SAVOY, Mass. — Students at the Emma L. Miller Memorial Elementary School created a book walk based on the book "Old Rock" by children's author Deb Pilutti.
"So it made them really think about the characters. You have 42 different kids drawing the same rock. But every page looks different in 42 different ways," Librarian Maggie Donahue, who led the project said. "It becomes this character, and I feel like the more they drew the characters, the more, they knew them."
A book walk is an outdoor activity where the pages of a book are displayed along a path in a park or other outdoor space. Visitors can walk through the story, one page at a time.
Donahue said she contacted the author who gave the students permission to recreate her illustrations.
"Each kid was assigned a different page," she said. "And they went above and beyond what I was expecting."
Student Blake Lenski said creating a book walk goes a lot further than just simply reading the story.
"It's better because you can see your page, and you get excited," he said. "You get to decide what the page looks like."
His classmates agreed and said they enjoyed coloring, drawing, and designing their pages.
Donahue added that each one of the 42 students enrolled at the school did their part, and those not interested in drawing helped with typing and the layout.
Donahue said she chose the book because, at a recent town celebration, the town used the logo "Savoy Rocks." Also, the school has some great rocks and boulders on campus including a heart-shaped rock.
"I wanted to find a book about a rock that would tie into the town and school," she said. "I read a couple but absolutely loved 'Old Rock.'"
She said some of these rocks were included in the walk and characters were hung from trees providing photo opportunities throughout the story.
The book walk spans along the school's gate and exterior and zigzags down through the playground and playing fields. There are pages about the author and a quick explainer on rocks before the actual story.
During the process, students also participated in a virtual Q&A with the author.
"It was really lovely, and the students did so well," Donahue said. "They were so excited about meeting a real-life author and illustrator. They asked such good questions. She talked a lot about the process and gave them a virtual tour of her workspace."
Student Wesley Rosni said he was excited to meet a real author.
"It was very exciting because I've never met an actual author before," he said. "Yeah. It was like a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
As was Lilah Lenski
"It was like really cool because like we got to ask like all sorts of questions," she said.
Cedric Meczwor said it was a great experience even though he was a little nervous
"It was a little anxious and weird because I didn't know what to say, he said. "But it was exciting."
Donahue said she hopes to keep the walk up all summer so all families
"I was floored by the work. They put so much time and attention into it," she said. "And they did what an author does. They see that they can do it now."