Great Smoky Mountains Association’s most recent book release for younger readers will soon be featured on the Storybook Trail of the Smokies—an initiative dedicated to promoting literacy in nature. A partnership between the park, the University of Tennessee Extension Cocke County Office, and educational park partner Great Smoky Mountains Association, the Storybook Trail of the Smokies offers fun and educational self-guided activities based on a rotating selection of different Smokies-themed books along the one-mile Cosby Nature Trail near Cosby Campground.
“We are so excited to continue the Storybook Trail of the Smokies this fall—we were overwhelmed with the support from our community during the spring storybook trail books,” said Jessica Gardner, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. “We know there are fans young and old who are eager to get back on the trail and experience new books this fall.”
From October 9 through November 9, the trail will feature prompts and activities based on A Search for Safe Passage, written by Frances Figart and illustrated by Emma DuFort, both of Great Smoky Mountains Association. Teachers and homeschool groups are invited to use the trail and review standards-based activities for the classroom or virtual-learning opportunities for students at SmokiEEEs.org. The storybook trail is free to the public and accessible seven days a week.
A Search for Safe Passage is a chapter book aimed at middle-grade readers that tells the story of best friends Bear and Deer, whose home range was split in half by a highway. After learning some troubling news, Bear and Deer embark on a life-changing adventure, searching for safe passage across the highway.
“I wrote this book especially for young people who enjoy being out in nature and seeing wildlife as I did when I was a kid and still do today,” said Frances Figart, the Creative Services Director for GSMA. “It features 19 different animal species that make their home in the park and outside its boundary in the Pigeon River Gorge near Cosby, where the story is set.”
A Search for Safe Passage is the fifth book to appear on the storybook trail, following a spring lineup of: We’re Going to the Mountains by Steve Kemp, The Salamander Ball by Lisa Horstman, Singing Creek by Morgan Simmons, and The Troublesome Cub by Lisa Horstman. On Saturday, October 9, the book’s author and illustrator will be at the trailhead to interact with visitors, sign books, and answer questions from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Copies of A Search for Safe Passage will also be available for purchase.
The Storybook Trail of the Smokies is funded by a grant secured by the UT Extension Cocke County Office through the Juanita H. Fasola Foundation Inc. Each of the featured books is published by Great Smoky Mountains Association and can be purchased at Smokiesinformation.org. Follow the Storybook Trail of the Smokies Facebook page for more information on the books, author events, and activities to accompany each book.