Essays, Essays Archive

Raising Mothers + Well-Read Black Girl: How to Make Story Time Special

Raising Mothers and Well-Read Black Girl: How to make story time specialWriting and books have always been a driving force in my life. Everyone loves story. I learned a lot about my  current and future self through the words of others. It inspired me to write words of my own. Especially as a small black girl, it was second nature for me to read the stories of other black women and men. I gravitated towards poetry and biographies by the end of elementary school, discovering and rereading “Lady Sings the Blues: the biography of Billie Holliday.” A bit of heavy reading for a young child, but I was a very self aware.

It is important to me to also reflect my love of story in a more traditional sense here as well. Raising Mothers is partnering with Glory Edim of Well-Read Black Girl to bring you monthly book suggestions for both parent and child. In honor of Black History Month, we started posting daily book recommendations on the Raising Mothers Instagram account. You should follow along if you aren’t already.

How to Make Story Time Special

When I find myself at the bookstore, I’m often wandering in the children’s section looking for exciting stories for the little people in my life. I’m not a mother yet but I’m a big sister, auntie, and occasional babysitter. I take my storytelling and imaginary friend duties very seriously. Children are never too young to be read to and there are countless educational and emotional benefits. Reading builds a bond between parent and child, prepares them for success in school and ultimately, helps young people understand the complexities of the human experience. When children see themselves represented in a book, their existence is validated. This validation helps children cultivate a strong sense of self-worth! Raising Mothers champions reading and recognizes how stories can become a magical part of a child’s day. Read our story time tips and discover new ways to connect with your little reader:

1.) Let your child pick the story and follow their lead as they narrate. Does you child like to read the same passage over and over! Most kids do. Children need room to indulge in the story and revisit in their favorite parts of the story.

2.) When reading a book that doesn’t have any words, make up the story about the pictures for your child. Even better, take turns acting out the story! Finds ways to incorporate physical activity in your story time ritual. It’s the prefect time to play make-believe.

3.) Visit your public library for group story time. Ask the librarian to help you find new book releases and experiment with different genres. Borrow a number of books each time you go!

4.) Browse through bookstores and allow your child to make their own book choices. Notice what stories capture their attention and expands their curiosity. What types of characters do they gravitated to? Each book cultivates their personal reading taste and imagination.

Books bring parents and children even closer together – it’s a time for sharing, relaxing and fun. Tell us about the storytelling rituals in your home? What are some of your favorite books?

Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a book club based in Brooklyn, which promotes diversity in literature. Follow her on Twitter Instagram.

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Filed under: Essays, Essays Archive


Sherisa de Groot (she/her) is a writer, community builder, and founder of Raising Mothers, literary membership community Literary Liberation, and pens A Home Within Myself. Her work has been featured in a variety of publications, including Kindred by Parents, Refinery 29, Mutha Magazine, and Oldster Magazine and she was a contributor to the book ‘100 Diverse Voices on Parenthood’ by A Kid’s Company About. With a focus on intersectionality and social justice, de Groot’s writing explores the nuances of motherhood and the experiences of BIPOC mothers and marginalized genders. Through her work, she aims to amplify the voices of those who have been historically silenced and create a more equitable world for all. Raising Mothers was the 2021 Romper People’s Choice Iris Award Winner. Originally from Brooklyn New York, she is a first-generation American turned immigrant living in Amsterdam, NL with her husband, two children, and cat.