a great adventure is about to begin
In 2015, the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas designated Abilene as the official Storybook Capital of Texas. Over the years, Abilene has undertaken a series of unique efforts to showcase the wonders of children’s literature. The city is home to the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the Storybook Sculpture Project and the annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival in June. To find all the Storybook Sculptures in downtown Abilene, download the Adventure Guide or pick one up for free at the T&P Depot, 1101 N. 1st St. on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Come see professional touring theater companies present child friendly shows at the Historic Paramount Theatre. Some shows include an exclusive after party. Past shows include magicians, “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Jungle Book,” “Pinkalicious” and more!
The NCCIL collaborates with award-winning artists to produce exhibitions of their artwork that are distinctive, appealing to museum visitors of all ages, and of the highest quality. Following its debut at the NCCIL gallery, each exhibition travels to museums, public libraries and galleries nationwide.
Located on the second floor of The Grace, the Children’s Museum serves as a hands-on discovery-based learning center for children and families. The space underwent renovations in 2007 and 2009, including addition of a child-size replica of Abilene’s Paramount Theatre complete with sets, costumes, dressing room and lights. The space also includes a Texas twister, showcase of local student artwork and much more! Winning art pieces from the first Children’s Museum Art Competition is now on view in this space.
For more information on classes and programs available for children, visit the website.
The second weekend of each June, downtown Abilene is transformed into a childhood adventure into art and literacy for three days. The CALF honors a different picture book artist each year whose work is on exhibit at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. Activities include the Storybook Parade, artist talk at Paramount Theatre, Storybook Sculptures, dramatic readings, live animals, costumes, magic shows, live music and art activities. ArtWalk night on Thursday is free. Registration required for Friday and Saturday activities where you can earn 11 buttons for your lanyard.
The Abilene Public Library has three locations with programming for children year-round. These include Baby Steps for ages 0-1 for infants and parents to enjoy stories, activities and stimulus of all kinds. Lapsit programs are for ages 1-2 for children who are past the infant stage but not quite toddling. Parents can join their kids for rhymes, music, short stories and more. Toddler Time is for ages 2-3 for children who enjoy longer stories. Pre-School Storytime for ages 3 to 6 offers children the opportunity to listen to stories, join in finger play, sing and watch puppets. There are also programs for older ages, Make & Take Crafts, Family Fun days, Super Storytime, Literacy Kits and a Summer Reading Program.
Frontier Texas! brings together cutting-edge technology and history and lets visitors experience life on the early Texas frontier. Frontier Texas! is a history museum, gift shop and the official visitor center for Abilene and the Texas Forts Trail Region. Now showing the exhibition “Blood & Treasure on the Frontier.
Every second Thursday of the month, the Center for Contemporary Arts coordinates a mini arts festival with a different theme. ArtWalk highlights the best of the visual and performing arts in Abilene. The Abilene Cultural District downtown comes alive with between 800 to 1,400 individuals. ArtWalk is a family-friendly event that enables a broad cross-section of the community to enjoy free offerings of art and entertainment and to eat and shop.
For the 2013 Children’s Art & Literacy Festival, six 3-foot-tall Seymour characters were permanently hidden at different Abilene locations. Seymour is a character created by Walter Wick, the 2013 CALF honoree. To help children find each Seymour, a passport was created. Visitors to each destination can have their passport stamped and receive a Seymour sticker. The passports are free. No admission is charged to see the Seymours. The six locations are: The Grace Museum, Frontier Texas!, The Center for Contemporary Arts, Abilene Public Library, National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature and the Abilene Zoo.
Summer 2016 Show Schedule at the Abilene Public Library
All performances are at 10:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. No admission charge.
Shows are approximately 45 minutes long. Please arrive early.
“I walked across the street to the Storybook Sculpture Garden and found Dr. Seuss characters I remembered from childhood, including the Lorax, Horton, and even the Grinch. I sure do love Abilene, Sam-I-Am.” Chet Garner, “The Daytripper”
“The story of Abilene seamlessly blends its Wild West past with a lively present. It’s full of stories, artwork, and meals as big as Texas is wide, confirming that there are big times to be had in Big Country.” Chet Garner, “The Daytripper”
“From the Easter Bunny in front of the chocolate shop to the Sandman sleeping in a potted plant, these bronze statues have added even more whimsy to what’s become the unofficial capital of children’s literary art.”Bob Phillips, “Texas Country Reporter”
“Though it’s historically been more of a way station than a final destination, Abilene’s coming into its own as a road trip–worthy weekend getaway.”Texas Monthly
“Hip eateries, swell shops, and a stunning new bed-and-breakfast are turning Abilene into an oasis in far-east West Texas.”Texas Monthly
Become part of the story by attending art and literacy events in Abilene or supporting our programming and changing lives