We Are Family!


Paper doll by Lilyanna

Since it’s the holiday season, I decided to do a storytime about family.  It was a great, big, lively, fun bunch of kids tonight, and a wide mix of ages, so I ended up doing some of the shorter books.  Luckily, they were some of my favorites.  Here they are:

Bedtime for Mommy

Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Amazon.com link)

Adorable story about a little girl’s efforts to put her Mommy to bed.  Of course, Mommy asks for five more minutes…and an extra story…and a glass of water.  Both the parents and kids loved this one, and there were several kids asking to check it out at the end.  I love Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Her book Exclamation Mark (Amazon.com link) is probably my favorite book of the year.

dog smelly

My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks: and Other Funny Family Portraits by Hanoch Piven (Amazon.com link)

Perfect book for storytime or classroom themes about families.  When her teacher asks her to draw a picture of her family, a little girl complains that a picture doesn’t tell the whole story.  Her father is as playful as a spinning top, for example, and her mother is as bright as the brightest light.  So her new pictures feature her dad with a top for a nose, and her mother’s nose as a lightbulb.  This would work great for a lesson on similes, or as the lead-in to a collage project with different objects or magazine pictures.   The kids loved this book too.


Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig (Amazon.com link)

Okay, I do this one a lot, because it works well for almost any age.   When Pete’s dad notices his son looking miserable, he decides to make him into a pizza.  He spreads him on the kitchen table and starts kneading the dough, and stretching it, and whirling it in the air.  Then it’s time for toppings, including tomatoes (they’re really checkers), and cheese (it’s really pieces of paper).  In a lap sit storytime for toddlers or even babies, parents can act out the kneading and stretching and tickling.  For older kids, I like to mention that William Steig wrote the book Shrek (Amazon.com link), and also that they can play this pizza game with their parents, or even with younger siblings.


No More Kissing by Emma Chichester Clark (Amazon.com link)

Another favorite for both toddlers and older kids.  Momo the monkey hates kissing, especially when people kiss him.  He tells his family he wants “No More Kissing!” but of course, it makes no difference.  Then his baby brother is born, and everybody kisses him.  When Grandma asks him to help his brother stop crying, Momo tries everything, but nothing works until he does the one thing he never thought he’d do.  Sweet, funny book about siblings, and a good one for kids with a new baby in the house.


Brush Your Teeth by Raffi  This is a favorite song of mine.  We all pulled out our finger toothbrushes and I asked the kids what flavor toothpaste they had.  I add in an extra verse that my son invented, “When you wake up in the morning at a quarter to six, and you feel like you’ve been beaten with sticks…”  (Which is exactly how I feel at a quarter to six, although I tend to go for coffee instead of toothpaste.)

B-I-N-G-O  I brought out my dog puppet for this one (he likes to lick the kids faces), and we barked the missing letters.

Silly Pizza Song by Rachel de Azevedo Coleman, from Signing Time volume 3 (Amazon.com link)  We did baby sign when my son was little, and the Signing Time videos were my favorite.  This is a fun song, where the kids get to suggest different toppings for their pizza.

INSTRUMENT PLAYALONG WITH A CD: Who’s That? by Laurie Berkner from her Under a Shady Tree album (Amazon.com link)

CRAFT: My Family Paper Dolls

Paper doll by Jonas (of himself)

Paper doll by Jonas (of himself)

I cut out blank paper dolls from the template provided on the Family Crafts About.com page.  The kids colored the dolls with crayons and glued on different colored pieces of yarn for the hair to make them look like members of their family.  Most of them only got one doll done (a lot of them made themselves or their moms), but they were all adorable.


There were so many books I didn’t get to read at storytime.  Here are just a few:

The Family Book by Todd Parr (Amazon.com link)

I wish I had gotten to this one at the storytime.  It’s a celebration of every kind of family, with the message that every family is unique and special in their own way.  The illustrations are colorful and fun.

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Stephen Gammell (Amazon.com link)

This book, with its colorful illustrations by Stephen Gammell, captures all the apprehension, chaos, and exuberance and love of a large family gathering.

Five Creatures by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Tomek Bogacki (Amazon.com link)

A little girl who lives with her parents and two cats counts her family’s traits in a variety of ways.  There are four grownups, and one child; three with orange hair, and two with gray; three who don’t like taking baths; five who loves birds (but not in the same way); etc.  A unique counting book, and a fun way of exploring similarities and differences.

Families by Ann Morris (Amazon.com link)

Lovely book of photographs depicting all different types of families from around the world.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers; illustrated by Marla Frazee (Amazon.com link)

For baby lovers everywhere.  This book shows all the day to day experiences of babies of every kind of family and race.  Adorable.

The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norman Juster; illustrated by Chris Raschka (Amazon.com link)

A little girl describes all the fun and adventures she has at her Nanny and Poppa’s house.  The story, by Phantom Tollbooth author Norman Juster, is rich with childlike details.  The colorful, abstract illustrations by Chris Raschka depict a happy, multiracial family.  A lovely celebration of grandparents.

Have any other favorite family stories?  Please share them in the comments.


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