During this time of isolation and quarantine, our household seems to be doing storytime more than ever. We read, and read, and read. We have a huge selection of books, but my kids seem to be getting tired of them. My husband and I take turns telling stories, but the kids still love when people besides us tell them stories. 

There are a ton of virtual storytelling options online, but I try to seek out our local companies/services to support them. Even small acts like posting on a company’s social media page, following their pages, or sharing their page/posts can be helpful. 

By doing these small acts, you may be helping them sustain or grow their business or service. 

Here are a few local recommendations.

Multnomah County Libraries

Although the libraries are physically closed for now, the storytime sessions are still happening. The Multnomah County Library website has a storytime section

Even though many virtual storytime sessions are available, our local library is unique and special because it offers a variety of storytimes: 1) “It’s Storytime!” 2) “It’s Black Storytime!” and 3) “It’s Sensory Storytime!”

The moment you open this webpage, there is a sweet video that features the song “Shake my sillies out.” The library also still provides many e-books that are available for checkout.

Maggie Mae’s Kids Bookshop

This store is a small business in Gresham. According to the shop, this cute, little place is offering a storytime “every Tuesday through Saturday around 5ish.” They also offer daily trivia questions via their Facebook page for kiddos between the grade levels K-5 and 6-12 (some with “Maggie Mae’s” $20 gift card prizes!). 

For storytime, they also encourage kiddos to make requests for certain stories. The trivia questions and storytimes seem like a great idea to keep kids engaged and reading during this time of quarantine.

Amazing Fairytale Parties

“Amazing Fairytale Parties” is a very cool company that is Portland-based. This business has a few cute, virtual storytimes on their Facebook “Amazing Fairytale Parties VIP group” if you join. There are links to YouTube storytimes, but each time I tried to watch it said “unavailable” so I would stick with the Facebook VIP group page. 

I speak from experience when I recommend this company because we hired “Batgirl” a few years back for my daughter’s birthday party. It was an experience we will never forget. Batgirl provided superhero training in our backyard, told amazing stories, held super fun games, and went through the whole cake/singing “happy birthday” process with us at the party. This company and its princess are certainly experts at what they do. Currently they offer virtual “birthday party visits” (30 minutes for $60) or virtual “birthday messages” ($45) for your little ones. If you have a kiddo who likes princesses, I recommend supporting this adorable, local company through a “virtual visit/message” for their birthday in quarantine.

Green Bean Books

“Green Bean Books” is a local bookstore that is currently providing virtual storytimes a few times a week through their Facebook page. It looks like they have events that are scheduled for live readings, and their past live readings are on their Facebook page.

 One of the most impressive readings I noticed was a reading that happened on May 4th with a “Caldecott Medalist” named Matthew Cordell! There seems to be a good variety of storytellers.

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I encourage you all to embrace these local story-time resources. Not only is it fun for your kiddos, but the number of views and engagement with the local sites may be helpful to the businesses/services. 

While you are viewing the storytimes, I urge you all to consider purchasing goods from the small businesses. It is likely that the pandemic has caused their sales to greatly decrease. 

Enjoy these and support these local story times. How nice it will be to take a short break while someone else reads a great story to your kiddos!

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