Bringing Heart and Mind into Storytime

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Learn how to use children's books during storytime to approach sensitive topics and increase children's social-emotional wellness—and how to create storytimes that are engaging, participative, and FUN!

The emotional challenges many children experience consume the time of teachers, exhaust parents, and sometimes lead children toward behaviors that prohibit social and academic success. Storytime to the rescue! Library storytimes prepare children for kindergarten; storytimes at home and in preschools allow teachers, parents, and children to think and talk about empathy and the importance of honoring your own and others’ feelings.

In Bringing Heart and Mind into Storytime, Heather McNeil teaches librarians and teachers how to use books to open conversations with children to teach such concepts as patience, tenacity, kindness, and teamwork. McNeil shares research on brain development, social-emotional learning, and the importance of play, but she also emphasizes maintaining the fun of storytime. She recommends songs, action rhymes, games, and crafts that contribute to fun and healthy storytimes. Extensive lists of recommended books will help readers find the right ones for their audience.


  • Offers tips and techniques for including social-emotional learning in storytime through books, songs, action rhymes, games, and crafts
  • Includes recommendations for books related to social-emotional learning
  • Suggests best practices for participative, inclusive, and culturally aware storytimes
  • Shares comments and experiences from storytime presenters


“McNeil's conversational and personal approach to SEL storytimes engages the reader while giving solid practical advice.” ―Booklist

Imprint: Libraries Unlimited
Published: April 2022
Pages: 216
Sku: 9781440877179

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