News / City Life

Virtual storytimes for kids: Authors and venues go online amid coronavirus

Alan Cumming
Photograph: Courtesy Kevin Garcia Alan Cumming.

Just because you're staying in doesn't mean an end to storytime! From the Brooklyn Public Library taking its readings to Facebook, to live demonstrations by famous picture-book authors, to a large selection of many of the greatest actors of our time reading some of the best books for kids, you can have an amazing storytime for kids right at home. 

Along with classes for kids and DIY projects and activities from NYC shops and businesses, these virtual storytimes will keep young minds sharp—and parental minds sane. 


Story Time! from Penguin Kids

WHEN AND WHERE: Via Instagram and Facebook every weekday at 11am 

Authors and illustrators published by Penguin Kids will read their stories every weekday at 11am.

HarperKids from Home 

WHEN AND WHERE: Via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube every weekday at noon. 

The team at HarperKids will hold a storytime with read-alouds and activities pure entertainment every day at noon.

Mo Willems's "LUNCH DOODLES" 

WHEN AND WHERE: Via the Kennedy Center every day at 1pm

The first-ever Education artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center, New Yorker Mo Williems will hold LUNCH DOODLES every day at 1pm: Your kiddos can peek into the mind of the author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny and other contemporary classics. LUNCH DOODLES will be archived on YouTube.


WHEN AND WHERE: Via Instagram or Facebook every day at 3pm

Every day a celeb will read a book on his or her Instagram or Facebook at 3pm. The lineup is terrific—Alan Cumming reads on Thursday, April 9!—and you'll find a complete schedule with links here.

Oliver Jeffers's readings

WHEN AND WHERE: Via Instagram every day at 2pm 

The author Oliver Jeffers will read one of his books every day at 2pm, then archive the reading on his website.

Dav Pilkey at Home

WHEN AND WHERE: Via Scholastic and the Library of Congress every Friday at 8 am

Dav Pilkey, author of the Captian Underpants and Dog Man series, is posting a free online video series featuring read-a-louds, drawing lessons and other kid-friendly fun. Remember, "Never underestimate the power of underwear!" 

Goodnight with Dolly

WHEN AND WHERE: Via the Imagination Library every Thursday at 7pm

Dolly Parton, the Smoky Mountain Songbird, is also known as the Book Lady: The Imagination Library, a nonprofit she founded to support children's literacy, gives away more than 1 million children's books every month. Now the Queen of Country will read your little one to sleep every Thursday night.  

Jarret J. Krosoczka's "Every Day with JJK"

WHEN AND WHERE: Via the author's website every day at 2pm

Join the bestselling author of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, National Book Award finalist Hey Kiddo and the Lunch Lady series for an all-ages drawing masterclass on his homepage and his YouTube channel.


Storytime Saturdays from the Children's Museum of Manhattan

WHEN AND WHERE: On the Children's Museum of Manhattan website every Saturday

Storytime Saturdays is a part of the weekly lineup of CMOM at Home, the online programming from the Children's Museum of Manhattan. There's a new video, game, sing-a-long or online activity every day!

Brooklyn Public Library

WHEN AND WHERE: The library's website and Facebook

The Brooklyn Public Library is taking its storytimes online, and live-streaming via its website and Facebook.

Storyline Online

WHEN AND WHERE: Any time via the Storyline Online website

This incredible resource from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation is an archive of hundreds of children's books read by some of the greatest actors of our time, including Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Rami Malek, Annette Bening and James Earl Jones. Yes, Storyline Online is where you can watch Betty White read Harry the Dirty Dog.


WHEN AND WHERE: Any time via Facebook

The #OperationStoryime tag on Facebook will bring you to a growing collection of children's book authors and illustrators reading their own works. Check back regularly: #OperationStorytime is adding new titles every few hours.

Disney Storytime with John Stamos

WHEN AND WHERE: Any time via Disney's YouTube channel

The Full House star reads A Kiss Goodnight, by longtime Disney collaborators Floyd Norman and Richard Sherman.

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