TOMORROW at 11am, children from 16 Northern Rivers schools and preschools will switch off their computers, put down their iPads and join people at more than 2000 locations across Australia for a record-breaking National Simultaneous Storytime event.
This year is expected to be the Australian Library and Information Association's biggest yet, with 2200 locations registered, almost double last year's numbers.
The children at Lismore Preschool were practising their best bear growl yesterday for tomorrow's reading of Nick Bland's Very Cranky Bear, this year's choice for the synchronised storytelling event, part of National Library and Information Week.
Lismore Preschool teacher Michelle Donadel said despite the influx of new technology in the classroom and at home the good old-fashioned story book was still king with the kids.
"You just have to look at how absorbed they are. The way they touch, feel and experience the book," she said.
"Choosing and reading a book together is a shared experience. At the preschool this month we are encouraging children to bring in their favourite book from home and share part of their own culture," she said.
National Simultaneous Storytime organisers are encouraging groups, schools and early childcare centres to register their participation online and be part of history.
The Very Cranky Bear, with its catchy rhyme and infectious read-aloud quality, is an Australian tale about friendship, sacrifice and learning that appearances aren't important.
When four friends encounter a cranky bear, Moose, Lion and Zebra all think they know how to cheer him up. But it is plain, boring Sheep who has the answer.
The sequel, The Very Itchy Bear, was published in August 2010.
And soon to be released will be The Very Hungry Bear in June 2012.