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Former librarian turns screen time to storytime

Catherine Hayek reads to neighborhood kids from her front porch in north St. Louis County

CALVERTON PARK, Mo. — For an hour every Wednesday morning, kids in Calverton Park are taken far away from the pandemic.

Sure, they're socially distant and they may even sit in the rain. Still, they happily trade screen time for storytime.

"It's easy to let kids be on the devices and that's wonderful in its place, but there is nothing like a good book," Catherine Hayek said.

Hayek is a former librarian who, when the pandemic hit, offered up some books to neighborhood families.

"And one of the moms said, 'Why don't we just bring the kids to you!'" she recalled.

Now, once a week, Catherine pushes out her rocking chair and pulls out some of her favorite books, and reads them to the neighborhood kids from her front porch.

"I do try and pick something that either tugs at my heart a little bit or really makes me laugh," she said.

Every book is an adventure and every week has a theme.

"The theme today was being kind to people who are a little bit different than you are, which is a good theme no matter what's going on in the world," Hayek said.

At a time when we're all feeling a little isolated because we can't gather together at work or to worship, this is one way of keeping a connection.

"They say it's the highlight of the week," she laughed. "And I don't know if I always believe them, but the kids are awesome."

Catherine Hayek and Wednesday storytime: taking kids far away while staying right where they are.

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