Friendly Book Collaborative

Literacy Lessons Explore Children’s Feelings

By Maida McKenna and Turtle MacDermott

On December 14, 2020, a Friendly group of parents and educators gathered to consider how books can deepen access to the feelings of children, both for the children themselves and for the adults around them. The book selected for this workshop was Too Big Too Small (adapted from the Pratham India Book Collection). 

This workshop was part of a collaboration working on creating a literacy curriculum for young children with a focus on peace and justice. Presenters were from the “Sparklers 2.0” group, who are currently working with both the Peace Library and the Literacy for Peace and Justice projects of Friends Peace Teams’ new Friendly Book Collaborative. They modelled reading the book aloud, working through the steps in a literacy lesson plan for young children. Participants, largely from Peace Place in Indonesia (a project of Friends Peace Teams AWP), recognized the importance of this approach. They were eager to integrate these books into their schools and libraries, and into lessons for the young children they work with.

Friends have been working to develop a list of appropriate books for this work, freely available from non-profit creators and distributors, as well as a curriculum using books from this list to teach foundational habits and mindsets for peaceful behaviors: understanding of ourselves and others, cooperation, empathy, kindness, respect. 

Participants will follow-up by implementing a Read Aloud lesson with a group of students and make a short video to provide concrete teaching vignettes to analyze together. Others may record their own workshops to share their adaptation of the workshops.  

A great start with much more to come…