MOUNT VERNON — Hikers and readers of all ages can walk through the pages of the book “Call Me Tree” at Hillcrest Park.
The Mount Vernon City Library launched a StoryWalk at the park Wednesday with “Call Me Tree,” a bilingual book by Maya Christina Gonzalez. The book’s pages are displayed along a forested trail within the park.
“This is the perfect trail,” said library outreach and education coordinator Andrea Alaniz. “It’s right off the playground and has the perfect surrounding. Just look at all these trees.”
The StoryWalk boasts 16 stops, though not all are book-oriented. One is informational (Be Tree Smart) while two others are activity related (Try a Tree Pose Stretch, How To Do Leaf Art).
“It’s a great way for people to have a chance to do other activities along the way,” Alaniz said.
What separates the Hillcrest Park StoryWalk from many in the national program is the opportunity to change the featured book.
Library patrons will have the opportunity to vote on the next book — scheduled to be installed this fall — from a selection of three titles.
“The idea is to get that feedback from the community,” Alaniz said. “We were looking for another way for the library to reach out and connect with the community. Now the community has the opportunity to feel more invested in it since they get to choose the next book.
“It’s great to be able to switch it out. I love this book we have now, and it fits with this park and the trail. There are so many trees.”
The group Friends of the Mount Vernon Library was a major player in bringing the StoryWalk to life, purchasing extra copies of the book as well as the picture frames in which to put laminated pages along the trail.
The Mount Vernon Parks and Recreation Department took it from there.
“This is just the perfect location,” said Mount Vernon Parks and Recreation Coordinator Lisa Esparza. “And we are extremely pleased with how it turned out.”
Parks department staff were responsible for the construction and placement of the posts that hold the frames along the trail.
“The crew did a great job,” said Parks and Recreation Operations Supervisor James Weppler. “We built the 16 posts for longevity. We wanted them to last.”
Getting the StoryWalk from the drawing board to the trail was a team effort.
“This was one of the easiest collaborations ever,” Alaniz said. “It just worked so well and it turned out better than I expected. It was all done with such great quality. It’s awesome.”