Canton Free Library plans ‘Brown Bear Ramble’ to encourage kids to read

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 3:06 PM EDT
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - Canton is home to the Golden Bears and soon you might see more “bears” roaming the village. It’s a project put on by the library to keep kids interested in reading.

Canton Free Library is working on an interactive walking experience within the village, an idea by patron Doreen Radway after visiting her grandchildren in Virginia.

“There, the junior league had made a caterpillar crawl based on the Eric Carle story, ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar.’ As an educator, I taught at Herman-DeKalb for 27 years where I taught pre-k, kindergarten, second grade; I thought this would be a neat idea,” she said.

Now a similar interactive walk will be created in Canton based on another Eric Carle book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”

Library officials say statues depicting classic characters from the children’s book would be placed in strategic locations around the Canton community, making it an interactive walking experience.

Officials hope people will donate to the project. So far, the library has raised $16,000 toward its goal of $25,000.

According to Canton Library Director Emily Hastings, the statues will be engaging to young children and adults alike.

“The statues themselves are very touchable. They’re like, they’re small four to six-inch bronze statues and they’re like, you can pet them a little bit if they’re within reach and kind of cute like a stuffed animal and then it combines, of course, walking around town and visiting the bakery and the stores and the landmarks,” she said.

Radway says the book they’ve chosen should help the project be a success.

“The book is familiar to so many generations of children, especially probably the small children’s parents who have also read the book as a child with their parents. So that’s why we chose this particular book,” she said.

The interactive trail is expected to be ready in October for Canton’s Remington Art Festival put on the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.