Step Into Storytime, February 11

Picture books on a chair with a donkey puppet

We had another large bunch today, with fewer regulars than usual and some kids on the younger and older ends of the spectrum. While I don’t usually do a theme, we did one valentine book and one book with heart shapes (as well as a valentine craft), and talked a little about colors and shapes. I also tried clustering books and songs a little more than I usually do (i.e. two books and then two songs instead of book/song/book/song). Lots of kids were in a wiggly, singalong mood today.

  • Welcome and announcements
  • “Hello Friends” song with ASL from Jbrary
  • Name song (we had about 11 kids at this point, more came throughout and some left before the end)
  • Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda: This one is a little long (lots of pages, not too many words), and the illustrations aren’t big and bright, but it’s such an unusual, funny book – not the usual Valentine’s fare – that I wanted to try it.
  • Song cube: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Where Is Thumbkin?”
  • Green Is A Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and John Parra: This has one or two Spanish words incorporated into the text on each page, as well as a translation of the color. For each color, I asked if anyone was wearing that color or sitting on that color mat.
  • Yoga cube: Instead of doing three static poses like usual, we did three and then cycled through them: mountain pose to forward fold and back to mountain pose, then tree pose. Some of the little ones have great balance! We always try standing on each leg – sometimes one side is steadier than the other.
  • My Heart Is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall: I used the flannel board for this (I’ve made the penguin, owl, frog, crab, and clam), and said we would be making our own animals out of hearts as our craft at the end.
  • Song cube: “Shake Your Sillies Out” (with egg shakers)
  • The Steves by Morag Hood
  • Perfect Square by Michael Hall
  • Yoga (mountain pose, forward fold, tree pose, seated forward fold)
  • Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
  • The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and Katz Cowley
  • Craft: Colored paper hearts, crayons, googly eye stickers. For two- and three-year-olds this is simple, but it could be scaled up for older kids: add glue sticks and hearts of different sizes, and they can make animals like in the book, or invent their own.

Paper heart with googly eyes

 

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We Need Diverse (Picture) Books

Recently a parent friend of mine asked me for book recommendations for her kid’s upcoming third birthday, and she specifically requested diverse books. I loved the question, and wanted to share the list I came up with. I’ve written about #WeNeedDiverseBooks before (here’s the official WNDB site), and I’m also mindful of #OwnVoices, i.e. diverse characters written/illustrated by diverse authors (as opposed to, say, a white author writing a Black character). For this list, I’m including books that feature characters that are something other than straight, white, cisgender, upper/middle-class, and non-disabled.

With one exception (And Tango Makes Three), these books have human characters. A tremendous number of picture books have animal characters; they often have wonderful, inclusive messages, but I feel that they don’t quite fit the description.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are books my daughter (also about three years old) and I have enjoyed repeatedly over the past year or so. Many are award winners, and I’ve included the names of the awards so that you can find other past winners and honor books.

Alma And How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal: Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has a very long name, which she doesn’t like, until her father tells her where each part came from; in this way, Alma finds something in common with each of her ancestors and takes new pride in her name. (Caldecott Honor, School Library Journal Best Picture Book)

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole: Here’s the animal book exception. Roy and Silo, two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo, hatch an egg and raise Tango as their own chick. (Nonfiction)

The Class by Boni Ashburn, illustrated by Kimberly Gee: Twenty different children get ready for the first day of school, when they become one class. The rhyming text and the illustrations work together to show the broad range of personalities and backgrounds coming together; it’s a light and lovely first day of school book.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James: A joyous celebration of the confidence a new haircut gives a young Black boy. (ALA Notable Book, Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, Kirkus Prize)

A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui: A young Vietnamese-American boy goes fishing with his father very early in the morning – not for fun, but to have food to eat. This whole book has the feeling of a starlit, predawn hush, as the boy enjoys the time with his father even as he learns about the family’s tragic history. (Caldecott Honor, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Charlotte Zolotow Award)

Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin: A little girl goes to a dim sum restaurant with her parents and two older sister; each person orders their favorite dish and they all share. A simple story, but an excellent introduction into another culture via food. (See also: A Big Mooncake for Little Star by the same author.)

Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller: A young Black girl, Aria, loves her hair – but doesn’t like when other people touch it without asking permission. A strong and necessary message about consent.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales: A mother brings her infant son to the U.S. from Mexico; a public library helps them feel welcome, and inspires the mother to create her own books. (Pura Belpre Award)

Hanukkah Hamster by Michelle Markel, illustrated by André Ceolin: Edgar, an Israeli taxi driver in a U.S. city, finds a hamster in his cab and cares for it while he tries to find the owner. (Maybe not the best choice for a March birthday, but keep it in mind for December. See also: All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky [Sydney Taylor Book Award], and The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Paul Meisel.)

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall: A young Black boy goes to the pool with his father and little sister, ready to jump off the high diving board. His bravery wavers, and his dad gives him both encouragement and an easy out. Ultimately, Jabari jumps. (ALA Notable Children’s Book, Charlotte Zolotow Honor)

Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love: Julián loves mermaids, but when he dresses up as one, how will his abuela react? She takes him to what looks like the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. (Stonewall Book Award)

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson: CJ takes a bus through the city with his grandmother to help at a soup kitchen. (Newbery Medal, Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Honor, ALA Notable Book) Note: This author/illustrator team also produced Carmela Full of Wishes, and pretty much everything that Robinson illustrates could be on this list; I particularly love School’s First Day of School (with Adam Rex), When’s My Birthday? (with Julie Fogliano), and Rain.

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington: Mae Jemisin was the first African-American female astronaut and the first African-American woman to go into space, and it started as a childhood dream – one that her parents encouraged, but her white teachers and classmates didn’t. (Biography)

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts: The story of second-grader Rosie, great grand-niece of Rosie the Riveter and a passionate inventor – in secret, because she’s afraid of being laughed at. When Great Aunt Rose comes to visit, she brings an encouraging message: “Life might have its failures, but this was NOT it.
The only true failure can come if you quit.
” (See also: Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, and Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen.)

Want to Play Trucks? by Ann Stott, illustrated by Bob Graham: Two little boys – one white, one brown – meet at a playground; one likes dolls and twirly dresses, another likes trucks. They find a way to play together easily; in the background, the moms chat. (Bob Graham also wrote and illustrated Let’s Get A Pup, Said Kate, in which Kate’s parents are casually tattooed and pierced.) Deftly pierces stereotypes about “boy” and “girl” toys and preferences.

As I said, this is just the tip of the iceberg – there are so many incredible, diverse picture books out there, with more being published every year. Check out other award winner or honor books, or the publisher Lee & Low (“About everyone, For Everyone”). The titles above are just a few I think are worth checking out of the library or adding to your personal collection. Happy reading!

Step Into Storytime, February 4

Storytime books and scarf

I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to ask storytime attendees for feedback with a short survey, and while I mulled over what questions to ask, I wrote down all the elements I bring to storytime aside from books: early literacy tips (for the grown-ups), scarves, shaker eggs, other musical instruments, flannel board, the song cube, the yoga cube, stuffed animals and puppets, various arts and crafts activities, bubbles, and music. I don’t use all of these in every storytime, of course, because that would probably be sensory overload, and it’s good to change things up; while the overall pattern of the program is the same each week, some elements are familiar and others are new. If you have a storytime program, do you evaluate it? What questions do you ask, and how? A quick search turned up a useful blog post from storytime goldmine Jbrary.

Here’s what we did today, with a group of about ten kids, including a couple of four-year-olds (welcome, because we had a couple of books that required sharp eyes – Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert and Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? – and the older kiddos are great at spotting the hide-and-seek characters).

  • Hello and announcements
  • “Hello Friends” song with ASL (from Jbrary)
  • Name song (“____ is here today…”)
  • I Wish It Would Snow by Sarah Dillard: I had planned to hand out scarves for this one, but I forgot. We talked about how we haven’t had very much snow yet this year. The adults were particularly engaged during this storytime – thanks, grown-ups! I also brought out one of our rabbit puppets, which I invited kids to come pat after the story.
  • Yoga cube
  • Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood and Ella Okstad: This has a bit of hide-and-seek to it, so I passed out scarves for this one instead. The littler kids had fun with the scarves, and the four-year-olds spotted the real unicorn right away.
  • Song cube: “Row Row Row Your Boat” and “Shake Your Sillies Out” (with scarves)
  • Spots in a Box by Helen Ward: This is a new favorite of mine. I like the rhyme scheme and the art. On the final page, the dots are textured, so I invited kids to come up and feel the book.
  • Yoga cube
  • There’s Nothing to Do! by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt: This completes our quartet of frog books…until they write some more!
  • Song cube: “Where is Thumbkin?” Everyone loved this. Even the littlest kids have the fine motor skills to do a thumbs-up! I sang the Cambridge Public Library version, which omits the traditional “sir.”
  • Pouch! by David Ezra Stein: This late in the storytime lineup, I like books with less text, and this one is perfect. To start, I asked which animals had pouches, and the kids said “kangaroo!” I told them that all animals with pouches are called marsupials. Word of the day!
  • Yoga cube
  • Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? by Stephen Savage: Again, my observant four-year-olds were quick to spot the escaped zoo animals.
  • “Goodbye Friends” song with ASL (from Jbrary)
  • Clean up mats, color with crayons

Before and after

Instead of putting down blank butcher paper, I drew a few outlines of circles of different sizes before our program. That way, kids could color inside those circles, or make their own, or draw anything else they wanted. I even saw a yellow snowman…

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:

wpl-tw-hp1

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.”