Savannah 4th grader’s livestream storytime helps people ‘feel better’ during outbreak

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — “Pete is going to the pet store. He is going to get a new pet,” reads Savannah Classical Academy student Madison Nevels to her livestream audience.

Every evening at 8 p.m., the fourth grader reads a book on Facebook Live via her public group on the social media platform, called “Storytime with Maddie.”

She began the nightly routine on March 23 after a shopping trip with her mother, Ebony Grant.

“We were out, of course searching for toilet paper, and she’s like, ‘all these people are so upset,’ and so she’s like, ‘I can figure out a way to make everybody feel better,’” Grant told NOW.

That’s how her daughter came up with the idea to reach many people in a way that allows her to practice social distancing.

“Since the coronavirus came out, everybody was stressed, and I wanted to bring joy and peace to the quarantine,” Madison said in a Zoom interview. 

Madison reads children’s books to whomever wants to tune in.

Some of the books she’s read to her viewers so far include “Hop on Pop,” “TJ’s Discovery” and “Pete the Cat: A Pet for Pete.”

“’Pinkalicious and Planet Pink,’ I actually like that one because my favorite color is pink,” Madison said.

She added that she’s open to suggestions on what to read next, book donations and even a guest reader joining her. 

Madison says she knows some people aren’t huge fans of reading, and her mother says her child used to be one of them.

“When she was younger, she didn’t like to read, so now she’s gotten to the point where she’s realizing, ‘okay well, this can be kind of fun if I pick stories that I like and I can see different things, different places and learn about different people,’” Grant said.

Madison says she hopes “Storytime with Maddie” will show that reading can be an enjoyable way to pass the time while sheltering in place.

“I like it, and when you use your imagination and you’re reading a book, you can go anywhere you want to,” Madison said.

You can join the “Storytime with Maddie” Facebook group by visiting here.

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