This page contains stories about Philadelphia's diverse heritages - everything that is unique and special about individual neighborhoods, cultures, and communities - as well as the stories that unite us and teach us about our shared heritage.
What is Heritage Storytime?
Heritage Storytime (HS) is a series of monthly storytime episodes presented virtually for children. Each HS episode will focus on a heritage-related theme and will feature a children’s book read-along as well as complementary learning materials and activities. HS nurtures our desire to tell stories about our lives and heritages, past and present, and to learn through these stories.
Audience: Kindergarten - 8th grade students, teachers, families. Check the episode info for that episode's specific grade level.
Topics: All episode topics will have a connection to Philadelphia heritages and focus on building an understanding of and appreciation for Philadelphia’s history, cultural diversity, and global connections.
HS EPISODE 5: Cooking Culturally - Let’s Cook for Ramadan
Episode Description: In this episode, Basma Jaber from Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture will present Morning Circle Media's book, Let’s Cook for Ramadan! in both Arabic and English. She will introduce us to the month of Ramadan and the important role of both fasting and food to Muslims in Philadelphia and beyond. We will follow along as Basma buys fresh vegetables and prepares tabbouleh - her dad’s favorite and a beloved food in the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) region. Want to make your own tabbouleh at home with a little help from an adult? You can follow along with Basma using our recipe and even try the book’s other delicious recipes! You will also have the chance to start thinking about your own favorite foods and how YOU celebrate special holidays and family traditions. Additional teaching resources and ideas for exploring the episode’s themes will be included, too.
Date: April 15, 2021
Time: 1:00-1:40 PM
Audience: Children in grades 3-5, families, teachers
*This episode would be great for Arabic speakers and those learning Arabic
Book: Let’s Cook for Ramadan! By Suad Mansour and Cynthia Kreilick
Make at Home Recipe: Tabbouleh
HS EPISODE 4: Let’s Play Together!/¡Juguemos Junto!
Episode Description: Join us for a special bilingual episode of Heritage Storytime, presented in Spanish and English! We’ll hear Tania Ramos Otón from Esperanza read the book Slide! ¡Deslízate!...and she will get us up and MOVING AROUND with some fun movement activities! We’ll also learn how everyone plays - past and present and all around the world - and we’ll visit Smith Memorial Playground, a historic and welcoming playground here in Philly. We’ll learn how we can play outside or at home, any time of year, even during the pandemic. Additional teaching resources and ideas for exploring the episode’s themes will be included, too.
Episode air date: March 11, 2021
Audience: Children in grades K-3, families, teachers
*This episode would be great for Spanish speakers and those learning Spanish
Book: Slide! ¡Deslízate! By Cynthia and Alyssa Kreilick and Sara Mosenkis
HS EPISODE 3: Color your City with Caleb and Olivia
Episode Description: Join coloring book characters Caleb and Olivia for this special interactive episode of Heritage Storytime! Marilyn Russell of WOGL FM will be reading the Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book, which features Caleb and Olivia visiting important cultural and historic sites all over Philadelphia. Then we'll do a fun coloring activity from the book before getting up and showing off our Keith Haring mural inspired dance moves! We'll also learn how local students have used the Coloring Book to create their own heritage projects, many of which you can do yourself. Additional teaching resources and ideas for exploring the episode’s themes will be included, too.
Episode air date: Feb 11, 2021
Audience: Children in grades K-5, families, teachers
**You’ll want to have paper and drawing or coloring tools handy when you watch this episode.
Book: Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book (Written and illustrated by Philadelphia teacher and artist Michelle Dowd, published by Global Philadelphia Association)
Order your copy in English, Spanish, or Japanese!
HS EPISODE 2: Philly has a Dream for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Episode Description: Join us for the second episode of Heritage Storytime, where we’ll hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech, read from a book with beautiful illustrations by Caldecott Honor winning artist Kadir Nelson. Dr. King’s powerful message of freedom and equality for all people will be explored further with a virtual tour of the Johnson House, presented in partnership with History Hunters. We’ll learn all about the people who fought for racial justice in Philadelphia in this Underground Railroad Station and House Museum. We’ll also present opportunities for service-learning during the MLK Day of Service and provide additional teaching resources and ideas for exploring the episode’s themes.
Episode air date: Jan 13, 2021
Audience: Children in grades 4-5, families, teachers
Book: I Have a Dream By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Author), Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)
HS EPISODE 1: Oney Judge’s Daring Escape from Slavery
Episode Description: Join us for our first virtual Heritage Storytime episode! We’ll be at the African American Museum in Philadelphia reading the book “My Name Is Oney Judge” by local author Dr. Diane Turner to learn all about Oney’s daring escape from slavery in George Washington’s house in Philadelphia. Then we’ll learn more about slavery in America with a tour of the Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery in Germantown.
Episode air date: Nov 19, 2020 and Dec 16, 2020
Audience: Children in grades 4-8, families, teachers
Book: My Name Is Oney Judge By Diane D. Turner (Author), Cal Massey (Illustrator)
Bonus Videos: Coloring Book Stories
The Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book
The Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book follows Caleb and Olivia on their adventures visiting important cultural and historic sites all over Philadelphia. The book is available in English, Spanish, and Japanese. Read-along videos were created for World Heritage Week in May 2020. The English book is read by Marilyn Russell of WOGL FM; the Spanish book is read by Jennifer Rodríguez, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and the Japanese book is read by Yuka Yokoyama, Representative of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.
Audience: Children age 5 to 11
Book: Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book written and illustrated by Michelle Dowd (available in English, Spanish, and Japanese)