We are two Richmond residents who have lived here practically our entire lives. We love books and reading and wanted to do a project that would promote family time, creativity, exploration, literacy and exercise. In nutshell, the idea was to pick a book that sparked imagination, and place each page along a trail or a path. We wanted to rotate the book across a few parks so families could read the story while following the trail and participate in optional activities such as storytelling, a nature scavenger hunt or poetry writing. As we started working on the project we realized that it would be out of budget to rotate through multiple parks and we weren’t thrilled with the idea of putting them on bigger parks to have them taken down by maintenance or vandalized.
We pivoted our idea and decided to keep the pages in a smaller community park with a perfect tree line that was also near an elementary school, Odlin Neighbourhood Park. This helped us hit our goal to focus this project on Richmond’s youngest learners from preschool to grade 3 and their families.
Copyright was not an issue as we bought several copies of the book If You Find a Leaf by Aimee Sicuro from a BC bookshop and did not reproduce them in any way. We even gave families a chance to submit pictures and share their experience for a chance to win a copy of the book and a storytelling kit to help promote literacy at home. The Story walk itself was then donated to a teacher librarian at a local school
Throughout the month of August we promoted the walk on our social media and had lots of teacher friends reach out asking for ways to replicate this in their schools. We visited the park daily to check on the pages and the park was always buzzing! We saw many kids take breaks from the playground and follow the book path along the trees. We even saw adults who were English language learners walk the path looking intently at the illustrations and reading along! It was a wonderful experience promoting literacy.