Category Archives: Uncategorized

We’ve Moved! (and added some awesome)

Hello there, friends! I hope you will allow me to redirect your attention to our NEW site, This new site will be the location for all the Storytime Underground content you’ve come to love, like Ask a Ninja and Coolest Thing, as well as recaps of Guerrilla Storytimes–including from the Guerrilla Storytimes happening at ALA in Vegas later this week!

You’ll also want to head over to our new site to see the grand reveal of a new, exciting professional development initiative we’ve been working on. No spoilers here! Head on over to check it all out for yourself.

**Please note: Due to high traffic, the new site may not load on your first attempt. Please wait a few minutes, then try again.**

Once you’re at the new site, please bookmark it, add it to your RSS feed, subscribe…whatever you need to do to make sure you keep getting Storytime Underground content that will now appear at

Peace out, yo.

We'll Be Back with date 2

For the next 10 days, it’ll be radio silence here at the Storytime Underground website. Not for vacation purposes–no, no, no. Suffice it to say that we’ve got some things up our sleeves. Mark your calendars for June 23, when we’ll be back with bells on and the grand unveiling of [REDACTED]. In the mean time, keep on keeping on over at the Facebook group.

It’s Brooke’s Birthday!

Today, we want to help celebrate the birthday of the intrepid Brooke Rasche, the Michelangelo of the Storytime Underground Joint Chiefs.

She’s clever. She’s resourceful. She’s fun.

Brooke could lead a storytime with only deli supplies if pressed!

Brooke could lead a storytime with only deli supplies if pressed!

And she is so extremely passionate about early literacy and youth services librarianship.

All grounds for celebration, I think! Happy birthday, Brooke!

Pizza birthday celebration!

Pizza birthday celebration!

Happy New Year from the Joint Chiefs!

Happy New Year, ninjas! We joint chiefs would like to toast your awesome with a glass of bubbly, or sparkling grape juice, or whatever tickles your fancy. *clink*

From Kendra:

Every year I like to toast something great from the past year so this year I would like to toast all of you badass storytime ninjas. Without your passion for bringing the best possible storytimes to your communities and communities everywhere, Storytime Underground would not exist. Here’s to you and a most happy and prosperous 2014!

image (37)

Claude (Jean Claude to be precise) is celebrating by reading some of his favorite books in his favorite headwear. How will YOU be celebrating?

From Amy:

Happy new year, ninjas! In 2013, you made your voices heard at Guerrilla Storytimes all over the country (and Canada!). You proclaimed, “Yes! I AM a storytime expert! And I DO want a community where I can share what I know and learn from others who care about this stuff as much as I do!” You have populated this space, and we joint chiefs couldn’t be more proud of this grassroots literacy army we get to work with. Cheers to you, friends. You inspire me.

From Cory:

For me personally, 2014 looks to be a year of big professional leaps, made possible by the support of ninjas like you. I think you are all the most inspiring, brilliant, extraordinary group of people on the planet, and I can’t wait to see what new ideas you have in store to make your communities more awesome.

2014 is all about you, and I will be there to document every insanely cool thing you do.

Let’s make 2014 the Year of the Ninja!

Happy birthday, Jane!

Today is the 238th birthday of one Miss Jane Austen, a 19th-century English novelist of some renown. It is possible you have heard of her.

This is the Jane Austen paper doll that sits on my dresser. Her toenails are painted red.

This is the Jane Austen paper doll that sits on my dresser. Her toenails are painted red.

I am sharing this information with you on a blog about advocating for literacy for all young people for reasons that may not seem immediately apparent. Sure, I LOVE JANE AUSTEN. So very much. But that’s not a good enough reason.

It would actually be more accurate to say that I love Jane Austen’s novels, and board book renditions of her novels, and zombified versions of her novels, and modernized versions of her novels. I listen to podcasts about Jane Austen. I take immense delight in reading Austen’s books and in continually seeking to find out more about them and to think of them in new ways.

I am sharing with you this important reminder about Jane Austen’s birthday because “delight” is a word that should never be too far from our work as advocates for storytime and literacy. What longterm good are we doing in storytime if everyone is miserable while there, or if we’re just going through the motions and hitting all the early literacy practices like robots? Isn’t it much better to foster an environment in which we invite children and their caregivers to delight in the experience of reading, and reading together, and talking about books? I want children to be as delighted about a book or story or finger play as I am about the works of A Lady. I hope you do, too. And for us to inspire that sort of delight in others, we need to embrace all of the things that delight us about reading as well.

Thus this post. Happy birthday, Jane! Thank you for wonderful novels that have inspired many readings and even more wonderful conversations between myself and friends, teachers, colleagues, and the occasional stranger. I would like to take this occasion, the anniversary of your birth, to send out a big thank you for all the delight that your literary contributions have added to my life.

And I encourage you, storytime guerrilla, to think about the literature that delights you. Talk about it with your friends and coworkers. Share it on Twitter. I did, and I got some rather delightful responses, including this terrific, made-up-on-the-spot, Pride and Prejudice-inspired finger play from Sara (@PLSanders):

Five enormous top hats on Mr. Darcy’s head.
One fell off when he asked Elizabeth to wed.
[repeat by counting down; no kissing noises at the end because THIS IS THE REGENCY PERIOD AND WE MUST ACT LIKE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN]

And then Sara pretty much dared me to make a flannel board or finger puppets to go with the rhyme, which I did, because I have an unladylike competitive streak:

Five Enormous Top Hats

All of this is to say, take delight in the reading you do and pass along the spirit of delight to the children you work with. It’s not profound, but it can definitely be a meaningful step toward developing a lifelong love of language and reading.

Also, attention all picture book authors and illustrators. Some combination of you needs to get to work on adapting the picnic at Box Hill scene from Emma into a picture book. It can feature bossy Emma, Missy Bates, and a message about why it’s important to always use kind words because you can hurt people’s feelings. This needs to happen now. You can thank me in the acknowledgements.

Technical Difficulties

Obviously, there has not yet been a collect things post this week. This is due to some continuing technical difficulties on my part that are probably 85‰user error. I promise, it will go up no later than Sunday! 

In the meantime, this gif:

Tell us what you think!

It’s Amy’s Birthday!

This is as close as Google images comes to a gorilla in a birthday hat.

gorilla hat

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