Occasional Paper Series #44

Storytime is a Sunrise: Employing Children’s Literature to Mediate Socio-Emotional Challenges in the Life of a Young Child

by Carolina Soto Bonds

Storytime is a sunrise. Every storytime is sketched in hope—the hope that messages come across, meaning is made, synapses fire, and smiles ignite. Sometimes the colors of storytime are a smooth ephemeral palette of blending colors, a sunrise of consolatory, reassuring intent. Sometimes, reading to young children is a wild exploration painted in bursting, vivid colors, a celebration of jubilance, childhood, and freedom.

I relish the times of day when we gather on the rug, a book in my hands, and words stream from the page, out of my voice, into little hearts. Often, kids inch closer, a few cuddle into the nook of my side, and the echoes of ancient, primal storytelling and listening drown out the social constructs that keep us partitioned. The words are often a sinuous tendril of black letters, phonemes, an invisible rope used to climb out of or swing into anything. It is always an opportunity to introduce content, to make ideas more accessible, and to shape narratives.

Suvilehto (2019) considers teachers’ use of literature to bring up social and emotional issues to be a kind of therapeutic healing, or bibliotherapy:

Many teachers in day care and at school practice bibliotherapy in some manner, often without giving their practice a formal name. However, effective follow-up activities, thoughtful questions, and focused discussions require that teachers are mindful about their use of books to address individual and group issues. (p. 1)

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About the Author

Carolina Soto BondsCarolina Soto Bonds is a Bronx native, a writer, NYS certified teacher, and educational consultant in early childhood education. Bonds is a strong believer in developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive practice as well as honoring students’ funds of knowledge as a cornerstone of effective teaching. Her personal experiences in teaching are published in over 30 articles penned for Bank Street’s graduate admissions blog between 2016 and 2018. Bonds carries a ubiquitous awareness and appreciation of others’ lenses, perspectives, and cultures—she celebrates her own by utilizing her Dominicanness and roots in education as catalysts for change. She shares her love of travel, food, and all things Caribbean/Afro-Latin with anyone who will listen. Bonds resides in New York City where she continues to work for the communities that saw her grow up.