Step Into Storytime, January 28

Stack of six books, spines out
Hello Hello, I Don’t Want to Be Big, Where is the Green Sheep?, Bark Park!, Where’s Walrus?, Lots of Dots

Today we had a big group – at least 15 kids but I think closer to 20, including a couple of older and younger siblings, plus the grown-ups of course. I had a little bit of a cold so I explained that my voice was not going to be as loud, and on we proceeded as usual. Many helpful grown-ups who bring their kids regularly helped out with the familiar songs – thank you!

  • “Hello Friends” with ASL
  • Name song (“____ is here today, ____ is here today, let’s all clap our hands, ____ is here today”) (at this point we had 11-12 kids but more continued to trickle in throughout)
  • Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel, one of my favorite lead-off books. It’s simple but visually interesting and there are lots of opportunities for movement (wiggling like an octopus, etc.).
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • I Don’t Want to Be Big by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt: We did I Don’t Want to Be A Frog three weeks ago and I Don’t Want to Go to Sleep two weeks ago (last week was a Monday holiday). These books are great, but they don’t have any textual indication of who’s speaking (e.g. “Dad frog said…”) so I sometimes add those in or at least point to which character is speaking as I read aloud.
  • Song cube: “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”
  • Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek: I made felt sheep for this story a while ago, so I put the yellow, pink, and blue sheep on the flannel board and hid the green sheep behind it. It worked out that one of my regulars spotted it, so I let her pull it out of hiding and stick it on the board at the end of the book. Perfect!
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Bark Park! by Trudy Krisher and Brooke Boynton-Hughes: a newer book and a great simple one for storytimes, especially for the younger kids. I got everyone to “Bark, bark, bark!” with me at the appropriate times.
  • Song cube: “Shake Your Sillies Out” (with shaker eggs)
  • Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage: I wasn’t sure how well a wordless, hide-and-seek book would work at storytime, but this one definitely did! The walrus isn’t too hard to find on each page, and there isn’t a lot of visual clutter, plus I had two kids on the older end of our range, who always pointed right away.
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier: Our library’s copy has had a page ripped out since I last used it, but other than that blip, this is always a good one – we always look around the room for polka dots and buttons on clothing, and it ties in to the dot craft.
  • “Goodbye Friends” with ASL
  • Clean up mats
  • Spread butcher paper on the floor and tape it down, put down a bowl of glue sticks, and throw a bowl of colored paper dots in the air! Commence gluing dots. Ask for grown-ups to help keep track of caps.

Goodnight, Everyone: Books for Bedtime

 

Reading before bedtime is a wonderful way to wind down after a long day: cuddling close over a book and talking a little bit before settling down to sleep. The books don’t have to be sleep-themed, of course, but here are a bunch that are:

Classic bedtime books

  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  • Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
  • Time for Bed by Mom Fox

Amusing

  • How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
  • I Don’t Want to Go to Sleep! by Dev Petty
  • Good Night, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
  • Everyone Sleeps by Marcellus Hall
  • Goodnight Already! by Jory John
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems

Role Reversal

  • How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen
  • Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley
  • The World Champion of Staying Awake by Sean Taylor
  • Monster Needs His Sleep by Paul Czajak
  • If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed by Denise Vega and Zachariah Ohora

Animals and the World

  • Goodnight, Everyone by Chris Haughton
  • Sleep Like A Tiger by Mary Logue and Pamela Zagarenski
  • Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle
  • A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
  • A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes
  • All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep by Crescent Dragonwagon

Gentle/Sweet

  • City Moon by Rachael Cole
  • You and Me, Little Bear by Martin Waddell
  • Goodnight, I Love You by Caroline Jayne Church
  • Time for Bed, Sleepyheads by Norman Chartier
  • Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger
  • Sweet Dreams, Little Bear by Tim Warnes

Cars and Trucks

  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Car by Kate Dopirak
  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Not Specifically Sleep Themed, But Good for Bedtime

  • I Love You As Big As the World by David Van Buren
  • Mommy Hugs/Daddy Dreams/Mommy Snuggles by Anne Gutman
  • You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusiano Love
  • Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
  • Where the Wild Things Are -and- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  • Beekle by Dan Santat
  • Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead and Erin Stead

Related: Board books for babies and toddlers (June 30, 2017)

Note: Reading at bedtime might not work for every family. Babies, especially, might be too fussy in the evening to be able to focus on looking at pictures or listening to a story (though there are some board books that have song lyrics as the words, like What A Wonderful World and Baby Beluga, so those are worth a try). Read to/with kids at whatever time(s) of day work best for them and for you; in our house, we read at the table, as well as between meals, and before bed. There’s no wrong time to read (unless that time is “never”).

What are your favorite bedtime books?

Hampshire College thoughts

On Tuesday, January 15, I received a message from Hampshire College president Miriam (Mim) Nelson with the subject line “Important Message from Hampshire College.” In it, Mim wrote of “our intent to find a long-term partner that can help us achieve a thriving and sustainable future for Hampshire” and said “As we embark on this process we’re also carefully considering whether to enroll an incoming class this fall.” (See additional FAQ.) [Edited to add, new FAQ, 1/21/19]

1923470_504686557158_5679_nWhat? I was aware, of course, that Hampshire’s endowment is paltry compared to the other schools in the Five College consortium (Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and UMass), and that Hampshire tends to produce alumni with strong dedication to social justice causes; we’re more likely to become scientists, teachers, or documentarians than investment bankers. Thus, in addition to having a much smaller alumni base than many other liberal arts schools (Hampshire was founded in 1970), the alumni it does have don’t have the deepest pockets.

I forwarded the e-mail to some fellow alums, two of whom immediately and independently made the same joke(?) about Hampshire being acquired by Amazon. More likely, we thought, we’d be folded into UMass somehow, but there hasn’t been any indication of that. (Amherst’s president Biddy Martin released a statement saying, “I hope it will be possible for Hampshire to identify a positive way forward for its community and the greater good. The college has a valuable history of experimentation in teaching and learning and a longstanding relationship with our college.” ‘K, thanks. Smith’s president, Kathleen McCarthy, released a statement that said even less.)

News outlets picked up the story quickly; I saw it in Inside Higher Ed, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. The Globe ran a more detailed piece about the history of the college on January 19, “Protests, Frisbees, and Deep Thinking – Hampshire College Has Carved an Offbeat Path.”

Sunset at HampshireThe news also galvanized discussion in the Hampshire Alumni Facebook group, which also includes some current Hampshire staff (they graduated from Hampshire and now work there). No one has much more information, except that enrollment has been falling slightly – a problem many small liberal arts colleges are facing, as demographics change and high school graduating classes are smaller – and tuition is expensive. This is also true of many other schools, but Hampshire is particularly sensitive to even small fluctuations because its endowment can’t provide much of a cushion.

There are complaints about the PR, and how the announcement was made, but there have also been sensible responses to those complaints: chiefly, that the president and the board are being honest about Hampshire’s financial situation and are being proactive in seeking out a “strategic partner” now. Also, accepting an incoming class when it’s uncertain that Hampshire will be the same in four years necessities consideration from an ethics standpoint. (It’s true there have also been personal remarks and conspiracy theories. I don’t see a reason not to take Mim and the board at face value; the idea that anyone is working to bring down the college from within is ludicrous.)

First snow, Hampshire treesI don’t believe there is one single perfect college for anyone; if you’re college-bound, there are probably plenty of places, or at least more than one, where you can learn and thrive and be happy. There are a lot of things that I learned and experienced at Hampshire that I would have found elsewhere too: meeting people from different places and backgrounds, discovering new music, exploring a different area of the country, maybe even frisbee (yes, I played ultimate) and slam poetry.

Any good education introduces you to new ideas and encourages you to remain open-minded enough to accept them; any good education should prod you to think critically, dig deeper, do your own research, question the answers, question authority. I don’t know the extent to which other schools do this, as I didn’t go to them (except, I did take classes at Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, and UMass; all Five College students can take classes at any of the other colleges, and I definitely took advantage of this. Those classes were academically rigorous – mostly – but more straightforward, more like high school).

4pm sunset at HampshireHere’s what I got at Hampshire that I don’t think I would have gotten elsewhere: I learned to take the initiative and be persistent – good qualities to have in a job search or when doing a job. I learned to make connections where there didn’t at first appear to be any, and that I didn’t necessarily have to narrow my field of study if I could just make these connections; my thesis combined literature, history, and photography. I learned that I could write a thesis over 100 pages long, guided by a committee chair who mostly listened, then asked the crucial one or two questions that guided my next week’s worth of work (thank you, Aaron Berman).

I also met such interesting people who were incredibly passionate about what they were studying. No one had to jump through hoops for two years before they got to learn about what they were really interested in; you started right away. In high school, lunch conversation might be about the homework for this class or that, but at Hampshire, no one was ever doing the same thing: one person was studying math so far beyond my comprehension that now I just remember it had something to do with shapes (maybe?); someone else was welding metal in the shop; someone was building bicycles (and that wasn’t a class, that was just on the side); someone was taking a trip to the desert to study some kind of lichen(?) that grew on the rocks there; someone was writing, directing, and starring in a play; someone was studying the history of the AIDS crisis; someone built a telescope.

So I’m not surprised that “two-thirds of our graduates earn advanced degrees. And even as the world knows us by the success of our distinguished alums in the arts, the National Science Foundation ranks us among the top fifty schools whose graduates receive a PhD in science or engineering.” Hampshire students are intelligent, determined, fierce, funny, political, passionate. We’re curious in more than one sense of the word. (Yes, we also play frisbee and wear tie-dye and have all the hippie bumper stickers. I can always recognize a Hampshire car). But as Sig Roos, Hampshire alum and past board chairman, said in the Globe piece, “It seems like a time politically when people should be beating Hampshire’s door down to get in.”

Hampshire turns out problem solvers, free thinkers, people who have found their voices; in other words, precisely what the world needs right now.

View from the notch

All photos in this post were taken by me during my years as a student at Hampshire, 2003-2007.

Updated 1/27/19: See also “Cost Disease, the Demographic Cliff, and Hampshire College

2018 Reading Wrap-Up

Here’s the 2017 reading wrap-up, with links to all previous years (through 2013). This year, I read a rather astonishing number of books: 597. But let’s start breaking down that number…

Partially-read and Started-didn’t-finish: 19. Some of these I read a few pages of, others a few chapters or chunks; there were some cookbooks, gardening books, and how-to books that I didn’t read cover to cover, as well as a novel I gave up on, a book of essays, and a book of poetry I read parts of but didn’t finish.

Early reader: 35. I created this new tag in LibraryThing this year as I started reading these with my daughter. They have more words than most picture books – certainly more text per page – but they still have illustrations on every page.

Picture books: 359. Yeah, here’s where it gets crazy. Almost all of these I read with my daughter, most more than once (some many times), and I probably used a few dozen in my storytimes.

Now we’re down to a much more reasonable 184 books this year, especially when you consider that a lot of those are middle grade or young adult:

Middle grade: 44

YA/teen: 41. (Some books (8) were tagged both middle grade and YA, because I don’t have a “tween” category.)

Graphic novels: 18. Nearly all of these were middle grade or YA, and thus are included in the numbers above.

Audiobooks: 25. These are also included in other tags, mostly children’s, middle grade, and YA, with the exception of one Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express), Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman’s The Greatest Love Story Every Told, and Morgan Jerkins’ This Will Be My Undoing.

That brings the number down to 107 adult fiction or nonfiction books.

Nonfiction: About 32, including some how-to books on gardening, sewing, quilting, cleaning, and cookbooks, along with Big Biographies and Serious Works of Nonfiction and Critical Essays etc etc etc.

Fiction: 36

Short stories: 11

And people said I wasn’t going to be able to read as much once I had a kid!

Math whizzes will notice that the numbers don’t entirely add up; that’s due to overlapping tags.

 

Pie chart showing author gender
For as long as I’ve been a LibraryThing member (about 6 years now), my “author gender” pie chart has been very close to 50-50, tipping definitively female just last year. That trend continues this year.

 

#WeNeedDiverseBooks: I started using this tag in LibraryThing toward the end of 2017. I use it for books by authors of color (AOC) or about characters who are diverse in some way – their race, socioeconomic status, nationality, immigration status, abilities, etc. In other words, if it’s not straight, white, middle-class America, I’m trying to use this tag.

Five-star ratings: 36! I was much more generous this year than last year. Of these, 16 are picture books or early readers.  (Blog post about favorite books read in 2018 to come.)

Re-reading: As a kid, I re-read my favorite books all the time. Now I re-read less, in no small part because I worked in publishing after college and realized how many new books there are, and now I work in libraries and am surrounded by them every day. But I do believe in the pleasures of re-reading, especially after many years have gone by (or not). This fall I re-read the entire Harry Potter series start to finish (including The Cursed Child) and it was delightful to zoom straight through them all without having to wait years for the next one to be published. I also re-read some of Kate Milton’s Nagspeake books this winter, Ghosts of Greenglass Hosue and Bluecrowne. I re-read John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down because I read it so fast the first time, and I re-read Mandy by Julie Andrews, which I barely remembered at all but loved all over again. I re-read Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, which I hadn’t read since my first semester of college, and The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and of course I read many, many picture books over and over.

Another year of reading is off to a great start – 21 books already in January, include Kelly Link’s excellent story collection Get In Trouble, which I’ve been meaning to read for years, Kelly Loy Gilbert’s astounding YA novel Picture Us in the Light, and Laurie Colwin’s 1988 book of food essays/memoir, Home Cooking.

 

 

Accio Firebolt! Harry Potter trivia at the library

Cardboard Hermione
Cardboard Hermione says: Have you done your homework?

Several months ago, I was talking to the Assistant Director at our library, and then I found myself planning an all-ages Harry Potter trivia event at the library. (Does this happen to you?) Last Saturday was the big day, and all our preparation paid off! It helps that Harry Potter is perennially (permanently?) popular, so registration filled up well before the day of the event, and we had a long waitlist. Nearly everyone who had a spot came, which meant we had just over 60 people, and everyone seemed to have a great time – kids, teenagers, and adults alike.

Here’s what we did, so you can do it too!

Preparation

This is not a program that one person can run alone, at least not the way we did it. Figure out the scale of your event, then how many people you need (or, figure out how many people you have, and then how much you’ll be able to do). This event can scale up or down; we had three staff people at the event, and decided to do food and drink, music and some decorations, and a photo frame, but you could skip those and just do the trivia, or you could make it even bigger (see: Brookline Public Library).

Here are the tasks we carried out before the day of the event:

  • Figure out a point person, who will visualize and organize the event, match people and tasks, and make sure everything is ready (that was me!)
  • Make up the questions! We had seven rounds (one for each book) of five questions each. Some were multi-part and worth more points. We also had a couple of practice questions, and some between-rounds questions (no points for those).

    img_20190112_134921
    Door prizes: House-themed tumblers (Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin)
  • Buy (or make) prizes. We got door prizes (House mugs) and prizes for the winning team (Harry Potter themed candy). The candy came with temporary tattoos, which we put out for all attendees to take and use.
  • Set up the scoring spreadsheet. We used Google Spreadsheets.
  • Test the tech. I had a hand-held mic, and played music from the soundtrack of the first movie using a projector as our CD player.
  • Add the event to the calendar on the library website, and manage registrations/waitlist.
  • Promote the event on library social media. We use Hootsuite to push to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (I posted several warm-up trivia questions to Facebook to gauge interest in the program before we officially put it on the calendar.)
  • Plan and prepare food and drink. One of our children’s librarians caters on the side, so she did 100% of the food and drink prep, including pretzel wands, “cauldron cakes” (pumpkin cookies), and Butterbeer (non-alcoholic, of course).
  • Design and create a photo frame. We have a very artsy teen librarian, who transformed mat board and paint into the front page of the Daily Prophet.
  • Make “quills”: Our teen librarian found fancy feathers and metallic tape to make Bic pens into magical quills (we also put an anti-cheating spell on them, of course).
  • Gather other decorations. I had access to a life-size cardboard Hermione, several owl puppets, some wizard hats, and some Golden Snitches.

Day of Event

Here are the tasks we handled in the hour before the event, during the event, and the hour after the event:

img_20190112_133021
Golden Snitches flying above the doorway
  • Set up chairs in clusters of twos, threes, and fours. (Some people also sat on the floor.)
  • Set up tech: Start the music and do a mic check. We had the soundtrack to the first movie playing at low volume throughout the event. A mic is essential for accessibility (and so that the MC doesn’t lose their voice after two hours).
  • Food and drink: Set up snacks and butterbeer, attend the snack table throughout the event, and clean up afterward.
  • Decorations: Hang up Golden Snitches, place owls and wizard hats around, set up cardboard Hermione.
  • Photo frame: Show people how to take pictures with the photo frame (get verbal consent – or signed waivers, if that’s what your library requires – to post any photos on library social media).
  • Greet attendees: I set up a small table at the door to the room so I could check people off the registration list as they arrived, then explain how to enter the door prize raffle, and give each team a quill and half a pad of post-its.

    Gold-tipped feathers attached to pens
    Quills (pens with fancy feathers attached)
  • Introduction, announcements, and reading the questions and answers! Make sure to point out emergency exits. And give people a few minutes to come up with a team name before the practice question.
  • Scorekeeping: We ended up conscripting a volunteer (thanks, Mom!) to assist our scorekeeper; see “what we’ll do differently next time” below.
  • Draw door prize raffle winners (a good time to do this is while the final scores are being tallied).
  • Announce winners and hand out prizes.
  • Clean up!
  • Post pictures to social media.

Budget

This can be really flexible, but here’s about what we spent:

  • Food and drink: about $100 for ingredients, including “Butterbeer” (about 70 cups; cream soda, whipped cream, butterscotch syrup; 1 bottle of soda, 2 cans of whipped cream, and 1 bottle of syrup left over), “cauldron cakes” (60 pumpkin cookies, none leftover), pretzel wands (80 chocolate and 80 plain; pretzels, chocolate, sprinkles; about 6 plain ones left over); “Every Flavour Beans” (3 bags of Jelly Belly jelly beans, none left over).
  • Prizes: Mugs for door prizes were $17.50 each ($70 total for four), and the candy and tattoos were $30.
  • Art supplies for photo frame and decorations: about $20 for the mat board and feathers (cost of paint and paintbrushes not included)
  • Total: About $220, not including staff time

What worked

Really, almost everything. We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from attendees so far, and most things went pretty smoothly – we even ran on time! It was really helpful to gather advice from other librarians who had run similar programs before, and let staff who were helping with the program play to their strengths/interests. We also had a lot of enthusiasm and support from our awesome Assistant Director! And the questions, it turned out, were neither impossibly hard nor too easy. However, there are always little improvements to be made, so…

What we’ll do differently next time

  • Questions and scorekeeping: The between-round questions were originally intended to be for points, but our scorekeepers were having a little trouble keeping up (there were 14 teams, all running up the answers to each question on post-its), so I made the on-the-fly decision to have those be hands-up questions for no points; most teams got a chance to answer at least part of one of the between-rounds questions, just for fun. Our scorekeeper said afterward that having a separate page for each round of questions and answers would have helped a lot (i.e., Round One questions and answers on one page, Round Two questions and answers on the next page, etc.).
  • Allow more time for everyone to enter and get settled. As I said, we ran on time, but that’s mostly because we definitely didn’t spend 2-3 minutes per question as I had budgeted. We opened the doors about five minutes before 2pm, and didn’t really get started until 2:15. It took a while to check attendees against the registration list and explain how the door prizes worked, and meanwhile people were taking pictures with the photo frame, getting snacks, forming teams, and choosing team names.
  • Remember to read the answers after each round! People want to know. Also, one of our answers had a mistake in it (eek! I had S.P.E.W. standing for the Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare when it should have been the Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare. No surprise that the team that corrected me on that was the eventual winning team!).
  • Also, read the team names aloud. After round one would be a good time. They were so clever! We didn’t announce the scores halfway through like they often do at pub trivia, but you could do that if your scorekeeper is caught up.
  • Prizes: The door prizes were a great idea (yes, I’m patting myself on the back for that one), but it would have been nice to have prizes for the top three teams instead of just the winning team. The HP-themed candy is cool, but there’s not a lot of bang for the buck, so I’ll try to find something else for next time – Harry Potter coloring postcards, maybe?

So, we didn’t get 320% on our Muggle Studies exam like Hermione, but Harry Potter trivia at the library was definitely a success, and I’m already looking forward to running it again later this year, perhaps around Harry’s birthday – ten points to your House if you know when that is!

Library social media (Facebook, Twitter) posts from the day of the event:

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wpl-fb-hp1

wpl-tw-hp3

wpl-tw-hp2

 

Step Into Storytime, January 14

This week’s storytime crowd was a little bigger than last week’s, and it was a mix of regulars, occasional visitors, and new faces. We had about ten to start, and about eight by the end, with some coming and going in between.

Rabbit puppet and six picture books on the storytime chair

I started the way I usually do, with a welcome and songs.

  • Welcome and announcements
  • “Hello friends” song with ASL
  • Name song (“___ is here today”)

Next, I asked a question: Does anyone know of an animal with long ears, a fluffy white tail, and it hops? Eventually the kids came up with “bunny,” and I brought out the rabbit puppet. Everyone got a chance to pet it before we started the story.

  • The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
  • Yoga cube
  • I Don’t Want to Go to Sleep! by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt. We read I Don’t Want to Be A Frog! last week, and I’ve got the next two Frog books ready for the following weeks.
  • Song cube: “Row, row, row your boat”
  • When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson. I thought this went over pretty well despite its tall, narrow trim size (a little smaller than most picture books).
  • Song: “Happy birthday” (no one in the room had a January birthday, or would admit to it if they did, so we sang to Julie, the author)
  • Yoga cube
  • Pete’s A Pizza by William Stieg: Kids were starting to get a little fidgety by this point, so I invited them to do the pizza-making motions along with Pete’s parents: kneading, tossing, adding tomatoes and cheese, putting it in the oven, cutting it up, etc. Worked pretty well!
  • Song cube: “Shake Your Sillies Out” (with shaker eggs)
  • Dog Blue by Polly Dunbar: A perfectly good book for storytime, but I should have skipped it this time; kids were getting wiggly and some were wandering out.
  • Yoga cube
  • Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won: The kids who remained seemed to like this one (it’s usually a hit, and a safe bet for the end of the line-up)
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats
  • Make snowflake wands with last week’s die-cut snowflakes and pipe cleaners
  • Dance to “Shake Your Sillies Out” and “Twinkle Twinkle”

Most kids liked waving their snowflake wands during the music, but didn’t want to keep them, which reinforces my belief (based on observation and talking with other librarians) that at this age (2-3 years), any crafts are strictly process over product. Next week, I think we’ll be doing some gluing to go with Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier. Till then, keep warm!

New year! Step Into Storytime, January 7

For the first Monday “Step Into Storytime” session of the year we had lots of our regulars – about eight kids in the target age range (2-3 years) and one younger sibling. It was so great to see everyone again!

Flannel board with caterpillar and fruit, yoga cube, song cube, picture books
Very Hungry Caterpillar and fruit (including an extra fifth strawberry), yoga cube, song cube, picture books for storytime

We started off with our usual “Hello Friends” song with ASL from Jbrary, and then we sang a name song because there were fewer than ten kids (with more than ten or so, it goes on too long).

  • Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller features Aria and her hair, which she loves – and so does everyone else. It’s a colorful but firm message about consent, and the perfect length for storytime.
  • I brought a different song cube this time to change things up; the first song we rolled was “Wheels on the Bus.”
  • I Don’t Want To Be A Frog by Dev Petty, with illustrations by Mike Boldt is about a frog who would rather be almost anything else…but discovers that there is one big upside to being a frog. It is very funny (and there are more Frog books).
  • Yoga cube (3 poses)
  • We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins is one of my favorite picture books published last year. I was taking a little bit of a gamble that the kids’ attention would stretch to three longer books, and it worked. (Humor works!)
  • Song cube: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle with flannel caterpillar, fruit, and (new!) butterfly (I got to play with the hot glue gun during the holiday hiatus from storytimes). I let the kids take turns coming up and taking off the fruit for each day of the week.
  • Yoga cube (3 poses)
  • Flyaway Katie by Polly Dunbar, even though it was a sunny day today, and a parent ended up taking this one home afterward – yay!
  • Song cube: “Where Is Thumbkin?” I use the version of this I saw at a Cambridge Public Library storytime, which omits the “sir,” rather than the one I remember from childhood.
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, even though we haven’t had any snow yet…we made our own! I handed out paper snowflakes (thank you, die-cut) to the kids (and then to the grown-ups), and at the line “New snow was falling,” we all threw them up in the air to make it snow.
  • Goodbye song with ASL, stack up mats, bring out blocks to play with

 

Multicolored felt butterfly
Felt and a hot glue gun makes a beautiful butterfly!

1/9/19 Edited to add this piece from The Horn Book Magazine, “What Makes A Good Storytime?” by Julie Roach of the Cambridge Public Library, May/June 2016, including “Ten Tips for Reading Aloud.”