The Complete Massachusetts Guerrilla Storytime!!!

Remember how I told you guys about the AWESOME Guerrilla Storytime at the Massachusetts Library Association conference? Rachel Keeler and Ashley Waring sent us an amazing write up AND PICTURES. After you get done reading it, if you haven’t already facilitated a Guerrilla Storytime, you’re going to want to. I cannot WAITTTT for Vegas, personally.

Here’s what they wrote:

On Wednesday May 7th at the Massachusetts Library Association annual conference in Worcester, MA, the Youth Services Section sponsored a Guerrilla Storytime. Rachel Keeler of the Boston PublicLibrary and Ashley Waring of the Reading Public Library rallied together and led over 45 youth services librarians as they shared songs, fingerplays, problem solving ideas, and more. We gathered in the convention center hallway during lunch. Many librarians were with us from the start, but more and more kept joining us as they walked by after lunch. Quite a few library administrators got to see all the action, too.


Rachel started us all off by singing her favorite hello song:

If you’re wearing red today, red today, red today

If you’re wearing red today, stand up and shout “hooray!”

(continue with other colors)

Then she started pulling questions from our sparkly and be-ribboned question jar.

1) What’s your favorite shaker song?

We shake our eggs together, together, together

We shake our eggs together because it’s fun to do

We shake them up high, up high, up high,

We shake them up high because it’s fun to do (down low, behind your back, in a circle, etc)

Take your eggs and shake with me, shake w me, shake w me,

Take your eggs and shake with me, it’s easy as can be

Take your eggs and shake them high, etc etc

(sung to London bridges tune)

Throw in a “stop” to surprise the kids and make sure they’re paying attention!

Laurie Berkner “Popcorn Calling Me” song – super fun to act out

Laurie Berkner “I Know a Chicken” song


2) A firetruck pulls up outside and everyone gets up to look, what do you do?

Sing a firetruck song.

Hurry hurry fire, firetruck, hurry hurry fire, firetruck etc.

Change words to “hurry hurry let’s go sit down”


3) What are your favorite websites for ideas/help:

Evernote for planning

Mel’s desk

Storytime Katie


Storytime Underground website / facebook group


4) No one is dancing with you. What do you do?

Keep dancing but change it up so they want to join you. Make it a challenge. “I am going to dance

slow…” “I am going to dance fast…”

Ask people to get up. Don’t start song until they stand up!


5) What’s your favorite fingerplay

2 blackbirds sitting on hill (hands behind back)

one named Jack and one named Jill (bring one hand out with finger up, then other hand)

fly away Jack, fly away Jill (put one hand behind back, then other hand)

come back Jack, come back Jill (bring them back out again)

Can change where they’re sitting to change the action rhyme: on cloud=quiet and loud, in snow=fast

and slow, or high and low

10 snowflakes blow into town (put up two hands with all fingers out)

5 were square and 5 were round (hold up each hand)

They drifted up, they drifted down (shake hands up and down)

And then they drifted out of town (shake them behind back)

(can also do leaves, horses (black/brown), whatever you want as long as you can make a rhyme with

town and down)

We have 5 eggs and 5 eggs and that makes 10 (hold up each hand then both hands out)

and on top sits mother hen (cup one hand on top of fist)

crackle crackle crackle (clap clap clap)

and what do we see

10 little chicks happy as can be (hold up ten fingers and shake them, say “cheep cheep cheep”)

This is big big big (open arms wide)

This is small, small, small (put hands close together)

This is short, short, short (put hand close to ground)

This is tall, tall, tall (reach hand up high)

This is fast, fast, fast (roll hands quickly)

This is slow, slow, slow (roll hands slowly)

This is yes, yes, yes (nod head)

This is no, no, no (shake head)

These are my glasses and this is my book (makes rings with fingers for glasses, open hands for book)

I put on my glasses and I open my book

I read read read and I look look look

then I take off my glasses and I close my book (clap during close)


6) How do you handle siblings in storytime?

– Tell parents to have older sibling bring their own babies (ie: dolls, stuffed animals)

– Make extra props to engage older kids and have them on hand just in case (ex: star wars characters

jumping on the bed)

– Have them be “helpers” and model for younger babies how to sit, listen, etc.

– If old enough, talk to them about how they are older and smarter and need to let younger kids answer

questions and have a turn. Remind them it takes about 9 seconds for little kids to process and respond

to questions, so ask older kids to slowly count to 9 in their heads before answering.

– Have older kids who are readers read a short poem to the group at the beginning and/or end of

storytime (a funny one is good).


7) What is your favorite felt or flannel prop/story?

Take a tissue box, decorate it, and put different colored felt animal shapes inside.

Ask “What’s in the mystery box?” Hold it up and makes a sound clue (ex: meow if cats are inside).

Do a little rhyme as you take them out of the box and put them on the felt board:

So many fish in the deep blue sea, what color fish do I see?

Blue, blue this fish is blue

Continue thru all animals in the tissue box.

To clean up, at the end ask the kids to help scare away the felt animals – count to 3 and say “boo!” and

quickly scoop up felt animals when kids yell out.

Peek a boo game for babies/toddlers:

Print out clipart pictures of things babies know (ball, cat, flower, etc. – things you’d see in a “My first

words” type board book). I do 4 pictures each storytime.

Tape picture to the feltboard and cover with a blanket draped over the board.

Peek a boo! I see you! (cover eyes and play peek a boo with kids)

Peek a boo! I see… (lift the blanket to reveal the picture)

Repeat 4 times or for as many pictures as you have.

Hide felt mouse behind 4 colored houses and have kids guess

Little mouse, little mouse, are you in the red house? Little mouse little mouse are you in the blue house?

Can take same concept and have mouse hide behind different colored shapes.

Little mouse, are you behind the red circle? Little mouse, are you behind the green square? Etc.


8) Do you do any signing in storytime?

The colors of the rainbow sign language song is great for many ages. Little kids may just do the signs for

“color” and “rainbow,” but older kids like learning signs for the colors.


9) All the kids have the wiggles. What do you do?

Sing “Head shoulders knees and toes!” Sing it slowly and quickly.

Wiggle rhyme:

I wiggle my fingers, I wiggle my toes, I wiggle shoulders, I wiggle my nose

now no more wiggles are left in me, so I will sit still, as still as can be

Sing “Shake your sillies out”

Do the Hokey Pokey – change up the lyrics to your storytime theme (ex: put your right claw in for

dinosaur storytime)

One clever librarian just hums and wiggles her fingers at the group. It is intriguing and unexpected and

always gets the kids’ attention (parents’, too!)

Sing “The wheels on the bus” and end with “shh shh” verse


10) What is your favorite book for audience participation?

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett

Dinosaur vs Bedtime by Bob Shea

Early Bird by Toni Yuly

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

Can You Make a Scary Face? (and almost any other title) by Jan Thomas

Wiggle by Doreen Cronin

There Are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams

I Am a Backhoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines

Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

The Squeaky Door by Margaret Read MacDonald

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Warning: Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt


11) Do you use wordless picture books in your storytimes? How? Which ones?

Yes, I just share the book and ask what kids see or notice.

A good feature of doing wordless books is that kids come up to you to and want to be more involved.

You can model these concepts with all books – like “What do we see on the cover? On the endpapers?”

Someone did a themed PJ storytime with all wordless books. At the beginning she did a mini-lesson on

how to “read” wordless books. So the storytime was a nice teaching moment for parents and kids.

Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage

Tuesday by David Wiesner

Chalk by Bill Thomson – do in summer and follow with chalk outside

Wave by Suzy Lee


12) What are your favorite book to use with babies?

Favorite authors:

Karen Katz

Sandra Boynton

Jane Cabrera

Todd Park

Nancy Tafuri

John Butler illustrations


Yawn by Sally Symes

Diggers Go by Steve Light

Hello, Day! by Anita Lobel

Sleepytime Rhyme by Remy Charlip (can sing to Twinkle Twinkle melody)

Big Bug by Henry Cole

Dancing Feet! by Lindsey Craig

10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox


13) What are Your Favorite Props?


Bubble gun


Guess box – kids reach hand in and feel what I’ve hidden inside. They make a guess based on


Song sheets for parents and caregivers to sing along

Song cube

We ended with some fun songs:

Mr. Sun Song with sign language


Fruit Salad song


Banana chant:

Bananas unite! (clap hands over head)

Peel banana, peel peel banana (peel)

Slice banana, slice slice ban (pretend slice)

Mash banana, mash mash banana (smash hands)

Eat banana, eat eat banana (pretend eat)

Go….. bananas! (crouch down then shimmy up high and wave arms around)




Posted on May 28, 2014, in Guerrilla Storytime, Storytime Badassery. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I love the idea of having older siblings work with a baby doll or stuffed animal! Fantastic.

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