Cool Calgary: Little Free Library bedtime stories

One night a week, parents read to neighbourhood children in a park in the city's northwest.

Dedicated story time in Sunnyside park

Children living on 4A St. N.W. will stop by their local Little Free Library nightly to grab a bedtime story. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

As dusk falls on a quaint residential street in Sunnyside — things get louder, not quieter.

The laughter and squealing ramps up as children race down their front steps to the park.

"Everything happens here," said neighbourhood mom Shann Ross. "Just on this block alone, we have about 25 kids under the age of 12."

The CBC's Danielle Nerman takes us to Sunnyside where the Little Free Library is the gathering place for neighbourhood kids.

Ross says the park doubles as a giant backyard for all the inner-city families who live on 4A Street N.W.

The greenspace is also an orchard, lined with berry bushes and fruit trees.

"And that's was another exciting part about putting the Little Free Library here, is it's under that big huge tree. We thought, come an apple ... grab a book ... sit down and have a little chill time," said the mother of three.

Ross spearheaded the creation of the little library in memory of her sister-in-law who died in 2014 of breast cancer.

Shann Ross hold 'Roary' — the stuffed lion that inspired a series of children's books written by her late sister-in-law. Ross has stocked the Little Free Library in her neighbourhood with Roary's stories. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

Before she passed away, Laura Hamilton wrote three children's books with the help of a stuffed lion named Roary.

The library is always stocked with Roary's stories, which kids on the street often take home to read before bed.

After seeing so many of them visiting the library nightly and swap their stories, Ross decided to organize a weekly bedtime story reading in the park.

"All the parents have taken turns signing up to be the story reader."

The Little Free Library in Sunnyside is dedicated to Laura Hamilton — authour of the children's book, "Lions Get Sick Too." (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

Ross says anyone is welcome to drop into the bedtime stories in the park. Readings happens Tuesday nights at 6:45 p.m. at the corner of 4A Street and Ninth Ave. N.W.


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