National Bear Hunt and Other Community Treasures

Have you spotted any teddy bears on your keep-a-safe-distance walks?

Blueberry the Bear

I first heard about the #NationalBearHunt from a friend on Facebook. Carrie has a toddler at home whereas my boys are now 19 and 22. Without her post, I may have missed it. I’m trying to limit my news consumption.

The bear hunts are inspired by British author Michael Rosen’s children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”. Rosen’s 1989 book has never been out of print! I hope he knows what an inspiration he’s been to parents and children everywhere.

We have one teddy bear in residence, the newly named Blueberry. My son didn’t name the bear when I made it for him out of soft fleece about a decade ago. At the time my son was more interested in the making of the bear then he was in having it. I made three bears during that time, but the other two went to a new home.

A startled Mouse the Cat discoveries Blueberry in the window

Blueberry is in the front window, visible from the curb and in view of our Little Free Library. I’ve left a small sign inviting folks to wave as they walk by.

A make-shift sign, Mouse the Cat, and Blueberry the Teddy Bear

It’s these small gestures that help keep us sane.

Here are a few others:

Anne Lawson in Australia posted this on her Instagram feed annelawson54:

“Another way to build community connections….a gallery in my own front yard. All exhibitors have to do is leave a drawing in my letterbox. Is this something you could do? (Until it rains, of course. Then I will have to be more inventive 😊)”

Jacinda Arden has a teddybear in her window in New Zealand as she shelters in place. The Guardian reports:

“the real-life Kiwi bear hunt has seen homes from Bluff to Auckland place teddy bears in their street-facing windows, allowing local children to “hunt” for bears in their neighbourhoods. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, confirmed she too had placed a teddy in the front window of Premier House in Wellington, where she is in lockdown with her fiancé, Clarke Gayford, and toddler, Neve.”

Little Free Libraries converted to food pantries, pre-packaged, sterilized books, a joke a day and more.

“Community engagement and sharing with others are at the heart of the Little Free Library movement. In just a few days, the spirit of sharing in Little Free Libraries has shifted to accommodate different and increased needs in communities all over the world.

By now you may have already seen stories and photos of stewards in cities near and far transforming their book-exchange boxes into “little free pantries,” offering items like canned goods, toilet paper, sanitizing products, and more while COVID-19 has changed day-to-day life drastically for everyone.

While some stewards have opted to close their little libraries completely to limit potential exposure to frequently-touched surfaces, others are swapping out books for household essentials to help out neighbors in need. And a number of stewards are offering both books and pantry items!”

Our LFL is a beloved community resource. Closing it down seems unthinkable, but keeping every book sanitized is impossible. I could sanitize the doorknobs, books, and shelves, only to have to start over after one visitor. Since visitors continue to stop by, I’ve taken all the back-stock of children’s books from our garage and placed them in an open bin.

Back-stock of children’s books in my garage

Adjunct bin of LFL children’s books

My hope is that books will be sanitized by the user. If the books remain untouched, they at least offer hope for the future.

What are you seeing in your community?