Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 9

Preschoolers I’m baaaacccccckkkkkkk! I think Noon Year’s Eve and Daniel Tiger Storytime (and the rest of the world) took out any of the new energy I should’ve collected during my few weeks off of weekly storytime, so no book retelling this week. I have so much fun with those, so this makes me sad, but developmentally I’m good with two books for preschool age (I’d much rather have the babies and toddlers moving or exploring books differently).And most importantly, the Elmo Slide is back!

More Preschool Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Playing

Action songs build physical awareness. Try songs like “The Hokey Pokey,” which name specific body parts.

Book: Every Little Letter by Deborah Underwood

Song: Teddy Bear by Jazzy Ash

Fingerplay: I Built a Little Snowman

Discover more Fingerplays. —

I built a little snowman.
He had a carrot nose!
Along came a bunny,
And what do you suppose?

The hungry little bunny
Looking for his lunch,
Ate the carrot nose…
Nibble, nibble, crunch!

Book: There’s a Superhero In Your Book by Tom Fletcher

Action Rhyme: Galoomp Went the Little Green Frog

Galoomp (hop) went the little green frog one day
Galoomp (hop) went the little green frog
Galoomp (hop) went the little green frog one day
And his eyes went blink blink blink

Repeat with last line added on each time:
Arms went flop, flop, flop
Feet went splash, splash, splash

Flannel: Snowball and Mitten Hide and Seek

Discover more Flannel & Magnet Activities. —

Snowball, snowball
Cold and round!
Behind which mitten,
Can you be found?

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Daniel Tiger Storytime

The first themed Saturday storytime special of 2021! We started the new year with the one and only Daniel Tiger Storytime! This set a highly unrealistic attendance expectation for 2021, but I am very happy with the final product. If nothing else in 2021 works out whatsoever, maybe my storytime game will be on point?

Daniel Tiger is close to my heart because of Mr. Rogers, though I did learn in this process that I am not the biggest fan of the Daniel Tiger tv show. But, there is most definitely an audience for Daniel, and, if we ever return to in-person programs in the next five years, this is something I would like to recreate as a party-style event. The heart of the story is excellent, and in person I could use some Mr. Rogers tunes–something Facebook strictly does not allow (it WILL shut down your stream, mid-stream or immediately after–be warned). Daniel Tiger songs are fine.

I talked about Daniel Tiger during the well-attended Noon Year’s Eve Storytime, and I could tell the Facebook event had a lot of interest (over 1000 people responded to the event), so I did not make a trailer for this one. (Also, Noon Year’s Eve was barely a week prior, and I’m tired.)

The trailer was not needed because, following the Noon Year’s Eve Storytime fun, we once again broke attendance records. This is the most-well attended program I have ever done…ever. (Except for the in-person Wizards & Wands Festival, but that is a whole other thing.) Final attendance was 770 people, most of which were from central Ohio based on anecdotal info (where we are located), and even knowing that Facebook’s one-minute view count isn’t the most accurate, we had 400 people just from families self-reporting how many people were watching in the comments (so they stuck with us long enough to hear my announcements).

Moral of the story: Daniel Tiger > Dog Man.

Just like past virtual storytimes, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Download it here.

Watch the full storytime here (starts about 5 minutes in):

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Daniel Tiger Storytime Outline

Backdrop Setup: Daniel Tiger pennant banners, book covers, and images. I’m happy to share these printable files if anyone is interested–just let me know in those comments or send us an email.

Intro Song: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Daniel Tiger Story: Meet the Neighbors!

Meet the Neighbors! (Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood): Shaw, Natalie, Style  Guide: 9781442498372: Books

Neighbor Day Help: The premise for storytime was that it was time for the annual Neighbor Day Festival, and we needed to help all of our friends in the Neighborhood of Make Believe get ready.

Each time we were ready to find a new friend we took a seat and pretended to “drive” trolley.

Driving Round in My Little Red Trolley
Driving round in my little red trolley,
Driving round in my little red trolley,
Driving round in my little red trolley,
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

When we got to a location, we would receive three clues to figure out where we ended up.

And then we figure out where we ended up (the bakery!) and see which friend is waiting for us there (Miss Elaina!):

Before starting that location’s activity:

Bakery with Miss Elaina to Mix a Cake

Mix the batter, stir the batter
Shake some flour in
Mix the batter, stir the batter
Pour it in a tin

Sprinkle in some chocolate chips
Put it in to bake
Then open wide the oven door
And out comes the cake!

Faster, Faster!

Music Shop with Katerina Kittycat for Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes!
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes!

Playground with Prince Wednesday for Animal Guessing Game

Grocery Store with O the Owl to Count the Balloons

Red Balloons, red balloons, how many do we see?
Red balloons, red balloons, count them now with me!

Post Office with Daniel Tiger for Letter Matching

Oh, have you seen the letter W
The letter W, the letter W
Oh, have you seen the letter W?
It makes the sound wuh-wuh-wuh

Wrapping Things Up
After helping Daniel find all of the letters for his friends, we found one more lost letter that needed a home! But this one was addressed to…us!

When we opened it, we discovered that since we were so kind to all of our new friends, we would become honorary residents of the Neighborhood of Make Believe! First, we just had to sing our song one more time:

Noon Year’s Eve Storytime

Noon Year’s Eve Storytime! I’m still recovering from this one.

I learned something with this program that I pose as a challenge to myself and all of you: Not everyone is “zoomed out” or “over virtual programs.” Keep trying. Figure out what works for your audience, put in all of your energy, and try and try again when nothing seems to be sticking.

I was not that excited for Noon Year’s Eve Storytime & Dance Party. Honestly, the content is not my favorite. While I loved my dance party lineup, I didn’t like the book I was reading and some of the other activities felt like they drug on too long. I didn’t expect an audience because my library doesn’t regularly have a consistent Noon Year’s Eve program (so no built-in viewers), and we typically slow down our storytimes in December because our audience shrinks (which was reflected in our virtual storytimes throughout the month too).

Our Noon Year’s Eve Storytime received a little more press than regular programs. We weren’t able to advertise it at weekly storytimes the week before, since we didn’t have any the week prior, but a local newspaper and tv station briefly mentioned the program in their lists of ways to celebrate the New Year. I made a “commercial” advertising the event too but that is a regular practice for me.

In Ohio, per our state library, we count live program stats for programs that air live, like Facebook Like Storytimes, by adding the number of 1-minute viewers and the number of additional people mentioned in the comments. We ask families to let us know how many people are watching behind the screen in the comments, to get a more accurate count.

Our regular storytimes have been averaging around 30-50 people, with some peaks up to the 60s-80s, maybe 100 at a particular popular Saturday storytime.

Virtual Noon Year’s Eve Storytime Attendance: 439 people.

I was blown away. When I started the stream, five minutes early to give people time to join, I saw the “live view” count immediately jump to 25. That felt unusual so early, but fit within our normal numbers. By the time I started, five minutes later, the “live view” count was 65. I haven’t been really, genuinely, nervous presenting a virtual storytime since April–but those numbers genuinely terrified me, and you can sort of see it during the first few minutes based on how out of breath I am.

Anyhow, after that long-winded introduction, Noon Year’s Eve Storytime & Dance Party content awaits below.

Check out my preview video! I had a lot of fun with this one, reflecting on 2020 and including some fun bloopers:

Watch the full storytime here, including the dance party (storytime starts about 5 minutes in):

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Noon Year’s Eve Storytime Outline

Backdrop & Logistics: New Year’s Eve pennant banner and decor.

Since everyone’s clock is going to be a little bit different, plus there is a delay on Facebook, I used two iPads to keep track of the time until our (approximately) noon countdown. They were synced, with one displayed beside me and another behind the camera, so it was in my line of vision, and I didn’t need to keep looking away from the camera throughout the whole program to check the time.

I also attempted a balloon drop, filled with balloons and confetti. This didn’t work quite as planned, with maybe 3 out of 20 balloons falling, but that might have been better than what I expected, which was everything, tablecloths included, to fall on my head 5 minutes into the program.

Intro Song: Shake Your Sillies Out by Rainbow Songs (my go-to opening storytime song)

Book: The Night Before New Year’s by Amy Wummer
I struggled with this book. I wanted a more diverse representation of New Year’s Eve, but the only diverse options I had access to before the program were Our Favorite Day of the Year, which feels like a back-to-school book, and Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas (and I can’t get past some of the rhyming choices in Shante Peas). I did like that this book showed one family celebrating at home by themselves (no extended family or community parties). I tried to find a middle ground by spending some time before and during the book talking about how everyone’s New Year traditions are different and how not everyone celebrates New Year’s on Dec. 31. (This issue, right here, is why I struggle with theming storytimes–decisions are made for the sake of the theme instead of the quality of the materials, their diversity, and their developmentally appropriate content.) The Night Before New Year's (9780448452128): Wing, Natasha,  Wummer, Amy: Books

Song: Dance Freeze Melt by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael

Hilda the Dragon, Playing Hide and Seek
I wanted to include some of the familiar characters we saw at virtual storytime specials during 2020, so I decided to have us discover some characters while hunting for our library dragon, Hilda (see a photo of 30-foot, smoke-breathing Hilda here.)

Zoom Zoom Zoom, A New Year’s Coming Soon
As always, thank you jbrary.

Fabulous Fireworks

If You’re Ready for the New Year (If you’re happy and you know it)

We finished If You’re Ready for the New Year with just about a minute until our countdown, which I still almost missed because I talk too much.

And it was finally time for our 20-minute dance party! I used these songs:

And that was 2020 Virtual Noon Year’s Eve Storytime and Dance Party! I didn’t receive much specific feedback from this program, other than those attendance numbers, which makes me a little sad (I really rely on that feedback to keep my energy up), but I think it went well enough. I just hope some of those people listened to my always-rambling announcements and return for our weekly live storytimes next week and Daniel Tiger Storytime on Saturday.

2021 Storytime Goals

It’s a new calendar year! 2020 has been filled with new experiences for many of us (hello work from home, virtual programs, stay at home orders, and so much more!), and I’m pessimistic enough to anticipate that 2021 will be filled with more challenges. I’m expecting to be presenting virtual storytime through May and maybe summer. (Perhaps by summer with a hybrid model–some virtual and some in person?) I’m also anticipating taking a little break when we return to full in person storytimes (pending staffing levels of course) because (1) I have some lovely coworkers who haven’t been comfortable presenting virtually but are excited to return to in-person storytimes and (2) I need a real vacation. (And staycations simply don’t work with my life. I’d spend a whole staycation sneakily working on work projects, catching up on picture books, and working on this blog. Which isn’t a vacation at all, really.)

I’ve talked about this a bit in my weekly storytime outlines, but I’ve really appreciated being able to deep dive into a variety of storytimes for all ages. Storytimes were a part of my job before, but I’ve had the opportunity to make them a focus instead of one of just many things on my plate. I’ve had a chance to examine storytime books and blogs, figure out outlines that work for me and my audience, intentionally align everything I do to early literacy, practice a storytime before presenting it (something that really helps my intentionality in what I say and even how I hold each item), and build a collection of core storytime materials that will (hopefully) allow me to continue bringing variety to my storytimes long after in-person storytimes have returned.

But my storytimes are far from perfect, and I want to keep growing as a presenter. So what do I want to focus on in 2021?

1. Diverse Music. This is something I talked about this year, but it kept getting pushed aside. I’m happy that this project is built into my personal work goals next year, so I won’t be able to let other deadline-driven projects keep pushing this down the list.

There are a lot of great resources on the internet that keep up with diverse books, but I need to put in the work to really explore diverse musicians. I rely fairly heavily on recorded music in my storytime–I’m not the most comfortable singing, and I know many of the grown-ups watching aren’t either, no matter how much their librarian assures them its fine. I want to move beyond the regular Laurie Berkner, Jim Gill, and Caspar Babypants tunes. I started this project this year, and essentially it just turned into me including Jazzy Ash’s music in all of my storytimes (GO LISTEN TO HER), but there are many additional diverse artists out there that I want to be promoting. I want to go beyond just a list of artists but also take the time to listen to all of their music and pull out songs that are ideal in a storytime setting (clear motions, great with manipulatives, etc.). I expect to be sharing a lot of that work here too, so look out for music posts!

2. Diverse Books – especially for toddlers. I keep finding wonderful, own voices books I want to share with preschoolers–but I don’t often present preschool storytime. I’m reading to babies and those squirmy toddlers and to stay developmentally appropriate for both of these ages (and to hold their attention through a screen), I like to focus on books that include actions or animal sounds. I also try to separate books that I use with babies and toddlers–babies get those books that have photos of babies and smaller motions like bouncing or peek-a-boo, while toddler books are, based on their age, a little longer. The problem with this approach? Most of those interactive toddler books that I love feature critters, creatures, or monsters. I don’t want to keep recycling the same handful of diverse titles every few weeks, and I also don’t want to reuse a book I just used at baby storytime–I want new options that are new to me and to the grown-ups watching.

Also: I want to re-examine my go-to storytime books and authors too. I used to use Upsy Daisy Baby, until I read some reviews commenting on poor word selections that would not be remotely reflective of the cultures depicted. I’ve also been much more aware of how babies are illustrated, particularly in books that aren’t by own voices authors and illustrators. Asian slant eyes in illustrations is racist (and pretty common in popular storytime titles–take another look at some of those Helen Oxenbury books).

3. Fingerplays beyond Five Littles. I’ve been reading a lot on accessibility in storytimes and making all programs accessible (not just thinking about these things during a sensory storytime). Fingerplays are a big one. Not every kid has ten little fingers (or ten little toes). It’s easy to avoid books that focus on these things, but fingerplays are important to build those muscles needed for writing later on. I’ve stopped using fingerplays featuring 10 littles, and I want to stop using fingerplays featuring five littles too, particularly if there is not a visual component or alternative motions to go with it. There are a lot of other fingerplay options out there, and there are ways to immediately be more inclusive with fingerplays (such as counting to five using two hands instead of just one), but I need to take the time to find the ones that work really work for me. I talk about this a little more here, but I want to focus on making this happen in 2021.

4. Captioning and Accessibility. Thinking more about storytimes and accessibility, I want to pay more attention to captioning next year. For every storytime I present (on Facebook Live), I create short videos for our library’s YouTube channel of any non-copyrighted content. Those have many purposes, but they are really there to help increase accessibility. Facebook is not a great resource for captions, but I can control the captions on YouTube. These videos are also always available, allowing families to more easily stop and start and skip a video entirely, as it makes sense for them (and as their technology allows). I made an effort to caption all of my YouTube videos toward the middle of 2020, but to-do lists always grow, and this project also got pushed aside even as I continue to produce more videos. I want to make sure all of our YouTube content is captioned, and I want to review it all to make breaks as clean as possible (above isn’t a great example, with sentences being cut between captions).

I also want to create a visual storytime schedule that can be displayed on the wall behind me during storytime. This is such a small thing that I could easily include in my storytimes, but I haven’t taken the time to do so, which is entirely on me.

5. Build more early literacy asides and at-home activities. This may be more of a storytime extension, but, especially as we start to shift back into in-person storytimes later in 2021, I want to think about ways to encourage families to continue early literacy activities at home. I’ve been building on this idea as I prepare the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program that will debut next year, and I talk (a lot) in storytimes about early literacy activities, but I want to figure out a way to make this succinct and easy, especially since, I expect, when we restart storytimes, the oh-so-important playtime won’t be debuting, probably for the entirety of 2021. Can I offer take home kits at the end of a storytime? Will people actually take and use handouts? Is it time to re-examine a text messaging service? I don’t know. But I want to think of more concrete ways to take these concepts home with parents.

Virtual Toddler Storytime: Week 13

Last storytime of 2020! (Except Noon Year’s Eve of course!) I realized that this set of Toddler Storytimes were designed a bit younger than where I normally aim for the audience of this program (developmentally, the stories and rhymes feel more for 18-30 months than 24-40 months), but I think it was a good change of pace. I have plenty of materials gathered for preschool storytimes in January–I’m excited to try that age range again–plus all of the storytime specials in the middle. 2020 has been a lot to handle, but I am really glad I had an opportunity to immerse myself in storytimes. Storytimes have always been part of my job, but I’ve never put so much of a focus on them. I started as a youth librarian without any regular storytime of my own for a few years, and beyond courses in library school, I didn’t really start paying attention to storytime planning until I took on a weekly storytime about two and a half years ago. 2020 gave me a chance to reprioritize my time, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to curate programs, content, and materials for a variety of ages with so much intentionality. Now, 2021 and beyond, please bring us more diverse books ideal for storytime and developmentally appropriate for all ages, but especially toddlers.

More Toddler Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Toddler Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Don’t make a big deal out of speech mistakes. There is no need to correct your child. Instead, repeat the correct pronunciation. Correcting your child can make them less likely to try new words.

Book Recommendation: I Love Me! by LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss

Song: Jump with Me! by Bobs and Lolo

Fingerplay: Mr. Rabbit

— Find more Fingerplays in this post. —

Retelling: Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

— Find more Book Retellings in this post. —

Action Rhyme: We Clap and We Stop

Magnet: Five Little Sailboats

— Find more Flannel & Magnet Activities in this post. —

Manipulative: Stuffed Animal or Toy
Little Red Wagon by Olde Town School of Folk Music

Closing Song: The Popcorn Song by Laura Doherty

Little People Big Dreams Storytime: Harriet Tubman

As part of our virtual programming, I run a monthly school age storytime, designed for ages 6-8. This program highlights a different diverse individual from the Little People Big Dreams book series. In December, I featured Harriet Tubman in my Little People Big Dreams Storytime.

Each program features 1-2 books on the famous individual (one book being their matching title from the Little People, Big Dreams book series). I also highlight music from a diverse artist and include a link to an at-home packet to continue the fun and learning.

Explore More Little People, Big Dreams Storytime Outlines:

Ella Fitzgerald
Martin Luther King Jr.
Muhammad Ali
Rosa Parks

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Watch the full storytime here:

In the event description, I included the link to the printable at-home activity packet.

Storytime Outline

Intro: Teddy Bear by Jazzy Ash

First Book: Harriet Tubman by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Little People Big Dreams)

Harriet Tubman (Little People, BIG DREAMS, 13): Sanchez Vegara, Maria  Isabel, Aguado, Pili: 9781786032270: Books

Music Break: Shake It by Brother Yusef (with shakers)

Second Book: Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Before She was Harriet (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books):  Cline-Ransome, Lesa, Ransome, James E.: 9780823420476: Books

Closing Rhyme: See You Later, Alligator

See you later, alligator
In a while, crocodile
Give a hug, ladybug
Blow a kiss, jellyfish
See you soon, big baboon
Out the door, dinosaur
Take care, polar bear
Wave goodbye, butterfly!

Next Time: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Virtual Toddler Storytime: Week 12

More toddler fun! This week’s book retelling was a bit of a struggle for me…I didn’t think about how many rhymes are in One Red Sock. I figured it out eventually, but this was the first storytime video in a while where I took a frustrating number of takes. Though, another benefit of virtual (for me) is that I probably wouldn’t have been willing to try this particular story in person due to the heavy memorization–but now that I’ve done it a few (more than a few) times, it will be easier to use again in the future.

More Toddler Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Toddler Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Point out connections between books and your child’s “real” life. For example, after you see the picture of a carrot or an umbrella in today’s book, talk about seeing them in our story when you see the items later in real life.

Book Recommendation: Is That Wise, Pig? by Jan Thomas

Song: Baby Shark by Pinkfong!

Fingerplay: Tiny Tim

— Find more Fingerplays in this post. —

Retelling: One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler

— Find more Book Retellings in this post. —

Action Rhyme: Open, Shut Them

Magnet: Little Monster, Little Monster

— Find more Flannel & Magnet Activities in this post. —

Closing Song: The Popcorn Song by Laura Doherty

Fancy Nancy Storytime

Another themed Saturday storytime special, filled with the most fantastique Fancy Nancy Storytime fun! This outline has a lot of extra content because I came up with so many activities that made me super excited. Not everything made it into my storytime since I had a limited amount of time.

I had so much fun getting FANCY for this storytime, particularly after getting to know Nancy Clancy and her universe. I was more familiar with Baby Shark and Elephant & Piggie before those storytime specials, but for some of these storytimes, I’ve got to really explore these characters for the first time. Nancy is such a sweet kid who just wants to make everything better with lots of accessories, lace, and glitter.

I made a preview video you can watch here:

To help continue the Fancy Nancy fun at home, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Download it here.

Watch the full storytime here (starts about 5 minutes in):

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable. All the extra videos I didn’t use for the program are at the bottom.

Fancy Nancy Storytime Outline

Backdrop Setup: Fancy Nancy pennant banners, book covers, and images. I’m happy to share these printable files if anyone is interested–just let me know in those comments or send us an email.

Intro Song: Add a Little Fancy by Fancy Nancy

Fancy Nancy Dance Soiree Checklist: Whenever possible, I like to give my special storytimes a storyline to help with transitions and to make the experience more entertaining for everyone.

In our Fancy Nancy storytime, we were hoping to complete our Fancy Nancy Dance Soiree Checklist (soiree is a fancy word for party). If we completed all of our tasks by the end of storytime, we might just get a magical phone call from the one and only Fancy Nancy inviting us to an after-storytime dance party!

Download your own Fancy Nancy Soiree Checklist here:

Get to Know Our Hostess (Book): Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

Fancy Nancy: O'Connor, Jane, Glasser, Robin Preiss: 9780060542092: Books

(And Her Secret Indentity) (Music): Dazzle Girl by Fancy Nancy (with scarves)

Speak with Fancy Words

Bring Fancy Food: Down Around the Corner

Wear Fancy Clothes: Get Dressed Fancy

Find this template here.

Show Your Magic Ticket: Magical Butterflies

And can you believe it…we got invited to the Fancy Nancy Dance Soiree!

We wrapped things up with about a 10 minute dance party including these songs:

Closing Song: Add a Little Fancy (Round 2)

Fancy Nancy Storytime Extra Videos

I made a lot of extra content because I was in love with all things fancy. Check out more Fancy Nancy fun below!

Fancy Nancy N-A-N-C-Y (BINGO)

Fancy Nancy Playing Hide and Seek

If You’re Fancy and You Know It

Virtual Toddler Storytime: Week 11

Hello again toddlers! Lots of fun activities planned for the last few stoytimes of the year. I get to jump into preschoolers once more in January, and I’m excited to get another few weeks with slightly older viewers. The human world is a mess, but storytimes are consistent.

More Toddler Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Toddler Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Notice and build on your child’s interests. Look at what they point at, when they make a new facial expression, or how they use their body to show excitement. Put their action into words: “Yes! That is a dog. Listen to the dog bark.”

Book Recommendation: Don’t Wake Up the Tiger by Britta Teckentrup

Song: Clap Your Hands by The Alana Banana Show

Fingerplay: Snowflakes & Icicles

— Find more Fingerplays in this post. —

Retelling: Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont

— Find more Book Retellings in this post. —

Action Rhyme: Do You Like to Jump Around?

Magnet: Walking Through the Jungle

— Find more Flannel & Magnet Activities in this post. —

Manipulative: Shakers (Let’s All Shake Our Shaker Eggs by Miss Jamie From the Farm)

Closing Song: The Popcorn Song by Laura Doherty

2020 Favorite Storytime Books

It’s book list season! I’ve read a lot this year, and I am excited to highlight my favorite releases of 2020. I’m thrilled to start this year’s lists with 2020 favorite storytime books.

These lists are personal. The storytime books that work for me may not work for you–and that is okay! We each have our own storytime preferences. Also, I very well may have missed some great titles that were released over the last year–so make sure to check out all of the great lists all over the internet.

I had so many favorites this year that I split picture books over two lists: storytime favorites and picture book favorites. Make sure to check both places for amazing 2020 titles!

Which titles were your favorites of the year? Please share in the comments!

2020 Favorite Storytime Books

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#Baby by Michael Joosten
Adorable baby photographs paired with humorous hashtags will make this a winner for both babies (who will love the close ups of other babies) and grown ups (who will appreciate the humor). Fun choice for virtual baby storytime.

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A is for Another Rabbit by Hannah Batsel
“A is for A Rabbit. B is for Bunny. C is for Can you believe how many rabbits are on this page?” A rabbit-obsessed narrator makes an owl angrier and angrier as this alphabet book fails to follow normal expectations. Try this out at an elementary school storytime.

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Animals Brag About their Bottoms by Maki Saito
Bottoms are cool. Animal bottoms are SUPER COOL. For toddlers, focus on identifying the animal by their bottom. For preschoolers, read through the story and talk about loving our bodies in all their unique shapes and sizes. Pair with a nonfiction book about animals, Whose Poop Is That?, or any Steve Jenkins title.

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The Babies and Kitties Book
by John Schindel and Molly Woodward Redd
A companion to the adorable The Babies and Doggies Book, this book features photographs of babies…and kitties! Wonderful photographs featuring diverse babies are paired with fun actions that work well in a storytime environment (climbing, hiding, jumping).

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Bedtime Bonnet
by Nancy Amanda Redd and illustrated by Nneka Myers
“In my family, when the sun goes down, our hair goes up!” A little girl shows us her Black family’s nighttime hair routines, but when it comes time for her to go to bed, she can’t find her bonnet! Where could it be? A fantastic own voices book that centers a diverse narrative in a bedtime storytime.

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Do Sharks Bark? by Salina Yoon
These lift-the-flap books are perfect for toddler or preschool storytime. Read them as they are written–opening each animal mouth for that sound–or try retelling them with puppets.

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Don’t Feed the Coos!
by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox
Coos are so cute! And they are begging you for a snack…but don’t give in! If you feed one, they will all come! Lots of humor and giggles about what happens if you feed pigeons (or seagulls or ibis or ducks depending where you live).

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The Elephants’ Guide to Hide and Seek
by Kjersten Hayes and illustrated by Gladys Jose
Elephants love playing hide and seek–but they aren’t very good at it. Consult this handy guide for tips and tricks to improving your hide and seek game. Ask storytime attendees to think of new places or ways for an elephant to try to hide–maybe even places in your library!


Federico and the Wolf
by Rebecca J. Gomez and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
A clever retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Frederico tries to take food to his grandfather’s store, but a hungry wolf has other ideas. A bouncy rhythm makes this fun to read aloud. Spanish words are scattered throughout, with a glossary and pronunciation guide in the back.

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Fussy Flamingo
by Shelly Vaughan James and illustrated by Matthew Rivera
Lola is one fussy bird–she doesn’t want to eat shrimp like her fellow flamingos. She is determined to try any other food, and each of those foods changes the color of her feathers. Lots of repetitive text and humor make this a fun family read aloud.

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The Ghosts Went Floating
by Kim Norman and illustrated by Jay Fleck
A spooky Halloween story sung to the tune of The Ants Went Marching. Perfect for counting practice, with a catchy tune that will soon have everyone singing. The last few pages include a Halloween tie in with the spooky friends all attending a Halloween party, though those could be skipped.

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Going Up
by Sherry J. Lee and illustrated by Charlene Chua
Sophie and her dad are excited for Olive’s birthday party! Sophie pushes the elevator button, and they start the long journey up their building–but at each floor, the elevator stops, and more neighbors crowd in. Repetitive text helps keeps readers engaged as they meet the diverse residents of this apartment building.

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Hey Baby!: A Baby’s Day in Doodles
by Andrea Pippins
Lovely photographs follow a 1-year-old through everyday activities. The black and white contrast is great for young eyes (if a little busy for a virtual storytime setting). Great actions and motions to compare the baby’s day to your family’s day.

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I Love Me!
by Laronda Gardner Middlemiss and illustrated by Beth Hughes
Celebrate diversity, identity, community, and everything that makes you special. Rhyming text, vibrant illustrations, and the repeated “I Love Me!” makes this a great fit for toddler and preschool storytimes

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I Love My Fangs! by Kelly Leigh Miller
Little Dracula loves his two, pointy, beautiful fangs! But then–oh dear–one falls out. How can Dracula be a vampire with just one tooth? Why won’t it pop back in? Lots of humor and drama surround our adorable young vampire, including a hilarious battle with the tooth fairy. Bright, colorful illustrations will keep the youngest readers engaged. 

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Jules vs. the Ocean by Jessie Sima
Jules wants to build the best sandcastle ever! But the ocean has other plans, washing away all of Jules’ attempts–and eventually it takes her bucket too. A fun summer beach story filled with dry humor in both the words and illustrations.

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Lia & Luís: Who Has More?
by Ana Crespo and illustrated by Giovana Medeiros
Lia and Luís argue over who has more of their favorite snacks. A great way to include math concepts in storytime including measuring, counting, estimating, and weighing. Perfect for STEM programs!

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Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse
by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox
I am a fan of everything Llama! While this sequel isn’t quite as amazing as the original, Llama gets into even more hilarious shenanigans in an effort to never have to clean his house again.

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Lift by Minh Lê and illustrated by Dan Santat
Wow! This book is visually gorgeous, but also contains serious storytime potential. Iris tapes a broken elevator button to the wall of her room. When she pushes the button, a new world opens up. A great book for older readers paired with an activity where kids create their own imaginary worlds that they would like to find behind magical elevator doors.

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On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex
A poor kid wakes up with gum in their hair, and their grown up is determined to get the gum out. Instead, they make things much, much, much worse along the way. Lots of laughs.

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One of These Is Not Like the Others by Barney Saltzberg
Three cows and one elephant–one of these is not like the other! A great read-aloud for toddlers practicing similarities and differences (and celebrating both). Easy to skip spreads to shrink the length of the book.


Our Favorite Day of the Year
by A.E. Ali and illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
Musa’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Gupta, proposes a yearlong show and tell, where each child shares with their classmates about their favorite day of the year. As a class, they celebrate Eid Mubarak, Rush Hashanah, Christmas (with some Lantinx cultural elements), and Pi Day. A great way to have a conversation about holidays without focusing on one religion (or, in the case of Pi Day, any religion at all).

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Sloth Went
by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Bensom Shum
Is there ever an audience where poop books don’t get a good laugh? Encourage young sloth to climb down a tree for his weekly poop. Pair with fascinating facts about how sloths poop in the wild, or a conversation about bathrooms and potty training.

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Smug Seagull by Maddie Frost
Smug Seagull can snatch more snacks than you! But…who is this new crab? How is crab so good at swiping? Is there enough room at the beach for two snack snatchers? A perfect read aloud to pair with Mo Willems’ Pigeon.

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Speak Up
by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Ebony Glenn
When you see something that doesn’t feel right, when you make a mistake, when you can help someone in need, use your voice and speak up! While this book’s message is simple, it approaches kindness, activism, and using your voice in a tone perfect for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders. 

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Turtle Walk by Matt Phelan
“Turtle walk! Nice and slow. Here we go. Are we there yet? No.” This repetitive story is delightful. Adorable turtles make their plodding walk, exploring the wonders of the world, slowly making their way through the seasons to the cave where they will nap for the winter. Lots of fun to read aloud with a great refrain to repeat as a group.

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Diaper You
by Ellen Mayer and illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu
Mama changes baby’s diaper in this simple board book. While the action is straightforward, the book excels in modeling ways a caregiver can turn a small exchange, like changing a diaper, into an early literacy experience by singing a modified version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, practicing animal sounds, identifying body parts, and more. A great board book to highlight in a virtual storytime.

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Unicorns Are the Worst! by Alex Willan
Unicorns are the worst! Goblin is not happy when unicorns move in next door with their glitter and tea parties. Why are unicorns so well loved while goblins are so underappreciated? Funny story perfect for fans of unicorns, magic, humor, and new friendships. Bright illustrations will draw in young readers and also make this a good book to share virtually.

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We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates is one of my favorite storytime books–and I am so glad Penelope is back for more fun! She is excited to play her guitar at the school talent show until she hears a classmate say that dinosaurs can’t rock and roll. Her classmates have a lot of opinions about what dinosaurs can be…does Penelope have the courage to show off everything she is capable of? A great elementary read, especially to start a conversation about bullying and microaggressions with kindergarteners and first graders.

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Welcome to the Party
by Gabrielle Union and illustrated by Ashley Evans
This is a baby storytime win! Beautiful illustrations, wonderful rhymes, and perfect actions for a group of babies or toddlers.

What Color Is My Hijab?: Hudda Ibrahim, Meenal Patel, Meenal Patel:  9781643439204: Books

What Color Is My Hijab?
by Hudda Ibrahim and illustrated by Meenal Patel
A simple book that highlights both colors and diversity as a little girl chooses what color hijab she will wear today. Great choice for toddlers or preschoolers.

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What Will Fit? by Grace Lin
Grace Lin’s new series of math board books are perfect for introducing simple math concepts for toddlers. Make sure to check out the whole series!

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When We Are Kind
by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt
Celebrate kindness with this beautiful book by a Native author and illustrator. Perfect for talking to preschoolers and kindergarteners about being kind and helping others.

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Your Name Is a Song
by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Luisa Uribe
A girl tells her mother how frustrated she was after her teacher and classmates couldn’t pronounce her name. Her mother teaches her that her name is a song as well as how to embrace your name and identity. A beautiful book perfect for elementary school conversations about the importance of pronouncing names correctly.