I really need to post about the wonderful experience I had at the Dawes Arboretum in May. This was a first for me—having one of my books chosen as the title used in a storytrail. That is, the book was reproduced in two-page spreads (with permissions) on vinyl signs that were then placed along a quarter mile trail that wound through the Arboretum. Families and kids walk the trail and read the book as they go (May through October). What a fantastic idea!!! The program combines reading with exercise and the great outdoors—what more could anyone want? (Perhaps another 1600 acres of beautiful grounds—which the Dawes has.)
BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE page (Knopf) was the title chosen as it deals with night-time animals in the woods. And on Saturday, May 18th, an opening reception was held at which I spoke. It drizzled—still, families came out with umbrellas and wearing rain boots. I spoke about writing BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE and then we walked the trail as a group and I read the book. It was so much fun!
As I finished reading each sign the kids raced to the next one—impatiently waiting for the adults to catch up so we could read. (You can see a second sign in the distance in the photo above.) One family included a father who signed for his child. So as I read, he signed and the whole audience had this added experience. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. There was so much enthusiasm in the racing kids, the laughing adults, the beautiful surroundings—the trail loops along the top of rolling hills from which one can see for miles over a valley.
The Dawes Arboretum is about 35 miles east of Columbus, Ohio in rolling river valley country. The azaleas were in bloom. And with the spring rains, the world was deeply green.
BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE will grace the storytrail for the summer as kids walk and read. The museum in the Arboretum will sell my book and I will continue to cherish the wonderful memory of such an unusual, fun, and healthy book event!
I hope other parks, libraries with trails and arboretums will take notice. This was a fun, innovative program and easily replicable by other institutions.
Here’s to reading!