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Ages 1-3: Toddlers
Still searching through my notes – the bulk of this will just be sorting through everything since I don’t have book notes sorted by age. Once that’s up to speed, I’ll get more interesting stuff up here.
Intersectional Kidlit for Toddlers Ages 1-2.5
Quick Things You Need To Know:
- Smash the kyriarchy: Smash Stereotypes
- Feature powerful protagonists of color with agency
- Feature characters with disabilities as competent equals
- Recognize that not all homes and neighborhoods look like the ones we live in (and they are no better or worse than ours.)
- Cognitive development
- From 12-18 months: Starting to get excited about properties of items (colors, shapes). Can follow simple directions, “Can you point to the purple cat?” Separation anxiety peaks around now.
- From 18-24 months: Big leap in interest from simple board books featuring single items to books with a simple story line. For instance, they’ll see ‘Goodnight Moon’ as more than a collection of items, and understand it’s a wider narrative of a bunny going to bed.
- From 24-30 months: Temper tantrums in full swing. Starting to feel agency in feeding themselves with a cup/spoon, and getting undressed by themselves – but they still suck at everything, and get suuuper frustrated when a sock won’t come off. Starting to realize how weak they are while all the older folks around them can do these things easily.
- From 30-36 months: Preschool enrollment opens up about starts around 2.5-2.75 years, so expect to deal with some separation anxiety, new school jitters (if they previously stayed at home with a caregiver), and the adjustment from lots of open play at home to a more structured day schedule (depending on the home and school atmospheres.)
- Non-linear reading: Don’t expect a kid under 3 to sit still and read a book cover-to-cover.
- Special Interests
- Toddlers really like every day stories they can identify with.
Books that break dominant narrative stereotypes
- boo hoo boo boo – Perfect for toddlerhood and early preschool. Features chunkier body shapes and a wide range of skin color, including multiracial parent/child pairings and one of the three sets had a masculine-presenting caregiver. R2’s little face crumples and he empathizes with the characters when they get boo boos. After reading it, Q preferred to toss his dolls on the ground, pretend they were hurt, and nurse them back to health.
- Karen Katz Lift The Flap books are popular at this age, and it’s worth noting they’re somewhat durable compared to most flap books (or can be easily repaired with clear packing tape.) BUT – most of her books featuring characters of color (ex: My First Kwanzaa) do NOT have flaps (rendering them frustratingly worthless for kids who associate her style with flaps) and she’s got a heck of a lot of problematic books celebrating this bullshit with pilgrim hats, betraying her objectifying white gaze equating people of color with food in The Colors of Us, and she adheres with strict gender roles with mom-cleans while dad-builds nonsense.THAT SAID: Her book Grandpa and me, features an East Asian/Pacific Islander grandpa who is not only a caretaker but also a cook. Depending on how you look at this, this is either tokenizing (which it totally is) or breaking gender and race constructs, since in my family at least, no Chinese grandpa would ever step food in the kitchen or help with childcare. We read it as a ‘do as you see in the book, not as your real grandpa does.’