Blogger Emily Mroczek-Bayci

Bettering Big Book Usage in Story time

A big book is large and in charge and can command a room. Big books are one of my favorite items to use in story time, with a large or small group. But they are so overwhelming. Here are some tips on taking big books and using them to their BIG advantage.

  1. Introduce the books in a fun way. I like hyping up usage of a big book by pulling out a small book and then pretending that I cannot see it. I ask if anyone sees a bigger book in the room that is easier to read. Then waaa-la! we have a bigger and better book to read! I’ve also seen someone use a magic wand and “magically” transform a book from small to big!

  1. Try to find control of the book. It can be easy to drop a big book, or struggle with it because they are so huge. I recommend: having a partner or volunteer hold the big book if possible, finding a sturdy easel to prop the big book on, or typing the words to the big book and taping them to the back of the book. Search for big book holders and easels on school supply sites, Demco, Nasco and other resources.
  2. Use big books for a fun read-along. If the library has enough copies and the group is a smaller size, it could be fun to give the kids/ parents their own copy of the book so they can read themselves while the presenter is reading the big book. These also are books that beg to be read chorally- with everyone reading together: The Brown Bear titles by Bill Martin can be perfect for this.
  3. Curate the big book collection. A lot of the big books in our collection were very long, or had faded illustrations. It definitely was worth a good weed of getting rid of titles that would not be used, and finding fan favorite titles to use as a big book. Pragmatic mom has a good blog post outlining diverse big books.
  4. Find fun new big books through different resources. To find big books, one may have to reach outside of their traditional vendors. Scholastic, Lakeshorelearning,, Children’s Plus, Ingram, search for big book on amazon. Madeline Lindley categories their big books for easy brows-ability.
  5. Create a storage system that works. Many libraries have different methods for storing units. Some locations use large plastic bags, others put them in big tubs, while others use special carts. Some libraries have their books available for check out while others are staff use only.
  6. Use big books creatively. Big books don’t only need to be used in story time. They can be perfect for outdoor story walks or to add a literacy component to giant game dayIs there not enough money in your budget for big books? Try using a document camera to make every book a big book.

How do you use big books in the library? Do you have any tips for using big books to their full potential?


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: III. Programming Skills and IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials.

One comment

  1. Kelly Doolittle

    Thanks for the helpful tips! I’m only 5′ 2″, so big books are pretty rough for me to handle, especially if you’re not good at reading upside down – and I’m NOT! But if you are, that’s also helpful. I like your suggestion of typing out the words on the back of the book. I’m going to try it, because you’re right, big books can really stand out at storytime! They are especially helpful at our Stories in the Park series, where some patrons can be pretty far from the books.

    My favorite big book (and judging from past response, our patrons favorite, too!) is Where’s Spot? I love it because this one is actually easy to read upside down because there are so few words ; ) and the kids love it because of the silly animals and lift-the-flaps secrecy.

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