Bringing Books to Life for Your Child

Michelle McNally - Indianapolis
August 28, 2017

After reading books inside all winter long, it's time to bring some books to life! With a little imagination and a city map, you can make your child's favorite stories jump right off of the page. Use the following ideas as a starting off point; a trip to the local library can also inspire your imagination.  

On the Farm 

For farm enthusiasts, Conner Prairie offers pioneer homes and barns like no other. Fans of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web will find Wilbur, the sheep, and the cows in the Animal Encounters barn, along with chicks (instead of goslings) in the spring. There's also a barn outside the Golden Eagle Inn with horses and pigs. You probably won't see Templeton, but you might see Charolette if you look closely!

Conner Prairie is a Laura Ingalls Wilder book come to life. Prairie Town brings to life the scenes she describes in Little House on the Prairie and Little Town on the Prairie, you'll see a general store, blacksmith shop, a potter's shop and you'll be able to play simple games from the 1800s as well. Historic interpretors dress and speak the way the Ingalls family did.  

On the Race Track 

A trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum can rev any race fans engine, especially after they're read such favorites as The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race. Many car aficionados love non-fiction illustrated tomes heavy on the details like DK's Big Book of Things that Go, and the Hall of Fame Museum brings pages like that into 3-D. The museum traces the history of open wheel racing, and kids can see cars like the ones that are featured in The Racecar Alphabet. Your racer can even sit in a real Indy car to see what it's like. 

Around the City 

If your reader likes the hustle and bustle of city streets, a stroll through Broad Ripple Village will bring books about city activity to life. In Broad Ripple, you can pass a post office, fire house, eye doctor's office, restaurants and more, all within a few blocks of each other. You'll see a mailman on a foot route, delivery trucks, and assorted construction projects underway. There are workers everywhere in this vibrant part of the city, just like in What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry.

Letters are everywhere you look, you just need to start seeing them. Alphabet City, by Stephen T. Johnson, focuses on letters the author found while exploring New York City, but it the idea can transfer anywhere. Start your search at Monument Circle, where the Soldiers and Sailors Monument makes a majestic letter I. 

Outside of the City 

Your animal lover will laugh at Wolves, by Emily Garvett which begins with a bunny checking out the book at the burrowing library. By the end of the book, though, you both will have learned a lot about wolves. When you're ready to see them up close, take a trip to Wolf Park in West Lafayette. There you will see wolves in their natural habitat, and learn even more about these stars of many a fairy tale.  

Once you start making literary connections to the world around you, there's no limit to the places you can go or the pages you can turn. You never know where a book may take you! 


From the Parents

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