top of page
Horizontal_heart + book_type centered.jpg

Bringing the Joy of Picture Books to Children’s Hospitals


Screen Shot 2022-09-26 at 8.37_edited.png

STORYTIME FRIENDS brings the joy of storytelling and the power of community to children in hospitals and care-giving facilities through a diverse read-aloud series that includes conversations with picture book creators. We also provide free copies of our featured books to kids.

We believe in the value of authentic human connection. We believe this happens by creating a sense of friendship and community through sharing books. We support the emotional safety of patients by helping to reduce stress and lift spirits. We center books that feature diversity and highlight social justice themes.

We have partnered with UCSF for our inaugural year and are excited to hear from hospitals interested in collaborating with STORYTIME FRIENDS in 2023-24.

If you work for a hospital and are interested in collaboration, please reach out here.


I am a Zambian-American teacher who loves books, word games, and stories. I am a public school elementary teacher and administrator-in-training. I live in Oakland, California. When not practicing “physical distancing,” you’ll probably find me working, studying, on the soccer field, or biking through the hills with friends. A couple of my favorite books are The Negotiator by Frederick Forsyth and The Bear’s Tears by Craig Thomas (I love spy/crime fiction). Favorite kids books include One Crazy Summer and the Anansi series.

Every week, I introduce our featured picture book author and do a read-aloud of their book. The video is broadcast to all children’s rooms. 


Mr. Peter Limata

Watch one of Mr. Limata's upbeat read-alouds!


STORYTIME FRIENDS is a collaborative project, originally co-founded by four award-winning Bay Area-based picture books authors, Angela Dalton, Michael Genhart,  Alex Giardino, and Meera Sriram. This community-based project is growing and will soon include a board of directors and fiscal sponsorship. More on these exciting developments soon!


STORYTIME FRIENDS proudly works with authors & illustrators who live in the same communities

as the hospitals we serve. We build on and expand strong creative connections!

Bay Area Authors & Illustrators Featured in our Inaugural Year: 

Sandhya Acharya, 10 Gulab Jamuns

Laura Atkins, Sled Dog Dachsand

Mac Barnett & Shawn Harris, A Polar Bear in the Snow

Carmen Bogan, Where’s Rodney?

Nidhi Chanani, What Will My Story Be?

Angela Dalton, Show the World 

Hayley Diep, If You Give a Girl a Bike 

Alejandra Domenzain, For All / Para Todos

Danielle Dufayet, You Are Your Strong

Michael Genhart, May Your Life Be Deliciosa

Alex Giardino, Ode to an Onion

Chelsea Johnson, La Toya Council, & Carolyn Choi,

Love without Bounds: An Intersection AlliesBook about Families

Nancy Johnson & Constance Moor, Black: The Many Wonders of My World

Darshana Khiani, How to Wear a Sari

Rob Liu-Trujillo, Alejandria Fights Back

Janine MacBeth, Oh, Oh Baby Boy

Marissa McGee, Free the Curls

Bethanie Murgia, What’s Your Name?

Innosanto Nagara, Oh, the Things We’re For

Amy Novesky, Girl on a Motorcycle

Jane Park, Juna and Appa

Meenal Petal, Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala

Dr. Rachel Remen, The Birthday of the World

Melissa Reyes, I Am Sausal Creek

Nadia Salomon, Goodnight, Ganesha

Grant Snider, What Color Is the Night?

Meera Sriram, Dumpling Day 

Peter Stein, A Tree for Mr Fish

Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Love in the Library

Deborah Underwood, Here Comes Valentine Cat

Muon Thi Van, I Love You Because I Love You

Natasha Yim, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

You can donate any of these books to children at UCSF through our Wish List here.

You can also support us by buying participating authors' books here.


Screen Shot 2022-09-19 at 9.09.29 PM.png

In 2022-23, we've partnered with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco and Oakland. 

We look forward to developing programs with other hospitals. Please reach out here about collaboration!


In 2023, we plan to raise funds to pay for our first full year of programming,

including the cost of weekly video production, in-person author visits and activities, and the purchase of 500 picture books to be given to the children. We need your support to make this project happen!


A kickstarter campaign is in the works, along with a fiscal non-profit sponsorship.

heart swirl.jpg


Featured Authors

STORYTIME FRIENDS is proud to celebrate PRIDE and Juneteenth this JUNE!
All of these books can be purchased through our affiliates page or requested from your local library. 

They're So Flamboyant  written by Michael Genhart and illustrated by Tony Neal

Michael Genhart, PhD, one of Storytime Friends' founders, is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco and Mill Valley, California. He lives with his family in Marin County. He received his BA in psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and his PhD in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of several picture books including: Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful WaysI See YouRainbow: A First Book of PrideAccordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music, and  Love Is Love . His offering this month is a fun and funny tribute to individuality, community, and harmony in a neighborhood full of birds when a “flamboyance” of flamingos moves in.

Michael Genhart Headshot - cropped - Copy.jpg
Screenshot 2023-06-01 at 1.08.59 PM.png

Tony Neal is a graphic artist and illustrator from South Leicestershire, England.

His passion for art and illustration has led him to a blooming career in children’s book illustration where he now creates works for various publishing houses and clients worldwide. Clients include: Usborne, Little Tiger Press, Yoyo Books, Simon & Schuster, Crayola, PI kids, Hachette Children’s, Editions Auzou, Miles Kelly, to name but a few. Tony’s work is inspired by everyday life and the quirky details that surround us. He loves to create charming characters in whimsical scenes and telling stories with his pictures.

Free the Curls written and illustrated by Marissa McGee

Screenshot 2023-06-01 at 2.09.17 PM.png

Marissa is an anti-bias educator. She holds a B.A. in Sociology with a focus on social stratification and inequality and a M.A. in Elementary Education, both from Stanford University. Marissa taught in Washington, D.C. for ten years. She took time off to travel before returning to the Bay Area where she now serves as a Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a lecturer. As an anti-bias educator, Marissa strives to create books where Black children can see reflections of themselves and children who do not identify as Black can engage in perspective taking. In FREE THE CURLS, Maliyah, an inquisitive six-year old who loves to read books and watch cartoons. When she and her mom visit a store to buy shampoo for wash day, they notice all the products for her hair type are locked up. Maliyah and her mom must decide — buy the products or take a stand?

Love Without Bounds: An Intersection Allies Book about Families
written by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council & Carolyn Choi, and illustrated by Ashley Seil Smith

Love Without Bounds Instagram Post.jpeg

from left to right: LaToya Council, Chelsea Johnson, Ashley Seil Smith, and Carolyn Choi. 

Chelsea Johnson became interested in feminism through writers like Audre Lorde and Patricia Hill Collins as an undergraduate at Spelman College, a historically Black college for women in Atlanta, GA. She went on to study the politics of race, class, gender, and fashion at the University of Southern California, where she earned her PhD in sociology and gender studies in 2019. Chelsea now works as an applied researcher in the corporate world, using intersectionality to help companies design products with underrepresented groups in mind.

LaToya Council was first introduced to the concept of intersectionality at Spelman College, which inspired her scholarship, activism, and vision for a more inclusive world. LaToya went on to earn her M.A. in Sociology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and is currently finishing up her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Southern California. Her research theorizes how race, class, and gender shape work and family life.

Carolyn Choi is a California native born and raised in Los Angeles. After graduating from UCLA, Carolyn worked in community organizing and advocacy for local immigrant rights groups in Los Angeles, where she devoted her time to the issues facing migrant women and women of color. Carolyn later earned her M.S. in Sociology and Criminology at the London School of Economics and Political Science and is now completing her Ph.D. in Sociology with a designated emphasis in Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on youth, gender, education, and migration within the intra-Asian context.

Ashley is an illustrator, painter, and printmaker with a BA in cultural anthropology and MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Find her working from home in Manhattan, New York, or escaping the city with dogs in tow to her studio in the lower Hudson Valley.

In the News...


STORYTIME FRIENDS is thrilled to announce its collaboration with CHILDREN'S FAIRYLAND in Oakland. Fairyland has generously donated 200 admission passes to give to children's hospital patients and their families to enjoy.

Series co-creators Alex Giardino and Angela Dalton sat for a podcast interview with Maria Dismondy of Cardinal Rule Press. Our conversation is called "Sharing Joy in Less Traveled Places," and we share the early vision and long-term goals for STORYTIME FRIENDS. You can listen to the interview here after Nov 15.

If you are a member of the media, please contact us for a media kit.

Our series host and series creators are available for interviews. 


and follow us on social media!

  • Instagram

Thanks for submitting!

Thanks for submitting!


bottom of page