Lorelei Books to host storytime

Published 10:17 am Thursday, September 3, 2015

Imagination and adventure are only a story away from capturing a child’s mind.

Lorelei Books will continue its monthly storytime  Saturday at 10a.m. with guest reader Colette Keller, who will be reading Jon Klassen’s “I Want My Hat Back.”

“Reading is fun, it takes you to a place you wouldn’t go otherwise, and you can travel the world with a book,” Keller said.

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Storytime is important for children, Keller said, because books put them in touch with adventures and lets them see different perspectives through stories about animals, loss, discovery and other topics they might not have dealt with before. To her, increasing children’s imagination while letting them look through someone else’s eyes is a beneficial result of storytelling.

Keller said children’s books are special and there is something about them she has always enjoyed.

“There’s something about kids books, not that adult books aren’t interesting, but they’re short, they’re sweet and, I know don’t know, it’s so condensed that it’s really giving a good message without a bunch of stuff,” Keller said.

“I Want My Hate Back” is witty, Keller said, with engaging illustrations. She appreciates how the artwork can be simple yet convey a message.

“The kids get to see these cute little characters interact while I get to read a section,” Keller said. “So that’s cool. I think they’ll like that, they’ll feel like they get to interact.”

Keller is a local metalsmith jeweler and a mixed media artist who also created Cutie Stein, colorful mismatched creatures stuffed with a soft filling. She has been practicing reading out loud in the hopes Saturday will go off without a hitch.

“I hope it turns out well and I don’t mess up and miss a word or say something wrong,” Keller said.

Lorelei Books Owner Laura Weeks said many of the children in attendance are pre-school age but even infants attend storytime. Crowd sizes have varied from around six children up to a full house where some furniture had to be rearranged. The storytime event usually last from 15 to 20 minutes, just long enough to read the story.

Weeks said contributing to early childhood literacy is an important investment in the community citing her excitement for the Excel By 5 certification the community has begun discussing.

“If you don’t invest in your community, you’re not going to have a community to invest in your business and you’re not going to have a community in which you or anyone else is going to want to live and work,” Weeks said.

The Saturday morning storytime has been going on for over two years and started by customer suggestion. Weeks said a number of young families have a Saturday morning routine, which revolved around visiting the Farmer’s Market, stopping at Highway 61 Coffeehouse and browsing the bookstore and other downtown shops. Because these families were already downtown, and because the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library has a weekday storytime, she chose to host a monthly event on Saturday mornings.

Weeks couldn’t abandon the business to be a storytime reader; instead she had volunteers read to the children. It started with many of the children’s parents doing the honors and has grown to people throughout the community. She said just the other day an employee at Rusty’s Riverfront Grill asked her as she ate her dinner if she could read one month.

A list of people from Margie Heltzel to Angela Marshall and Matt Mitchell to Mark Jones has taken their time to share a story with children.

“Because the whole community is involved, the storytime readers have been just as diverse as our community is,” Weeks said. “The people who’ve read over the two-year period have truly been representative of the community be it age, race, gender.”

Readers have put their own special flair on their stories with costumes, puppets, character voices and even props. Keller said she is considering making the children little hats to go along with the book “I Want My Hat Back.”

“I thought it would be fun,” Keller said.