Have you ever been on a walking trail and stumbled upon a children’s picture book unfolding before you? If so, you’ve discovered the magic of StoryWalk®, which combines early literacy with physical activity and time with loved ones in nature!
We've made it easy for you to create a StoryWalk with our book. If you've never made a StoryWalk before, you're bound to have questions. Here's the scoop.
What is a Solar Eclipse StoryWalk?
A StoryWalk is exactly what it sounds like—a story that unfolds along a path. For our solar eclipse StoryWalk—which we've called Stellar StoryWalk—pages from the book Total Solar Eclipse: A Stellar Friendship Story are placed on signposts or displays, strategically positioned along a walking trail. As visitors wander through the StoryWalk, they read the unfolding narrative while soaking in their surroundings. StoryWalks are usually outside, but they can be inside, too.
Who came up StoryWalk?
The StoryWalk project was created several years ago by Ann Ferguson in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont, and she's gracious enough to share it with the world! StoryWalks have appeared in all 50 states and beyond. Some are more permanent and others may pop-up for events, like community eclipse celebrations (wink, wink). In Mountpelier, you can even check them out from the library.
Where can a StoryWalk be?
StoryWalks can be on established trails, in campsites, in downtown store windows, around a building like a library, museum or school, at events, in parks or playgrounds, or anywhere else you have permission and think would be a good experience for your audience.
How does copyright work for StoryWalk?
As long as you don’t modify the pages of the book, you can carefully deconstruct a book and mount the original pages on a sign board. This technique typically takes three books (since pages are printed on both sides) and some patience.
To make it a bit easier, we put together a digital StoryWalk toolkit for Total Solar Eclipse: A Stellar Friendship Story. When you purchase our downloadable toolkit ($29.95), you get the files and permission to directly print one copy for a StoryWalk. With the toolkit, getting the pages is as simple as sending the file to your favorite local copy store to print and laminate.
How much does it cost to create a StoryWalk?
StoryWalks can vary in cost depending on your materials and trail. If you already have a StoryWalk trail, all you need to do is buy the toolkit and print the pages or purchase the books to deconstruct. If you’re starting from scratch and you’re resourceful and upcycle sign materials, it can cost as little as $150 with a print and laminate method. If you have it printed directly on the signs with a local sign company, you’re looking at closer to $400.
Are sponsors allowed for StoryWalk?
You can definitely get community financial support for your StoryWalk! Just be sure you aren’t profiting from someone’s creative work without an agreement with them. Going on the StoryWalk should always be free. The great news is that the very nature of the StoryWalk offers an easy way to recognize sponsors for their support—you can print their name or logo right on the sign!
How do I put a StoryWalk together?
The how-to guide in the toolkit goes into more detail, but in general, the way you can create a StoryWalk using our toolkit, is to print the files in color on 11x17 paper and laminate them all around the edges to make them weatherproof and durable.
If your StoryWalk will be posted in the ground, two tested and approved methods for creating the signs are using corrugated plastic signs and hot glue – there should be plenty of these to upcycle after election season – or use 4 foot wooden stakes and VELCRO dots. These aren’t the only methods, of course. Be creative!
What makes a book a good candidate for a StoryWalk?
Books that have to do with nature like Total Solar Eclipse: A Stellar Friendship Story are great candidates for StoryWalks. Beyond that, this particular book can help your community safely observe the upcoming eclipse and fondly remember their experience after it's over. It can also provide an engaging activity at your eclipse event while you wait for those precious moments of totality to arrive!
In a world filled with screens and digital distractions, the StoryWalk is a breath of fresh air. Literally! Combining the joys of reading with the beauty of the great outdoors is a stellar combination.