BookStore's Storytime Hour Reaching out to Youngsters
The University of Arizona BookStore is usually the domain of students, UA employees and members of the Tucson community.
However, on the first Saturday of each month, the store in the UA Student Union Memorial Center welcomes dozens of children and their families.
The Wildcats Advocating Literacy and Knowledge, or W.A.L.K., program offers children the opportunity to listen to readings from popular children's books, enjoy a family-friendly tour of the UA BookStore and meet a popular storybook character.
The next W.A.L.K. storybook event takes place Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m., featuring stories from, and an appearance by, the popular book and television characters Toot and Puddle.
Cindy Hawk, associate director of the UA BookStores, said the ultimate purpose of the program is to promote literacy.
"We feel like we are here to do more than just sell," said Hawk. "We are here to interact with the community."
The W.A.L.K. program is designed to engage children of all ages in enriching and entertaining events designed to encourage cultural diversity, community involvement and a love of learning.
Each W.A.L.K. event lasts about an hour and a half and features readings from three to four children's books and games or songs, a walk through the UA BookStore and a meet-and-greet with a storybook character, which Hawk says is usually the most popular element of the program.
According to Hawk, the target age group is children ages 4 to 7, but younger children frequently attend. Average attendance at the W.A.L.K. events, which are held the first Saturday of the month, ranges from 50-75 children.
Below is the upcoming W.A.L.K. event schedule and list of guest characters. Each event begins at 10:30 a.m. and takes place in the lower level of the UA BookStore.
- Feb. 7: Toot and Puddle
- March 7: Danny's Dinosaur
- April 4: Peter Rabbit
- May 2: Wild Thing
- June 6: Biscuit
Parents can sign up for a W.A.L.K. membership, which enables them to receive a 20 percent discount on general reading books at the UA BookStore, along with e-mail updates about future W.A.L.K. activities.