By Awnali Mills
This week was our celebration of Chinese New Year in storytime. Yes, I know it’s early, but we have our regularly scheduled crafts on the first Wednesday of the month, and I wanted to do a dragon puppet, so we squeezed New Year up a bit. Interestingly enough, it was my best attended storytime since last summer—very unusual for February!
The books were Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin, Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park (this is actually Korean, as was pointed out by one of the attendees, which I knew but neglected to mention to my audience), and D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine.
I started by pulling my dragon puppet out of my magic bag and talking a bit about Chinese New Year. Then, I read Bringing in the New Year. This sweet little book talks about all the things that families do to bring in Chinese New Year, like putting up poems, eating dumplings, and getting haircuts.
Because the book talks about firecrackers, I then did the flannel Five Little Firecrackers. The kids helped me out by shouting “Boom!” when the firecrackers went off.
The next book was the rollicking rhyme Bee-Bim Bop! This story is all about how the Korean dish bee-bim bop is prepared, as a little girl helps her mother fix it for dinner. Then we rolled our song cube and did Wheels on the Bus around the room to get our blood pumping and reset little attention spans.
Then I did the flannel Five Red Dragons.
Our last book was D is for Dragon Dance. This alphabet book uses the letters to talk about things surrounding the New Year. I thought it was a great segue to our final activity. I handed out Chinese dragon masks, turned on some traditional dragon dance music, and we danced around the room.
This moved us into craft time where we made our own dragon puppets. I got the template we used from Red Ted Art. It got a little crazy when more and more people started coming in and I ran out of supplies. My co-worker graciously ran around printing more pages and gathering extra supplies. Apparently dragons (or Chinese New Year) were a big draw!
Overall, this was not one of my favorite storytimes. I’d done a LOT to prepare for it, but I just wasn’t feeling it. What do I know? Two parents came up and said how much they had enjoyed the stories, it was my best attended storytime since summer, and kids were quietly making their dragons growl at people in the children’s area for an hour after storytime ended. How is that not a win?