IT’S A FIREFLY SUMMER!
Like fireflies blinking in the night, books can have on/off bright-light moments long after the light bulb burst of its publication date. That’s what happened for my 2013 picture book from Blue Apple Books, IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT (which was so perfectly illustrated by artist Betsy Snyder) when it was selected by the Peapack-Gladstone Library in Somerset County, New Jersey for their community’s “StoryWalk” this summer.
You may be asking, “what the heck is a StoryWalk?” (I did, too.) Answer: StoryWalk® is an innovative and delightful way for children to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children’s book are attached to wooden stakes, which are installed along an outdoor path. The path, walkway or sidewalk might be in a neighborhood park or on the grounds of a library. There’s often a ‘grand opening’ community event with special story times, crafts and snacks for the kids.
That’s just what happened in New Jersey last month. The “firefly” StoryWalk debuted at Liberty for its first week, then moved for the rest of the summer to the sidewalk entrance to the Peapack-Gladstone Library. An evening “IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT’ event was recently held at the library for patrons, young and old. It was sparked by stories with reading buddies, making firefly mobiles and light-up lightning bugs. The kids buzzed with excitement at the end, when they hunted throughout the library, catching paper fireflies to put in a ‘jar’.
Also last month, a StoryWalk featuring IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT, was installed along the walking trail at Mary Park in New Richmond, Wisconsin. This Storywalk is a joint project of the Friday Memorial Library; the New Richmond Area Community Foundation; and the New Richmond Parks Department. Kids and grownups can read the book as they walk along, perhaps stopping to do some of the interactive activities posted on the oversized story boards with the reproductions of the book’s double-paged spreads.
If you want to find out how to bring this fun, educational activity that combines the pleasure of reading a book with a child with the benefits of walking together to your area, go to http://www.vermontlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/bringingsw.pdf where the Vermont Library Association has posted a terrific step-by-step tutorial.
Happy Reading (and walking) This Summer!