By Rachel Robinson, Children’s Librarian, Kingsessing Library, Free Library of Philadelphia
*(Originally published as a blog post at the Free Library’s website on August 3, 2020)*
Something I love about storytelling is the way it brings people together. That is the very reason it can be hard to come by in our current world of social distancing. Many storytellers, including some of our wonderful librarians, have moved their storytimes to a virtual space and discovered creative new ways to connect readers to books in all formats. For those times when we need to step away from screens and social media, we do not need to leave the books behind.
Story strolls and story walks have been around for some time. Picture books are taken apart *gasp* and posted, page by page, along a scenic walk or trail. People can come for the story and get a little exercise or come for a stroll and enjoy a self-guided storytime. Enjoying a story stroll requires no direct human contact or physical interaction. If you can enjoy picture books and are mobile, or have a household member to help you out with either, you can take part in the story. Popularized by Anne Ferguson and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library of Vermont, this simple concept took on a life of its own. In Philadelphia, Wissahickon Environmental Center provides rotating Story Book Trails by their Tree House.
Kingsessing Library has brought its own Story Stroll to their Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. Going Down Home with Daddy, written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Daniel Minter, is available to read as a walk around the Kingsessing Park and Recreation Center at 51st Street and Kingsessing Avenue. This display of an award-winning picture book about a family reunion in the summertime starts in front of the Kingsessing Library by the bike racks, continues in a loop around the park and in front of the recreation center, and ending back in front of the library.
Going Down Home With Daddy was selected with the support of A Book A Day. With the help of A Book A Day, Kingsessing Library had invited author Kelly Starling Lyons to present a virtual program in the Summer. Ms. Lyons canceled the event, however, in solidarity with the Concerned Black Workers of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Enjoy your walk and let us know what you think on Facebook @FLPKingsessingBranch and use the hashtag #FLPStoryStroll.