Orono library puts book in park for families to move while they read


The pages of Ezra Jack Keats’ classic winter children’s book “The Snowy Day” are now scattered throughout Webster Park in Orono.
The colorful pages of the book, mounted on catwalks in a protective case, are intentionally laid out throughout the park with integrated activities as part of a project to make children and their families active and exposed to literature. The project – the Orono History Walk – was unveiled at Webster Park last Wednesday and is a permanent new feature.

In Webster Park, visitors can find from start to finish “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats strewn all over the place. The walk of history was fueled by American Rescue Plan Act money and charitable donations from the Orono-Old Town Kiwanis and Orono Masons. (Sawyer Loftus | BDN)

The walk, which takes readers throughout the park, was supported by American Rescue Plan Act funds and donations from the Orono-Old Town Kiwanis Club and the Orono Masons.

Storytelling walks have appeared across the country in schools, libraries and museums. In Orono’s case, the drive to create one locally came at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when Orono’s public library was closed, children’s librarian Lindsay Varnum said.

“It’s a great way for us to expose children and families to literature when they might not be comfortable walking into the library,” said Varnum. “And the library – before I arrived in August – had been closed. Families couldn’t get in at all. So this is a great way to have books available for families all the time. “

By combining reading and walking, children and their families can enjoy one of the city’s outdoor spaces while learning something and on the move, said Varnum.

The idea is that the park will feature a different book each season, she said.

“We’re really excited to be able to bring this to Orono,” said Varnum. “There are history walks all over the state, and we’re just delighted to have one in Orono that’s more permanent.”

According to Laurie Carpenter, director of the Orono library, the US bailout funds that paid for the $ 5,250 project arrived at the Orono public library through the Maine State Library.

When researching the next books to feature, Varnum said the focus will be on finding interesting books with built-in activities.

With the current book, for example, there are instructions for readers to walk with their toes pointed at as they move from station to station, mimicking the way the main character in the book walks in snow. .

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