Not all story times are created equal. Just ask the mom whose kid has a kicking-and-screaming meltdown midway through a reading of Brown Bear, Brown Bear. You know a good tot reading when you see one—squirming is at an all-time low, tantrums are non-existent, and the kids (and you) are completely transfixed on the story from beginning to end. Yes, there are some storytimes that are a hit—even if its attendees are in need of naps. Here are five to check out.

Photo: S. Davis via flickr


Two and Over Stories (10:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.)
Your preschooler will be begging you to attend this ongoing, super-interactive reading program, which is often accompanied by fingerplays and flannel board tales that help hone listening skills, and boost exposure to picture books, the library, and the joy of reading. Grown-ups, don’t expect to just sit there. Your full and active participation is highly encourage.

Shirlington Branch Library
4200 Campbell Avenue (Arlington, Va)


Preschool Storytime 
For that pre-lunch/nap hour, kids (ages 2 and up) will love this story time featuring unique books, rhyming and singing. If your little isn’t ready to leave right away, no worries! There’s a 30 minute stay and play immediately following story time.

Aspen Hill Branch Library
4407 Aspen Hill Rd. (Rockville, Md)

Pajama Story Time at Woodridge Library (6 p.m.)
Craving a midweek after dinner activity?! Say no more. The Woodridge Library in northeast D.C. hosts a weekly evening story time for the whole fam. Put on your jammies and get ready to wind down for the evening.

1801 Hamlin St., NE


Story Time at the Hirshhorn (10 a.m.)
If your bookworm loves exploring the many museums that D.C. has to offer, then Storytime at the Hirshorn will be her jam. A book read by one of the museum staff, a guided tour through one of the exhibits, plus a hands on activity at the end, makes for a packed, art-focused morning.

Hirshhorn Museum
Independence Ave. at 7th St.


Wiggle Time (10:30 a.m.)
Some kids—try as they might—just can’t sit still long enough for story time. Well, they don’t have to with this one. Kids (ages 1-6) are encouraged to explore movement, from jumping to shaking, during and after the librarian reads a story. The idea is that through guided movement they’ll learn fun ways to recall stories and enjoy reading.

Francis Gregory Library
3660 Alabama Ave., SE

Pajama Story Time (6 p.m.)
Eyes crossed from a long day at work, but your kid can’t sleep without a bedtime story? Tote your pajama-clad babe (all ages) to the library, where a kid-loving librarian reads dream-inducing stories and sings lullabies. All that’s left is a goodnight kiss from you.

Benning Library
3935 Benning Rd., NE (Minnesota Ave.)


Story Time at the Library of Congress (10 a.m.)
We love the history that surrounds us in this city and the Library of Congress is one of our fav spots. The Young Readers Center offers an infant and toddlers story time every Friday that’s a must-see. Pre- or post- reading, wander a bit to enjoy the history (and tunnels) of the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE

Wee Ones Story Time (10:30 a.m.)
Hooray for Books, a locally-owned and operated children’s bookstore stocked with one of the largest selections of kids’ tomes, hosts this weekly story time for the two and under set. What makes this reading series special are the bookstore salespeople who read. They just get it when it comes to keeping kids of all ages entertained with books.  Come with a notepad to steal a few of their tricks for your at-home story time sessions.

Hooray for Books
1555 King Street (Alexandria, Va)


Wall of Books (11 a.m., every other Saturday)
Does your kid love to dance and sing, making sitting down for story time a bit of a production? They’ll dig the twice a month story time sing-a-longs at Wall of Books with Bear Song. The coolest part is that immediately following story time, kids books are 10% off.

3325 Georgia Ave., NW

Where do your kids love to hear a good story? 

—Miller Jackson and Ayren Jackson-Cannady