Published on January 29th, 2016 | by Molly Virello

Super Storytimes: How to Host a Superhero (or Supervillain) Storytime

Frieda BAs a children’s librarian, I love storytime; it is my bread and butter. It is my chance to really help children (and parents) have fun with reading, and show them a more playful side to the all-important skill of reading. Just because you are helping a child learn doesn’t mean it has to be a chore!

I started up a Superhero Storytimes once a month in my library, in the evenings, as a way to bring my love of storytime together with my love of superheroes. These special storytimes feature a superhero (or super villain as the case may be) who comes to the library to share a story and participates some games and songs.

I wanted to share with you my plan for running this type of program, in the hope that any of you can adapt, and possibly improve upon, it and run one in your own library. (And if you do improve on it, let me know! I would love to hear from you!) As of now, I run this storytime once a month, since September 2015. I don’t want to oversaturate the kids and parents with superheroes, and I want to keep it fun. That means building up the hype, getting people excited about the hero, and putting on a quality storytime.

Your first step, once this program has been ok-ed by your higher ups, is finding the hero(es). I am lucky in that I am heavily invested in the cosplay community. I attend cons regularly, have many cosplay friends, and am able to get those friends to volunteer to come in to storytime in their amazing costumes. If you are looking for heroes, and don’t have the same kind of connections, ask friends, family, or the community at large. As always, only go with someone that you feel comfortable with, and who will adhere to the rules of the library and your department.supertruck

Next, I figure out which character I can get for the day. Then I organize the storytime plan around that hero. I always include fun, or funny, superhero themed books. I’m not talking about only Marvel stories or only DC. While those types of stories are fun to read one-on-one, doing them in a group setting can be difficult. So I suggest going with a broader hero theme. So far I’ve read Supertruck by Steven Savage, with StarLord; Superworm, by Julia Donaldson, with Spiderman; Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident, by George McClements, with Captain America; and Frieda B. Herself , by Renata Bowers, with Harley Quinn. I will attach a list at the end of other great superhero themed stories that I love.

Now, not everyone is comfortable with reading. So, sometimes I do the reading and the singing and have the hero help me with games. Some of the most fun games that we have played are limbo, freeze dance, and Spidey says (which is just like Simon says, but with Spiderman…or any superhero, really). Kids love getting the chance to interact with their favorite superheroes by doing things they do on a regular basis. Sure, storytime is always fun, but having a superhero attend? Out of this world.

I also know that not all librarians may have access to the cosplaying community in the same way that I do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw a fantastic hero-themed storytime! All of the ideas I’ve shared here can be Baron von Baddieimplemented without having a special guest. And, don’t forget about local heroes! [Police, Firemen, EMTs, Doctors, Vets]

With a little planning, and a heap of fun, you can throw your very own superhero storytime!

Here are the other suggested picture books:

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Anne Cottringer

Do Superheroes Have Teddy Bears? By Carmela LaVigna Coyle

Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti


About the Author

Miss Molly traveled all the way to New Zealand in order to get her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She enjoys hands-on (and occasionally messy) science programs, very boisterous story times, rousing sing-a-longs, and serene yoga. When Miss Molly doesn’t have her nose in a book, she can be found hiking in the woods, climbing mountains, indulging her wanderlust, pursuing her foodie passions, and making horrible(ly awesome) puns. When she's not saving the world one book suggestion at a time, you can find her cavorting with superheroes in The Hero Army at comicons and up and down the east coast. (She's usually SuperGirl, Polaris, Wasp, or Harley Quinn). If you see her, say hi!

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