Storybook Walk promotes literacy and community engagement | News, Sports, Jobs


TR PHOTO BY SUSANNA MEYER The cover of ‘The Old Truck’ is displayed in a Main Street storefront for the Storybook Walk. In all, 20 covers are displayed across the city center.

For the second year in a row, the Storybook Walk is taking place in Marshalltown, both to encourage reading and promote local businesses.

The two-week event, which began April 16, was hosted by the Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) and the Marshalltown Public Library (MPL). Last year it was about finding different story pages from a book in various businesses labeled on a map, but this year, however, the approach has changed.

Worksheets, available both on the MCBD website and in the library, list 20 different companies and their addresses. Each store has a different book cover displayed, and families must visit each store and write each book title on the spreadsheet before turning it into a library by May 2 for a free book and a chance to win a grand price.

MPL Youth Services Manager Joa LaVille said she was delighted to partner with MCBD again for the Storybook Walk.

“We had fun choosing the covers for the books. We tried to choose titles that somehow went with the business that it was placed in the window, and so maybe families even have a good idea of ​​a new book to go in and check out” , said LaVille. “I think it gives families something to do together that’s in their schedule, and then obviously we like that it brings them into the library as well, and so I just think it’s a win-win all around .”

The Storybook Walk also coincides with Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). LaVille said that ahead of COVID-19, the MPL would hold a large Book Day celebration that would draw crowds of 500 or more. It just wasn’t doable during the pandemic, so the storybook walk offered an alternative.

“It was a really good time for us to be able to celebrate something in a way that didn’t get very crowded in one place, but also could celebrate reading and books and then give out the free book that we usually did in Día de los Niños,” LaVille said.

MCBD Promotions Chair Alushia Fitzgerald was the brainchild of the 2021 Storybook Walk, and she said it was and still is a great way to promote the community engagement with downtown.

“All of the companies that participated last year were really excited to do it again, so it seemed like a no-brainer to bring it back,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald thought the storybook walk seemed like an easy and quick promotional event because the only thing companies needed to provide was some window space. Foot traffic increased slightly during the 2021 Storybook Walk, bringing more attention to downtown businesses, and Fitzgerald hoped the same would be true for the 2022 iteration.

“It’s one of those great things that it’s for a family activity, but business owners really like having the kids come and do it. It was just something that thankfully fell into place very well,” Fitzgerald said.

Although the weather hasn’t been the best for an outdoor activity like the Storybook Walk in recent weeks, LaVille said families still come with their kids to claim their free book.

On top of that, once the worksheet is completed, kids receive a slip to enter a raffle to win one of the grand prizes, which include items like Lego sets, a Pie Face game, and a minifigure. Funko Pop Hawkeye, among others. Community members donated them all.

Worksheets are due at the library May 2. Printable worksheets can be found at, or hard copies can be found at the library.


Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or

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