“PopUp StoryWalk” combines reading with hiking for family-friendly adventures in parks on the Eastside of Seattle. Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

“PopUp StoryWalk” combines reading with hiking for family-friendly adventures in parks on the Eastside of Seattle. Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

PopUp Storywalk blends books and nature in Northshore

The program combines the joy of reading with the beauty of the great outdoors.

PopUp StoryWalk, a local literacy effort aimed at getting kids excited to spend time outdoors, has been making its way through the Eastside.

It recently concluded a run at Kirkland’s North Rose Hill Woodlands Park, from Jan. 15-29, featuring “Bunnies!!!” by local author Kevan Atteberry, which is about about an enthusiastic monster in search of a few friends.

Books have popped up at the Redmond Watershed, Saint Edward State Park and Rhododendron Park in Kenmore and Brightwater Center and Miner’s Corner near Woodinville and Bothell, as well as Juanita Beach Park in Kirkland.

The stories sprawl page by page along woody pathways and boardwalks in parks, beckoning families as they explore the flat, easy-to-navigate trail systems. The books are displayed on large storyboards using sturdy metal frames, meant to endure all kinds of weather.

At Woodlands Park, jovial pages brightened the twisting footpath, delighting kids and parents alike as they followed the exuberant monster on his quest for companionship.

“This is such a fun and innovative way to experience our parks system,” stated Lynn Zwaagstra, Kirkland’s parks and community services director, in a city press release. “It gives our families the opportunity to get outside, get some exercise and help their kids discover the joy of reading.”

This local PopUp StoryWalk program was created by Kenmore resident Elisabeth Lepine, who discovered a StoryWalk trail while vacationing in upstate New York with her family.

Lepine’s oldest daughter was so charmed by the colorful adventure that it inspired her to replicate the experience and share it with others. She teamed up with friends Jasmin Thankachen and Beth Yost, whose passion and appreciation for the project matched her own.

“Our hope is that PopUp StoryWalk will motivate parents, teachers and caregivers to take children outdoors to enjoy the beauties of the environment while encouraging a love of reading and imagination,” according to their website.

Together, they have worked to fund the creation of three “PopUp StoryWalk” books, which appear in different parks throughout King County. The other books are “The Bear and the Piano” by David Litchfield and “Yellow Kayak” by Nina Laden. There will be three new books in 2019, and the group is eyeing O.O. Denny Park as a potential location, Lepine said.

“We like the secretiveness, so we never announce it until a week or so out,” Lepine told the Reporter, adding that the pop-ups usually last for three weekends.

Lepine said that the last panel of the StoryWalk always comes with a field guide, so families can sign their names and make suggestions for future books and locations.

“Our favorite thing is to work with local authors and illustrators,” Lepine said.

Originally founded in Montpelier, Vermont, in 2007 by Anne Ferguson, the StoryWalk project features installations across the country. The name StoryWalk is a registered trademark. The local project has enjoyed support from 4Culture, Friends of Saint Edward State Park, Tiny Treks, Snapdoodle Toys and the Arts of Kenmore.

“PopUp StoryWalk” is a recent addition to the Eastside community. It opened on May 19, 2018 with an installation during Kids to Parks Day at Saint Edward State Park, and continued with a popular summer series and the debut of the elementary school enrichment program.

“PopUp StoryWalk” aims to “encourage a lifelong love of learning and an appreciation of the outdoors.” It promotes literacy and art appreciation, as well as healthy physical activity and stewardship of Washington’s natural resources. It also provides access to stories and books to all communities.

“You don’t need to bring anything but your walking feet,” Lepine said.

Lepine and her co-founders are “driven by the smiles, giggles and joy filled moments we see and hear from all the families who have experienced PopUp Storywalk.”

“Thank you to all the families, educators, tourists and community members who have walked the trails and enjoyed the stories,” they wrote on their blog. “We are so excited to continue bringing new books to the trails and parks around our community in 2019!”

See www.popupstorywalk.org for more.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

“The Bear and the Piano” by David Litchfield was one of the books featured in 2018 by “PopUp StoryWalk.” Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

“The Bear and the Piano” by David Litchfield was one of the books featured in 2018 by “PopUp StoryWalk.” Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Lepine

More in Life

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Showing their appreciation for EvergreenHealth workers

First responders from Kirkland, Bothell and Woodinville stopped by the Kirkland medical center to show their support for their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Bothell band dedicates new single to noted sound engineer

Colossal Boss’ “Fool” was recorded by Tom Pfaeffle shortly before he was fatally shot in 2009.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

Northshore Senior Center responds to COVID-19

Facilities will be closed but emergency services are still available.

Family Jewels Foundation founder Nancy Balin. Blake Peterson/staff photo
Family Jewels’ 5K returns to Saint Edward in Kenmore

The foundation formed in 2017, but the 5K has been going on for about a decade.

Photo by Rolf Skrinde
                                From left, As If Theatre’s Molly Hall, Amy Gentry and Cindy Giese French.
‘The Cake’ making its Washington debut in Kenmore

The play is kicking off As If Theatre’s second-ever season.

Photo courtesy of TAD Management
                                ABBAFab has been doing shows for a decade.
ABBA tribute band to dance, jive, have the time of its life in Bothell

ABBAFab formed in 2010 and has been playing shows internationally ever since.

Courtesy photo
                                Charlene Freeman, a local artist and owner of Bothell’s Cloud 9 Art School, will launch the first Bothell Art Scene with Ken Stodola and Hannah Waters March 12.
Local artists to launch Bothell Art Scene this spring

The first art walk will be March 12.

Mitchell Atencio/staff photo 
                                Cynthia Bemis displays one of the rocks she found in her years as an administrator in the Bothell Rocks, in Lynnwood on Feb. 20.
Bothell and Kenmore rock painting groups inspire community and creativity

Rock painting groups have grown in popularity over the last five years, inspiring local groups to connect.