National Handshake Day

Say it Rah-shay By Jul 02, 2017 3 Comments

The last Thursday in June is National Handshake Day (save the date for 2018!) and for storytime I was keen to do something with handshakes. My first thought was rock, paper, scissors and the book The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex. Since handshakes are a form of greetings I was kind of stretching the “handshake” idea with this book but the books is so stinking cute that any opportunity to read it with a group of kids is a win. Alas, someone had borrowed my library’s copy of The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors so I had to come up with a new plan.


The Librarian and I have a theory that storytime can be fresh if you use old favorites in a new way. This theory also helps when you kinda sorta didn’t properly and fully plan what books you want to share with your library littles (shh).

National Handshake Day Themed Storytime

Friendship? Shaking hands IS a friendly gesture so I grabbed the Mo Willems book “My Friend Is Sad.”

National Handshake Day

In this book, Piggie tries to cheer up her friend Gerald, the elephant by dressing up in different costumes.

I really like acting out all of the personas Piggie adopts in an effort to cheer Gerald up. The kids got a kick out of doing the robot. Plus, we got to make our saddest and most miserable faces!

Next we read Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig.

In this book, Pete’s having a miserable day because just as he was going to hang with his friends, it starts to rain. Pete’s father thinks it will cheer hip up to be made into a pizza.

National Handshake Day

For this book, all the kids get their own “Pete” a stuffed animal from the collection we have at the library, and they get to act out the book with their Pete. We used scarves to top our “pizzas” and we get to throw our animals around in the air and there was a little chase through the library to catch Pete and tickle him.

Finally we read Jon Burgerman’s Splat.

National Handshake Day

This book is not about friendship BUT it’s an interactive book that calls for a huge SPLAT!  One of the kids attending storytime suggested we clap our hands with each SPLAT! and, while it’s a stretch, that clap is sort of like a handshake!


We ended storytime with playtime and the kids had to give me a special handshake when they left the library. We do this anyway, the kids say goodbye with some kind of fist or elbow bump.  I like to do a fist bump (and blow it up in the most obnoxious way because me) but they were also charged with being a creative as possible.  And the kids were so creative! I got fist bumps, super hero slams, lots of high fives and a traditional hand shake. They even choreographed some elaborate combos between themselves!


Check out National Day Calendar. This is where I find all of the “holidays” that fall outside of the norm.
Have fun! I was nervous because I had not really planned but everyone had a good time.

Thank you for reading! Join me on this weekly-ish series of life working in a public library where I share some storytime ideas, thoughts about picture books or something library related!

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I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.


  1. Haralee says:

    I love how you made these books explode with freshness for the kids!

  2. Oh my gosh. I was not familiar with The Legend of Scissors Paper Stone, I just checked out the trailer on YouTube. SO funny!

  3. Nelson Mullins says:

    Hi Rachee! These are awesome books for kids about the National Handshake Day. Though we may have to celebrate it differently this year because of the pandemic. I’d like to share some alternatives to handshake that we can do to still be able to celebrate this event:

Your turn! Tell it to Rah-shay!