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Hazel Park District Library celebrates Black History Month with guest storyteller

New storytime program starting for babies

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published February 21, 2018

HAZEL PARK — A storyteller specializing in African folktales is coming to the Hazel Park District Library, part of Black History Month. The HPDL is also adding a new program for early literacy.

The library, located at 123 E. Nine Mile Road, will host “Miz Rosie the Storyteller” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. Miz Rosie, whose full name is Rosie Chapman, dresses up as characters and re-creates events experienced by them. She’s also bringing musical instruments for audience members to play, part of her interactive approach to storytelling.

The event is free, funded in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Humanities Council. Early registration is recommended. 

“Many cultures in Africa have rich histories of oral storytelling. Storytelling is a communal experience where people sit together, listen and participate in accounts of past deeds that teach important lessons about life,” said Corrine Stocker, HPDL director. “Black History Month is a way to honor the history, values and traditions of African and African-American culture. Storytelling is the ideal outlet for this.”

Amy Beem, the youth services librarian, said she’s heard good things about Chapman.

“This is our first time having Miz Rosie perform at our library. She performs at the Baldwin Library (in Birmingham) every year, and also performed at the Farmington Community Library for Kwanzaa,” Beem said. “I am told everyone loved her and had a great time.”

The library is also rolling out a new program, baby storytime, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. on Mondays. Aimed at kids 18 months and younger, the program supports early literacy and language skills by encouraging singing, playing, talking and shared reading, with fun stories, finger plays and snuggling in a welcoming environment.

“Starting to read to your baby at birth helps to create a habit of reading and a love of reading,” Beem said. “Thirty-five percent of American children start kindergarten without sufficient language skills, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, but reading aloud to your baby helps. Baby storytime helps with language and social skills, which will later advance school learning. It also fosters a close emotional relationship between you and your baby.” 

The library also continues to offer tiny tales on Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for those ages 18 months to 5 years. The kids read stories, sing songs, make crafts, play color and recognition games, and more. Siblings are encouraged to attend.

“Preschool storytimes are one of the most important services that public libraries have to offer,” Stocker said. “They give young children exposure to wonderful books, along with the new words, ideas and concepts that come from them.” 

For more information or to register, call the library at (248) 546-4095.