Storybook Street

Storybook Street

Landmark Year for ELC’s Whimsical Storybook Street
The Book-Themed Wonderland Saw Biggest Year to Date

On February 24, 2024, the enchanting sounds of Storybook Street swept through the air as 1,000 people swarmed the State College of Florida campus in Venice to see the sights, experience the magic and, of course, scoop up free books.

Distributing more than 6,300 books in just two hours, the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County is proud to say its 4th annual Storybook Street was a smashing success. The free, literacy-meets-the-arts extravaganza provided 20 new books to every family in attendance.

“Storybook Street is deeply rooted in our mission of boosting early language and literacy skills. Our goal for this event is to build home libraries for our youngest generation in an intentional, meaningful and magical way. We can officially say, ‘mission accomplished,’ as 2024 was our biggest year yet!” says Janet Kahn, CEO, Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County.

Designed for families with children under the age of seven, Storybook Street has become a must-see annual event–a creative, unique, imagination destination where books come to life. The ELC provides the books and Sarasota’s premier arts and science organizations provide the talent. Featuring dance, drama, art, music, movement, sensory play and scientific discovery, the event showcases preschool-level pomp and circumstance, delivering memorable moments to help foster an early love of reading.

“For a small nonprofit like ours, Storybook Street is an all-hands-on-deck event. Its success flows directly from the tireless efforts of our staff, the generosity of our volunteers and the energy, cleverness and creativity of our community partners including SCF’s leadership team,” says Ana McClendon, ELC’s Director of Outreach.

“We were thrilled to host Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County’s Storybook Street event on the Venice campus of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota,” said Dr. Todd G. Fritch, Executive Vice President and Provost. “This event supported reading literacy for children from birth to 7 years of age and brought over 300 families to SCF, where they could learn more about the services our college offers to the community.”

The 2024 event showcased the many talents from the Sarasota Orchestra, Venice Theatre, Gulf Coast Music Therapy, the Circus Arts Conservatory, Nailed It DIY Sarasota, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, Little Medical School Suncoast, The Ringling Museum, SCF’s Sigma Kappa Delta English Honors Society, Big Cat Habitat, Irish Dance Academy of Sarasota, Wholehearted Education, Sidewalk Science Center, The Venice Symphony, SCF’s STEM Club, Sarasota Children’s Museum, All Faiths Food Bank, The Sarasota Players and the Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation.

“Creating a fun and engaging learning environment helps students appreciate and welcome continued education,” said SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld. “We are grateful for our community partners who choose SCF as their venue and collaborator as we know the earlier kids are involved, the more likely they are to graduate.”

2024 marked a first-time partnership with the State College of Florida as well as the first-time the ELC weaved science into its signature event.

Click here for event pics:

Stay tuned for details on Storybook Street 2025!