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Neighborhood Story Walk

by Judi Heher, Friends of the Scotts Valley Library Volunteer 

After learning about the Scotts Valley Library’s story walk, I decided to create my own story walk for the toddlers and preschoolers in my adult daughter’s Honolulu neighborhood. She lives in military housing with old-fashioned alleys that are used as informal meeting places for parents to connect while their children play together in the evenings after the Hawaiian sun sets. This particular neighborhood is heavily populated with toddlers - just like my grandson! These two characteristics made it easy to identify a book that would appeal to my target toddler audience and design an approach to install the story walk. I chose Sandra Boynton’s Dinosaur Dance for its fun characters, lyrical text, and action-oriented story. Each page had a different dinosaur doing a different dance and was a natural encouragement for toddlers to dance too! My challenge was how to design and mount the story walk.


I had two priorities when designing the story walk. First, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money since I wasn’t sure how the neighborhood children would embrace the format. Secondly, it needed to be lightweight. I was flying to Hawaii with all the supplies and didn’t what this project to take up a lot of precious suitcase space! I used 8.5” x 10” cardstock, on which I glued a page from the book with a simple encouragement for an active response. I inserted each page in a heavyweight page protector, folded the open end to the back, and secured the opening with packing tape. The next challenge was to mount each page to the back fences that lined the neighborhood alley. The dual issues of Hawaiian weather (lots of humidity, wind, and rain) and the plastic fence posts led me to develop a system of cord that attached to the page protector and wrapped around the fence posts ensuring each page was securely mounted to the fence.


Once the story walk was installed, my daughter shared the news on the neighborhood Facebook page, and then we waited. In hardly any time at all, we had over a dozen comments on the post, with parents sharing pictures and videos of their children interacting with the story walk! One parent shared how disappointed her toddler was when the story walk ended. Their little one wanted to go to the next fence and keep reading!


This story walk will not be my last! I’m already designing another for my grandson’s neighborhood and scheming how I might make one for my neighborhood in Scotts Valley. Bringing books to children and families in unique and inviting ways enriches the community through literacy and shared experiences.

Two youngsters enjoying dancing on the Dinosaur Dance story walk

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