Bellefonte Reads highlights national parks

Bellefonte Area School District  |  Posted on

When the Bellefonte Reads committee selected national parks as its theme for this year, the community also hopped on board to further promote the literacy program and tie it in to community events. On May 27, Downtown Bellefonte Inc., is also hosting a national parks theme event for its Friday in the Fonte, inspired by Bellefonte Reads. In addition, they’re working toward creating a community trivia night activity based on national parks.

During the event, Bellefonte Reads, along with other businesses and organizations, will be set up at Talleyrand Park between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. with national parks-themed activities and entertainment.

“We thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to make a connection with another local organization while also engaging the community with a fun and educational theme,” said Devin Kos, marketing and administrative assistant for Downtown Bellefonte Inc.

During its One Book, One Bellefonte distribution night on April 5, volunteers with Bellefonte Reads distributed more than 1,500 free books to nearly 350 families who signed up for the drive-thru type event at Bellefonte Area Middle School. Volunteers even dressed up as park rangers and created ranger names to complement the theme.

The feature was a picture book by Evan Turk titled, You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks. Accompanying books also included If I were a Park Ranger, The National Parks, Subpar Parks: America’s Most Extraordinary Parks and their Least Impressed Visitors and Dear Bob and Sue.

According to Jackie Wynkoop, Bellefonte Reads founder and co-chairwoman, the theme was sparked by a display at Barnes and Noble.

“The book Subpar Parks caught our eye, and as we flipped through the pages, it was really clear that sharing books about the national parks could be a great theme for this year,” she said. “We were lucky enough to find several high-quality companion texts, so that we could offer something for all ages.”

While Wynkoop said it’s important to share literature that addresses current issues faced in the community, it’s also important that community members “step outside of Bellefonte” and learn about all the world has to offer.

“Considering much of the negativity recently in our country, we wanted our community to see that beauty really does surround us,” she said.

In an initiative that is free to the community and free to the school district, Bellefonte Reads aims to put free, quality books in the hands of local families and spark a love of reading throughout the community. The initiative was also made possible for the eighth year due to donations that this year totaled about $15,000.