ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst Park District and Kiwanis Club of Elmhurst will celebrate inclusion through a new storytelling event.
The first Elmhurst StoryWalk will be from 1 to 4 p.m. May 20 at Butterfield Park, 385 E. Van Buren St., Elmhurst.
StoryWalk is a concept that began in Montpelier, Vt., as a way for children and adults to interact and enjoy reading in the outdoors at the same time, said Rita Perona, head of marketing for the library.
At Elmhurst's StoryWalk, children's book author and illustrator Todd Parr's "It's Okay to Be Different" story will take the stage on signage around Butterfield Park. Each of the book's 32 pages will be recreated, with Parr's permission, onto pages that will be laminated in a sequence along a path, Perona said.
"A lot of people know and love him [Parr], so we were really excited to be able to use that one. It's nice and colorful," said Sarah Burnside, who is the preschool services librarian at the Elmhurst Public Library and president-elect of the Kiwanis Club of Elmhurst.
Perona said the event is a way to promote literacy and enjoyment of the park, which has been arranged so that it is a "playground for everyone," meaning it enables children of all physical abilities to play next to each other through specialized playground equipment.
The Kiwanis Club contributed to the establishment of Butterfield Park as a playground for everyone, Burnside said.
The club will provide lemonade, cookies, balloons and volunteers at the event, she said.
The staffs of the Elmhurst Park District and Elmhurst Public Library have worked together to coordinate signage and promotion, said Kari Felkamp, the district's director of marketing and communications.
Signage around Butterfield Park is scheduled to remain in place for a week, Perona said.
"We're having a celebration, but ideally a StoryWalk can stand by itself, so we're going to leave it for a while and see how that goes. .... Hopefully it will be enjoyed in the park," Burnside said.
The event also will include storytelling from 1:30 to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 3 p.m. Burnside will run the storytelling portion of the event, which will include some Parr titles, songs and a dance break for the children. Library staff member Nuala Maloney-Murphy will provide American Sign Language interpretation for the stories.
If you go
WHAT: StoryWalk Celebration
WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. May 20 (story times at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.)
WHERE: Butterfield Park, 385 E. Van Buren St., Elmhurst