New York Public Library_Story Time Jitters_Feeling the Love of Books_Family of Immigrants

I had a great time with the children and families of the New York Public Library Chatham Square Branch this past Saturday.  This bustling library, in the heart of Chinatown, is a home away from home for many who live in this vibrant neighborhood.  Behind the welcoming red door, is an even more welcoming staff and a great, giant dragon awaits you as you ascend the stairs keeping a close watch over the books and the patrons.

The Dragon!
When an author presents at a story time she or he needs to remember that the children often don't know who you are and you can look like a big, scary stranger to them even if their parents are present.  They will stick real close to mom and dad until they get to know you, and some children won't even be willing to make that leap especially if they are really little, so you have to be prepared for that.  Some kids might be tired or might not want to be there but the parents thought it would be nice.  So, if they have to leave right in the middle of your book, don't be upset, even kids are sometimes not in the mood to hear a story.


The first books I read, including THE BIG ADVENTURES OF MR. SMALL, were funny so we laughed a lot, some parents were on their phones, which was fine, one has to expect that nowadays.  Then I read from THE LITTLE TREE, a beautiful story I illustrated written by Muon Van.  It is the story of her family's immigration from Vietnam to America.  The room was silent. The parents that were on their phones, put them away and listened attentively.  This story mirrored the experiences of most everyone in that room.  At that moment we became a family, a family of present immigrants, and the grandchildren of long ago immigrants.

Big Dusty and Googly Eyes

I drew for the kids (my favorite) and all together we made Big Dusty characters.   I gave out stickers and googly eyes, even some books and t-shirts to take home.  In return, I got lots of hugs and smiles and a whole bunch of thank yous in English and Mandarin.
It feels good to think that at the beginning of the hour we were all a little shy but after awhile we were sitting on the floor,  learning each other's names, chatting, giggling, reading and signing books, like old friends.  Thanks so much for a great visit and a special thanks to Christy Lau, the amazing children's librarian, for hosting and making me feel right at home.
Lots of Big Dusty

Dads are great at crafts.
Big Dusty needs eyes.  
My daughter and a new friend reading Mr. Small

Making sure I got the name spelled right!
Just hanging out looking at books!