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Square Books Jr. hosts reading, singing

It’s Wednesday morning, and a crowd of tiny people and their parents are gathered inside Square Books Jr.

Kathy Neff stands in front of the group singing songs, and some of the little ones sway and coo to the sound of the music.

Neff, a bookseller, led the sing-along event during Storytime for the Oxford Mom and Tots group. Neff said Storytime is held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10 a.m. at Square Books Jr., and is usually led by Jill Moore, another bookseller.

“Jill sings and does a lot of children’s favorites, but with a blusey feel to it, and it’s great,” said Neff. “On Wednesday, we tend to get the 0 to 3 crowd, and on Saturdays, it expands a little bit, because brothers and sisters are out of school.”

Neff said there have been some trends in children’s books lately.

“There are a lot more books that are coming out as board books, so they are a lot more user-friendly for children,” she said. “We love ‘Goodnight, Gorilla.’”

The book recommended for babies is about bedtime at the zoo.

“It doesn’t really have much in the way of words,” Neff said, “but there are fun things going on, so it’s a real nice one-on-one with the child.

“A lot of the board books are really simple in words, and they are things that can be read over and over again. They are just a nice start for children. We also have some of our old favorites — ‘Goodnight Moon,’ ‘Madeline,’ ‘The Little House.’”

Oxford resident Rebecca Rawson, a Lafayette County teacher, brought her son Owen, 4, to the event, and her newborn daughter.

“I’m kind of enjoying being able to bring him out,” she said. “I bring him in the summers, but I don’t get to come at any other time. So this is our first time since she has been born.

“There’s a book he got for Christmas called ‘The Day the Crayons Quit,’ and he loves that book. We read it every night.

“The crayons all write the little boy a letter about how they don’t like that he’s using them too much for this or not enough.

“The pink crayon gets mad that she never gets used, and the peach crayon gets mad that he tore all the wrapping off, and the crayon is naked. It’s really cute.”

Oxford resident Kathy Wells brought her granddaughter Ava James Martin, 9 months, with her to Storytime on Wednesday.

“We come out every Wednesday for Storytime, and she absolutely loves the story,” said Wells.

“Afterwards, Jill plays the guitar, and she just loves it. She loves to dance and clap her hands and sing, and she gets to play with other babies her age.”

Madison native Abigail Salters, 28, brought her daughter Lucy Kate Salters, 2.

“It’s mostly me and her at home every day, and it does her well to get some interaction with other children,” she said. “It’s very beneficial, and it gets us out 

of the house.

“We normally just come on Wednesdays and not so much on the Saturdays. Those are pretty busy. But it’s a good way for us to get some social interaction, some fun.”

Salters said Lucy likes the books Babies Everywhere and “Goodnight Moon.”

Lori Niemi, 33, just moved to Oxford from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She brought her son, Parks Niemi, 10 months.

“I saw Storytime, and I thought maybe I could meet some people,” she said. “It’s good because he’s interacting with other children his age, and seeing what else is out there for him to do.”

Kate Cortes, 27, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, brought daughter, Sofia, 2, and Penelope, 9 months, to Storytime. She said her children love books by author Nancy Tillman and “Goodnight Moon.”

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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