Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
“Bad Kitty Scaredy-Cat,” written and illustrated by Nick Bruel, is the latest book featured in the Combined Arms Research Library’s StoryWalk.
The walk, which is available through Nov. 16, begins near the CARL book drop and continues around the building.
Sierra Hochstatter, CARL library technician, has been posting StoryWalks outside the library since summer to keep the library in touch with the community while COVID-19 restrictions keep CARL closed to visitors.
Multiple families have already participated in the new StoryWalk.
The Bailey family — Chaplain (Maj.) Jonathan Bailey, Command and General Staff College ethics instructor, Stacy Bailey and their daughters 6-year-old Emma and 4-year-old Meredith — are veteran StoryWalk participants.
“We enjoyed this StoryWalk just as much as the ones that occurred over the summer. The book … featured some fun Halloween characters that started with every letter in the alphabet,” Stacy Bailey said. “(Library staff) added their own touch with questions and suggestions to keep the kids engaged. For example, the text under one of the pages suggested walking like a mummy until the next page. Other messages under the book’s pages asked kids questions about the text, which kept them engaged both in fun and learning.
“Families can also easily modify activities for their kiddos,” she said. “Meredith is in preschool, so we picked one word from the text and asked her to think of a rhyming word before moving on to the following page.”
Bailey said the StoryWalks have been a great way to keep her family active during the pandemic.
“I cannot think of a better activity to keep kids engaged during the pandemic. Our understanding is that outside activities are safer and allow for families to be spaced out while still feeling like there is a group around us,” Bailey said. “We could see families behind and in front of us and enjoyed waving while social distancing.
“When StoryWalks were first offered in the summer, I remember thinking, ‘brilliant,’” she said. “I have been so thankful for the creativity of library staff, teachers and all other adults who have kept our kids engaged during this most challenging time and have been able to do so in a safe way.”
The StoryWalk worked as a substitute for the CARL Halloween party, which was canceled because of recent additional COVID-19 restrictions.
“Our kids were disappointed when the Halloween party was canceled, but they had just as much fun at the StoryWalk. (COVID-19) has undoubtedly changed our lives,” Bailey said. “We have had to put a lot more thought into what activities are safe, maintaining important relationships in new ways, talking with our kids about what’s happening and figuring out how to engage in our community.
“The library is such a wonderful resource. We are thankful we can still check out books while we wait for the library to reopen,” she said. “A big thanks to Sierra and everyone who made safety a priority and modified this activity, so we could still enjoy.”
The In het Veld family — Maj. Jan In het Veld, School of Advanced Military Studies student; Willemein In het Veld; and their children 10-year-old Line and 8-year-old Laut — of the Netherlands have also been participating in the StoryWalks over the past several months.
Willemein In het Veld said they look forward to participating in the Halloween StoryWalk this week.
“(When COVID-19 hit) there was not a lot to do for the kids, so it was really nice to do this,” In het Veld said. “Walking outside, reading a nice story and talking about what could happen after the story made for a good afternoon activity and dinner conversation.”
In het Veld said the StoryWalks have helped her kids learn.
“(Our kids) both love it. They like all the stories, and I am really proud of them. A year ago, they couldn’t speak English, and now they can read the stories themselves,” she said. “Normally, we take turns in reading pages because both of them really want to read a part of the story. They actually run from page to page. … Each page they read gets them more excited and curious on how the story will end.”
For updates on CARL activities, visit the CARL Facebook page.