About 6 months ago, I heard about this cool thing from my friend Kirsten Cappy at Curious City called StoryWalk. For those of you who did not click on the links, here’s the lowdown: a picture book is put, page by page, onto signs and is installed along a walking path. You can do it the original way that they did it in Vermont, by purchasing 2 copies of a book and cutting the pages out and laminating them (which is a great, great idea!). Or you can do it the way Kirsten did it, which is the way we did it: we got publisher permission and replicated the book onto signs, and added some fun physical activities to each sign. Adding these movement activities made the project enticing to our local health boards, and an organization called Active Kids Healthy Kids, which is where we got the funding to do this project. The proposals for these funds came out about a week after I heard about StoryWalk, so I knew it was a sign from the literacy gods.
We used the book Juba This, Juba That by Helaine Becker, because we wanted to use something by a local author or illustrator, and we are lucky to have illustrator Ron Lightburn living right here in our own proverbial backyard. Ron liked the idea and so did the folks at Tundra, so we had a green light to move ahead. After much back and forth with the graphic designer and printer, we had our signs. We are installing them semi-permanently in two parks, and we have 2 sets of portable StoryWalks that schools and other community groups can borrow.
Our official launch was held today, a lovely, sunny day; watching the kids and adults crawling, hopping, tip-toeing, and running from sign to sign was almost as exciting (to a children’s librarian) as the midnight release of a new Harry Potter book. Ron Lightburn was able to join us and read the story to the kids before they did the walk. What a joyous day! So now that you know about StoryWalk, which book will you do in your community?