Somerville Agencies Collaborate on StoryWalksⓇ for National Family Literacy Month

Ten StoryWalksⓇ to be installed throughout the city

SOMERVILLE, MA — The Somerville Public Library, the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC), the Beautiful Stuff Project, and Shape Up Somerville announce a collaboration on a series of StoryWalks® throughout the city in November, which is National Family Literacy Month.

A StoryWalk® is an innovative and delightful way for families to enjoy reading and physical activity. Book pages are laminated and installed along a sidewalk, fence, or building. As people walk along the path of the StoryWalk®, they are directed to the next page in the story.

National Family Literacy Month is an opportunity to celebrate the important role that families play in the education of their children. Families can experience StoryWalks® throughout the city, walking between them for physical activity and discussing the concepts raised in the stories.

StoryWalks® will be installed in the following locations:

Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave: The Perfectly Perfect Wish by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
Somerville Public Library, East Branch, 115 Broadway: Windows by Julia Denos, illustrated by E. B. Goodale
Somerville Public Library, West Branch, 167 Holland St (TAB) (West Branch temporary location): Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Capuano Early Childhood Center, 150 Glen St: Kip Goes Back to School by Amy Bamforth, illustrated by Janet Lane
Foss Park Playground, Broadway/McGrath Hwy: Talk With Me! by Amy Bamforth, illustrated by Janet Lane
Benjamin G. Brown School, 201 Willow Ave: Kip Goes Back to School by Amy Bamforth, illustrated by Janet Lane
SFLC Center, Cummings School, 42 Prescott St: Gabi Says, “I’m Confused,” No School, No Friends! by Amy Bamforth, illustrated by Janet Lane
The Growing Center, 22 Vinal Ave: Gabi Says, “I’m Confused,” No School, No Friends! by Amy Bamforth, illustrated by Janet Lane
Hodgkins-Curtin Park, Holland St & Paulina St: Talk With Me by Amy Bamforth, illustrated by Janet Lane
Winter Hill Community Innovation School, 115 Sycamore Street: Dandelion Days by Emily Bhargava, mosaic created by the community
“I can think of no better way to connect Somerville’s neighborhoods than through literature and physical activity,” said Cathy Piantigini, Director of Libraries. “My thanks to the Friends of the Somerville Public Library for funding this project, and to our community partners.”

“The SFLC has been sharing StoryWalk® during Family Literacy Month for many years in Somerville, and we are delighted to be part of this citywide collaboration,” said Amy Bamforth of the SFLC. “We have also been producing resources to assist families during difficult times as a way of building community and to support all families in helping their children. This year, we decided to focus on the many stresses related to COVID-19 with an emphasis on how children might respond or communicate. The multilingual stories emphasize feelings that may come up with all the changes in daily life, show ways that adults can help children cope with stress, and demonstrate the many ways that children (even young infants!) can communicate their feelings and ideas.”

“I designed this StoryWalk® as a way for Somerville families to help create something beautiful even in a time of physical distancing,” said Emily Bhargava, Community Art Director for The Beautiful Stuff Project. “So many people helped add tiles to the design, filling the sky and the ground on each page with color. We used frost-proof glass tiles donated by Artaic in Boston, turning what would have gone into a landfill into something that can be enjoyed by the whole city. Instead of choosing between the many wonderful languages that are spoken in Somerville, we decided to create this story with no words, which makes it accessible to even the youngest children. I’m thrilled that Dandelion Days will be part of National Family Literacy month in November.”

“The StoryWalk® Project provides a much-needed opportunity to get outside and be active while exploring our great parks and celebrating literacy,” said Lisa Robinson, Director of Shape Up Somerville. “Thank you to the libraries, Beautiful Stuff, and SFLC for making this happen.”

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalks® are temporary, and will remain installed as long as conditions permit.

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