Families can experience children’s books in a fun and interactive way at Pioneer and Paloma community parks in Peoria on Saturday, Oct. 9.

Heather Sorden, library operations coordinator at Sunrise Mountain Library in Peoria, said the city will launch two free StoryWalk events that day.

At 9 a.m., “I Am Peace” by Susan Verde will be the focus of the StoryWalk at Pioneer Community Park, 8755 N. 83rd Avenue. At 10:30 a.m., the book “From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle will be featured at the StoryWalk at Paloma Community Park, 29799 N. Lake Pleasant Parkway.

“StoryWalk is an innovative way for children to read and play outdoors at the same time,” Sorden said.

Laminated pages from each children’s book will be attached to wooden stakes or metal stands and installed along an outdoor path.

“As individuals stroll down the trail, they are directed to the next page in the story and to do a related activity.”

The city will host ribbon-cutting ceremonies at both parks, and Mayor Cathy Carlat will share remarks before librarians lead attendees through the StoryWalks.

StoryWalks were developed in 2007 by Anne Ferguson from Montpelier, Vermont, in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, and have now been installed in 50 states and 13 countries, Sorden said.

“We were fortunate to receive a grant from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the secretary of state, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create the StoryWalk in Peoria,” Sorden said.

Peoria Public Library is always looking for new and innovative ways to provide library resources and promote literacy in the community.

“Families will experience the library in an unconventional setting that combines the pleasures of reading with the beauty of nature and playing together outdoors.”

The stories will be changed once per quarter at each location, Sorden said, with a special story and a program presented at Pioneer Park in March celebrating the Monarch Butterfly migration and in September at Paloma Park feting native trees.

Sorden said she is looking forward to the launch of StoryWalks in Peoria and providing families with an enjoyable and educational activity that also promotes physical activity and the library. 

“During my research for writing the grant, I visited the StoryWalks at some of our sister libraries in the Valley. It was thrilling to watch children with their families and friends reading the stories and performing the activities as they walked between signs,” she said.

“I’m very excited to be able to bring this unique experience to the children of Peoria.

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