Pajama Storytime: Loud and Quiet!

I have been helping at a pajama storytime at the Milwood branch of the Austin Public Library to get some more storytime experience. I got to plan and lead the July pajama storytime and wanted to share what I did!

Here is the plan!

Bread and butter, marmalade and jam.
Let’s say hello as low as we can. Hello!

Bread and butter, marmalade and jam.
Let’s say hello as high as we can. Hello!


  • Wrigley the Pack Rat puppet and letter of the day, S for shhhh, sounds, silence, sleepy, story.
  • Noisy Night by Mac Barnett– I got to make lots of silly noises and got many laughs for this title.
  • Two Little Blackbirds
    Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill. One named Jack. The other named Jill.
    Fly away Jack. Fly away Jill.
    Come back Jack. Come back, Jill.sitting in the snow. One was fast. The other was slow.
    sitting on a cloud. One was quiet. The other was loud!
  • Stop Snoring, Bernard by Zach Ohora- I got to make super loud snoring noises which was fun! 🙂
  • Moon, Moon, Moon by Laurie Berkner– I have been singing this while playing it on the ukulele for months at this pj storytime. It always gets a good response. One of the patrons even sent us a video of their child playing a little toy ukulele and pretending storytime. Swoon!
  • Night Parade by Lily Roscoe
  • Skinnamarink which is this library’s regular goodbye song.
  • Craft and Stamps- This was a simple otter cut out that could be colored, pasted on to blue paper which looked like water.

We had 68 people! And many of them were new faces which was nice. We were short a couple of craft supplies, but otherwise, everything went smoothly.

Please note, I would have really liked to have had more diverse authors for these titles. The theme we were going for was ‘loud vs. quiet at bedtime’ which is pretty specific. These books were great for the theme, great in length, and all worked well in a storytime setting. But I certainly learned a lesson here: working with a theme can be really limiting when you are intentionally inclusive in book selection.

I ran across this post on Jbrary from earlier this year that reflected what I was struggling with for this storytime. It was written by Echo, a children’s librarian in Washington State.

When I was first learning to prepare story times, I was trained to choose a topic, select thematic story time elements, then go through our story time books and children’s collection to find titles that fit the story time theme. This made for cohesive, successful story times, but artificially limited which titles I would consider for story time; making it more likely to include books that were about a topic, rather than about a character. I was frustrated by how difficult it was to find good story time books about a particular theme that included characters who were people of color so, I intentionally changed the way that I plan story time from the start of the process. Now, rather than choosing a theme and finding books to fit, I find a specific title, use it as a base on which to build the rest of story time, and allow themes to emerge naturally. This change in my planning process made the books the first priority and the most flexible element in story time.

Check out that full post because Echo shares several diverse storytime book lists. Thanks, Echo! And thanks Jbrary for being such a great resource.