a bunch of shiny sun faces in our library’s windows which would cheer everyone up during this time of year. This would be both a beautiful craft or an addition to an inclusive holiday display.

And there you have it: a good foundation for a more Pagan Winter Solstice program for your library. And as always, if you’re a practicing Pagan and feel that I have made any sort of error in this post, or if you have extra ideas to add to this post, then please share! Either in the comments or send me an email at hafuboti@gmail.com.

Want to know why I wrote this post? Here ya go.

Oh the Humanity!

Happy Human Light coloring sheet with the wording colored in with green, purple, blue, red, and yellow | hafuboti.com
Are you worried that your solstice program may be perceived as being about paganism? Or do you want to focus on the pagan aspects of the solstice and not get bogged down with science? Then the Humanists have the perfect holiday for you and your library: HumanLight! This December 23 celebration focuses on how awesome human beings can be.

There are so many ways that you can take your HumanLight storytime: biographies, heroic true stories, science discoveries, special people from that year or throughout history, community role models, etc. Have the kids share something awesome they did in the previous year and have them think of some awesome things to do in the following year. Accept nominations for a community’s Person of the Year as voted by its children. There are so many exciting ways to explore this holiday!

Of all of the holidays that I’ve been looking into to share here, this one is the most positive, uplifting, and inspiring. There’s nothing scary, judgmental, or negative about it. You don’t lie to or manipulate kids into “good” behavior. It gives you so much freedom to create a special event that everyone can enjoy.

Because of this flexibility, I won’t be listing books in this post – it would quickly get overwhelming. But I put together a few helpful things to give you a few more ideas as well as resources to include this empowering storytime at your library.

Displays

gif of a completed HumanLight mobile with biograpy picture books and Bill Nye science DVDs | hafuboti.com

Here are the images that I created for this twirling mobile (click on each image for the larger size):

The Humanists' HumanLight symbol simplified to pure blue human figures, and an orange and yellow sun | hafuboti.com

Happy HumanLight with the words reason, compassion, and hope in yellow, purple, red, and green colors | hafuboti.com

I printed off two copies each of the above images onto ledger paper. I then cut them out and sandwiched cutout pieces of a card stock page to make the pieces more rigid and less likely to rip. I glued each section together, punched holes, and then used string to tie everything together.

In case you’d like to add anything else to your marketing, know that I used this font for the words.

Songs

This Little Light of Mine
You Are My Sunshine
The More We Get Together

Activities

You can use the top image as a coloring sheet or have older children fill the sun and human figures with text about awesome things they’ve done. Or here’s the same coloring sheet without the text filled in with color:

A black and white Happy HumanLight coloring sheet for children featuring the Human Light symbol and Humanism's core values of reason, compassion, and hope | hafuboti.com

And there you have it: a good foundation for adding HumanLight to your library’s holiday celebrations.

Why I’ve written about this holiday.