January 29, 2020

Do you recognize social-emotional learning in your library?

Written by:
Suzanne Temple

Tags: ,

We, as a society, are constantly seeing and experiencing things we have no control over. This is difficult for adults to comprehend, but children have an even tougher time coping. In order to help children and teens manage their emotions, as well as gain empathy and understanding for others’ challenges, it’s crucial to incorporate social-emotional learning (SEL).

Understood.org has a great definition of SEL: “Social-emotional learning is the process of developing and using social and emotional skills. It’s the skill set we use to cope with feelings, set goals, make decisions, and get along with — and feel empathy for — others.” CASEL, or The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, was formed in the 1990s and created core SEL competencies to assist educators and parents in which abilities they should hone in children and teens.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, NoveList can help you pull the best titles to support SEL. Using CASEL’s core competencies as a guide, search for subjects like self-awareness and decision-making. For example, search SU self-awareness.

You can also use our themes, particularly those for younger readers. Some relevant themes are emotions and feelings and being a friend

For example, search TH emotions and feelings.

Appeals can be used to find SEL books when you search for Issue-oriented books. For example, search AP issue-oriented and limit by audience.

For more information, see the April 2019 issue of School Library Journal as well as books by some of the authors featured at the most recent AASL conference’s session on SEL: Bill Harley (Charlie Bumpers series), Linda Ragsdale, and Jeanne Bender (Lindie Lou series).

Learn more about the NoveList family of readers' advisory tools (including LibraryAware, used to make this printable)!


Suzanne Temple is a Metadata Librarian II at NoveList. She recently read the picture book Just Ask! by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, which encourages children to ask questions of those with different challenges, such as autism, Tourette syndrome, or food allergies, instead of forming an incorrect assumption. This book is perfect for storytime as it promotes empathy for those who may not be able to speak up for themselves.





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