Plant Parts Storytime

With summer winding down, we chose to give our Storytime families and kids a taste of a little science by introducing some plant vocabulary including, “root”, “stem”, “leaves” and “fruit”. Although I originally thought this topic might be a little bit too hard for the kids, they were able to grasp it, even the ones as young as three!

Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch
I love this book! Totally great for Stortime and keeping the kids engaged! The books illustrate how plants are not sedentary, rather, they are always wiggling, growing, squirming, reaching, climbing, creeping, and tumbling! Great vocabulary words! I had the kids help me act out all of the actions that the plants make. The action words are in red, which is also great to point out to parents to watch for different colored text to give us clues on how to make books interactive, and draw attention to the print! Again, I loved this book!

Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres
A cutely illustrated gardening story! I love that it really shows the plants in the illustrations! For example, we see a cross section of garden to see carrots, worms, and bugs all together under the soil. This is great to bring up the “root” vocabulary word, and it is so obvious that “roots” are under the ground! The book keeps repeating the “up, down, and around” line, so it is great to have kids mimic since they know what is coming!

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
I love Gail’s work! This can be a long book, so if your crowd is restless, skip right to page 20 (the pages are not numbered, so just count), where you see the large yellow seed. Use the “seed” vocabulary as you follow the seed through the next two pages. On page 22, we see the “root” vocabulary word introduced again. On page 23, we see the “stem” and “leaves”. On page 25, we see the “flower” or “buds”. Let the kids know that the flower part of the vegetale plant produces the fruit. Turn the page, and we are greated with an abundance of crops, many that come from the “flower” of the plant.

Rooting for You by Susan Hood
A clever little story. A seed is afraid to set down its roots, and then reach for the sun. A worm, however, is a very vocal cheerleader, and helps the seed have confidence that it is meant to be up there in the sun, air, and breeze! Several of the pages fold out unexpectedly to give us more room for illustrations that “grow”. The kids really liked that the illustrations opened up, but they were not into the story for some reason. Try to preview the book, and maybe just summarize the reading, instead of going word for word. Also, try to talk about encouragement, and what we say to each other when we are being encouraging. That might help the kids put the story in context.

Extension Activities: 

Our local Farm to School educator came and helped with this lesson plan. She had a diagram of a plant on her easel and talked to the kids about the different vegetables that are roots (carrots, potatoes, etc), leaves (spinach), stalks (asparagus, celery), fruit (tomatoes). The kids had a little bit of a harder time grasping the lesson, but they were engaged the whole time. Afterward, she prepared some vegetables already cut up and served it to the kids on bagels or tortillas with cream cheese. A yummy snack to end Storytime with!



Happy Birthday Storytime

Happy Birthday Storytime!

What to do with a Storytime also falls on your birthday? Plan a Birthday themed Storytime, or course!

The Fairytale Cake by Mark Sperring
A very cute tale where familiar fairy-tale and nursery rhyme characters work together to bake a cake for a youngster. Of all the books I used, I think I would switch this one out in the future. It was hard to tell the story while also finding the familiar characters. I thought I would read the book through, and then we would go back and find them, but once we were done reading the story, the kids were already restless to move. I loved the illustrations though!

The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle
A child receives a letter giving them directions to where they will find their birthday gift. I love that the directions are partially told though shapes. The kids helped tell the story by identifying the shapes as we read, and then making the shapes with their hands or body. Everyone loved the birthday gift at the end!

Don’t Spill the Beans by Ian Schoenherr
It can be hard to keep secrets! Bear has a secret, and so many friends! Okay, maybe just tell a few friends…whoops…the secret is out! I asked the kids to play while we told the story. They leaned over to their neighbor and made whispering sounds while cupping their hands like they were telling a secret. They loved the ending and how the birthday theme came out with writing! The kids old enough to read loved shouting the last line out loud!

Where is Baby’s Birthday Cake? By Karen Katz
A great lift-the-flap book to end Storytime on! I really enjoy these baby kind of books to end Storytime with. They are great for pulling everyone’s attention back on the book at the end of our time. The books are always colorful, and everyone loves to see the flaps lifted and the big reveals! Baby is looking for his birthday cake! Where could it be? It is just a little thing, but I loved that baby is wearing a purple shirt with stars on it!

Other Birthday themed books:
If You Give a Pig a Party by Larua Numeroff
A Birthday for Cow! By Jan Thomas
The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli
Happy Birthday, Bunny! by Stephanie Graegin

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Easter Egg Storytime

Whenever it comes planning any program close to a holiday, as librarians we strive to make sure all families that we serve feel included and valued in our programs. This is my lesson plan for a scheduled Easter themed Storytime that was very successful and appreciated by the families who attended. I had given the parents a message before this week that this Storytime would be Easter Egg themed, and the parents were ready to see what fun we could get into!

Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs by Janet Morgan Stoeke
Fun story about silly Minerva Louise. It was fun to ask the kids to point to the page to find the Easter eggs that Minerva Louise kept finding throughout the story.

Happy Easter by Kurt Wiese
What happens when bunnies need eggs to dye into Easter eggs? They ask their friend, the hen. I think this book may be out of print. But, the pages have an old-fashioned feel that I really enjoy when I read this book.

Where’s My Easter Egg? by Harriet Ziefer
Great book to end Storytime on. The kids loved lifting the flaps to see if Nicky the kitten’s egg was under there.

Additional activity: Easter egg hunt!

I hid some eggs around the Storytime room while the kids (mostly) closed their eyes. Then, the kids went to hunt them down!

How it went:
As excited as the parents were as they arrived for Storytime, this was one of the most tired group of kids I have had all spring. I think several were missing a naptime. They kept telling me how tired they were, and how they just “couldn’t do it” when I asked them to sing, or play with shakers, and look at the book. I needed to make every book interactive to make it work for them. They enjoyed the Easter egg hunt, and it was also a time for parents to enjoy sharing this moment with their children. I chose not to spread the activities out to long, though. Just as the kids really were having enough, I sang out goodbye song and I then high-fived the kids and thanked them for coming to see me at the library.

After Storytime we went into the main Children’s library where we had a craft prepped by a volunteer, so each child was also able to go home with a paper baby chick hatching out of a paper plate egg.


What to do when you are sick on a Storytime morning….

This Wednesday I woke up with a sick stomach and only about five hours of sleep. It was a Storytime morning, so I immediately went into, “What are we going to do if I cannot make it into the library?” mode. We do not have a staff person set up to take over Storytime if I am not there on Wednesdays, so if I do not come in, Storytime would not happen. I have a very wonderful director, and after a few texts, she told me stay home. My director has respect for me, the Children’s department, and what Storytime means for our library as a whole, not just a single program. And, I am incredibly thankful to work with her, both as our director, and as a person. I ended up being able to pull myself together (I knew that I was not suffering from anything that would be contagious), and went into Storytime anyway. The kids and parents had a great time, but the experience prompted me to post a question of the Storytime Underground Facebook page asking my colleagues how they handle a similar situations. 56 librarians responded. Missing a Storytime, as I read, is something that we all worry about. It can mean losing momentum with our programming numbers, and other consequences. Yet, some of the solutions and proactive plans that I read made me want to share my colleague’s wisdom.

To summarize the 66 comments, here is some of the best advise that my fellow children librarians shared:

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Storytime: The Mitten Week 4

The Mitten: Week 4


In the Snow by Sharon Phillips Denslow
Clifford’s First Snow Day by Norman Bridwell
The Mitten by Jan Brett (to hold up)

This is our final week for the telling of the tale, “The Mitten”! I think that having one consistent story for a whole month helps the Storytime kids gain knowledge and experience with stories through review, and it also shows the parents how a simple story can be retold and enjoyed in different ways. It is also a way for the kids to be more active in the telling of the story, and I can layer in actions and repeat-after-me-phrases that I could not do if I was sharing new stories all the time. I also like to bring some theater in the form of play for the final week in the telling of the story, and this week we used masks that Jan Brett made available on her website for our props that each child was able to hold for our final telling of the story! Thank you Lynette, one of university interns, who made printed, laminated, and cut the masks out for us! We did not glue sticks on the back of the masks. I think sticks can make homemade masks harder for little hands to hold.

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Storytime: The “Mitten” Week Two

I try to pick one new folk tale each month and present that story in my Storytime by choosing different books from different authors and illustrators who interpret the basic story each a little differently. In January, we are learning the folk tale, The Mitten. I have noticed that the kids enjoy knowing at least one of the stories as the month goes on, and I am able to layer in more interaction (ask the kids to join me in telling the story, acting it out, repeating after me, and making predictions) because the kids know what is going to happen. This lesson plan shows our second week on the folk tale, The Mitten.

Second week of January Storytime
The Mitten: Week Two

The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
Red Sled by Lita Judge
Spot’s Snowy Day by Eric Hill

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