Two Ridgefield moms wanting to celebrate their town have created their own activity book for kids, and it’s all about Ridgefield.
Authors Lanie Colao and Anamaria Weston created their new book All around My Town Ridgefield, CT and the book’s main character, a rabbit named Riley, in order to encourage correspondence writing and learning for kids in an activity book filled with familiar locations.
Colao said the idea came to her and Weston when they were working on a preschool yearbook at Jesse Lee Day last year.
“We thought: ‘We’re already capturing a school and all its happenings for the children, why don’t we capture their town for them to?”
Following that idea, the two moms began working on the book “for a good part of a year,” said Colao. Colao took photographs around Ridgefield, and those photos were then digitally altered by Weston to create a colorful, illustrated appearance. Centered on these illustrations are various activities for kids to do. “For example: On the Main Street page there are items that are sold on Main Street hidden among the buildings,” she said. “Other ‘finding activities’ include finding all the things that rhyme with a certain word, or all things that begin with the same letter. There are also ‘spot the differences’” activities, she said.
“We wanted to celebrate Ridgefield in a fun and educational way through the eyes of a child,” said Colao. They also wanted to bring back the idea of actual letter writing.
The duo did this by creating Riley, who is introduced in a post truck and appears throughout the book to introduce new activities. The mail theme is central to the book as well, as the All around My Town contains a do-it-yourself postcard page which encourages kids to mail out their creation to relatives in other parts of the country. In return, the kids might get a postcard back—something which most kids probably aren’t used to, given the rise of instant text messages and email. The authors are also considering making other books about other nearby towns featuring relatives of Riley, perhaps prompting a new correspondence.
“Westport is our next targeted location,” said Colao. “It would be great if children from our town could write to children in other towns with the postcards and start a connection.”
Weston has lived in Ridgefield since 2002 and Colao has lived here since 2004. They both raised children in Ridgefield and they met while volunteering at Scotland School. The book and cards are being sold in town at Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe, The Toy Chest, Squash’s, the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and on the author’s website, http://allaroundmytownridgefieldct.com/