Library Blog

#stayingathome with the Kids

Thursday, March 19, 2020

What a difference a week makes! Instead of planning for storytime and preparing supplies for Creation Station, the Children's Library staff have been busy working from home to gather virtual literacy, reading, and educational resources for parents, children, and their families during these uncertain times. 

Check back frequently -- we will be updating this list on a recurring basis as we come across additional helpful resources. Have you discovered a digital resource that other families would enjoy? Please send your ideas to us. In addition, we are asking members to fill out our 2 Question Survey regarding what kinds of resources you might find helpful at this time.

We look forward to seeing you back at the Library eventually. In the meantime, we hope these resources will help your family stay safe, healthy, and home.


Author Read-Alouds and Lessons

- Mac Barnett -- author of Extra Yarn, among other modern classics -- will be reading books on his Instagram page

- Grace Lin, author of the Ling & Ting and Where The Mountain Meets The Moon series, is not only reading some of her books on her YouTube page, but also giving the ocassional drawing lesson.

- Cartoonist Christopher Hart is also giving drawing lessons. 

- The author Kate Messner has a fabulous website with tons of videos of authors reading their works

- Every weekday at 2 PM E.S.T. Oliver Jeffers -- perhaps best known as the illustrator of The Crayons series -- will be reading one of his books on his Instagram page

- Here is Monqiue Gray Smith reading her book You Hold Me Up; Eric Carle reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Dashka Slater reading Escargot; and Nicholas Oldland reading Big Bear Hug while wearing pajamas.

- The author and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi is reading her books and also giving drawing lessons on her YouTube page

- Jarrett J. Krosoczka, of Lunch Lady and Star Wars: Jedi Academy fame, is offering drawing lessons everyday on his YouTube channel

- The esteemed Mo Willems, currently the Artist-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center, is hosting daily "Lunch Doodles" at 1 PM E.S.T.

- Award-winning author (and Library member!) Carlos Hernandez is teaching an online writing workshop called "Volcanic Writing."

- Enthusiastic home work-out-er Joe Wicks is leading daily work-out sessions for kids missing P.E. class on his YouTube channel.

- April 3rd at 1 PM E.S.T. marks the commencement of Random House Children's Book Art School. The first virtual lesson will be taught by Tad Hills of Duck and Goose fame.

- Michael Rosen reads We're Going on a Bear Hunt in a video on the book's official website.

- Jason Reynolds, in his role as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is teaching a class online called "Write. Right. Rite."

- Although not necessarily a "read-aloud," over the next seven weeks J.K. Rowling is releasing a new story called The Ickabog.

- Another not-quite "read-aloud": the Facebook Watch series Letter To _____, in which children's and YA authors surprise their fans via personal Zoom calls. 


Digital Storytimes

- The Brooklyn Public Library will be hosting virtual storytimes throughout the outbreak. BPL also has DIY storytime kits available for download.

- Weekdays at 11 AM E.S.T. Penguin Kids is hosting a storytime on their Instagram page.

- Save The Children has begun a new reading series called #SaveWithStories -- the #SaveWithStories Instagram page already features many famous authors reading their books.

- Storyline Online has been around for a long time -- it is run by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and features countless videos of famous actors reading children's books. It is truly an expansive database: it includes everything from Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog to Amanda Bynes reading The Night I Followed The Dog. KidLit TV is a similar resource that is worth checking out.

- Staring March 23, Stimola Literary Studio will host live children's programming on its website from 9:00 AM E.S.T. to 4:45 PM E.S.T.

- The publishing outfit HarperCollins has a plethora of content available on their website for readers of all-ages, including live children's entertainment, teacher resources, and podcasts.  

- The ever-popular Drag Queen Story Hour is hosting webcasts of their storytimes on Facebook.

- Fellow membership library the Boston Athenæum will be posting three virtual storytimes a week to its Facebook page.

- LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow will be revisiting his role as America's story teller with three weekly storytimes on Twitter Livestream. Burton will read children's stories at 12 PM E.S.T. on Mondays; Young Adult ones at 6 PM on Wednesdays; and adult stories on Fridays at 9 PM. 

- The Roald Dahl HQ YouTube page is putting on a ten-part fundraiser for Partners in Health. Join filmmaker Taika Waititi and some of his famous friends as they read Dahl's classic James and the Giant Peach while making a fundraising pitch for Partners in Health.

- Cosmic Kids Yoga combines yoga with stories in fun episodes that are generally under half an hour.

- SimonKIDS is hosting two storytimes: "Snack & Read Live with Simon Kids," which will take place on Facebook Live on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 2 PM E.S.T., and "Read & Learn with Simon Kids," which will be a series of videos posted on YouTube. 

- PBS Kids' YouTube page is hosting "Read-Along with PBS KIDS!" The storytime series features famous readers such as Michelle Obama.

- Michelle Obama (along with her husband) has also been featured in another online storytime series: the Chicago Public Library's Coming to You Live From the Library!

-Netflix's new series Bookmarks presents celebrity readers sharing children's books by Black authors.


Educational Websites and Resources

- Explore Wide Open School for free learning activities for Pre-K through High School, "powered by" Common Sense Media.

-PBS Kids is filled with videos and games featuring characters from the PBS television universe as well as "read-alongs" with authors.

- The Smithsonian has a great children’s website, as does The American Museum of Natural History.

- Although not specifically for children, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has excellent digital resources. So does The Art Institute of Chicago, The Guggenheim, and The Library of Congress.

- On Google Arts and Culture you can even virtually tour the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

- offers free, online computer science lessons.

- The National Geographic Kids website makes a great companion to their children’s magazine.

- The educational websites BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. are now offering their services for free. Children can take online lessons in topics as varied as musical instruments and conflict resolution.

- TumbleBooks is offering The New York Society Library free access to several of its e-book platforms until August 31. Members now have access to TumbleBook Library, a database of children's ebooks; Tumble Math, which features children's math materials; Teen Book Cloud, a database of Young Adult ebooks; and Audio Book Cloud, which has audiobooks for readers of all ages (note: for access, make sure to click on the links from this blog post -- they are special links provided to the Library directly by TumbleBooks which bypass the usual login page).

- Khan Academy is an expansive, oft-recommended online school that offers free lessons in nearly every imaginable subject. The children's publisher Scholastic has also posted a number of lessons on a variety of subjects, as has the Chicago Review Press.

- Spanish-language publisher NubeOcho Ediciones' YouTube page offers an assortment of videos.

- The publisher Phaidon has created downloadable "Activity Packs" that can be used in concert with some of their published materials. TOON Books has done something similar.

- Candlewick Press also has a pretty wonderful Where's Waldo? website with online activities you can do at home.

- Beloved author Dav Pilkey is posting creative activities on the Scholastic website under the moniker "Dav Pilkey at Home."

- Publisher Nosy Crow has just released a free pdf of Coronavirus: A Book For Children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson, and Nia Roberts (illustrated by Axel Scheffler). Another free book entitled My Hero Is You: How Kids Can Fight Covid-19 has been released by the United Nation-affiliated Inter-Agency Standing Committee.

- Here is another free book that has been released amidst the crisis: The Book of Hopes, edited by Katherine Rundell, which hopes to inspire children during these difficult times.

- The creators of The Princess in Black series have released a free booklet educating children about COVID-19.

- Here is a recent list from Mahnaz Dar of the School Library Journal entitled "19 Webcomics to Keep and Teens Engaged."

- Babbel, an app which can help someone learn a new language, is now free for students in grades K through 12 until mid-June. The New York Times has also put together a list of online resources for people wanting to learn a new language.

- The Children's Book Council, sponsorer of Children's Book Week, has an amazing catalogue of the various online resources offered by publishers.

- Simon & Schuster Kids offers a number of online learning resources for parents, teachers, and students on their "Read & Learn" website. Little, Brown Young Readers also has a lot of fun and educational content for children on both their website and their Instagram page

- The New York City Department of Education and The WNET Group have started airing the educational television show Let's Learn NYC! The show airs Monday through Friday, from 11 A.M. E.S.T. to 12:00 P.M. E.S.T. until the end of the school year on THIRT

- Interested in increasing your cooking skills? Here are some websites recommended by the School Library Journal

- There have been many antiractist and social justice-themed reading lists posted on the internet recently, some of them specifically for children. Here is one of middle grade books from the School Library Journal; one of picture books from EmbraceRacea list of books and resources for readers of all ages from Elizabeth Bird of Fuse8, which is a blog run by the School Library Journal; and here is a compendium of antiracist reading lists from Karen Jensen of Teen Librarian Toolbox, which is another SLJ blog. 


"Off-Screen" Resources

-Little Blue House shares fun activities and tips for the whole family, from game night to family cooking projects.

- Here are four drawing games from parent and children's author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. 

- The good folks at Good Housekeeping have compiled a list of 50 DIY activities for you and your family. 

- This brilliant, helpful comic from National Public Radio is an excellent introduction to COVID-19 for kids who might have questions about the virus. The comic can also be printed-out and made into a zine!

- The School Library Journal has put together a helpful list of podcasts for children who may have questions about COVID-19.

- Crayola has a number of fun, free coloring pages available for print-out on its website. Author and illustrator Elise Gravel has also created some free coloring pages, housed on her website. 

- Children's publisher Barefoot Books has released a compendium of free resources for children to use while at home. Particularly notable are the printable "At-Home Activity Kits," which encourage children to explore both their imaginations and immediate surroundings.

- Lakeshore Learning has free flash cards, lesson plans, and even writing prompts for adults teaching their children at home. 

- The children's magazine Kazoo has made their December 2018 "Happy" issue available for free download. 

- The New York Times' Deb Amlen, who is one of their crossword columnists, has some suggestions for child-friendly games to play at home.

- Literary Safari has started producing an intriguing new podcast called "The Story Seeds Podcast." Children ages 6 to 12 can apply to appear on an episode and contribute towards the show's creative output. Literary Safari is also producing an "Imagination Lab" e-zine that accompanies each episode. These free e-zines feature activities that build off of the podcast episode's content. 

- Julie Andrews has also started a podcast about children's literature.

- Library member Miral Sattar has started the "Bearily Bear Audio Stories" project, which produces reimagined versions of popular fairy tales.

- Each week the School Library Journal is publishing a list of recommended Summer reads for children of all ages.

- Anne Bensfield and Pamela Rogers have created The Black Voices Playlist for the School Library Journal. The playlist features a variety of audio content from "Black kidcasters, storytellers, authors, poets, activists, musicians, and leaders." 


Online Puppet Shows!

Many puppet theatres and troupes are offering their talents online for free -- listed below is a sampling

- Brooklyn's Puppetburg is offering to create custom videos for anyone for a fee, however they do have many free videos on their YouTube channel. Trusty Sidekick Theater Company's website also has videos of their puppet shows

- The Henson Foundation (yes, as in Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets) has a useful catalogue of virtual puppetry created by some of their grantees. The Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts has created a similar list, as has the Puppeteers of America.

- WonderSpark Puppets has live puppet shows on their Facebook page every Friday at 11 AM E.S.T., and DIY puppet workshops at 4 PM E.S.T. Monday through Friday, and at 10 A.M. E.S.T. on Saturday and Sunday.

- Paper Heart Puppets' YouTube page also instructs you in making your own puppets. Rainbow Puppet Productions' website also has fun puppetry-related projects

- The Center for Puppetry Arts is continuing to offer virtual proramming during this time, as is Vermont's Sandglass Theater

- The New Victory Theatre has an assortment of puppetry-related videos on its website, as well as performances from the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.

- The City Parks Foundation's website shows you how to make your own unicorn sock puppet. It also features performances from the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.


Virtual Camps

A number of organizations are offering virutal camps this summer. Many of these camps are free and there are ones catered to seemingly every interest.

- The Story Pirates, in partnership with Random House Children's Books, are hosting a Creator Camp in July focusing on imagination and story construction.

- DK (the publishers of the Eyetwitness series) have a number of activities for children on their website, all organized under the moniker "Camp DK."

- Publishing outfit Holiday House is running a summer camp featuring "visits from author speakers."

- PBS THIRTEEN is even hosting a "summer-camp"-themed TV show called Camp TV.

- The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has created a compendium of digital summer camps.

- Candlewick Press is offering a virtual summer camp from June 11 to August 27 called "Camp Candlewick."

- Curious Jane, a STEM- and creativity-focused summer camp offering programs for girls in grades K through 6, is offering virtual summer camp programming under the moniker "CA/MP: Creative Art / Make Projects."


Other Resources

- In this article about technology, children, and the coronavirus, Rebecca Dore, Senior Research Associate in Early Childhood at The Ohio State University offers advice to parents about how to make effective use of children's "screen time." Anne Bensfield and Pamela Rogers of the School Library Journal have also compiled a list of five podcasts on this important topic.

- In March the Library ran a blog called "Your Virtual NYSL," outlining all of the different online resources the Library has available for members. The Children's Library also has a listing of Electronic Resources children can use to help them with schoolwork or find fun online games.

- Grace Lin, in addition to the content on her aforementioned YouTube channel, is also hosting a podcast for children called "Kids Ask Authors." There are plans to have three episodes a week, and children will have the opportunity to ask questions about books and writing.

- Audible is offering a handpicked collection of audiobooks for free to children and their families.

- Book Riot, favorite website of librarians everywhere, has compiled a list of "7 of the Best Educational Comics for Your New Homeschooling Journey."

- Similarly, here is an article from the School Library Journal's Kara Yorio full of book and streaming suggestions for young sports-lovers

- Here is an article in the Washingtonian full of advice on homeschooling from Brittany Capizi, a seasoned homeschooler and mother of eight.

- PBS Kids' Deborah Farmer Kris offers tips on discussing the coronavirus with children. Here are some other resources from WNET, New York City's PBS affiliate. 

- J.K. Rowling, along with other assorted Harry Potter-adjacent entities, has started a "Harry Potter At Home" website featuring a wide variety of content from the wizarding world. Google Arts and Culture has also curated a page highlighting neat Harry Potter content.

- And another Harry Potter-related resource: famous HP fans have bound together to read The Sorceror's Stone chapter-by-chapter in these fun videos.

- Another Book Riot article of note: "Free Books for Kids: Great Resources for eBooks and Audiobooks" by Rachel Rosenberg.

- June 20 and 21 is International Virtual Queer Kidlit Pride Weekend. Visit the official website if you have an idea for a panel or would like to participate!

- From the School Library Journal: tips for grandparents and relatives on how to virtually interact with small children.

- The National Museum of African American History & Culture has a series of webpages offering advice for parents and caregivers on how to talk to children about race.

- The Mosaic Project has several downloadable, printable protest signs available on their website.

- Sesame Street and CNN have teamed up to host a one-hour special called "Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism" featuring the likes of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Sesame Street's own Abby Cadabby. 

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