Southern Vermont Arts Center welcomes young children, their families and caregivers to the story walks–a program that promotes literacy, family learning, and art–in a safe, outdoor environment. Southern Vermont Arts Center is grateful to the books’ creators and publishers, to the early childhood literacy organization Shire Kids, and to our contributors. This project is supported in part by an award from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

If you participate in our story walks, we’d love to hear from you! Please send comments and suggestions to Erin at ekaufman@svac.org.

Five stories are currently installed, every page its own “lawn sign.” Readers can follow each book for a journey around a unique part of the SVAC campus–including the Boswell Botany Trail, the Stroup Family Sculpture Park, and more. The hope is that our community will enjoy these stories along with the art installations and natural spaces around them.

The books inaugurating this program feature women authors, and their subjects highlight the experience of women and girls. The story walks are part of a campus-wide effort to highlight woman artists for the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. The exhibitions in SVAC’s Wilson Museum also spotlight women this year.

The SVAC Story Walk books, their authors and illustrators have all garnered numerous awards.

SVAC thanks Anne Ferguson and the Kellogg-Hubbard library for inspiring story walks around the world. For more information about their programs, visit https://www.kellogghubbard.org/storywalk. For more information on Southern Vermont Arts Center’s exhibitions and events, please visit svac.org.

Already A Butterfly, by Julia Alvarez; illustrated by Raúl Colón

A Vermonter who spent her early years in the Dominican Republic (where her parents were born), Alvarez has written novels, collections of poems, nonfiction, and numerous books for young readers. Her awards include the Pura Belpré and Américas Awards for her books for young readers, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award. In 2013, she received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. Illustrator Raúl Colón is the award-winning illustrator of many picture books. Already A Butterfly is a gentle picture book tale about self-soothing practices and self-confidence beliefs. This walk begins outside Yester House and takes readers along the Boswell Botany Trail. https://www.juliaalvarez.com/

Just Ask! Be Brave, Be Different, Be You, by Sonia Sotomayor; illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Sonia Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 1976 and from Yale Law School in 1979. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York and then at the law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. From 1992 to 1998, she served as a judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and from 1998 to 2009 on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; she assumed this role on August 8, 2009. Just Ask! is a #1 New York Times bestselling book and winner of the Schneider Family Book Award. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez have created a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique. Just Ask! is installed among the cedar trees by the Hay Madeira Education Studios. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562056/just-ask-by-sonia-sotomayor-illustrated-by-rafael-lopez/

The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi

Yangsook Choi grew up in Seoul, South Korea. She has written and illustrated a fictional book about a child, a girl named Unhei, who makes the same move. Choi describes the book: Unhei is anxious about making friends and worried that no one will be able to pronounce her name, so she decides to pick a new name. But when a large glass jar filled with names appears on her desk, Unhei happily discovers that her classmates want to help. Will she be Daisy, Madison, or ??? And what will she do with her real name? The Name Jar–according to Kirkus Reviews, “delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation”– has won the Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Master List award and IRA Teachers’ Choice award, it has been chosen as a California Young Reader Medal nominee, a Best of the Best by the Chicago Public Library and a PBS Reading Rainbow selection. Start this story walk by the front door of the Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum. https://www.yangsookchoi.com/

Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold, born 1930 in Harlem, New York, is a painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, writer, teacher and lecturer. She received her B.S. and M.A. degrees in visual art from the City College of New York in 1955 and 1959. Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of California in San Diego, Ringgold has received 23 Honorary Doctorates. During the early 1960’s Ringgold traveled in Europe. She created her first political paintings, The American People Series in the 1960s. She made her first quilt, Echoes of Harlem, in 1980, in collaboration with her mother, Madame Willi Posey. The addition of text to her quilts has developed into a unique medium and style all her own. Crown Publishers published Faith Ringgold’s first book, Tar Beach, in 1991. It has won over 20 awards including the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King award for the best-illustrated children’s book of 1991. The book is based on the story quilt of the same title from The Woman on a Bridge Series, 1988. The original painted story quilt, Tar Beach, is in the permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The Tar Beach story walk begins at the Louise Arkell Pavilion. https://www.faithringgold.com

She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History, by Chelsea Clinton; illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Women around the world have long dreamed big. They’ve spoken out, risen up and fought for what’s right. Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to a group of thirteen women who have shaped history all across the globe. Alexandra Boiger, illustrator of more than 20 books, contributes vibrant artwork that accompanies this inspiring text. She Persisted shows readers of all ages that, no matter what obstacles come their way, they have the power to persist and succeed. This book features Marie Curie, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Viola Desmond, Sissi Lima do Amor, Leymah Gbowee, Caroline Herschel, Wangari Maathai, Aisha Rateb, J.K. Rowling, Kate Sheppard, Yuan Yuan Tan, Mary Verghese and Malala Yousafzai. The story walk begins on SVAC Drive, ¼ mile from the top, on the north side. From there it takes readers through the woods to the Stroup Family Sculpture Park and back up the Drive.