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City of Stories


A City of Stories is a unique book arts project that encourages middle school students to use personal connection and creative storytelling to explore the diversity of their local community. The project integrated language arts, social studies, visual arts and community service. This project explores intersections between text and image on the page, between oral and written traditions of storytelling, between classroom and community, and between people of different cultural backgrounds.

In Amherst MA, 80 students conducted oral history interviews with local immigrants, including classmates, teachers, neighbors and family members. Then they transformed their stories into artists' books filled with illustrated narratives and poetry about the immigrants' homeland, journey to the United States and transition to American life. Students built architectural book structures (pop-out house books and accordion-road books) that joined together to create city blocks, and filled the pages with pictures and words to create a city of stories.


Label Value
Project City Amherst
Project State MA
First Name Jeannie
Last Name Hunt
Organization One Heart Arts
Pedagogical Area
  • place-based education, environment as integrating context (EIC)
  • cultural education
Subject Area
  • reading, writing, English as a second language
  • visual and performing arts
  • cultural history, folklore, racial studies, community studies
Outcome Area
  • academic performance
  • civic engagement
  • community change
Participant Area
  • student
  • community
Age Area
  • elementary (6-11 years old)
  • middle school (12-14 years old)