The Iowa City Downtown District’s  Downtown StoryWalk® returns for the month of April! Kids and families are invited to take a walk through Downtown and the Northside neighborhoods as they read pages from a book displayed in shop windows. To start the walk, kids and families can pick up the official map at either of the starting locations and follow the marked path from business to business to read the story.

The Downtown Iowa City StoryWalk® has two routes available and attendees can enjoy the stories at their own pace. Kids will be able to search for missing words or hidden items on the pages and fill in the blanks on their map. Completed maps can be turned in at either of the end locations for a chance to win a copy of the book. Both books were selected by Prairie Lights and can be purchased at the bookstore.



Norman Didn’t Do It! (Yes, he did.)
Ryan T. Higgins

Ryan T. Higgins, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Mother Bruce series, delivers a contemporary tale of friendship. Norman is a porcupine. Mildred is a tree. Norman and Mildred are best friends. Just the two of them. And only the two of them. But when a surprise pops up, life will never be the same again.

When asked which one of Higgins’ many characters from his books he would want to spend a day with, he answered, “I’d like to hang out with Norman the most! It’d be fun to see his reaction on day to day events, and I’d like to get his take on things.”

Come spend a day with Norman while you read this book about a porcupine, his best friend, and the surprise they encounter!

Start Location:
  • Sunday: 12PM – 5PM
  • Monday: 10AM – 9PM
  • Tuesday: 10AM – 9PM
  • Wednesday: 10AM – 9PM
  • Thursday: 10AM – 9PM
  • Friday: 10AM – 8PM
  • Saturday: 10AM – 6PM
  • 21 stops
  • Approximately 1.4 miles
  • 30 minutes
Reading Level:
  • 4 – 10 years old

Always by My Side
Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Always by My Side was written and illustrated by Iowa-native Jennifer Black Reinhardt. The story follows a little boy as he gradually outgrows the need for the constant presence for his comforting companion–a stuffed green dinosaur. But as the stuffed animal narrates, none of us grow out of loving our favorite toys, and, perhaps, they never stop loving us back. When you need a loving hug, or a cuddle of reassurance, or just someone to play with, fuzzy creatures big and small, short and tall, will always be your friend.

Part of Reinhardt’s inspiration for the story came from her son William and the stuffed animal he cherished. Her name was Dina and she was a little plush dinosaur that lived in a fabric egg. He took Dina everywhere with him on his adventures.

Jennifer encourages kids participating in the StoryWalk to bring their favorite stuffed animal along to read the book. They can experience the story together about the incredible bond and love between a child and their friend.
Start Location:
  • Sunday: 8AM – 9PM
  • Monday: 8AM – 9PM
  • Tuesday: 8AM – 9PM
  • Wednesday: 8AM – 9PM
  • Thursday: 8AM – 9PM
  • Friday: 8AM – 9PM
  • Saturday: 8AM – 9PM
  • 17 stops
  • Approximately 0.5 miles
  • 10 – 15 minutes
Reading Level:
  • 4 – 10 years old

As a way to help promote reading and exercise, the StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT. It was developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library. The Iowa City Downtown District is excited to hold another StoryWalk® to bring the community together, continue learning, and explore downtown in a new and exciting way.