- Jeb Wallace Brodeur
In 2007, retired Montpelier resident Anne Ferguson wanted to create a literacy resource that would also get families outside and moving. Her idea: take apart simply written, visually appealing picture books, laminate each page and mount them on four-foot mahogany stakes spaced out along a trail. She calls it the StoryWalk Project, a name she's had trademarked.
With a small grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ferguson began buying materials: books, stakes and Velcro to affix the pages to the stakes. That money is "long gone" Ferguson says, but she's continuing to run her StoryWalk program with help from the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier.
She's assembled about 40 books for StoryWalks, which she keeps in a storage space and loans out to recreation departments, childcare centers and nature centers free of charge for up to two weeks. She's also written detailed directions for creating your own StoryWalk, which can be found on the Kellogg-Hubbard website (kellogghubbard.org/storywalk).
Ferguson's Favorite Storywalk Titles:
By David Ezra Stein
A simple tale of a young bear's first autumn
Over in the Meadow
By Ezra Jack Keats
A classic Appalachian counting rhyme that takes place in a lush meadow bustling with activity
By David McPhail
A story about a little girl's search for the perfect pet, and the love between father and daughter
LOCAL SPOTS TO READ AND WALK
Find Forest Bright, Forest Night by Jennifer Ward at Shelburne Farms behind the Farm Barn on the walk up to Lone Tree Hill.
At Bombardier West Trail in Milton's Bombardier Park, you can read Olympig! by Victoria Jamieson.
The Mad River Path Association hosts two walks on Waitsfield's Revolution Trail, behind American Flatbread. From August 4 to 11, find Dream Big: Starring Olivia by Ian Falconer. From August 11 to 25, families can enjoy The Birdwatchers by Simon James.
At the Lamoille Family Center property on Bridge Street in Morrisville, stroll along to Such a Little Mouse by Alice Schertle.