Drag Queen Story Hour for Pride Month

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On June 30th, I attended Cincinnati Library’s very first Drag Queen Story Hour at our Northside Branch! It was a fun way to end Pride Month in Cincinnati and was very well attended for being Cincinnati’s first go at this fast-growing library trend. If you want to learn more about Drag Queen Story Hours, click here.

After a bit of a wait (she was getting ready in the bathroom), Ms. Amaya made a glamorous appearance, read two stories and sang songs with everyone. After she put on her special reading glasses, she began with the Todd Parr classic, It’s Okay to Be Different and later read A Peacock Among Pigeons. In between stories we got moving & shaking to songs like “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “The Hips on the Drag Queen (Go Shake Shake Shake).” Northside Library did an great job with this event. They made sure to have a table with books available for check out. A few featured books were I am Jazz, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress and George, three books that discuss identity and trans youth. They even had a craft table at the back of the room where kids decorated and bedazzled crowns to take home.

The mood in the room was happy and vibrant. Everyone was smiling, dancing and having fun. I had a conversation with an author friend (who recently attended a Drag Queen Story Hour in her neighborhood) about whether or not Drag Queen Story Hours are as subversive as they’re advertised to be, especially if kids don’t understand what they’re experiencing. At our story hour, the kids ranged in age from infancy to 6 or 7 years old. There wasn’t any discussion, by library staff or Ms. Amaya, about what exactly a Drag Queen is or what Pride Month celebrates. Drag Queen Story Hours can be enhanced by parents having discussions with their kids about Drag Queens, performance, queerness, inclusivity, and identity. This might help fill in gaps of understanding, introduce new concepts and maybe even inspire questioning kids in attendance.

Drag Queen Story Hours are perfect events for libraries because libraries are community centers & welcoming spaces for all types of people. They’ve always been centers for learning and growth. These story hours are a welcome addition to more inclusive programming for children & families nationwide!

Maybe find a Drag Queen Story Hour in your area?

I hope you had a great Pride Month 2017! 🙂

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Before After

BeforeAfter

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Anne-Margot Ramstein/Matthias Arégui

Before After is a neat book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages; it works just as well as a gift for an inquisitive child as it does sitting on a coffee table. It’s a very conceptual book in that there are no words and only sets of illustrations that show before…then after. Some of the sets of illustrations work together to tell a short story, and we might see a image later in the book that we saw before. Most of the images are connected in some way and this is the beauty of the book! Creating a story. It’s great for storyboarding and sparking imaginative thinking; who do you think ate all this cake and why? Why’d they leave one piece?

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Anne-Margot Ramstein/ Matthias Arégui

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Anne-Margot Ramstein/ Matthias Arégui

Some before and afters span a few hours, others thousands of years!! One of my favorite sequences is Octopus -> Ink. Carrier Pigeon -> Feather for a quill which sits in the ink. Quill and ink -> Typewriter. Carrier Pigeon -> Letter ready to mail. Airplane jetting off (from a city we’ve maybe seen before?)

Ramstein and Arégui’s digital illustrations are beautiful with clean lines and a wide range of colors. I like how striking they are with an outline of color that makes the images pop. They do an amazing job of storytelling and help the reader to think about beginnings, endings, the sequence of events, results, processes, building up and tearing down, time and life and death. Whew that’s a lot for one book right? Before After is pretty amazing and very worth experiencing.

 

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Animals, Colors, Storyboarding, Storytelling, Imagination, Discussion, Time, Process, Imagination, Inquisitive Minds, Wordless
Book Info: Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Arégui, 2013 Candlewick Press, ISBN: 9780763676216

Nosh, Schlep, Schluff: Babyiddish

BabyYiddish

Image Credit: Random House Children’s Books, Laurel Snyder/Tiphanie Beeke

I think this baby book just taught me some Yiddish! It also taught me that a word I already knew (klutz) IS Yiddish. Sweet.

Nosh, Schlep, Schluff: BabYiddish is a cool little board book that follows the daily life of a toddler boy as he explores his world. It’s in English with Yiddish words sprinkled throughout. What I love about the writing is that Yiddish words are incorporated into the sentences and children can figure out their meaning through context and by looking at the illustrations.

The illustrations are soft, vibrant paintings and the little baby is cute with his black hair and rosy cheeks. Beeke paints children of various ethnicities and this is lovely because it’s not only great to see, but it encourages the idea that everyone can learn a bissel Yiddish. 😉

I hope you’ll pick up this board book to share with your little one. It’s never too early to pick up another language!

 

Recommended for: Babies and Toddlers, but useful for All Ages!
Great for: Vocabulary, Yiddish, Cultural Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Read-Aloud, Family, Friendship, Language Learning, Community, Rhyme, Storytime, Baby Shower, Jewish Culture
Book Info: Nosh, Schlepp, Schluff: BabYiddish by Laurel Snyder/Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, 2010 Random House Children’s Books, ISBN: 9780375864971

Virgil and Owen

Image Credit: Bloomsbury  Children's Books, Paulette Bogan

Image Credit: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Paulette Bogan

Virgil and Owen is a quirky and funny little book; definitely one of my favorites this year. Virgil the penguin has control issues. He’s very possessive when it comes to friendship and decides to keep a polar bear that he finds (without asking him how he feels about it of course). As Virgil leads the polar bear around, the polar bear has a great time playing with the terns and other animals but Virgil does NOT have fun. Virgil gets angrier and angrier and keeps pulling the bear away from the fun. Virgil reaches his boiling point when the polar bear has had enough! Luckily, Virgil learns his lesson and realizes that real friendship is about kindness.

Bogan’s illustrations are so sweet; the little penguins, terns and seals are adorable. She uses watercolors and pens to create a blustery arctic backdrop. Pay attention to how she draws expressions; they’re pretty hilarious! This story is great for discussing emotions and how to make friends. It’s also excellent for story time and learning animals. Remember…the next time you find a polar bear, be kind to him and you just might make a lasting friend!

Recommended for: Toddlers and up
Great for: Morals, Emotions, Friendship, Animals, Storytime, Humor
Book Info: Virgil and Owen by Paulette Bogan, 2015 Bloomsbury Children’s Books, ISBN: 9781619633728

Wiggle

Image Credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster), Doreen Cronin/Scott Menchin

Image Credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster), Doreen Cronin/Scott Menchin

I have to admit, I wiggled while reading this book. It makes you wiggle. Honest! It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a cute story time book! I think your kids will enjoy this one a lot; especially the toddlers.

Puppy dog has the wiggles all day long from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed! He even wiggles while making breakfast…and that’s a little messy. This book encourages children to wiggle along; it gets them up and moving along with the story. Doreen Cronin always knows how to write great rhymes for speaking aloud.

Wiggle also has great art! I love the colorful ink illustrations and the puppy is so cute! The book’s cover is very striking. Menchin includes photographs in the illustrations in a collage style; puppy has a real pancake on his head and a cute little yarn outfit for his trip to visit the polar bears. Children will like this story time book and you’ll probably get a few giggles as well as wiggles! If this book is a hit, check out the accompanying books Bounce and Stretch.

Recommended for: Toddlers and young children
Great for: Storytime, Rhyme, Movement, Colors, Animals, Dogs
Book Info: Wiggle by Doreen Cronin/Illustrated by Scott Menchin, 2005 Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster), ISBN: 9780689863752

Bee-bim Bop!

Image Credit: Sandpiper: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Linda Sue Park

Image Credit: Sandpiper: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Linda Sue Park/Ho Baek Lee

Linda Sue Park’s sweet, lyrical Bee-bim Bop! follows a family making a traditional Korean dish and is a great story time book. It’s also an excellent cultural book for younger readers (especially toddlers).  Bibimbap is one of the most well known Korean dishes in the United States and this book brings the cooking process to life.

Bibimbap

Two delicious types of bibimbap (비빔밥)

Bee-bim Bop! is close to my heart because it reminds me of my life in Korea; especially when I lived with a host family. The sound of the rice cooker boiling in the kitchen, watching my host mother chop vegetables, and finally sitting down to eat a meal together was one of the best things about my host family life.  Koreans love to spend time together by eating, drinking and talking.

Ho Baek Lee’s bright watercolor illustrations translate the rhythm of the story well. Little ones will enjoy seeing the mischievous dog who just wants some delicious food to eat. At the end of the book, there is even a recipe for families to try to make their own special bibimbap. Park not only creates a delightful story but she also successfully teaches about Korean culture in the simplest way; through food, family and rhythm!

Recommended for: Toddlers and young children
Great for: Story time, Rhythm, Cultural Diversity, Food Culture
Book Info: Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park/Illustrated by Ho Baek Lee, 2005 Sandpaper (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), ISBN: 9780547076713

Supertruck

Image Credit: Roaring Brook Press, Stephen Savage

Image Credit: Roaring Brook Press, Stephen Savage

I really love a clean line and an image that “pops.” Maybe that’s why I love illustrators like Bob Staake and Dan Yaccarino. Well, now I’m adding Stephen Savage to my exclusive “list” because I love his book Supertruck. I already loved this book and then I read it for story time and let me tell you, the kids (boys especially) stopped playing with their toy cars and gravitated towards me in Zombie Mode. ^__^  They were totally enthralled by this book, and for good reason. It is awesome.

Garbage truck has (duh duh duh) a secret identity and during a massive snow storm, he takes off his glasses and becomes…Supertruck! This book is clever and simple and is great for young readers because it is short, as I mentioned earlier the illustrations are clean and vibrant and the beginning of the book talks about different kinds of trucks! I know some of you parents out there have three year olds who know already know what front loaders are and love a whirring fire truck. They’ll really love this one. How can you resist a good super hero/truck combo book? Check it out.

Recommended for: Toddlers
Great for: Storytime, Super Heroes, Trucks, Read-Aloud, Colors
Book Info: Supertruck by Stephen Savage, 2015 Roaring Brook Press, ISBN: 9781596438217