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'The Snowy Day' featured in winter StoryWalk

The Friday Memorial StoryWalk will take place on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 6 p.m. The book featured in the new StoryWalk is Ezra Jack Keats “The Snowy Day,” and is being displayed as part of Keats 100th birthday. (Submitted photo)

Friday Memorial Library

The Friday Memorial Library will be one of many libraries and organizations throughout the country to honor the late Ezra Jack Keats on his 100th birthday. Keats' book, "The Snowy Day," is the new feature of the library's StoryWalk through Mary Park and will be on display during a candle lit Snowy Evening Storywalk on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 6 p.m.

"The reason we chose his book is because we wanted something winter related. And we are kind of constricted to a certain length and size of the book because of the number of frames in the book and how many we have on our StoryWalk," said library director Kim Hennings said. "The Snowy Day is instantly recognizable as a classic and it just happens to be the right length and size for our frames."

The StoryWalk TM Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library. The New Richmond Storywalk in Mary Park was funded in part by a grant from the New Richmond Area Community Foundation.

"We saw an opportunity to promote it in order to get kids and their families out together. When we first pitched the idea to the park board of having it in Mary Park, we brainstormed the idea of doing a winter walk with hot chocolate and that type of stuff and it really got us really excited," Hennings said. "We want to make sure we got the opportunity to do that this winter."

The library put up the StoryWalk frames this summer with "It's a Firefly Night" by Dianne Ochiltree being the featured story until it was exchanged for "The Snowy Day" just a few weeks ago.

"It is not as easy to change the book as you would think because when you adapt the story you have to secure permission to use the book," Hennings said. "Large publishing companies aren't exactly known for being quick or timely with their responses. However, with the book we just put in, 'The Snowy Day,' we got very fortunate because the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation got back to us quickly and granted us permission to use the book right away."

The process of changing out the StoryWalk boards is not a hard process, but it isn't quick either. Hennings said that changing out the story and cleaning the plexiglass frame of the storyboard took about four minutes to complete. There are 16 storyboard frames scattered throughout Mary Park.

"Our goal is to change out the StoryWalk book seasonally to keep it fresh and new," Hennings said. "This year we were only able to do, because we put it up at the end of May or the beginning of June, one time up until now."

The winter walk will start promptly at 6 p.m. with a guided tour of the StoryWalk circuit led by a library staff member. There will also be hot chocolate to help walkers stay warm.

"As people make their way through the StoryWalk, they will get the chance to take part in early literacy activities—which could include conversation topics, tips for parents or a physical activity—at each of the 16 frames," Hennings said. "The activities will get the kids to interact with the book by making snow angels and do other physical activities, which is one of the main goals of the StoryWalk. We will also have candles, which will really give the whole event a really cool feeling."

The library staff has been looking forward to the winter walk through Mary Park ever since the StoryWalk frames were placed in Mary Park, especially since it gives the library a chance to go to the people and get out of the confines of the library.

"This is just one of the things we are excited about, bringing literacy to the community," Hennings said. "We like to be able to bring the library out to where the people are and the StoryWalk is a great opportunity for families to incorporate literacy into their everyday activities."

For more information on the winter walk, visit newrichmondlibrary.org or call the library at 715-243-0431.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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