Summer Holidays 2: Literary/Book Trails For Children

Taking A Book Theme… like ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain…

Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart . . . There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. The locust trees were in bloom and the fragrance of the blossoms filled the air. Cardiff Hill, beyond the village and above it, was green with vegetation, and it lay just far enough away to seem a Delectable Land, dreamy, reposeful and inviting.

‘Tom Sawyer is an orphan who lives with his aunt, Polly, and his half-brother, Sid, in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri, which is based on Hannibal, Missouri, where Mark Twain originally lived, sometime in the1840s.’

Frontispiece from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (1st ed., 1876): [Tom Sawyer fishing]

… And Setting Up A Literary Trail

You can set up a literary/book trail around where the events in the book took place or you can use a local landscape that fits the scenes and transforms it into the world of Tom Sawyer or some other character from a book.

Of course, many books are set in fictional places like in the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ by C.S.Lewis. So there is plenty of scope to be creative. You can use book quotes, clues, or the actual pages from a book, and place them on boards around the trail. A map of the trail is a great idea.

‘A Storybook Trail is a fun, educational activity that places the pages from a children’s story along a trail in a community. It is for children of all levels to enjoy the outdoors and read a book with their family and friends. A Storybook Trail helps build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy outdoor physical fitness. Local schools, and even daycare facilities, can also use the trail for educational and physical fitness purposes.’

‘So, how do you get started. The simplest way is to select a children’s book, take apart the pages, laminate them and post them along a trail. The process is legal as long as the pages are not altered in any way (including enlarging them). Making changes requires permission from the book’s copyright holder.’

Another fun thing to do is to get the children to dress up in character and follow the trail in costume.

If a local author wrote a few books you could also learn all about the author and their books with your children. In many places, some trails are set up already if you investigate.

Here are some suggestions for the U.K

This is about a lady I know, Dolores Keaveney who is is the first Irish author to have a series of story trails based on her work

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