Family Storytime: Using Our Manners

We started our storytime with the song “The More We Get Together” by Raffi and read stories about the importance of using our manners whenever we have a get together with friends and family during the holidays. We read the book Manners are Not for Monkeys by Heather Tekavec and David Huyk. It’s a silly story about a zoo that gets all mixed up because the human kids are acting like monkeys and the monkeys are acting like well-behaved boys and girls!

Then we talked about our Thanksgivings and all the trash and cleanup that you have to do after dinner. We read a poem by Shel Silverstein called “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out.” We used a flannelboard to illustrate all the wacky garbage piling up in the Stouts’ trash can!

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With the help of parents who speak languages other than English, we all learned how to say thank-you in ten languages:

    Korean: kamsahamnida
    French: Merci
    Armenian: Mersi
    Chinese: Xie Xie (syeh syeh)
    Russian: Spaseeba
    German: Danke
    Japanese: Domo arigatou
    Italian: Grazie
    Spanish: Gracias
    Tagalog: Salamat

After that we read another book called Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins. Rude cakes never say please or thank you, or wait their turn, or listen when the speaker sounds boring, but they sure do appreciate it when Giant Cyclopses are a bit more behaved!

After this we sang and danced to “Shake My Sillies Out” by Raffi, and then read another book about manners called No Slurping, No Burping by Lorelay Bove and Kara LaReau. It’s a book about two very well-mannered children who have to school their father on how to ask for things politely, not eat with his mouth full, and not shout at the dinner table, because they’re expecting a special guest: Grandma! But will Grandma remember her manners?

We watched part of an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the episode about Thank You Day on the DVD Daniel Tiger’s Happy Holidays. The episode shows everyone in the neighborhood attaching Thank You Notes to the neighborhood Thank You Tree.

We made a Thank You Tree of our own, and the children came up one by one and got a leaf to add to the “Thank You Tree” board. I asked each of them what they were thankful for. Some of the kids weren’t sure what that meant so I asked them, “What makes you happy? We feel thankful for the things that make us happy.”

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Here are some of their responses:

    Mom and dad
    My new PS4
    God for helping us to learn
    My friends
    Cars

It was so nice to talk about what makes us happy. I have a saying: “Gratitude is the most profitable meditation.” When we meditate on the things we are grateful for, we discover riches we sometimes forget we have, and we gain new riches of happiness and optimism! We finished our storytime on a happy note singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Happy holidays everyone!

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian working in the Children's Room at the Pasadena Central Library. I purchase juvenile nonfiction books for all sites, juvenile Spanish books for all sites, and juvenile DVDs for the Central Library. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including Lucha Libros, writing workshops, and STEAM/science programs. I also do 16 weeks of Infant/Toddler Storytimes each year. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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