Jon was perfect for our Little Folk Festival. The kids loved interacting with him and the parents did, too. – Cindy Tuttle, executive director, Stokes County Partnership for Children
Library Background in Toddler and Preschool Storytimes
In addition to his many years performing and leading workshops with children of all ages, Jon spent 22 years as a children’s librarian in the Forsyth County Public Library. During most of this time he conducted weekly storytimes with toddlers, preschoolers and parents. Over those years he learned to connect and interact with these little ones, and he developed a repertoire of songs and tales to engage and excite them and their parents.
Repertoire and Techniques to Promote Interaction and Engage the Very Young
- Jon uses the banjo and guitar to set a lively pace and rhythm, and the autoharp for a lush melodic change.
- Songs engage children verbally and physically through call & response, choral refrains, hand motions, and/ or sometimes full body movement.
- Many of the tales involve children's participation in rhythmic or melodic chants or verses.
- Jon often gets audience input to create a verse, suggest an animal, vegetable, or other item, or determine the course of a tale.
Song & tale excerpts and one "twist-&-tell" story. There is overlap with general children's samplers in numbers 8, 9, 11, & 12.(1) Introductory slide show to studio recording of "My Daddy Rides That Ship in the Sky," by Woody Guthrie, with banjo; (2) "The Green Grass Grew All Around" - call & response song with motions, guitar; (3) "Cleano," by Woody Guthrie, with banjo; (4) "I'm Gonna Tell," by Rosalie Sorrels, with guitar; (5) "The Lion & the Mouse," Aesop's fable with finger puppet; (6) "Love Grows One By One," by Carol Johnson; (7) Story-song version of folktale, "Stone Soup," by Heather Forest, with audience input, guitar; (8) "We're All a Family Under One Sky," by Ruth Pelham, with guitar; (9) "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground," mountain folksong, with banjo - children making up new verse; (10) "Twist-&-tell" story, "Solomon, Sheba & the Bee," told while creating balloon flower; (11) "When I First Came to this Land," by Oscar Brand, with autoharp; (12) "En la pulga de San Jose" - Spanish language motion song of playing musical instruments, with guitar.
Thank you so much for sharing your talents at our Vacation Church School picnic. Even now children are “making peanut butter.” Your awareness of the wide age range and varied attention spans was remarkable. Watching the children ease forward so they could be a part of the group was wonderful.
– Ida K McCaskill, Director of Christian Education, Highland Presbyterian Church, Winston-Salem, NC
Library & Smart Start Leadership with Preschool and Special Populations
Jon served for two years as head of Children’s Outreach and seven years as head of Hispanic Services. During that time he applied for and received about $300,000 of Smart Start funds, which he used to: develop countywide training for day care providers in how to present storytimes; oversee the creation
of 300 multimedia storytime kits; design and purchase bookmobiles to visit day care centers and key community settings where many Hispanic immigrants reside. He developed close ties with Hispanic families, churches, and other institutions, introducing them to the library's materials and services. Jon emerged as a national leader in Hispanic outreach among libraries with rapidly expanding Hispanic populations.
"Over the years Jon Sundell has presented bilingual library programs on several different occasions, and he is always adept at relating to and entertaining both Spanish and English speaking families. Children and adults from both cultures feel at ease and appreciated. Above and beyond all the fun, humor and excitement there is an overarching sense of something more: a spirit of cultural exchange and community. Jon has a gift and a passion for bringing people of different backgrounds together."
- Esmirna Esparza, Head of Library Service to Spanish Speaking People, Forsyth County Public Library
Family Literacy Training
During his leadership of Hispanic Services Jon conducted many parent training sessions through MotheRead/ FatheRead, a North Carolina program created to increase family literacy. Using a specific selection of picture books, trainers follow a curriculum designed to promote intergenerational dialog and sharing of experiences, while developing an understanding and appreciation of reading.
During his later years as media coordinator at Old Town Elementary School Jon also developed and implemented family literacy training, advising parents on optimal ways to share books with their preschool aged children. This was done as part of a federal grant to promote reading readiness known as the “Reading Railroad.”