By Adrienne Bolton

Photo by Eric Braddy

Edited by Nancy Waddell

There are few things little kids love more than listening to a story. It’s apparent in the way they crowd around the storyteller, looking up in anticipation of a journey through imagination guided by sweet pictures and silly voices.

On January 25th and 26th I visited the children’s libraries on Joint Base Lewis-McChord to share with them a story about a little girl who finds an unlikely friend in an enormous dragon. The book is titled No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for kids (and dragons) by Jean E. Pendziwol, and the kids loved it. 

As an AmeriCorps member, my main goal is to teach children and adults about steps they can take to be prepared for natural disasters and emergencies. We started our time with a little quiz to find out just how much the kids knew about fire and disaster safety. Let me tell you, they are smart!

Then we sat together in a circle to listen to the story. There were many giggles when I – I mean the dragon – blew a great sneeze and set the curtains on fire. The children were worried about the dragon when he tried to hide and when he went back for his bear. Thankfully, the little girl in the story knew just what to do and the class got to see the importance of sharing what they know with their friends and family. We talked about the story afterward and the kids showed that they are really great listeners.

We spent some time crawling around on the floor like we were avoiding smoke, practicing our duck, cover, and hold for an earthquake, and learning that floods are very different from puddles and we should never jump in the water. I then brought out my Red Cross preparedness kit and we talked about the items in it, passing around the radio and flashlight, and trying to figure out if fresh fruit should go in our bag. We finished up by putting the kit back together and I asked the children to complete the other side of their quiz, which they were happy to do with the crayons provided. 

This was a fantastic learning opportunity for the little ones and so much fun for me! I look forward to visiting again and sharing this book with the other children I teach at different venues.  


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