Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro.

One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.
One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.

If you notice two colorful benches in San Ysidro Park, go take a closer look. On both you’ll discover a Trail to Literacy.

The benches are decorated with tiles painted by children. You’ll see small works of art that celebrate books and stories that young people love.

This wonderful community project promotes reading. After looking at the tiles, I think I want to visit a library and check out some children’s books. What better way to activate imagination? And relearn wisdom.

The benches stand not far from renowned artist Victor Ochoa’s beautiful Tree of Life, which I photographed while walking around the park last weekend. See those photos here.

Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.
Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.
The Paperboy.
The Paperboy.
Dogzilla.
Dogzilla.
Froggy Gets Dressed.
Froggy Gets Dressed.
The Cat in the Hat.
The Cat in the Hat.
The Gingerbread Man.
The Gingerbread Man.
Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.
Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.
Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.
Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.
A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.
A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.
Mulan.
Mulan.
Corduroy.
Corduroy.
La Hermana de Froggy.
La Hermana de Froggy.
Mouse Mess.
Mouse Mess.
Viva Piñata!
Viva Piñata!
Just Imagine with Barney.
Just Imagine with Barney.
El Arbol Generoso.
El Arbol Generoso.
More colorful, imaginative tiles painted by youth.
More colorful tiles painted by creative youth.
Reading activates imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.
Reading sparks imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Public art around the city inspires reading!

Public art that inspires reading can be found all across San Diego!

In the past I’ve photographed murals, sculptures, and even some beautiful glass panels that encourage reading. Often great books and authors are celebrated. Wisdom, knowledge, compassion and other timeless human values are shown to arise from reading. And, of course, there’s the simple enjoyment. Almost everyone loves to learn something interesting, or a good story!

After seeing artwork that promotes reading outside the Vista Library on Sunday, and posting photographs here, it occurred to me that I should link to more of this inspiring art!

What has my camera recorded so far?

Click the following links to see past photos!

Books fly in a children’s reading mural!

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at UCSD.

Wise words inspire readers at the San Diego Library.

Sculpture of Mark Twain reading book on bench.

New mural painted on Union-Tribune building.

Art and wisdom outside National City library.

La Jolla Library and the Voyage of Discovery.

Wizard of Oz glass panels at Coronado Library.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Actors read literary works online for TwainFest!

The spirit of Twain lives in this wonderful annual festival.

Do you love reading literature from the 19th century?

I do!

I love Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville . . . there are too many great Victorian authors from this period to mention!

If you love to read these authors, too, there’s an online event in progress that you’ll probably like!

During this special event you can listen to selections from 19th century literature read aloud by San Diego actors!

It’s part of Write Out Loud’s virtual TwainFest, and you can subscribe by clicking here to get daily links to new YouTube readings in your email!

What was the event like before the coronavirus pandemic? To see photos from TwainFest last year in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, click here!

Mark Twain uses his cane to point out his classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Many 19th century authors and fictional characters were seen walking about during TwainFest.
Mark Twain uses his cane to point out his classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Readers, writers gather for Festival of Books!

Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!
Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!

This morning I headed to Liberty Station in Point Loma to enjoy the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!

I was excited to see that a positively enormous crowd had gathered to celebrate reading and writing! I didn’t attend any of the panels, but I did walk around to check out fascinating displays by local authors, publishers, cultural institutions and organizations that promote literacy. I spoke to many of the writers and was inspired by their creative energy and optimism!

These days the written word might be read on phones more frequently than on paper, but those words are just as vital as ever.

What would life be without words?

Words connect people.

Words define the world to our minds.

Words are how we create meaning.

The big San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books was held at Liberty Station in Point Loma.
The big San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books was held at beautiful Liberty Station in Point Loma.
Many local and regional authors showcased their books at the festival.
Many local and regional authors showcased their books at the festival.
Readers could meet friendly authors, get a signed copy, and make new discoveries!
Readers could meet friendly authors, get a signed copy, and make new discoveries!
Looks like Frida Kahlo is into that book.
Looks like Frida Kahlo is into that book.
Books as decor??? READ THEM, you silly people!
Books as decor? READ THEM, you silly people!
Write Out Loud, who produces TwainFest and other cool literary events, smiled for my camera! PoeFest in Old Town's spooky-at-night Adobe Chapel is coming in October.
Write Out Loud, who produces TwainFest and other cool literary events, smiled for my camera! PoeFest in Old Town’s spooky-at-night Adobe Chapel is coming in October!
I read a few days ago that the La Jolla Playhouse's musical Diana is heading to Broadway. Thumbs up!
I read a few days ago that the La Jolla Playhouse’s musical Diana is heading to Broadway. Thumbs up!
These cool folks representing the San Diego Repertory Theatre told me their digs at Horton Plaza are getting an upgrade!
These cool folks representing the San Diego Repertory Theatre told me their digs at Horton Plaza are getting an upgrade!
An exciting new era is beginning at the San Diego Symphony. Their new conductor is internationally acclaimed Rafael Payare!
An exciting new era is beginning at the San Diego Symphony. Their new conductor is internationally acclaimed Rafael Payare!
I know why these folks are smiling. Comedian Steve Martin's funny farce, The Underpants, is now playing at the Old Globe Theatre!
I know why these folks are smiling. Comedian Steve Martin’s funny farce, The Underpants, is now playing at the Old Globe Theatre!
Letras Sin Fronteras had their bookmobile at the festival.
Letras Sin Fronteras had their cool bookmobile at the festival.
The state of Maine asked Coronado author Tamara Merrill to write a book about prejudice in that region's past. It's titled Shadows in Our Bones.
The state of Maine asked Coronado author Tamara Merrill to write a book about prejudice in that region’s past. It’s titled Shadows in Our Bones.
I remember seeing Sheri Fink with her fun Whimsical World children's books during my walks near Seaport Village!
I remember seeing Sheri Fink with her fun Whimsical World children’s books during my walks near Seaport Village!
I love the cover of The Happy Little Garbage Truck by author Josan Wright Callender!
I love the cover of The Happy Little Garbage Truck by author Josan Wright Callender!
I caught an energetic performance by San Diego Taiko at the festival stage.
I caught an energetic performance by San Diego Taiko at the festival stage.
I also enjoyed seeing some cool Star Wars cosplay!
I also enjoyed seeing some awesome Star Wars cosplay!
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
Some fun, easy books that a young kid would surely love!
Some fun, easy books that any young kid would surely love!
San Diego Writers, Ink had a table at the Festival of Books. They nurture local writers with classes, groups, workshops and readings!
San Diego Writers, Ink had a table at the Festival of Books. They nurture local writers with classes, groups, workshops and readings!
Author Jim Stevens said I couldn't read a few sentences from any page of his novel without laughing. I did . . . and I did!
Author Jim Stevens said I couldn’t read a few sentences from any page of this novel without laughing. I did . . . and I did!
San Diego Zoo Global Press has launched fun children's books about animals! I met author and illustrator of Periwinkle's Journey, Suzy Spafford, of Suzy's Zoo fame.
San Diego Zoo Global Press has launched fun children’s books about animals! I met author and illustrator of Periwinkle’s Journey, Suzy Spafford, of Suzy’s Zoo fame.
A penguin makes a journey...
A penguin makes a journey…
Anyone could piece together poems like mosaics at the Words To Go table.
Anyone could piece together poems like mosaics at the Words To Go table.
I learned UC San Diego Extension is building a new facility in downtown's East Village. Very cool!
I learned UC San Diego Extension is building a new facility in downtown’s East Village. Very cool!
Some fun kids art at their table!
Some colorful kids art at their table!
Local word lover Richard Lederer, the Wizard of Idiom, was showing his many books and silently correcting my grammar.
Local word lover Richard Lederer, the Wizard of Idiom, was showing his many books and silently correcting my grammar.
Mister is the true story of a chicken, inspired by a San Diego teacher!
Mister is the true story of a chicken, inspired by a San Diego teacher!
Eat. Sleep. Read.
Eat. Sleep. Read.
KPBS had a table display of this year's One Book, One San Diego titles.
KPBS had a table display of this year’s One Book, One San Diego titles.
Visitors to the festival could write the title of their favorite book on this big chalkboard.
Visitors to the festival could write the title of their favorite book on this big chalkboard.
The San Diego Public Library had a booth, plus a nearby bookstore at the festival.
The San Diego Public Library had a booth, plus a nearby bookstore at the festival.
Visitors could write suggestions for the San Diego Public Library. Ebooks appeared to be a popular desire.
Visitors could write suggestions for the San Diego Public Library. Ebooks appeared to be a popular desire.
The Union Tribune had a special exhibit concerning journalism. Truth is Always the Strongest Argument.
The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper had a special indoor exhibit concerning journalism. Truth is Always the Strongest Argument – Sophocles.
The Festival of Books is an amazing San Diego event where writers and readers meet and share a love for the written word!
The Festival of Books is an absolutely amazing San Diego event where writers and readers meet and share a love for the written word!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Make a “lending library” box for your community!

A simple, homemade lending library box next to somebody's front yard in Crown Point, a neighborhood on Mission Bay. Leave a book or take one!
A simple, homemade lending library box next to somebody’s front yard in Crown Point, a neighborhood on Mission Bay. Leave a book or take one!

Here’s a cool idea that almost anyone can bring to life!

Once in a while, as I walk about, I notice cabinet-like wooden boxes on neighborhood streets that are filled with books. They’re usually placed near a sidewalk–a spot that anybody passing by can easily reach. These community “lending library” boxes are filled with used books, magazines and other reading material that neighbors can freely borrow and return when they please. Anybody can add to the small library. Now that’s very cool!

Here are photos of several boxes I’ve come across. Their designs appear to be rather simple. They can be built however one likes, as long as the shelves are visible and sheltered from the elements. And they can be painted creatively!

Does your neighborhood have a “lending library” book box? Looks like a fun, inspirational project! It enriches the life of your community and promotes literacy!

A lending library book box built like a cabinet along the Fifth Avenue sidewalk on Bankers Hill. The contents are always changing. Today the shelves were almost empty!
A lending library book box built like a two-door cabinet along a sidewalk in San Diego. The contents are always changing. Today the shelves were almost empty!
This fancy book box has a sliding glass door and sloped roof. You can find this tiny library at the east end of the Quince Street Trestle pedestrian bridge in Bankers Hill.
This fancy book box has a sliding glass door and sloped roof. You can find this tiny library at the east end of the Quince Street Trestle pedestrian bridge in Bankers Hill!
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If you’re feeling really creative, you could make an imaginative “Little Free Library” like this!
A lending box created by Boy Scouts and the Friends of the Coronado Public Library.
A lending box created by Boy Scouts and the Friends of the Coronado Public Library.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few short works of fiction that I’ve written, visit my special writing blog Short Stories by Richard!

Free books for teachers, schools, hospitals and prisons.

San Diego Book Project promotes literacy both locally and worldwide. They were present at TwainFest in Old Town.
San Diego Book Project promotes literacy both locally and worldwide. They were present at TwainFest in Old Town.

The San Diego Book Project promotes literacy both locally and worldwide. It’s an effort I strongly support. So when I happened to see these folks with a table full of books at TwainFest this weekend, I instantly decided to provide a hand with my blog.

The San Diego Book Project has given away nearly a million donated books! They’re sent to teachers, schools, classrooms and students who might not have the resources to buy their own material. Beyond San Diego’s more disadvantaged neighborhoods, schools in South Africa, India, Peru and the Philippines have also received free books. Life-changing books are also sent to hospitals and prisons, and any not-for-profit organization that actively encourages literacy.

Do you need some free books? Would you like to donate or volunteer? Check out their website.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a work of classic literature sure to interest new readers.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a work of classic literature sure to interest new readers.
Good books open minds, promote education. An exciting journey with the written word makes life richer and more meaningful.
Good books open minds, promote education. An exciting journey with the written word makes life richer and more meaningful.

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