Our family is a big fan of story time. We have collected loads of children’s books, and we love reading them to our daughter in our different reading nooks around our house. After our Bookworm adventure we heard about a nine year old girl with a reading corner, which she sets up twice a week in a tearoom in Shunyi. As my daughter was craving to go back to England, I decided to take her to a little piece of London right here in Beijing.
This tearoom in Shunyi has a children’s play corner, kid’s menu, and very parent-friendly toilet, with changing facilities and a small throne. This is the perfect venue for parents with kids of all ages to meet other parents, especially those who are in need of a British cup of tea and some warm scones. I myself wanted to stay all day at the tearoom and bask in the flowery décor.
The nine year old story teller, Lily Rose Lyman, was very happy to see us, and tried to engage my 3 year old from the minute she saw her. My daughter was happy to listen to the stories with me, later by herself. Shy at first but slowly warming up to Lily’s enthusiasm, my daughter played around in the kid’s corner and listened to the stories. I enjoyed Lily’s Curious George story as she had brought along a stuffed Curious George monkey and made all the cute monkey noises.
Lily is in 3rd grade and homeschooled. Her absolute favorite thing in the world is reading (and real princesses). Her mother explained that Lily came up with the idea to create a reading corner. Now Lily takes her big bag filled with books from her home library to the tearoom to spread joy and happiness with her story telling. Lily has a charm and wit that is tangible when she reads her books.
We had a little Q&A with this fantastic storyteller.
Why did you want to start the reading corner? Because I love to read, and I wanted to share the love of reading with the world.
What is your favorite reading memory? I remember the first time I read Geronimo Stilton by myself, I felt like I was in the story it was so exciting.
How do you feel about the reading corner now that you have started it? I feel very excited about it. I look forward to the reading corner every week, I love sharing my favorite books with kids and seeing them smile and laugh. I want to be a librarian someday and the reading corner is really helping me start learning how to manage my library and being able to share the love of reading to others which I think is important when becoming a librarian.
How many new friends have you made? Bunches of friends! Everyone who comes has become my friend, and I look forward to seeing them every week. It nice to meet other kids, who love reading as much as I do.
Listening to stories is a pleasure whatever age you are, from baby to grandparent. And I am delighted to find story tellers from all ages all over Beijing.
Lily will be reading her stories on Mondays 2.30-3.30pm and Fridays from 10-11am, at the Tearoom in Shine Hills, Shunyi.
Lily’s Reading Corner has a WeChat group. For updates, scan the QR code.
Pauline van Hasselt has been working for beijingkids since October 2016. Born in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, she moved with her husband and her 3 year-old daughter to Beijing in June of this year. Prior she lived in the Netherlands, Belgium, Paraguay, Texas, and London, studying and working as a chef. Pauline enjoys biking around Beijing, finding markets and new restaurants, reading crime and fantasy books in bed, and most importantly, turning her house into a home for her family.