Cushman Library pairs summer reading program with story walks, chalk drawing

  • A “story walk” organized by Cushman Library featuring “The Knight and the Dragon” is posted in Cushman Park in Bernardston through Friday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • One of the pages on display from “The Knight and the Dragon” as part of a “story walk” in Cushman Park in Bernardston. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • A “story walk” organized by Cushman Library featuring “The Knight and the Dragon” is posted in Cushman Park in Bernardston through Friday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/8/2020 1:40:34 PM

BERNARDSTON — To encourage children to get outside and stay away from computer screens this summer, Cushman Library has organized a series of “story walks,” chalk drawing events and craft activities.

According to Cushman Library Director Karen Stinchfield, the ongoing activities are part of the library’s seven-week summer reading program. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story.”

The library has organized multiple “story walks,” by which families can wander along a path and follow a series of posts featuring dismantled, laminated pages. For example, the walk that is in Cushman Park at the corner of Routes 5 and 10 through Friday focuses on Tomie dePaola’s classic picture book “The Knight and the Dragon,” which tells the tale of a knight who has never fought a dragon, and a dragon who has never fought a knight.

“My goal was to create a program that was as away from computer screens as possible,” Stinchfield said of the outdoor activities.

The next story walk, along one of the trails at the Charity Farm Lot on the Bald Mountain Road extension, will be up from July 13 to July 24, and will feature author Rafe Martin’s “The Rough-Face Girl,” a Native American version of a Cinderella story.

The third story walk will be held from July 27 to Aug. 7, and will feature author Laura Krauss Melmed’s “The Rainbabies,” the story of a childless couple whose lives are changed when they find a dozen tiny babies. This walk will start in front of Cushman Library on Church Street, go around the pond and then up Library Street.

Other outdoor activities include multiple chalk-drawing weeks. Stinchfield said these events will see young library patrons use their imagination to decorate multiple locations in town, while practicing social distancing.

Through Friday, families are invited to use the sidewalk in front of Cushman Library and the pond, as well as the library’s stone patio, as their canvas for chalk drawings. From July 20 to July 24, drawings will be welcomed at the lower parking lot at the United Church of Bernardston. Then, from Aug. 3 to Aug. 7, families can draw in chalk on the long stretch of sidewalk through Cushman Park and on the concrete shuffleboard pad.

Stinchfield said the activities will bring a bit of color and happiness into the world as residents share their creativity with the community. If anyone needs sidewalk chalk, they can contact Stinchfield at or 413-648-5402 to arrange for contact-less pick-up of a bag full of colors.

To take part in the summer reading program, families must email Stinchfield once a week to let her know weekly reading goals have been met. She said families will also send her pictures of their child’s thematic weekly crafts. At the end of the summer, Cushman Library will host the final night of its ongoing movie series at the Northfield Drive-In, at which time Stinchfield will share pictures of the children’s crafts on the screen.

While the program launched last week, children ages 2 to 12 can still sign up. Stinchfield said the library is doing curbside pick-up for summer reading bags.

“We’ll do craft grab bags, too,” she added. “Like (on the TV show) ‘Chopped,’ but with craft supplies.”

The story walk series and chalk-drawing weeks are sponsored by the Friends of Cushman Library, Library Trustee Brandon Grover, the Bernardston Kiwanis Club, and Frank “Bud” Foster and Judi Smith.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.

Please support the Greenfield Recorder's COVID-19 coverage

Thank you for your support of the Recorder.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


Copyright © 2019 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy