The Downtown Phoenix StoryWalk is one of the newest family-friendly activities to enjoy and experience in Phoenix. The outdoor literacy installation opened at Arizona Center in the Grotto on April 23, giving children an enjoyable learning experience through a self-guided reading adventure.
A meandering, shaded path amongst native plants, palm trees and shrubs leads families through the pages of a children’s storybook. Sequenced signs along the pathway display a page from the book at a readable height for children and provide educational prompts and questions at each page to engage the young readers. All storybooks are offered in English and Spanish and are rotated regularly so that imagination never runs dry.
Downtown Phoenix Inc. who manages and maintains the StoryWalk partnered with Parallel Capital Partners, owner and manager of Arizona Center, to unveil the new project at a grand 0pening celebration. The event featured a book signing and giveaway from world-renowned author Monica Brown whose book, “Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match” was the first installed storybook at the StoryWalk.
Paola Cicuttini, vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Parallel Capital Partners, calls the StoryWalk a “perfect fit” for Arizona Center.
“Families are an integral part of our community so it’s important to ensure that we have plenty of experiences where children can learn and thrive,” says Cicuttini. “Activities like the StoryWalk add to the appeal of Downtown Phoenix and provide more opportunities for families to come and enjoy all that it has to offer.”
The StoryWalk movement started in Montpelier, Vt. in 2007 when Anne Furguson, a specialist in chronic disease prevention for the Vermont Department of Health, partnered with her local library. Her goal was to encourage families to get outside and be active, while also engaging in literacy. Since then, the movement has spread to hundreds of public libraries across the country, now including Phoenix.
The Downtown Phoenix StoryWalk is the second installation in the Phoenix area. Cesar Chavez Park is the location of the first Phoenix StoryWalk, which was created in March 2021. The Phoenix Public Library helps provide resources and guidance for both projects.
In addition to the StoryWalk, Downtown Phoenix Inc. has many other new projects and events geared toward families, including Winter Wanderland, DTPHX Loteria, Dia de los Niños Movie in the Park, and a new music installation across from the Phoenix Symphony which is coming soon.