A three-week event hosted by the Cartersville Public Library will offer kids a new way to read a book while also enjoying the outdoors.
StoryWalk, which starts Saturday and runs through Sunday, Dec. 13, invites families with children ages 3 and older to visit businesses along a path around downtown Cartersville to read a page from a storybook as they go.
"It's such a neat way to present a story," Youth Services Coordinator Thomas Shalin said. "Also, we wanted to give people and families a chance to do something outside together."
The project, created in 2007 by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed with help from the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, has been used in all 50 states and at least 13 other countries, including Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.
"Libraries all over have done [StoryWalks] in different ways – in parks, in their cities, even at their libraries," Shalin said. "It's taken many different forms around the country, and we decided to do one using our town square."
Families who want to participate can find a map of the trail on the library website or at the library or can scan it via the QR code on the first page of the story at the Cartersville Welcome Center, where the trail begins.
One page from the children's book "Bear Says Thanks" will be taped to the inside of a window in 17 downtown businesses — Cartersville Welcome Center, Heaven Scent Cupcakes, Southern Cove, Blue Sky Outfitters, Young Brothers Pharmacy, Swheat Market, It's About Time, Spool of Dreams, Artist in You, Olive Branch, Lullabelle's Closet, Write on Main, Grand Theatre, Ross Diner, Bartow History Museum and the library.
As readers stroll along the outdoor path, each stop directs them to the next page of the story.
There's also an added bonus for kids who finish the trail.
"As people go from place to place, there's a grocery item listed on the page that they can write on their shopping list," Shalin said. "When they get to the end of the StoryWalk and their shopping list is full, they can bring it to the children's desk to get a free book. The last two pages of the StoryWalk are at the library."
Shalin said the book he chose is a "sweet story about a bear whose friends come over to his cave for a get-together."
"Each of them brings something to contribute to the party, but Bear wonders what he has to offer because his cupboards are bare," he said. "It's a nice story about friendship and food, something that is perfect for the holiday season."