NORTH ADAMS -- A trail of storybook pages, hanging in the windows of local businesses, from Jan Brett's "Annie and the Wild Animals," led children and their families around Main Street to the North Adams Public Library on Saturday, where crafts themed to match the popular author's works waited to be made.
The trail, known as a "StoryWalk," which will remain on view through Saturday, March 3, served as the kick-off to the North Adams Public Schools 1st annual Sally Goodrich Children's Literature Festival. The festival, which includes a "Once Upon A Time Family Night" at Brayton School on Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., coincides with the National Education Association's Read Across America week, a reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading.
Children's Librarian Kim DiLego said she was happy to host the final page of the StoryWalk for the school district, as she has done several times for other organizations.
"Whenever the community has something like this, we try to be part of it," she said. "For many of the people who come today, it will be their first time in the library. It's an opportunity for us to show them that what we have to offer and that it's not a place where you have to be quiet."
In a nearby hallway, Joe Pini, 5, a kindergartner at Brayton Elementary School, was busy gluing cotton on a polar bear, while his sister, Brittney Carr, 13, and his mother, April Pini, sat nearby.
"I love coming to the library," Joe said. "You get to borrow books and movies and play."
His mother, April, said the family typically visits the library once a week and had learned about the StoryWalk during a visit on Friday night.
In addition to the StoryWalk and family night, each of the city's elementary schools will host school-wide celebrations, distribute free books through the Reading Is Fundamental program and have guest readers in the classrooms. The festival will conclude in the schools on Friday, March 2, with the celebration of the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss.
Susan Beauchamp, coordinator of the district's LINCS Parent Center, said the idea for a festival arose during conversations about ways the district could celebrate children's literature.
"We thought this would be the perfect way to honor Sally," she said.
Goodrich, who died in December 2010, was best known for her work with the Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation and for building schools for girls in Afghanistan. In her professional life, she served as the Title 1 Coordinator for the North Adams Public Schools.
"So much of Sally's work at the school, and in everything else she did, focused on education and really comes back to reading," Beauchamp said. "She had a passion for children's literature."
She said the "Once Upon a Time Family Night" on Tuesday will include fun family activities, including book trivia, take home activities and a focus on children's book illustration.
"We'll have a section where kids can try out various illustration techniques, such as water color and colored pencils and also a place where they can compare illustrations from older and more modern fairy tale books," Beauchamp said. "We'll also be debuting our bookshare carts, which feature donated new and gently used books that will be lent to children throughout the year."
For more information about the 1st annual Sally Goodrich Children's Literature Festival, a collaboration of the NAPS and the Family Resource Center, visit http://clf.napsk12.
org or contact the LINCS Parent Center at 413-664-7512 or at email@example.com