Valley families can let their imaginations run wild as they stroll through a new outdoor literacy installation at Arizona Center, StoryWalk. The first installation, which opened April 23, features the children’s storybook “Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match” by Monica Brown, a story about a young Peruvian girl who is different than all the other kids.

The new feature opened in partnership with Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Parallel Capital Partners, owner and manager of Arizona Center

Located at Arizona Center in the Grotto, a meandering, shaded path will take children and adults on a self-guided reading adventure amongst native plants, palm trees and flowering shrubs. Along the pathway, each page of this children’s storybook is installed at a kid-friendly height on sequenced signs. The books on display at the Downtown Phoenix StoryWalk will be offered in both Spanish and English and will be rotated on a regular basis.

At the April grand opening event, the book’s author handed out free copies of “Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match,” and spent time signing books and meeting fans. Free treats were provided by Bosa Donuts, and family-friendly activities were enjoyed by visitors. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was also on hand to celebrated the installation’s opening.

Paola Cicuttini, vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Parallel Capital Partners said the project was a “perfect fit” for Arizona Center.

“The Grotto is already a popular destination for both residents and visitors alike,” she said. “Families are an integral part of our community, so it’s important to ensure that we have plenty of experiences where children can learn and thrive.

“Activities like the StoryWalk add to the appeal of Downtown Phoenix and provide more opportunities for families to come and enjoy all that it has to offer.”

The StoryWalk is one of many new DPI events and projects geared toward families, including Winter Wanderland, DTPHX Loteria, Dia de los Niños Movie in the Park, and a new music installation across from the Phoenix Symphony, which is coming soon.

The StoryWalk movement started in Montpelier, Vt. in 2007 when Anne Ferguson, a specialist in chronic disease prevention for the Vermont Department of Health, partnered with her local library. The goal was to encourage families to get outside and be active, while also engaging in literacy.

Since then, it’s spread to hundreds of public libraries across the country, including Phoenix, which created its first StoryWalk at Cesar Chavez Park in March 2021.

The Phoenix Public Library helped provide resources and guidance for this project.

The Arizona Center is located at 455 N. 3rd St. in downtown Phoenix. For additional information, call or visit


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