Carol Meyer – A Popular Tulsa Storytime Leader
About six years ago, Carol Meyer was asked to read at Pottery Barn Kids during the weekly storytime. Having three kids and three grandkids herself, reading children’s books aloud was something she had done countless times. Before leading her first session, she asked if she could incorporate some music at the beginning and it was a huge hit. It was then that Meyer, known as “Miss Carol” to her audiences, knew she had found the recipe for captivating children’s attention by engaging them in her songs and stories.
TK: What is your background?
Meyer: My husband and I moved to Tulsa in the 1980s. At that time, my husband and I performed music in a band for our church. Music is where our hearts lie.
TK: How did you become interested in leading story time?
Meyer: While working at Pottery Barn Kids, I was asked to read during a scheduled storytime, and I asked if they would mind if I brought my guitar along so I could play some songs, too. Once I did the storytime and included music with my guitar, that put it over the top for me. It went so well and I loved it!
TK: How do you organize your sessions?
Meyer: Storytimes are 30 minutes long. I typically sing for the first 20 minutes and read for the last 10 minutes. After the music is over and I start to read the books, it’s a whole other dynamic that is just as exciting as the music is. I am able to engage my audience by encouraging them to sing along, and I demonstrate the hand-gestures and body movements for the kids to do during the songs.
TK: What is the age range of the children you entertain?
Meyer: Newborn to 6- or 7-years old, with the average age being 3. When school is in session, I have more of a younger crowd. I enjoy communicating with the little ones; I really didn’t have any idea that I would be doing this now. It’s been really fun!
TK: How do you decide what to sing and read at each session?
Meyer: I look at my audience and that helps me decide. I found that it is best to start out with songs that all the kids will know so they can sing along.
TK: Can you share a special experience you had during a session?
Meyer: One of the moms told me that while they were eating lunch, her child remembered one of the songs I sing at storytime and told his mom he would eat his veggies because Miss Carol says I have to “Eat, eat, eat those veggies, you got to eat them all the time.”
TK: What are some of your favorite books to read?
Meyer: Knuffle Bunny, Madeline and Olivia books are always good. The boys like dinosaur and shark books, so I switch those up.
TK: What are some of your favorite songs to sing?
Meyer: I stick to what kids might know. Although I like to throw a curveball every once in a while, like the old funny song, “Boa Constrictor” by Shel SiIverstein. I also try to throw in songs that parents and grandparents will know like “doe, a deer.”
TK: What do you enjoy about entertaining kids?
Meyer: It’s all about having fun with it and being myself. The fun part for me is really engaging with the kids. I have so much fun with the kids! Sometimes moms take videos of me and play it back with their kids before they come back to the next storytime.
TK: Where can kids see you perform?
Meyer: Pottery Barn Kids at Utica Square on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and Tulsa Toy Depot on Thursdays at 11 a.m.
TK: Can people hire you for their own events?
Meyer: Yes! Due to the popularity of the interactive storytime, I also attend children’s birthday parties with my husband, Bruce, who plays the bass guitar. (Facebook.com/MissCarolsMusic; 918.269.3582) Entertaining at birthday parties has been an unexpected blessing. While at birthday parties, our main entertainment is music, but I’m happy to do whatever parents and kids would like.
Nancy A. Moore is a Public Relations Coordinator at Montreau, Adjunct Professor at Tulsa Community College, and has been writing for TulsaKids for almost 20 years.