When Madawaska Valley Public Library CEO Karen Filipkowski suggested to summer program coordinator Julia Beggs that it might be fun to try a Story Walk, she wasn’t sure how Beggs would approach the project but Filipkowski told The Current she was delighted with the successful result. Filipkowski said, “Julia just ran with it. She came up with the idea of approaching local student/author Tasha Rankin and it worked out really well.” Above: Tasha Rankin (r) with help from mom Ann Burkart at a story station (Calvin out of shot)
A Story Walk station described the author:
Tasha Rankin is a Grade 9 student at MVDHS. She wrote “Dapper’s Muddy Dilemma” when she was in Grade 7. Tasha loves writing because she gets to use her markers and it makes children happy when they read her books. When Tasha isn’t writing, you can find her feeding her chickens, cows and looking for frogs under her apple tree.
Beggs told The Current that they were pretty excited when Tasha agreed that they could use her story, “Dapper’s Muddy Dilemma” for the subject of the Story Walk. Beggs used oversized copies of Tasha’s illustrations for each of the interactive stations on the Story Walk, so children could meet each animal character in turn. The children could read a part of the story and also act it out for themselves. “Dapper’s Muddy Dilemma” tells the story of some farm animals who get into a muddy muddle and eventually manage to get out of their messy state. Story stations included washing off animal cut-outs with squirt guns and blowing bubbles. Filipkowski said about 35 children enjoyed the walk, despite a drizzly grey start to the day. Participants also entered their names in a free prize draw.
The Current arrived in time to record Tasha’s reaction (photo below) to how her story was portrayed. She introduced us to Jasmine Owl, one of her characters, and used a water gun and bubble blower to demonstrate how the animals in her story could be cleaned off. Tasha said she was pleased to see how her story was brought to life through a Story Walk for children.
The Story Walk was just one of several summer programs developed by Beggs for the Library. During eight weeks, Beggs developed and made the hugely-popular weekly Free Craft Kits – Filipkowski said 1,175 in total were given out. In a typical summer due to the very restricted space in the library, usually only about 200 crafts are made by children. Beggs said they missed the in-person programs a lot: “It’s a big part of our summer.” As well, library staff learned they had more audiences for the Craft Kit program. In addition to parents picking up kits for their children, they realized that case workers from Madawaska Valley Association for Community Living and support workers for housebound seniors also used the kits with their clients.