Little New-Yorkers is an interactive 45-minute story-time program for children ages 3-5 at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum (DCHM). We meet every Tuesday and Friday at 3:30 in the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library. When the children arrive, they will be invited to play with historic toys, like wooden blocks, Jacob’s ladders, even George Washington and Abraham Lincoln plush dolls. After clean-up, we sing a Little New-Yorkers welcome song before reading the story of the week. The stories all have a connection to life in New York City. Finally, we conclude with a hands-on project relating to the week’s story.
It would be very difficult to pick one favorite session, so I’ll narrow it down to two: the time we read I am Dodo: Not a True Story by Kae Nishimura and the time we read Mermaids on Parade by Melanie Hope Greenberg. I am Dodo is about a dodo bird who has beaten extinction and makes a home for himself in New York City.
This city slicker bird has a special “dodo dance” it does when it’s happy and I thought it would be fun for all of us to perform what we thought the dodo dance might look like. So, we made dodo hats and all danced our own versions of the dodo dance. It was a goofy, fun time. Here’s a picture of me wearing my dodo hat:
We read Mermaids on Parade the Tuesday and Friday before the 2012 Coney Island Mermaid Parade in June. This colorful story is about a little girl who participates in (and wins an award at) the Mermaid Parade. Greenberg’s illustrations beautifully depict the excitement and energy of the annual event.
For the activity, we decorated mermaid tails that we could actually wear. One little New-Yorker said she was going to the actual mermaid parade and would wear the tail she made! To wrap up, we paraded around the museum in our own Little New-Yorkers Mermaid Parade. Here’s a photograph of our parade:
This is the tail that was later worn in the real Mermaid Parade in Coney Island: