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Blaine County Linraries StoryWalk® a hit with Chinook's younger set


August 8, 2018

Blaine County Assistant Librarian Kelcey Harry (right) reads from a copy of "King Hugo's Huge Ego," a children's story book about a little king who pays a big price for his lack of humility. The preschool children were doing a StoryWalk®, an event where they walked around a trail with individual pages from the book along the way. About 20 years ago a health worker came up with the idea to get kids and parents to "enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time." Librarians plan to stage the walk again during the Sugarbeet Festival in early September.

The Blaine County Library hosted two StoryWalk® events for youngsters last week in Chinook. StoryWalk® is a 20-year old idea originally developed to get kids and parents to "enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time." The concept of reading a children's book one page at a time while walking along a path or trail has spread to all 50 states and 12 foreign countries since first being introduced at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont.

For Chinook's StoryWalk® librarians chose "King Hugo's Huge Ego." It's a story about a tiny king with a very large ego that gets him in trouble. It's a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of someone being too boastful and lacking humility. The illustrations are quite colorful and appeal to children.

To prepare the walk librarians Val Frank and Kelcey Harry bought two copies of the children's book and disassembled one in to individual pages. The laminated, single sheets were then placed atop posts stuck in the ground in a circle. They used the grassy area at the south end of the Grande Villa for the event. Forty plus under five kids and parents attended the first walk in the morning. School age kids came in the afternoon.

I stopped a group of little kids headed back to daycare and asked how they enjoyed the StoryWalk®. One little guy stepped up and said, "I really liked the ice cream they gave us." When I asked Assistant Librarian Kelcey Harry about that response, she smiled and said, "That was a big crowd of little kids and there are a lot of distractions outside. I think the ideal scenario would be for a family to walk along the path and read the children's book. The big group, for the little guys, was a bit of a challenge. The school aged kids seemed less distracted when they did the walk."

StoryWalk® was created by Anne Ferguson in 2007 who at the time was working as a chronic disease prevention specialist. She was looking for a way to get both children and their parents active noting, "active parents tend to raise active children." Rachel Senechal at the library in Montpelier helped develop the idea and StoryWalk® has since spread across the U.S. and the world.

The librarians said they hope to have a StoryWalk® event during the upcoming Sugarbeet Festival in early September. Watch for information about where and how to participate in this unusual and fun way to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time.


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