South Bronx bookstore Boogie Down Books has returned to hosting its “Boogie Down Storytime” events at the Mottley Kitchen in Mott Haven, starting Nov. 6 and continuing weekly.
Boogie Down Storytime is designed to help children in the community with early literacy awareness. Each story time session includes an interactive read-aloud of a children’s book, mindful breathing routines, welcome exercises and movements taught by a yoga instructor.
The sessions are free and last 45 minutes to an hour. They occur every Saturday at 10 am.
Boogie Down Storytime is not just about cultivating literacy awareness. Rebecca Shoaf, owner and founder of the store, explained that she is trying to create an enthusiasm for reading in all children. She said that amplifying marginalized voices is a huge part of why the store hosts the story times.
“We strive to create joyful reading experiences that build community and amplify BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ voices and communities through spectacular new and classic picture books,” she said.
Some of the children’s books previously read at Boogie Down Storytime include “Stella’s Stellar Hair” and “The Tossy-Turny Princess and the Pesky Pea.”
During the pandemic, Boogie Down took to online readings via Zoom and adjusted to outdoor readings over the summer. Nov. 6 will be the first reading at the Mottley Kitchen since March 2020.
Boogie Down Storytime caters mainly to 3- to 7-year-olds, but guests of all ages are welcome.
To secure a spot and protect the staff and guests of the readings, pre-registration is required on the Boogie Down Books website. All visitors over 12 must show proof of vaccination and all visitors over 2 are encouraged to wear a mask. Parents are welcome to stay.
Each event is led by Storytime manager Wesley Sanders and movement coordinator Jasmine Cintron, who use every Storytime event as an opportunity to promote Boogie Down Books’ values of joy, justice and community.