A Storybook Trail, an enriching outdoor reading experiences for children and families, will open Saturday, Oct. 23 in conjunction with the Morristown Parks and Recreation From the Pages to the Park Annual Event at Civic Park in Morristown, TN.

The Storybook Trail was created through a partnership of Ready By 6 and Morristown Parks and Recreation as well as other community focused organizations.

The grand opening will start at 10 a.m. and feature a ribbon cutting, book characters, vendors and an introductory reading of the When the Storm Comes.

A rain date of Sunday, Oct. 24 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. has been set in case of inclement weather.

Storybook Trails connect literacy with a fun, physical activity by presenting a children’s storybook on child-height panels along a short trail to promote adult-child interaction around books and nature.

Each panel features a reading tip to encourage family engagement by bringing the book to life for children. The Morristown Civic Park Storybook Trail features two Dolly Patron Imagination Library books, each for six months of the year; When the Storm Comes by Linda Ashman and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

In late 2020 the Morristown Hamblen Ready by 6 Council received an opportunity to apply for a Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, (GELF), Storybook Trail Grant.

The RB6 Council coordinator reached out to Morristown Parks and Recreation to see if they would be willing to partner with RB6 on placing a Storybook Trail in one of the community’s parks.

Following their enthusiastic agreement, a Storybook Trail Committee was formed and a grant application was submitted to the Governors Early Literacy Foundation (GELF).

The grant was approved for $4,000 by GELF and an agreement was signed by both parties. An additional $5,000 was raised through donations and in-kind contributions including a Little Free Library donated by Morristown Housing Authority with books supplied by the Morristown Hamblen Library.

Committee members, donors and in-kind donors include representatives of: Ready by 6 Council, Morristown Parks and Recreation, Rotary Club of Morristown AM, Colortech, Inc., Morristown Housing Authority, Hamblen County Board of Education, Morristown Hamblen Library, Morristown Hamblen Imagination Library Council. HOLA Lakeway, Hamblen County Health Department and various members of the overall community.

In July 2018, the Tennessee Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, (GELF), partnered with the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy to launch a Storybook Trail program.

The first Tennessee State Park Storybook Trail was developed and executed at Long Hunter State Park, with the debut of the “Reading Ranger Trail” in 2016.With that inspiration, the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation and the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy has been able to expand the program with parks at all levels across the state.

GELF is currently partnering with Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, city parks and outdoor areas to create enriching outdoor reading experiences for children and families.

These Storybook Trails connect literacy with a fun, physical activity by presenting a children’s storybook on child-height panels along a short trail to promote adult-child interaction around books and nature. Each panel features a reading tip to encourage family engagement by bringing the book to life for children.