This past weekend I did a story time at Medu Bookstore in Atlanta. I had done some promo through social media and so had the owner through her large following. This is a store that’s been successfully in business for 25 years.
And the turnout was, well, quiet…
This isn’t the first time this has happened with this store. I’ve offered free story time with children at that store before and what usually ends up happening is the people I know end up coming and bringing friends. Villaging at its finest; however, I know there are more black children out there.
Here’s the thing: the TIME for story time isn’t the issue. I’ve seen people (with children) line up at a clothing store not far from the book store at the SAME TIME as the story time. Mind you, they’ve had children with them.
Here’s the other thing: one of my dear friends ran out to grab some families roaming the mall for our story time and she met a set of young parents with an infant. When they came to look in the store, they decided to leave as the baby wasn’t going to “sit through it.”
And there are other “things,” too.
We don’t have time.
It’s too far.
It’s too early.
It’s too late.
It costs too much.
Why is it free?
These “things” don’t help us progress and they certainly don’t add to our village experience. Story time isn’t just about listening to someone read. It’s about building a foundation for literacy, promoting community interaction, bonding time with family, language development PLUS it’s fun!
And my story times in particular? I choose stories with BLACK CHILDREN in mind. There aren’t many people that are doing that. When we send our children off into the world, we want them to have a positive attitude about who they are and where they come from. They need to hear those positive sources affirming their existence even during infancy. YOU need to hear those positive sources affirming their existence so that you can consistently pour more of it into them. That means a story time with a black baby, child, teenager, elder is the PERFECT activity for your family.
And at the very least, when you have a quality source willing to offer a service that will benefit your black family, then you should support it. Because there aren’t that many that are exclusively catering to you. In fact, many of them don’t even have your black family in mind!
So it is with that that I’ve realized I have way more work to do. And I’m excited about it! If you are on Instagram, follow my handle at Earlychildhoodenthusiast or if you are on Facebook find Villaging Brown. I will be posting random story time meet-ups for US (in Atlanta…potentially going live on YouTube) with you in mind.
Hope to see you there!